Friday, April 26, 2013


This weeks Handmade review is "STITCHES BY SARAH".
 Sarah's focus is mainly newborns and photography props, but she is no stranger to larger sizes and custom orders.
 When I told Sarah about what I was doing, she banged out a hat for Max, and it was in my mailbox in no time, so I can't imagine how fast a actual paying customer would get something!
 Max loved it. He's a kid who likes what he likes, and if he's not into something...he'll be damn sure to let you know.
 Most of the materials she uses are hand-dyed and hand-spun wools.
I was checking out her ETSY shop and she is doing some really amazing stuff.
 Usually when I hear the term "hand-knit", the first image that pops in my head is a old lady in a rocking chair knitting away with a cat on her lap and a tall glass of prune juice next to her.
That image did NOT pop in my head after really digesting her ETSY shop. It's very  contemporary,
very modern, and I would guess that at in some point in Sarah's schooling, she got a A plus in a color theory class.
 If you're looking for a baby gift, or looking to spoil your own bundle of joy, or if you're really into getting stopped everywhere you go by some crazy moms shrieking "oh my god! that hat is sooooooooooooooooo adorable, where did you get THAT???"  check out STITCHES BY SARAH.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


After 10 months, 30 pieces of furniture, working full time, and being a dad (like really being a dad, as in not just making sure the third human in the house is fed and his pants are shitless, but actually engaging him and being present.) I thought I would take a break.
 3 days into my hiatus and a conversation with a 3 year old has put a end to my vacation.
Here's how that conversation went...
Max: are you gonna do work outside?
DaDa: nah...I'm taking a break
Max why?
DaDa: I'm tired man, I work hard.
Max: you're not gonna make stuffs
DaDa: yeah man, I'm gonna make "stuffs" just not right now
Max: why?
DaDa:  what do you mean "why"?
Max: you not gonna make tables and stuffs? I can help you.
DaDa: your gonna help me make "stuffs"?
Max: oh yes-yes DaDa
DaDa: well then, lets make some stuffs
Max: can I have some M&M's?

No rest for the wicked.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Here it is.
 I have to say that it is maybe one of my favorite pieces so far, and for a few reasons.
first, in my mind, it's the perfect balance of wood and steel, second, it kind of resembles a arm wrestling match with geometry, and third, the total dollar amount that I had to shell out to make this piece was $8.
 Another miracle that transpired was that it didn't go up in flames. The steel tray and supports had to be welded in place, and when you put 3000 plus degrees of molten steel next to a 60 year old chunk of wood, well, you do the math on that one.
 While a few of my pieces have moved on to greener pastures over the last few weeks, I think I'll hang on to this for a little while.

Friday, April 19, 2013


It's been a busy week, but here's what's going on...
 I had to push back Fridays hand made review because Laura is doing a photo shoot with our son on Sunday.
 The product I'm reviewing is a hat made by "Stitches by Sarah" and it's so cool that I really didn't want to take a crappy photo with my phone.
 Hopefully I can get her to shoot the new side table as well, which means I have to get a finish coat on by tomorrow.
 I can report this came out exactly as I had envisioned it, which is kinda rare.
Usually, I start something with one thing in mind and during the process it goes another way.
 I also have Eric from Tomato Tattoo working up a T shirt design.
I'm thinking about doing some t shirts in order to fund my motorcycle aspirations. I figure that for the people that can't afford one of my pieces, it's a good way to support and promote.
 If I didn't have to send the government all the dough I had saved up for a bike, I would be dodging pot holes right now instead of blogging like a nerd.

Monday, April 15, 2013


We have a problem with remote controls in our house, so my initial intention was to create something small and low with the designated purpose of holding on to those 3 remotes that end up wedged between cushions or under the couch.
 This is the early workings of it, but so far I'm on track.
Part of the inspiration of this piece comes from the front end of a motorcycle. I also wanted to put a twist (or in this case a 45 degree angle) on what appears to be just another factory beam.
 I was dreading driving out to Bridgeview to buy a piece of steel plate for the actual table top part, but while my son was playing in the backyard I found this piece of steel that kinda looked like a frying pan.
 My father-in-law was trimming the vines, so I asked him what it was. As it turns out, he used to use it to clean the ash from the fire place. He said " if you have a idea for it, go ahead and take it".
 Totally saved me a drive and $58, so, hats off to you Cholo!
Cleaning and polishing it at this point is exceeding what a hour drive and $58 would be, but there is a gratification factor in knowing it was something that had been some what disregarded , and is now on the road to a whole new existence.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I got murdered this week doing a bathroom remodel.
 When I had a moment to relax, I took a moment to see what is new in the world of square houses by diving into DWELL magazine.
 Month after month it's...square house, square house, and more square houses.
But this month, something caught my eye. "71 DESIGN TALENTS TO TRACK"
 I was slightly excited to see what these hip- up and comers were going to do with all their fancy schooling, technology, and globe trotting apprenticeships.
 I'm here to report that they did...NOTHING.
I'll give credit where credit is due, and 4 of them stepped up to the plate and did something worth publishing.
 But the other 67...ya know what they mastered? They mastered the craft of convincing people that their garbage is ground breaking.
 One of these design masters produced a side table. Are you ready for the cutting edge design feature that propelled him into design royalty????  Prepare yourself to be blown away, because I'm about to spill the beans on this genius....he put wheels on it. Wow, right?
 Another design duo came up with colorful stacking chairs. Brilliant, I say.
Actually what I say, and I say it in my best Chicago accent is..."get the fuck outta here."
 I don't mean to sound bitter, and this isn't about me or what I do.
I'm very aware of where I stand. I...make furniture out of ...garbage. Lets call a spade a spade, because reclaimed is a pretty word for garbage.
 I wanted to be inspired. I wanted these hot shit designers to move me, to push me in new directions, to motivate me to put on my darkest pair of skinny jeans and douse myself in patchouli.
 Although I was not inspired, I did realize that no matter what you do, inspiration has to come from within, and if it does, it will show in your work.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


This 1800's barn beam sat outside my window for quite some time.
 It haunted me on a daily basis because it was always too short or too long for a project that I had in mind.
 I had come upon a big ass hay loft pulley from the early 1900's as well as this really cool hook.
That's all I really needed to trigger a thought that would get that damn barn beam from sitting outside and into the house.
 Once I started assembling this monster, I ran into a problem. You see, from the very beginning I KNEW the hook was going to be too short...and it was.
 I don't know if I was having a Yoda moment and assumed I could bend this hook with my mind when the time came, but that's a skill I still have to hone.
 At that point it's like 9pm, my son is wrapped up in the Ninja Turtles, and the lamp is in pieces because of a hook that is a 1/2" too short.
 That's when I became a blacksmith.
I held the hook on the stove with a pair of channel locks, then proceeded to beat the shit out of it on the bathroom floor with a hammer.
 It worked. It fucking worked. Unbelievable.
I put it all together and slept with a smile on my face.
 When I awoke to admire my piece and pat myself on the back for my ingenuity, I discovered that the weight of the pulley pulled the hook right back to where it was.
 Needless to say that beautiful Victorian hook got chucked onto some rooftop in Pilsen, and a sturdy rebar hook took it's place.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Last week, Collin from Salvage One had contacted me about making a live edge conference table for them.
 Yesterday, I made it over to the store which I have never been to. If you have never been either, you should go. The space in and of itself is amazing, and the relics that they have yanked out of the dirty corners of nearly every Chicago basement are stunning.
 During my tour of the place, we came upon a agreement in which they will retail my stuff, and on occasion, I will build for them in their shop with their materials.
 After I left, I was slightly conflicted by my decision.
The thought of building for someone else kind of freaked me out.
 As I tossed and turned in bed last night over the issue, I came to the conclusion that the only thing skewing my decision was my ego.
 First of all, everyone I met there was super nice, and if they weren't, I'd be blogging about a hand made Adze that was made for me by a blacksmith this morning.
 Second, I hunt for my materials for my builds, and with them, I have 2 lifetimes worth of working materials at my finger tips. That alone will allow me to expand in what I build for them as well as in what I build for Breclaimed.
 Third...It's all the same shit except some pieces will have a "B" on it and some pieces won't.
In the end, it's a win-win for everyone, and I get to be around creative people while honing my craft.
 Just at a different address.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I enjoyed making this table, but I'm glad it's done just so I don't have to lift it and move it around anymore.
 It's gotta be close, if not over 200lbs. and because of it's size and shape, it was hard to grab and move around.
 After a couple of days into making it, I seriously considered shifting my craft to carving teeny tiny wooden unicorns or something.
 The last picture here is basically what this table started out as. That beam is actually the second half.
The challenge was to clean the beam up without losing too much of it's character. If you don't clean it up enough, it looks like a piece of shit, and if you clean it too much, it looks like new wood and loses it's soul.
 I kinda went through a "THING" yesterday when I brought it in the house.
I had to swallow the fact that I can't keep it.
 It looked stunning in our living room, but all I saw when I looked at it, was it being riddled with angry bird stickers, spilled milk, and the perfect hiding place for a child's boogers.
 It lasted under 10 minutes in our living room before I moved it out, and I was pissed.
I started my tirade exclaiming how "I'm done making this shit. What's the point!? Blah, blah, blah!"
 Those of you that know me, know...I'm a pretty subdued guy, but when I'm on's a blind rage in which the whole world has to stop until my anger has run it's course.
 In the midst of me babbling on about how I'm done making furniture, Max says "but that's what you DO Da-Da."
 Thanks for ruining a perfectly good temper tantrum...Buddha.
Needless to say, the table is for sale, and for much cheaper then anything of it's kind that you'll find.
 Serious inquiries can contact me at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I started riding when I was 18.
 My first bike was a Ninja 250 that I bought from a guy out in Wheeling.
I remember my first bike like one would remember their first kiss.
 When I bought that first bike, I had no clue how to ride and I drove it all the way home in first gear.
I refused to ask anyone how to operate it, and figured it out on my own.
 That stubbornness set the pace for my mind set for the rest of my life.
It was a overwhelming sense of accomplishment. In my head, I conquered the machine.
 Since that first bike, there have been many other bikes that have carried me everywhere and yet no where in particular, and with each new bike, came a new learning experience.
 I remember talking to my brother on the phone and telling him how I was thinking about selling my bike because I felt like my luck was running out. 18 years of riding and never dropped a bike.
 About a week after that phone conversation, I was hit from behind at over 50mph.
I remember being in the air and seeing my bike rolling down the street without me on it.
 When I came to after the impact, there was a cop and a Chinese guy standing above me.
"I'm not dead?" It's almost creepy to write that line because I remember exactly how those words came out of my mouth.
 I sprung to my feet, and I must have looked like I was doing "the robot" in the middle of the street the way I was checking to make sure all my limbs were in working order.
 Since that accident I stopped riding.
Although I cheated death, something in me died.
 In the spirit of's time for resurrection.
I will ride again.
 Definitely not like I used to ride. I have a family now, and they mean more to me then bugs in my teeth.
 I'm going to be patient, get the bike I've always wanted, make it my own, use it as therapy so you people aren't subjected to my babbling, and one day hand it over to my son, who one day, will hand it over to his.