Monday, November 30, 2015

THE COST OF BEING A DICK


A couple of weeks ago me and my family had made our tri-weekly pilgrimage to Target.
 You all know the place. It's where you go when you need toilet paper and end up spending $200 and you sit in the front set of your vehicle before you exit the parking lot, scratching your head, muttering softly to yourself, "how the fuck did THAT happen?".
 Anyway...my girl dragged me over to the furniture area and proceeded to attempt to sell me on a hutch.
I could've avoided an argument by simply stating "I'll make you one.", but instead, I went on a tirade about cardboard furniture made in China, and how it's offensive to me that she would lust after a piece of shit, and a huge belittling speech that in the end, was completely unnecessary.
 We don't argue very often, but when we do, the gloves come off and it's a barrage of hurtful things that are usually completely unrelated to the original argument.
 The next morning I ordered up some steel with the evil intention of making the heaviest hutch on the planet.
"I'll show you"....hmmmm, well that's a mind set that can really backfire. In the end, once I make this beast, I'm going to have to actually MOVE it in order to "show you".
 I'm a man. As hard as I try to keep a level head, there are going to be times where I ultimately fuck myself to prove a point. It's abstract thinking at it's finest.
 Zack helped me move it into the house, and she was very pleased with my peace offering.
These damn chain lamps...people like em'. Trying to figure out a way to make them more affordable, that's the hard part.
 The time that goes into them is the killer. There is a value to ones time, and sure, we all make concessions on that number that we've assigned to our time, but I can't lower mine to the equivalent of a Walmart Greeter's pay rate in order to sell these to the public yet.
 There are 3 of my chain lamps in existence...I, of course, own one. Keith from Redtail Hard goods, owns one, and some lucky bastard that bought the very first one I made from Salvage One.
 This last one I made with more of a wood base, was built solely because I wanted to try out these bullet casings for dowels.
 Usually, when we use screws on a piece that might be visible, we counter sink the screw, insert a wood dowel, and sand flush.
 Now, we use spent bullet casing instead of the wood dowel, which you can't see in the photo, but trust me, it's there.
 The Holidays are upon us, and as much as I really hope everyone is able to enjoy friends and family, and create awesome memories for any and all children involved, I beg of you to shop small.
 Shopping small can change the lives of individuals. When you shop with the big box stores, that just means that an over paid CEO is getting a bigger bonus then his average giant bonus.
 Trust me, I know it's hard. Just keep the little guys in mind.
None of my friends make Ninja Turtles, so I'm gonna have to hit up a big box store, but there are more people on my list, and I plan on shopping small.
 The gifts are usually way better, and my money helps a small business keep the dream alive a little longer.
Just keep it in mind.
 
 

Monday, November 16, 2015

MEURTRIERS


Lately, a lot of people have been telling me, "I wanna build custom furniture."
 My response is usually along the lines of " that's great, I want to shoot lasers from my eyeballs".
My intention is not to shit upon ones dreams, quite the contrary, I want you to be awesome.
 My advice is this...before you go dropping thousands of dollars on tools, a workspace, and materials, you need to hone your skills in the art of "critical thinking" otherwise known as "making shit work'. Once you have mastered that skill, you need to know "material management", which is also known as "making the shit you have in front of you work"
 Take photo 1 for example.
It's a rolling bar made from a door that my partner Zack found next to his garbage can in his alley.
 He looked at that crappy door, and loaded it into his truck before even thinking about what it could be. (excellent display of critical thinking).
 We buy our steel in 24' lengths because it's cheaper to buy it in the lengths our supplier has it delivered to them, and there's always something left over after a project (material management), so the frame of the bar is made from left over steel.
 The side cladding are the cut offs from a cladding job.
Do you see the trend here?
 Always think about your next move.
That's about the only advice that's worth anything that I can give.
 I love building chairs because I honestly can't afford the vintage industrial chairs from the 30's and 40's.
I look at vintage chairs on the internet like women look at shoes.
 I've built quite a few now, and slowly but surely, they're getting better and closer to the look I want for my kitchen table.
 Eventually I'll make one where I'm like "BAM...that's the one...now make 3 more".
I like the size and simplicity of the legs on this one. The stool round, I'm not so crazy about, it's just what we had in the shop. The chair back is getting there. For this chair back, I cut some left over sheet metal and proceeded to ram it into one of the giant beam columns in our shop to get a center crease, then I hammered the shit out of it on our concrete floor to get the contour. (make shit work).
 We don't have an English wheel or a power hammer, or an anvil, or metal working hammers, or a brake, or a shear...but we do have critical thinking.
 Time and time again at our shop, we find a way to make things work. We're never crippled by what we don't have. If there is a vision, there's a way. It's never the best way, or the easiest way, but we find a way.
 The beauty of this craft lies not only in a piece created, it makes the craftsman aware of  his shortcomings and guides his hand past them.
 Paris.
Friday night, I saw a post on Instagram that read "pray for Paris".
 I don't watch the news, so I was clueless, but I jumped on the computer to see what happened.
Everyone has an opinion, and it seems that a lot of people jumped at the chance to preach a agenda.
 My personal opinion is this....It doesn't matter what the attackers religious or political stance was.
It was a group of murderers who shot a bunch of regular people. Regular people with their own life struggles who just wanted to grab some Cambodian food or go see a rock show on a Friday night.
 A country does not represent it's people.
All Americans aren't rednecks, all French aren't rude, all Irish aren't drunks, all English aren't uptight, all Middle Easterners aren't AK-47 wielding terrorists.
 The murderers target of choice completely erased whatever plight they're fighting for.
It would be like me getting into an argument with my girl, then going across the street and punching the 86 year old woman sweeping leaves from her porch, in the face.
 I see a lot of post bashing Muslims. I have a friend who's an artist, who's studio is right next to our shop.
He goes by 720 (Tony) and he is a Muslim. I don't know him as a Muslim, I know him as one of the kindest, friendliest, most positive attitude having people I've ever met.
 My point is this...Whoever takes an innocent life is a murderer. Not a Muslim, not a Jihadist, not a Syrian rebel, not a Taliban, not ISIS,  they're just a band of murderers. That's the only title they get. Any other title relates them to a bigger issue or cause that is clamoring for some kind of attention.
 Call a spade a spade.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!!



I usually get up at 4am, brew up some coffee, fire up the Chrome book, and write about what we built the previous week, with added tirades and hopefully some inspirational anecdotes.
 This time, it's Sunday evening, my 5 year old son is laying next to me watching some bullshit on Nickelodeon, while making mental notes from the commercials for his Christmas list.
 The last couple of weeks have been slightly stressful.
We were trying to get a lease locked down for the shop, and although everything worked out, we were in the midst of some mental kung-fu.
 Stay or go. We were torn.
In the end, it's our home.
 It's the place where many hours have been spent laughing, rocking the fuck out, and building furniture as well as our dreams.
 For me, it's hard to build if something is clouding my mind.
The first piece was a shelving unit built for a woman named Mary who does event sales in the building.
 A lot of company's will do lunch meetings during the week, and Mary is notorious for bringing us the left over cookies and muffins.
 Me and Zack are passionate about our snacks, so her frequent deliveries are a welcome perk.
Mary also has brought a slew of clients through our shop, and she is constantly pushing our services on her clients.
 She wanted a piece for a Buddha she had blessed by the Dali Lama or someone else of some Buddhist importance, so it was our pleasure to knock out a simple piece for her relic.
 A little extra goes into a piece built for those who show us kindness. It's sad that acts of kindness are so rare, that you're so taken aback by them, that you feel (or at least I feel) compelled to trump their kindness with more kindness.
 It's a kindness fuck fest around here.
The next piece is a guacamole cart built for a catering company.
 We were handed a drawing, with half of the specs missing, so we kind of wiped our ass with the drawing and built a guacamole tank.
 I was kind of dreading the project because I don't really like guacamole. I also don't like building off of a crude drawing.
 I always feel like, either give me a real drawing, or let me go ape shit with an idea.
My girls biggest complaint about my existence, is that I'm one extreme or the other, or I'm "all or nothing".
 My rebuttal to that is "I've worked for the last 5 years at not being a jag off, so it might take another 5 years for me to fine tune the long list of my other faults".  If things go according to schedule, I should be a perfect human specimen by the year 2020.
 We have a couple of exciting projects coming up this winter which will have us using some different materials, and embracing some more design aspects.
 There are a lot of other things on my mind that I planned on spewing forth, but my kid has Alvin and the Chipmunks on, and it's making my skin crawl. It looks like I'll be continuing my blog posts at 4am, when it's just me, coffee, and the homeless guy who I've see shitting against the electrical post on several occasions.
Ciao'.