Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The best thing to come out of my memorial day meltdown was that I had a full day to think about what to build.
 I stated that I wanted to work on a coffee table, and I'm glad I didn't. My reason for wanting to do another coffee table was because the first one sold real fast. The question I had to ask myself was "where's the joy in a easy kill?"
 So what you're seeing in this blurry horrible photo is the early beginnings of a free standing shelving piece.
 Again, I grabbed a disastrous beam. I'm like a shit-wood magnet. I gravitate to the ugliest most hopeless pieces of wood.
 This beam was in such bad shape that I had to order a special drawknife called a "inshave" or also known as a "scorp". The purpose of this tool is mostly for chair seat carving, but i'm going to use it to carve out rot and do some shaping. Unfortunately I won't get it until next week, but there's plenty of work to do in the meantime.
 I have all the engineering of this piece figured out to insure that it doesn't fall and/or fall apart, I have all the pieces cut, I have the first layer of grossness removed. Now, the fun begins.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I woke up at 5am with the intention of starting work on a new coffee table.
 Well, Max decided to wake up too, and decided to slurp fucking cereal in my face, watch every DVD we own,and ask a thousand questions in which I have no answers for.
 I just attempted to take a piss (which I thought that I MIGHT be able to do in peace) but instead I'm being forced to seek out a Sponge Bob "golden ticket".
 So, I will put on one of his diapers, piss myself, and dedicate the only day I get off besides Christmas to catering to the whims of a three year old.
 Enjoy your Memorial day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I won't be nominated for any design awards or creative engineering praises for this one,
 None the less, I knew I was going to have a busy week and still wanted to keep the machine moving forward. Sometimes you have to move backwards to move forward.
 It ended up a fun little table.
After grinding and polishing 50 plus years of paint and rust from the table base, I decided to go with a fire engine red. I'm a big fan of bare steel, but this needed a little funk.
 The top is walnut, and I did my best to match the grain because every time I join wood, my father in law shows me how I SHOULD have joined it...after the fact.
 I threw a Cherry Dutchman joint dead center just because nothing screams "handmade" quite like that little detail.
 Although I'm happy with the end result, it did make me want to take on a more involved project.
Not only was it a cute little table, but it was a good kick in the ass.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Sunday morning I dropped off the bench at Salvage One and began to sift through their explosion of materials.
 I could spend 2 or 3 hours digging through this place.
Unfortunately, I had about a 15 minute window because our hot water heater at home decided to bitch out.
 I never have a piece in mind when I hunt for material. It's like you pick up a chunk of wood and within a glance, you have to morph this nothing into something. It's not easy.
 If I had the time to lay out a bunch of good looking material, grab a cup of coffee, and pace in front of it for awhile...the outcome could be amazing.
 But I didn't. I had 15 minutes.
Luckily I found a nice piece of walnut, and a stack of 1960's table bases.
 My stuff is pretty rustic, and I like that, but I'm gonna try to go a little more sleek with this one.
On another note....I woke up this morning feeling a little rough, but someone left a comment on the birthday blog that inspired me more then I inspire them.
 As I stated before, I could care less if I ever sold a piece. I never started doing this thinking "i'm gonna make some money with this shit!" I started doing it because whenever I'm working on a piece...the whole world makes sense. And then it's done and I get depressed and cry all over a blog about it, but that's not the point.
 So to the guy who posted the comment...thank you sir. My work is only as good as what someone else is able to take from it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


41 years ago my mother kicked me out of my cozy apartment.
 Yeah, it was small, but all the food and utilities were included, and you couldn't beat the rent.
Since that day that I made a run for the exit, I haven't stopped running.
 I've been lucky enough to have done and seen a lot of things that most people haven't.
I've toured the USA and Europe with punk rock bands from my teens into my 20's, I've rode motorcycles through parts of our country that you see in car commercials, I've shown paintings besides some current famous artists, and looking back on all those years, all those people and miles traveled...they've led me to here.
 HERE is my greatest accomplishment.
You see, I was able to convince a beautiful woman that I was worth loving. She gave me a son who with one word or look or gesture, can melt my soul, and I'm surrounded by family that are truly the greatest gift ever.
 It's funny when you hit your 40's, people (usually much younger) are always like "you're sooo old!...blah-blah-blah) here's the deal mother fuckers....
 I can do everything you do except better. I may do them with a few more lines on my face or maybe a little slower, but none the less...better.
 And I'm gonna let the young ones know the secret. It took me about 39 years to figure out the secret.
So here it is....know when to shut up and listen. That's it. That's the secret to life. It will take you farther then you can imagine.
 There's a scene from the movie "COLORS" that has stuck with me since I first saw it, and it's sort of my mantra for my adult life.
There's two bulls on top of a hill and the younger one says "let's run down there and fuck one of those cows!" and the older bull say's " no, let's WALK down and fuck em' all."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Finally done.
 I always get a little depressed when I finish a piece.
It's kinda like having a old friend come in from out of town, and you have a blast, then they leave.
 I am getting better at letting pieces go. I'm almost in a rush to get em' out of my sight so that the break up is less painful.
 This little bitch was never mine to begin with.
The great thing about this particular piece, for me, is that I actually learned a few things.
 As with any craft, we develop a pattern in the way we go about creating. It becomes repetition.
So when you actually learn a little something, it's pretty exciting.
 Unfortunately for's just a bench. You can sit on it. You most likely will learn absolutely nothing from it.
 Here's what I learned...
1. you can't weld cast iron with steel (you need to use a cast rod)
2. you can rust metal quickly with lemon juice, vinegar and salt
3. And...3 coats of poly is better then 2.
So now, I deliver it to Salvage One, grab some more material, and move on to the next one.
  I have to admit, it's pretty cool to see my work in a new environment. Just like it is for a artist when they see their work in a gallery. It looks a little different when it's removed from your possession and placed amongst the work of your peers.
 I guess with every passing piece, I'm becoming less and less of a hoarder.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Between 9 to 5 work, making furniture, parenting, and just plain old life, I discovered that there's between 8 to 10 minutes of free time, so Laura and I decided to work on a book.
 I had kicked around the idea for some time, I spent more brain time talking myself out of it instead of thinking about how to make it happen.
 The big push came from my brother.
My brother eats books. He's the most well read person I know. He had commented on my writing, which I took as a high caliber compliment as well as slightly confusing because throughout my scholastic career I think I spent a total of 15 minutes in a English class.
 My English classes were always either first or last period, so the first period ones I couldn't wake up in time for or stay awake through, and the last period ones...well, that last period class was cutting into my masturbation time as a teenager.
 So my brothers idea was using Laura's photos and taking my blog excerpts to piggyback the photos.
After talking with Laura about it, we decided on a slightly less self-centered direction.
 The concept is to showcase two creative people as a family. To encompass everyone involved in the process of doing what we do. Albeit I'm a handsome and interesting guy...nobody is going to buy a 3 page book of pictures of me cutting wood.
 Hopefully we'll be able to convey the art, love, struggle, family and dedication through the photos and writings. It will also be a documentation of how a family who is working together can accomplish...anything.

Monday, May 6, 2013


This weekend I made it over to Salvage One to sift through a mountain of material.
 The concept of this endeavor is this...They give me material, I build whatever I want, they sell it, we split it...a pretty perfect union.
 For my first run, I grabbed the lost cause material.
I grabbed a beam that should really just be in a landfill, and some stair railing end parts that have no business anywhere else but on a set of stairs.
 Somehow I am going to make a bench from these orphaned materials.
I haven't pinned down exactly how, but after a few more pots of coffee,  a couple of packs of cigarettes, and some serious reckless eye-balling, I think I can bring this patient back to life.
 My little guy is confident in me, so there's no way I'll let him down.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


There are two reasons for my lack of blogging.
1. Apparently, everyone in Chicago wants a new bathroom
2. I was able to sum up a years worth of work in 3 months, so now I have to produce in order to bore you with furniture details.
 In the spirit of production, I have produced this steel lamp out of 6 scrap pieces of steel.
The base was mitered, welded, and grinded to appear to be one piece.
 I bent another piece and drilled holes to lace the lamp cord through. If I knew the lacing would come out as cool as it did, I would have drilled more holes. You learn.
 To keep it stable, I cut a piece of 5/8's round stock for a support.
To be totally honest, I wasn't sure if I was into this lamp until it was all wired up.
 I like the simplicity of it. I can picture it on some foreman's desk in some factory back in the late 40's or early 50's. I also like the fact that it's all steel, and all old cut offs left over from other pieces.
 I'm picking up some material from Salvage One this weekend to start working on a piece for them.
That's refreshing for everyone in our house because we couldn't possibly cram any more shit in here.