Monday, February 22, 2016


2:50am on Thursday and I'm staring at the ceiling in bed.
 I'm an early bird, but being up at that hour was a little over board.
I got out of bed, fired up the coffee machine, poured a cup, and sat on the couch in darkness with my coffee.
 Laura had rearranged the furniture about 6 months ago. She did a fine job at stream lining the house, but the table that we used to hold our TV had been relocated and in it's place was a piece that I made for my son's room some years ago.
 It was a fine little table that I made for him to proudly display his KISS figurine collection. For it's original purpose, it was great, for a TV stand....not so much.
 For 6 months it's been driving me crazy as I stare blankly at Sponge Bob fucking Square Pants episodes.
That damn table had been haunting me on a daily basis. Every time I'd plop down on the couch I'd look at that table and think to myself how I really need to make something more fitting.
 I decided to seize the moment that insomnia had provided me, and went to the shop to make a piece for the old dummy box.
It is made from left over scraps of steel and wood. The fact that I used scraps, dictated the table's size, shape, and function. I had an idea as I was driving to the shop, but the material I had to work with determined the final outcome.
 Here comes the life commentary part of the blog...
If there is something in your life that you don't like...shut up and change it.
 Free yourself from the things that disturb you, because until you make that change....shit ain't going nowhere.
The things that bother you don't get bored with tormenting you and just move on, ya gotta nudge em' out the door.
 That table bothered me for 6 months. Everyday I started my "down time" out with hating on that piece first, and then I moved on to hating childrens programming, and then....I was able to wind down.
 Yeah it took me 6 months, but that element is gone now.
 I love to bitch.
Everyone does. It's fun, and it can be liberating. But, ya gotta keep the subject matter fresh. If you bitch about the same thing all the time, it get's old, and the entertainment value of it is gone.
 Nobody wants to hear about how you hate your job, or your commute, or olives every fuckin day. It's funny at first, but let's move along, there's no shortage of things to bitch about.
 When you find yourself bitching about the same thing, THAT is when it's time to change those things.
I used to fight change. Change used to terrify me. Over the last 5 years I recognized that character trait and began to look for things to change. What I've discovered is that I'm happier, my life is more fluid, and I'm able to grow.
 It's mostly small changes that free up the most brain space for me. I wasn't feeling healthy so I forced myself back into the gym, I realized I was addicted to internet shopping, so I stopped. I hated that TV table, so I made a new one.
 It's just have to start to make those changes.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Living in the political corruption/murder capital of the world can provide you with many life skills as well as some pretty interesting stories. The one thing that it surely does not provide is "reclaimed wood".
 Oh, you can find it here, but the ass clown trying to sell it to you is obviously basing his prices off what gold is trading for in the stock market.
 Sometimes we have to travel outside of the concrete jungle to find a good ol' country boy who will sell us some material for a fair price.
 They are tearing down an old factory right next door to our shop. Me and Zack walked over as they were getting ready to take the first chunk down. I asked the demolition guy if I could BUY some of the old wood out of there, and the gentleman informed me that the owner was keeping it.
 Ok, cool, the owner wants to keep man, but everyday I'm forced to watch them bulldoze through this building like the fucking Kool-Aid man!
 They're not saving anything. 100 years of perfectly aged timbers and rough sawn wood is being rendered completely useless, and it's happening right in front of my face...daily.
 Regardless, we found some wood.
I had posted a photo of this piece on the Breclaimed facebook page, and some jerk off made a comment of "stupid simple".
Really? "stupid simple"?
 Clearly, Mr. Comment man has yet to actually MAKE such a "stupid simple" piece.
I pulled a Jay and Silent Bob and took a gander at all the wonderful things that they have created with their own 2 hands, of which I found none. What I did see is a lot of photos of people sitting on motorcycles that they did not build nor own.
 So, without further ado.... (trust me, I googled "ado vs. adieu")
Here's a step by step list of just how fucking "stupid simple" this is.
1. source your material
2. rent a U Haul trailer and drive to bumfuck Egypt to purchase your wood
3. unload your frozen wood into your shop
4. return your U Haul trailer
5. separate your lumber into a usable and non-usable pile
6. separate each board with blocks and allow to dry
7. while wood is drying, weld your base out of 1.5"X3/16 steel square tube
8. once your base is welded and your wood is dry, select your boards
9. wire brush all of your boards to remove all the gross shit stuck to them
10.  proceed to de-nail each board
11. cut each board to length
12. rip down each board to create an edge for joining
13. rough sand each board with 50 grit before joining
14. join your selected boards
15. while your fucking glue is drying, use the cut offs to make your drawer boxes
16. mortise the bottoms of the sides and back of your drawer boxes to receive your drawer bottom that you are going to cut out of 3/16's sheet metal
17. cut your sheet metal
18. attach your steel drawer bottom
19. fabricate and weld your drawer box brackets
20. mount your drawer boxes
21. proceed to shape and sand your wood top with 50 grit, then 80 grit, then go ahead and jump right up to 220 grit
22. make steel gussets and install on bottom side of your top
23. make drawer fronts for your drawer boxes
24. now go ahead and sand the shit out of your completed drawer boxers using the above mentioned succession
25. install tip tray hinges for your drawer fronts
26. mortise in locks on both drawer fronts
27. mortise your lock catch into your fucking 3/16 thick STEEL frame
28. install your top
29. install your tempered glass shelf
30. remove glass shelf
31. apply oil base polyurethane to the top and completed drawers
32. when first coat is dry, sand all that shit AGAIN with 220 grit
33. apply 2nd coat of polyurethane
34. re-install tempered glass shelf
There ya go...DONE
Stupid simple.
Fuck face.
 It's "simple" to SAY something is "simple".
Executing a thought, idea, or concept is what defines you.
 Those thoughts, ideas, and concepts mean jack shit until you execute, and once someone can muster up the balls to follow through, then and only then can you tell me how "stupid simple" it was.

Monday, February 8, 2016


And so it begins...
 Last week, we started on a restaurant build out.
When I say "started on a build out", that means we spent most of the week either driving to god forsaken places to look at lumber or carrying materials like a Sherpa up Everest.
 Once you have all the pieces of the puzzle, that's when the fun starts. The leg work before you get to that point...that shit is for the birds.
 The restaurant is French. A lot of time went into studying French farm style decor.
I guess we could've winged it, but in my head, what will make this build out unique, is that I want the pieces to convey a story. There is no real story, but I want the customers to feel like they are dining in the French countryside.
 There are probably very few people who are going to take the decor into much consideration as they fill their bellies, but when the final piece is installed, we'll be able to take it all in knowing that we did our homework.
 I can't tell you how many hours that I spent going over photos or flipping through books at Barnes and Noble, just to get a vibe of what French country dining might look like. The kicker is...nobody will give a shit, but me, and once this project is all said and done, I'll most likely never eat there.
 I NEED to know in my heart that I went above and beyond.
Not for the client, not for those dining there, not for some fat ass restaurant critic...for me.
 When you work for someone else, I'm sure most people, at some point...  give it their best. They give it their best until they feel unappreciated, or they're treated like shit. If a business owner or some manager is only concerned about the numbers, well, their Human Resources department is going to be very busy.
 I don't think that companies like Whole Foods or Google have a very high turn over. They do have high profits though.
 I don't know if those types of companies get the "best" out of people all the time, but when it's your name and your company...your best is all you can give.
You see, me and Zack are the fuckin' Wu Tang Clan in this furniture game.
 "Raw we'll give it to ya, with no trivia, raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia" (spoken in my best Dave Chapelle voice).
 We build with heart and hand.
There are 5 shops within a 5 mile radius of us that build really slick, high polished, soul-less, heart-less pieces that I would be happy to give any customer directions to.
 Over the next few weeks, you'll follow us through this build, and get a play by play along the way.
This is a big build for us. It is also pivotal in terms of our future.
 What I'd like to convey in the upcoming posts, is the humanity involved in the process.
This isn't a build where a designer hands over a set of drawings to a shop, where the shop then produces, transports, and installs. This is 2 guys trying to make something, from nothing.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I am at my happiest when I'm in the shop working on a piece.
 From time to time our business pulls us out of our refuge.
Me and Zack have discovered that we have a 3 day shelf life when removed from the shop. We manage to have a lot of fun within those 3 days, but from day 4 and beyond...we tend to get a little crusty.
 This particular build out is for a company called Barrel House Music.
Usually we do these glass panel wall facades, but these guys were going for a "speak easy" vibe.
 We fabricated an old looking factory window because our client had been searching for one, but nothing they saw sparked their interest. That window inserted among the hand aged cladding and custom sliding door, took their vision where it needed to go.
 These projects always come out pretty cool...I just fucking hate doing them.
I really liked the client, I really like most of our clients, but these build outs are work to me.
 We try to have fun with these projects, but I'd rather be welding railroad spike hooks in the shop, just for the sake of being in the shop.
 At some point in my life, I became a recluse.
 At some point the world and it's offerings began to disappoint.
At some point I stopped searching for fulfillment outside of my environment, and began cultivating my own environment to cater to my comforts and safety.
 I stopped visiting other peoples battle grounds, but welcomed them into mine.
Some stayed, some left, some visit from time to time.
  Sometimes people are taken aback because I speak my mind, I go overboard, I cross lines, but that's who I am in my environment.
 When people come to the shop or my home, be prepared to leave your mask outside the door.
I think most customers appreciate it...eventually. They feel comfortable once it clicks that their bullshit will be recognized and not tolerated. Our space becomes comfortable to them, and their visions and ideas then have room to grow and expand. At least that's my intention.
 I stopped caring if people like me or not about 15 years ago.
That's the free part of freedom. I like me. I have to live in this skin everyday. I reap the benefits and suffer the losses from my actions. It's hard for me to apologize because I own my words and actions and refuse to cater to peoples insecurities.
 Own thy self.
Own everything about you. Stop blaming other people or other situations for your being.
 That's your freedom that no one can take away from you. Nobody can take you from you if you're true to yourself.
 It sounds like a bunch of self-help bullshit and has nothing to do with actually building furniture, but this blog has always been about what's at the front of my 4am (mostly).
 You're always invited to take from it what you will, that's why it's public.
This all stems from taking my son out last night. Walking through a vibrant area of Chicago I noticed that everyone seemed to be trying to BE something. It appeared to be one big masquerade party that nobody clued me in on.
 Is that life? Is that society? Is that what being social is? I don't fuckin' know.
I felt like I was in the last scene of "The Walking Dead", where everyone puts on a meat suit and attempts to navigate through a herd of zombies.
 Maybe my view is askew. Maybe I'm somehow wounded. Maybe. I like what I've created for myself, my friends, my family. Our shop has an open door, if you're not buying then you have to bring coffee or nutty bars, my home....that's some V.I.P shit.