Monday, September 28, 2015

LUCKY BASTARD



In the last week we have had to produce 6 glass backboard desks, 1 conference table, 1 executive desk, 1 kitchen table, 1 standing desk, build a glass store front with custom sliding door, 2 lamps, and railroad spike hooks. In the middle of all that madness, THIS desk, somehow was made.
 The customer for this desk had a budget that wouldn't even be able to fund my last pair of jeans, but there were circumstances that dictated that we take on this project.
 Zack drew up the design for this piece, and he managed to procure the absolute shittiest wood remaining on the planet earth to facilitate this piece.
 I like shitty wood, but there is shitty wood and there is really really shitty wood, and we got to play the hand dealt to us.
 I'm not a "gloomy Gus", I usually maintain a pretty positive outlook even in the darkest of situations, but when Zack pulled this lumber out of the trash, I'm like "I don't know man...I don't know."
 Shitty lumber is going to yield some really unique qualities. It can be challenging to work with, but the end results are usually pretty stunning. With this particular build, we went from being Craftsmen, to becoming Trauma ward surgeons.
 This desk has been stitched up with various hardwood dovetails (oak, cherry, and walnut) on the visible sides, on the bottom it is secured with 3/16 steel gussets.
 The desk, although was purchased for 1/4 of what it's actually worth, came out amazing.
It had to be amazing because even though we made a lousy deal, WE still made the deal at the end of the day, and if our name is gonna be branded on it, it's gotta be nothing short of amazing.
 I will never make some bullshit just to get it out the door.
I'm obsessive compulsive when it comes to what we make, and there's no way I could sleep at night knowing that we sent some hacky shit out of our shop.
 I used to get offended when people would approach us with a laughable budget, but I've become more compassionate because I've developed an understanding that some people are just fucking stupid.
 Stupid is pretty harsh, I'd like to replace "stupid" with "clueless".
Most people have never had anything custom made.
 Most people buy whatever television repeatedly crams down their throat.
They have zero concept of what is entailed in having something custom made and therefore they cannot attach a value to it.
 When my son does something stupid, I don't yell at him, I explain to him why (whatever he did) was not a good decision. I only explain once, if he does it again, it's "out come the wolves".
 I try to treat customers the same. I'll break down the process minute by minute and draw a lateral to the expenses involved. At that point I've given them enough information to where they get to make a decision.
 They can make a good decision or a bad decision...like my 5 year old.
A good decision would be to accept my price, adjust their vision to match their budget, or to seek elsewhere.
 A bad decision would be to devalue our time based on their wants.
Nobody wants to make a bad decision...that would be bad.
 Anyway, the desk came out rad, and this jerk off didn't pick it up when he was supposed to, but that's all neither here nor there, because at the end of the day it's about our work. It's about us making things we are proud of regardless of all the weirdo personalities we have to deal with and I can attest that people are really fucking weird.
 This lucky bastard got the deal of a lifetime and I'm pretty sure that he's absolutely clueless about that fact.
C'est la vie.

Monday, September 21, 2015

PENIS (THAT THING IS CRAZY)




 I wasn't going to blog today.
 Not because we haven't built anything cool this week, on the contrary, we're building like maniacs.
Everything is in a state of partial completion, so I didn't think it was necessary to post photos of uncompleted work.
 There is a funny story that prompted this post though.
The other day I was washing my sons feet in the shower. He's like a little hippy, he hates socks and hates shoes even more, so he always ends up with "bum feet".
 He's sitting in the tub with the shower raining down on him as I scrub his gross little feet, and he starts tugging on his penis and stretching it into the collected water. I shoot him a puzzled look and he says to me "this thing is crazy".
 I know the penis is "crazy", but I'm curious about his interpretation. He asks "this thing is just for peeing?" to which I reply "right now son...just for peeing."
 The next day I'm telling Zack the story and he said "what you should've told him is right now it's just for peeing, but one day....it will take over your entire brain!"
 Truer words have never been spoken, and as funny as that statement is, it made me think about how I have gotten to where I am.
 Technically...my penis got me here. (Thanks for the ride...dick.)
My trusty penis helped make a beautiful baby boy who changed the entire course of my life.
 I remember being confused and frightened when he was born, more importantly, I knew I had to step my game up.
 For a father, the "baby years" suck. You spend your time working, cleaning shit and vomit and just keeping a tiny human alive.
Now though, now we're in the golden years. Now he's at a stage where he's learning from me as much as I'm learning from him.
 Without him, there would be no Breclaimed or MAKERS.
All my life decisions revolve around what's best for him, so my son is essentially paving my destiny.
 Lately, we have been discovering the city together.
Mom works weekend nights, so Max and I have been taking the subway and going on weekend explorations.
 These little adventures are learning experiences for both of us that we will carry for the rest of our lives.
 It's a great way for me to put my life into perspective after the hellish weeks me and Zack have endured lately.
 I build to make my son proud.
There are times when people come to my house, and they'll be like "ohhhh, that is so coool" and Max will step up and say "my dad MADE that."
 Is there a better feeling? No there is not.
There's a meaning and a reason behind all my success's and all my failures. The soul in the pieces that I create alone or collectively with Zack carry a piece of my son as well now.
 That boy is my  reason. He's my purpose. His heart moves my hand.
He has made me softer and kinder as well as stronger and slightly more forgiving, forgiving to myself mostly, but I tend to harbor less resentment these days.
 So...Thanks penis! Ya finally done me right.

Monday, September 14, 2015

SLOW THE FUCK DOWN



For the most part, I like to post photos and stories around  the furniture we make.
 We don't just make furniture, although sometimes I wish we did.
This space was created for a marketing firm called LIMITLESS. From my understanding they  are a sports related marketing firm, hence the backboard theme.
 The mounting of these 200lb backboards required a lot of steel. We recently got a new steel supplier who are much closer to the shop. The downfall to this supplier is that they only sell in huge lengths that are either 20' or 25' depending on what steel you get. They'll be happy to cut it down for you...if you have 2 or 3 hours to kill and wanna spend more in cutting then you did in the actual steel.
 We didn't have time to wait to have our order cut, so we basically dragged it all out into the middle of the street and cut it down by hand with a dull hack saw, on the hottest day of the year, next to a landfill that apparently only accepted rotten food and human remains as refuse.
 We had less than a week to complete this project and it just so happened that we got commissioned to make a solid steel "martini tree" for the 3rd largest caterer in Chicago at the same time with an even shorter and more unrealistic time line.
  The "Martini Tree" will be a whole new post in and of itself because we didn't even have time to snap photo's of it. In fact, we were doing paint touch ups in front of the caterer's office minutes before it had to be delivered.
 I don't like to rush, or feel rushed, or be rushed.
Maybe it's my age?
When I build, I like to take my time. Back in the day, I used to spend hours staring at a block of wood, mapping out in my head how I was going to manipulate it into something.
 These days, everyone is in such a big fucking hurry, and not just in having work done, but in every aspect of life. I can't tell you how many times I've almost beaten someone to death in the grocery store for ramming their cart into my son because they were in such a huge hurry.
 Maybe I'm wrong (imagine that.) Maybe life is about cramming as much shit as you can into a day regardless of who it affects?
 The other day I'm driving to work. It's early, tons of traffic, and my light turns  green, but there are cars in the intersection so I have no place to go. The guy behind me is going into convulsions over the situation and speeds around me. Well, the lady blocking the intersection decided she would back up to give me room to pass through and slammed into the asshole going around me. 30 seconds...if that guy would have kept it together for 30 more seconds everyone would have been on their merry way. But now Mr. "in a big fuckin hurry" gets to spend about an hour or more dealing with cops and insurance companies as well as how many other people got delayed because of the situation.
 I stand back and watch the chaos of life sometimes and wonder if they're putting cocaine in the water supply.
 Zack put in hella extra hours on these 2 projects.
Me, I have school meetings, doctor appointments for my son, and me and my girl work opposite schedules so that our son is never in the care of strangers.
 I would get to work early to attempt to wrap these projects up, only to find out that Zack stayed until 10pm to get shit done.
 If I'm having something custom made, I don't want the artisan making it to feel rushed. In fact, I want them to be heart broken when they ship it out because they put so much thought, time and effort into creating a piece.
 Our society says otherwise. Hurry-hurry-hurry, now-now-now.
I say "fuck society".

Monday, September 7, 2015

LABOR DAYS





This week was a typhoon of production at the MAKERS compound.
 Photo 1 is...I'm not sure what the fuck photo 1 is.
I had a bug in my ass to carve something. I grabbed a block of wood and started hacking away. Part of it was a test for me on my control of a tool.
 I had no idea what I was going to make out of it, and I didn't really care what it became.
It doesn't have to be preconceived, nor does it necessarily need to be uber functional when it's art. In the case for this particular piece, I'm gonna use art as my scapegoat.
 The appearance of it is that of 2 heavy objects floating over a steel rectangle...this appearance was achieved completely by accident.
 A few people have come through the shop and been like "oh, that's cool...what is it?" and my eloquent response has been "I don't fuckin' know."
 Photo 2...There's no guess work in photo 2, it's a crate.
The back story to this crate is...a customer had seen a crate we had for sale on the makerschicago Etsy store and wanted 2 crates made as night stands. The goal was to create or should I say re create the crate posted on Etsy, only larger and with a shelf.
 I have a gift. My particular gift is the ability to make things look old. I have honed this skill over the last 4 years without even knowing that I was honing a skill. Some people are good at aging pieces and some people are not so good. I lump myself in the group that does it well.
 I've always been conscious of how things wear. Where are they being rubbed against, how are they being moved, how is a piece subjected to light, all these factors contribute to how a piece ages.
 You can watch a million youtube videos on the subject but nobody touches on the thought process, they just display a technique. So, if you are going to age a piece, think and think deeply about how it would have existed 50 years ago.
 Photo 3....This is a great idea that is tormenting me.
I had the brilliant idea to do hand carved and hand painted table numbers for events like weddings and shit.
 I've seen so many creative ways that people do them, but they have all been very elementary. People do some cute stuff, but I wanted to make those simple tiny details an actual "piece".
 Here's the problem...they're catching on...more people want them, and they're extremely laborious to make. The first 4 I did, man, that was fun. Brew up some coffee, crank up some Rancid and TOOL plop down at the work table and BE creative. After 5 hours of TOOL and Rancid it became not so fun.
 People have said to me "why don't you just CNC them?" My answer is this...I'm not trying to sell cut out numbers on wood, I'm trying to sell hand carved, hand painted little pieces of art. The easy way is a lie, and I'm not trying to take credit for something a CNC programmer is doing. I'll take my lumps and hand carve each and every one no matter how much it sucks at this point. I made my bed and now I gotta lay in it.
 Photo 4...This is another glass walled office that me and Zack are doing for a marketing company. The more we do, the better we get. Each glass wall project is getting progressively cleaner and more streamlined and that's what makes it more interesting for us.
Photo 5....That's Zack motherfuckin' Meyers world renowned Jean maker, rockin' a MAKERSXKOOTHBRAND shirt. It's nice to see someone who's craft you admire and respect rocking something that  you had a hand in putting together.
 Check him out at www.zaceusa.com.
Ya'll have a great labor day, me and Zack will be working, cause we have deadlines to meet and the shit ain't gonna make itself.