Monday, May 26, 2014

MY HANDS MIGHT BE FOR SALE, BUT MY SOUL ISN'T.


There's a lot going on in this photo, but behind the vintage guitars and amps is a custom retail guitar display.
 It's been a work in progress over the last few weeks. Not so much physical work, but mental work.
The gentleman that commissioned me to do it had a very clear idea of what he wanted, but I had to custom make all the arms to suspend the guitars.
 It was a challenge for me in the respect that, I can pretty much make...anything, but to make 8 of something is a little different.
 My mind doesn't operate in "production" mode. Maybe I have A.D.D. 
 I think it came out very cool, but I have to admit that facilitating someone else's vision just isn't "fun".
In fact...writing about it isn't even fun.
 There's a "soul" factor missing.
When I'm making something from nothing I can write about it and the process and everything that happened along the way. That's because, at THAT time and in THOSE moments, I am IN that piece,
I am CONSUMED by it.
 Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with this piece, I stayed very focused while doing it, I just don't feel any ownership or command over it. I feel like I was a "good dog".
I literally just got up from my computer, and walked down the block (in my pajamas) when the title of this post dawned on me..."my hand might be for sale, but my soul isn't"
 I guess that's why I shy away from custom work so much, and the custom work that I do is for people that have a special quality.
 The guy who commissioned this is a good guy. He's dedicated to his work, and from what I've seen from dealing with him, he does it exceptionally well.
 I've had offers that I have walked away from because people came at me in a shitty way, or just over stepped their bounds.
 There are hundreds of guys out there that will do anything for the money. Sometimes I wish I could be that guy. If I was, I'd be in a sick house, driving a 2014 F-250, but I'd probably be miserable.
 I'm far from miserable. I have an awesome family, great friends, and a craft that fulfills me.
Am I shooting myself in foot? Do I give a fuck if I am? Nope.
 It's been said forever, and some asshole on Facebook will post it at least once a week..."If you do what you love, the money will follow".
 
 




Monday, May 19, 2014

"I'LL HANG MY BOOTS TO REST, WHEN I'M IMPRESSED"


I've had this huge beam sitting outside of my kitchen for a year.
 Last week, I escaped from work a little early, so I decided to load up the beam and take it Salvage One the next morning so I could finally do something with it.
 I wasn't remotely worried about anyone stealing it out of the back of my truck, because there isn't a thief on this planet ambitious enough to try to lift it.
 As luck would have it, I woke up the next morning and it was pouring rain. My days project was soaked and there's nothing I can do with a wet piece of wood, but I went in anyway with the intent to just knock out some railroad spike hooks and call it a day.
 When I got to the shop my jaw dropped. I don't know what the fuck happened, but the shop was spotless. I mean, not a speck of dust, everything organized, it was truly incredible.
 I came across a 12' slab of live edge white locust. It's a tree slab so the shape is so funky that you can't do much with it as it is, so I chopped off the widest section with no real idea what I was gonna do with it.
 With the slab in 2 pieces I wasn't sure what I could get out of it, but I really wanted to try to reconstruct that one funky slab into a piece of furniture.
 I can't even tell you how I got from a 12' slab to this. I just started cutting, and shaping, and cutting, and piecing things together.
 I had to force myself to stop because if I continued at that frantic pace, something was bound to shit on me, so I quit while I was ahead.
 I decided to snap a picture so I could digest it for a week. It's on the way to being one of those show pieces, and it's best to walk away and get the mechanics of it right.
 I have a confession to make. I don't have any REAL machinery. I have tools, but no machinery. No joiner, no planer, not even a REAL table saw. In fact, the table saw is so shitty, that it shuts down mid cut from over heating.
 I tell you this so you can understand that everything is by hand. I also tell you this because I know a lot of people use the excuse of not having this or that as their crutch as to why they don't do something they wanna do.
  I don't have shit. I have space and vision and will power and some tools.
A day will come when I will have some luxury machines, but I'm in no hurry. I LIKE doing it like this. Would I be able to produce faster? sure. Would things be more precise? Maybe.
 I remember installing a $15000 vanity for a lady. One of the drawers had to be cut down because it was hitting the drain pipe. I took the drawer to my father-in-law because there was no way in hell I was gonna be responsible for destroying a $15000 cabinet.
 I get it to his shop, and he starts beating the shit of it with a rusty hammer, cutting it up with a bent hand saw that had teeth missing, and planning it with a planer that Jesus probably used because it was so old. I have to be honest...I was almost in tears. All I could think about is how much I would have to pay for a new drawer.
 In about 10 minutes, the tornado had passed, and what was left standing in the ruble was a perfectly sized drawer ready to be slipped into place while accurately dodging a drain pipe.
 That didn't happen with the help of fancy machines, that happened because that man had built 65 years worth of cabinetry with essentially nothing.
 So, if there's something that you want to do, but you don't think you have what you need to make it happen...Go grab your tool box, open it up, and pull out the passion. If it's not in there, it might be laying next to the "drive" or "ambition".
 

Monday, May 12, 2014

THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS


A couple of weeks ago, I was having a  rough one.
 I'm a creature of habit and my schedule was all out of whack. I was able to make it in to Salvage One after a client showed up an hour late for a early morning appointment. That shit drives me crazy and kinda set the tone for where my day was about to go.
 When I got to the shop, I was already feeling pretty crusty and basically spent a few hours wasting material and making a mess.
 I was talking with Collin and he had showed me a picture of a table he wanted for his new house.
He's a Mid Century Modern guy, and I'm a rustic industrial guy, but you gotta be versatile in anything you do. You have to be able to switch styles at any given moment.
 There was a piece of Walnut plywood in my basement that has been sitting there for 2 years, so my idea was to miter a box, have it open at both ends, make some hairpin legs, and save my friend $350.
 Well, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
The wood was pretty warped, so the miters weren't tight. What should have taken an hour, took 3 hours and still wasn't what I needed it to be.
 I don't give up on anything, and I don't waste material or time. I was determined to make something out of this fucked up wood.
 If you've ever seen a big touring band, their gear is always packed up in flight cases. A flight case is a container that's designed to get thrown into semi trucks and planes and built to withstand a serious beating.
 While I knew this would end up on the floor for sale as opposed to Collins new house, I still kept him in mind. You see, he's in a band called VALO, and with him being in a band, I was trying to tie this whole little project together.
 What it comes down to is that it's the first Mid Century Modern flight case side table.
The moral of the story is...When life chucks a turd at you, paint that turd pink and tie a bow on it!
 I could have easily thrown the box in the garbage and moved on to something else, but I stayed with it, I rode it out to the very end.
 As a result of sticking it out, I ended up with a cute side table and I also learned a thing or two.
In life, we're too quick to ditch the things that we feel "aren't working out", relationships, jobs, friends, ideas, hopes, dreams, and whatever. There's a time to fight and a time to run, and for me, personally...it takes a LOT to get me running.