America’s Finest

I’ve stumble upon by chance on YouTube a husband and wife team living the dream producing outstanding reproduction and custom furniture.

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Before they became furniture makers, Mathew was a carpenter building custom homes and his wife Moriah was a landscaper/gardener.  Their interest in furniture making sprung from their love of the craft as hobbyists. They studied the art of joinery and furniture construction .

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Now they work from home, commuting across their driveway into their dream shop building truly exquisite looking furniture.

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From 2011-2014 they were selected as one of America’s Best Craftsman and were listed in Early American Life magazine.

As I sat watching through most of his videos I was amazed at the speed he was working at, even though the video was mostly sped up there were moments when it was shown in real time.  95% of his work is handwork, he uses basic machinery for the monotonous and laborious tasks however, all the initial shaping, carving and tons of planing are all done by hand.  The skill this guy has just blew me away.  I’m not sure how long he studied furniture making before beginning his business, but the skill he displays is just mind boggling.

I hope you enjoy his videos as much as I have as there are plenty of tips to pick up in them.  He doesn’t offer any lessons in the video, but if you sit through each one from start to finish without skipping through them there is plenty of lessons in there to be absorbed.

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Planter Box Build Part 9 finale

I’ve finally gotten around to edit the final video of the build.  In this video I do the tongue and groove, mould a bead with a beading plane, make stopped angled chamfers and finally the glue up.  All of this is several hours work edited down to 3mins the shortest project video I have ever done.  The background music is Australian colonial folk.

Today my only day off to work wood I went ahead and blew my tendons in my leg, even with the enormous pain I’m holding true to my word what I said in my previous post of reaching Kung Fu.  I limped but still worked wood.

 

Guitar build video that’s gone viral!

In a remote dusty sunburnt village an old man produces a guitar with nothing more than a handful of basic hand tools.  One would think the build would turn out to be a blocky piece of chopped up wood that resembles nothing more than a cigar box  guitar, don’t get me wrong I like those guitars.  But the results were quite the opposite, instead he produces a guitar that is pair shaped with inlays.

This video has been a humbling experience, it reminds me just how lucky we really are. We enjoy the comforts of a multiple bedroom home with swimming pools, double lock up garages, front and back yards, multiple bathrooms, remote lights and doors, windows, air con, internet, iPads, playstations, entertainments of all sorts and still we crave for more.

We all want to be craftsmen and women but never take the first step towards it, we all want more tools yet we struggle with space to store the ones we have.  Mans continual struggle for more is a never ending pit hole he continues to dig for himself.

If this video sends any kind of message it’s this – Get up off your arse and do it.  If you want to be a craftsman then stop being curious about it, stop dreaming and wishing and endlessly looking through tool catalogues and other magazines.  Stop making up excuses of how little time you have, guess what you also have little time on this earth but your still living it so why not make the best of it while you can.  This old man had a vision on how to provide for his family utilising the skills with minimal amount of tools he has on hand in a most inhospitable environment, with zero tourist traffic flow with no etsy or facebook social media marketing going against all odds and he did it.   He is providing for his family and doing what he loves to do.  He is experiencing true freedom and isn’t this what we all really want.

We all makes choices in life based on this most stupid ridiculous statement “oh well it’s the way of the world, there’s not much we can do about it.”  The world does not and cannot make choices for you, you are the one who has made your choice, the world is there to tempt you off your path to true inner freedom and happiness but the world has no ward over you.  It likes to think it does but it doesn’t.  There is one positive lesson you can learn from the corporate world, if you want something then go and get it other than that there is nothing decent you can learn from them..

If you want to become a craftsman then make the effort and put in the hours, if you want to live from your craft then just do it.  Make something no matter what it is, even if it’s a pencil case, make it and go to the markets and sell it.  Then go home and make some more and do it all over again.  Stop counting the hours on how long it took to make, speed will come with repetition but don’t compromise quality for speed.  Start somewhere, do something, start living.

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How Craftsmen were made

I’ve never seen original footage until now shot back in 1912 on any type of woodworking before and I definitely want to share this with you.

I believe this is a school on chair making and upholstery, most probably an apprenticeship program of some sort.  They employ a bandsaw and spindle molder but the rest is done by hand, I particularly was struck by a clever clamping device they used to hold the leg.  This clamp will be in production in my shop very soon.  There is nothing in this video that doesn’t constitute hand work.  The training these young lads got are truly superior and I can imagine the joy and sense of fulfillment they had from producing chairs of such high calibre.  Now doesn’t this video put cnc “craftsman” to shame, it most certainly does!

If you want to bring back quality then stop buying their crap.

Enough rambling, break out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

Blotch free staining update

I’m jumping the gun a little on this one but I just couldn’t hold out on it.

If you remember I did a post on this topic a few months ago, I was very excited about my discovery then and I’m even more excited about it now.  I have discovered something that actually works, even though I have only tried it on Pine I strongly believe this will work on other timbers that are prone to blotch.

I have made 2 videos on this topic and have demonstrated the steps I took to produce a blotch free stain and have made a comparative look between Minwax oil based against my own version.

I hope you find these videos most informative and helpful but before you watch these videos take a look at the samples and see for yourselves just how well this works.

The stain above I used oak.  Now have a look at the bottom pics.  The one on the left is my homemade brew and the one on the right is Minwax oil based stain.

As you can see the picture on the left shows no blotch, while the picture on the right shows heavy blotching.  What’s more remarkable is how the end grain on the left shows a uniform colour, while the minwax version shows a typical dark burnt like effect.

I usually don’t like to talk on camera because of the little amount of work I actually get done.  However, I made this exception for you today as I didn’t rehearse this and wasn’t sure if it was actually going to work with dry non resinous timber.  So I wanted all of us to find out together if it passe or failed.

Let me know what you think.