Monday, February 24, 2014

NEVER GIVE UP


Even as a kid, whenever someone would say "never give up", my first thought was always "don't tell me what to do".
 There is definitely a time when someone should throw in the towel. Knowing WHEN to quit will determine your success or failure.
 The first photo is a stringer cart that I rebuilt.
As soon as I flipped it over and saw all the rust, broken wood, bent legs, missing and bent bolts, I wanted to give up on it.
 These carts are supposed to be quick money makers. They're supposed to be the projects that you put a little into and get a lot out of.
 Not this one.
Just removing the wood was a chore because the bolts were rusted and bent. Finding new wood to replace the old was a challenge because the existing wood was 1 3/8" thick. That is NOT a common thickness, so I had to notch every board.
 One of the legs was almost completely bent under, so I had to heat it up and then smash the shit out of it with a 3lb blacksmith hammer.
 This cart was the universe's way of keeping me in check.
I think the universe bitch slapped me, because the day before, I knocked out another steel work table (2nd photo) almost effortlessly. That build was like a ballet featuring fire and steel and when the show was over, it got a standing ovation.
 I'm thinking that I probably walked into the shop a little cocky the next day, and I got the universal boot to the balls because of it.
 I'm not so sure that universe conspires for or against me, but I do know this...I've been kicked in the balls before, and I will definitely be kicked in the balls again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

HEAVY METAL


Whenever I see the words "Heavy Metal", I automatically go back to my childhood where me and my brother were desperately trying to watch the animated movie called "Heavy Metal" on a shitty black and white TV.
 Back then, there was a paid movie channel called "ONTV", which we didn't have, but if you screwed around with the TV dial just right, you could get a skewed image and no sound. If you were really lucky, and you were able to stay up late enough, when they were showing soft core porn, you just might catch a glimpse of a boob.
 Ok, everyone back in the DeLorean, cause we're going back to present day so I can show you what happens when you spend your childhood looking at skewed boobs on pirate TV...
 I originally wanted to make a table for the metal shop that I could attach to the concrete floor, and then mount my bender to.
 I dug up some vintage Pollard table legs (ok, I didn't dig em' up, Collin pretty much pointed to a pile of them on the dock), and affixed a welded steel top.
 Usually one would mount a slab of wood, then put the steel on top of the wood. I welded the top right to the base.
 The bottom shelf is some beautifully aged wood. The pieces of wood that I grabbed were burnt, and once the charred wood was removed, there was some really nice grain hidden beneath.
 At the end of the day, it dawned on me that this table was too pretty to be bolted to the floor of  a dark, dirty metal shop.
 These days, I'm in the spirit of letting things go. Emotional and material.
Emotionally letting go of whatever weighs on me, and materialistically...selling what can be sold, giving what can make someone close...happy, as well as what I don't need and someone else can very well use.
 It's like spring cleaning for the soul. I actually feel lighter.
I'm no scientist, but I do know that if you put some "good" out in the universe, it comes back to you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

SPRING CLEANING...MINUS THE SPRING


I had a feeling my time was running out.
 I had that feeling before, right before I got hit on my motorcycle.
You see, the shop at Salvage One is massive, but everywhere you turn, there is wood.
 Old wood, scrap wood, dry wood, wood sculptures, wood furniture in various stages of completion, I mean, it's a work shop, it's supposed to be like that.
 My worry, was that one day, I would be the one responsible for burning Salvage One down to the ground.
 I'm constantly cutting, grinding, welding, and torching metal around giant piles of wood. There's sparks shooting in every direction and molten piles of shaved metal dripping from the back of the chop saw.
 It's not smart, and I fancy myself a pretty smart guy.
Last week, I had to quiet the creative spirit and do what was necessary.
 I started work on the new "Metal Shop".
I cleared out a 500sf room to the left as you walk into the shop. It was mostly filled with junk, and was pretty easy to clear out. The room is ideal because it's brick, and concrete and a big steel door separates it from some other room that I was too spooked out to peek into.
 Collin helped me drag a 12' steel welding table that was buried on the dock and covered in rust.
I grinded all the rust off, and leveled the table, then welded a hook to it for my welding helmet as well as welded a little hammer holder for a slag hammer.
 Although all of that is a pretty ambitious task in and of itself, I still managed to knock out a bunch of railroad spike hooks.
 There's still some work to be done on the new metal shop, but I have it in a workable state.
I feel like this was a huge step in the direction of putting myself in a position where I can dedicate all of my time to creating pieces and still be able to sustain a family.
 You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run, and everyone seems to just want to run, and if you haven't crawled to walk, and walked to run...you just spend a lot of time falling.


Monday, February 3, 2014

LONG AND STRONG!


"Like OMG, I totally want one of those like, reclaimed tables, like they make at Pottery barn".
 
Do you know how many times I hear that?
 In my head I'm saying "bitch, I set the bar, for what a reclaimed table is."
THIS...is a "reclaimed table".
 It won't be neatly packaged in a box. It won't be able to be assembled with a little allen wrench.
This is 300lbs of work.
 Usually I'm extremely humble about my work, but I woke up pretty surly this morning.
This table wasn't supposed to work. The deck was stacked against me from start to finish, but I conquered it. Most of the time when I look back at a piece, I pick it apart and make mental notes of what I should have or shouldn't have done. This time, I can look at it and say that I took it as far as it could go.
 I have to credit Collin at Salvage One for giving me " the look " on a couple occasions,  that said "no mother fucker, you're gonna make it 3' wide not 24" wide, even though you don't think you can."
 He didn't have to say the words, but the look was sufficient as well as completely understood.
Sometimes your brain is your enemy. It tells you to quit. It tells you to give up.
 As if there aren't enough things in the world that obstruct you, you have to fight against your own melon from time to time. Pretty bogus.
 In terms of design, it's just a really long, thick, heavy table. But there is a lot to look at.
From the hand bent leg stretchers, to the hitch pins holding the legs in their sleeves, to hand cut steel dovetails, to the character of the top itself....it's a lot. None of it is decoration. Every detail serves a function.
 As I was putting the final finish coat on this table, a panic set in.
It was my brain saying "what's next? what's next? what are you gonna make next?"
 I sat down, lit a cigarette, and actually said out loud...
"EVERYTHING...is next."