Chris Kuehn, Sterling Toolworks

 

1. What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice?

There isn’t just one song, but several albums: OAR live at Redrocks, Flyleaf, and New Horizons. I am a product of the 80’s Hairbands that has branched out in the last 15 years.

2. What is your favorite food?

Steak and potato skins; loaded with bacon, cheese and chives.

(Chris told me over dinner one night when I was talking about eating butter with a spoon that “you only live once, might as well eat what you want).

3. Who is your celebrity twin?

I have been told by others that I look like Dave Matthews and Anthony Edwards.

4. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a fireman.

5. If you could live in any time period in history or future, when

    would it be and why?

I would love to see the future if it was possible, but I am very content right here right now.  The internet, overall technology and life is very good for us here in the USA right now.

6. Who is your role model, and why?

I can’t think of just one. I love people that work hard to push themselves beyond their current capabilities and drive hard.  There are those that are talented and can spend half the time at things and be really successful. I like the people that apply 100% and push themselves to new levels. One cannot achieve perfection, but excellence can be achieved with frequency if one will completely focus, take feedback and work hard.  

 7. What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like?

I manage a business for a public company at my day job.  I am nearly always connected via computer or phone. Evenings I try to spend time with the family and then many nights are out to the shop to make tools.  Occasionally I get to do some woodworking.  I travel quite a bit for my day job which is difficult on the family and compresses my schedule for Sterling.

 8. When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do?

    What do you hate to do?

I really love to work in the shop, I love to read, and I love to relax with my family.  I do enjoy traveling and experiencing other cultures and places.  I love to ride my bicycle and listen to music. I hate maintaining the house, time is too precious, it used to be fun now its WORK!

9. What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life

moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years?

In the next five years I hope its possible to bring more excellent products to market at Sterling so that I could consider Sterling as a more full time endeavor.  

10. What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does

    "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it?

Success has been many things, 20 years of marriage, earning my graduate degree while working full time, launching Sterling and having the first two products get such a positive response… I am very fortunate. Looking forward if I could make Sterling a full time endeavor that would support my family that would be a HUGE success!

11. Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a

    maker? Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff?

I have always been inspired by excellent tools, I restored a whole shop of 1940’s and 1950’s woodworking machines.  Machines of that era had SOUL, handtools of the early 1900’s also had SOUL and I hope to bring that back through Sterling.  The catalyst to start Sterling was when I took the ATC class with Chris Schwarz at Roy Underhill’s shop.  I used a dovetail marker that was given to Chris as a gift during the class and wanted to purchase one.  I was unable to but told Chris that I would want some improvements to it. He basically dared me to make it and when I said I would he told me 4-5 others said they would and didn’t. He told me he would buy the first one if I followed through.  I had a prototype done in a month.  

12. What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?

I am proudest of my Plane Hammer, it’s a design I had in my mind and brought to 95% of what I wanted it to be.  The feedback from prototype testing was the soft face needed to be larger diameter. I tried a lot of designs and finally made one that I was satisfied with. A tool cannot just look pretty it has to work well and I gave up 5% beauty to make it work well.   

13. How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and

    perfecting your craft?

I was making acrylic filter systems, protein skimmers and calcium reactors for aquarium reef keeping in 1997-2000. A very good friend told me with my shop equipment all I would need would be a thickness planer to make any furniture I wanted. So I have been seriously building stuff since 1997 and using wood since 2000.  

14. When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them?

Woodworking classes and woodworking shows bring out my best ideas. I see issues to solve or products that need to be refined.  The plane hammer came to me when I was watching Matt Bickford at a show tune his planes with the “pedestrian” plane hammer from Lee Valley (which I own). His work is so beautiful and so refined, to have that clunky hammer be the instrument to work with his planes drove me to make a beautiful and fully functional Plane Hammer.

15. Who are some of your favorite makers?

Chris Vesper is at the top of my list, there are so many others that have inspired me and helped me.  I would be totally remiss if I didn’t cite Thomas Lie-Nielsen, David Lindow of Lindow White Machine works, and Matt Bickford. Those three had the biggest impact on me to start Sterling Tool Works.

16. Who is your biggest fan?

My wife who supported me for all these years and keeps the family running well while I work.  

17. What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What

    makes you laugh?

WIA and similar shows get me really excited. I love meeting all the friends that I have made on social media sites and hanging out in person.

Just about everything can make me laugh.  Seeing my tools inspire such excellent craftspeople make such beautiful items brings so much joy.  Watching my children learn and grow is amazing – they are the best things I have ever helped make.  

What makes me laugh? Watching Anne (of all trades) trick or treat with my kids while hiding a beer behind her back, and her frequent retort of “you're not paying me enough for that”

18. What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making

    stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)?

Just go for it!  Years ago I wished I jumped into tool making, but the right things needed to align I have no regrets.

19. Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Learn the business side. To be successful you can’t just make excellent things. Build a network of people that can help you and give you honest feedback, your designs will only get better with candid feedback.  Have a tough skin to take the feedback and fuel you to work harder for excellence.

 

Posted on November 15, 2014 .

Jeff Hamilton, Hamilton Woodworks

1. What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice? I love IHeart Radio. I am an old head banger at heart, Metalica, Soundgarden, Iron Maiden, The Cult Etc. I like to listen to loud music when I am in the shop and I get in trouble with the wife she yells “Turn that down, the whole neighborhood can hear it. it makes me laugh.

 2. What is your favorite food? Authentic Mexican food. There is a little food truck across town that has the most wonderful food I have ever eaten. I find great pleasure in taking people there and getting them hooked on it also.

 3. Who is your celebrity twin? As far As I know there is not one. Thankfully the good Lord broke the mold when I was born.

 4. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman, I loved “Emergency” a show from the early 70’s 

 5. If you could live in any time period in history or future, when    would it be and why? I would love to live in the future. I am a Trekkie at heart. To have a Holodeck would be awesome

 6. Who is your role model, and why? My Father, Harry Hamilton. Just to be able to follow in my father’s footsteps is a great honor.

 7. What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like? I work for a major telecommunications company as an engineer, where I have been employed for the last 25 years.  I leave home for my real job around 6:30 AM and return at 4:00 PM take a 2 hour break to spend time with the family then it is off to the shop to crank out gauges. I usually work 3 Hours a night during the week and at least 16 hours on the weekends.

 8. When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do? I love to go trout fishing with my son Connor. 

    What do you hate to do?  I absolutely loathe painting.

 9. What would your dream life look like? I would love to retire from the phone company, Have employees that I could trust to make my tools to my standards so I could travel the country going to trade shows. 

How do you see your life moving towards that dream in the next year? Getting closer to the goal but I still can’t let it go yet. 

The next five years? Retired from the phone company. I hope to lay the ground work for the Hamilton School of Woodworking in Northwest Arkansas. I also hope to have help with the tool making division that I can fully trust to keep my high standards.

10. What has your greatest success in life been so far? Being a father by far outweighs anything I can ever accomplish in the business world. 

11. Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? Marc Adams

 Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff? I attended a joinery class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking, fully intending to become a better woodworker, I arrived at home with a dream of being a tool maker.

12. What’s the coolest thing you have ever made? My first panel gauge. I still don’t know how it works, it just does.

13. How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft? I started in April 2004 

14. When do you have your best ideas? at night while I am sleeping  What inspires them? Unknown I just dream stuff up in the middle of the night and try to tell my wife about it but I don’t think she really cares at 2:30 in the morning

15. Who are some of your favorite makers? Larry Williams & Don McConnell of Old Street tools, Dave Jeske of Blue Spruce toolworks, Mark Hicks of Plate 11 Chris Kuehn of Sterling Toolworks,and Scott Meek ETc. There are so many more

16. Who is your biggest fan? I hope it’s my Wife Kristi

17. What brings you the most joy? My Kids

 What gets you really excited? When something actually works like you want it to.

 What makes you laugh? Stupid jokes

18. What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)? The funniest thing Larry Williams told me back when I first started” you show me a rich tool maker and I will show you a toolmaker that has a wife with a damn good job!!!” It was really funny at the time and it has proved to be quite true.

19. Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps? Be careful what you wish for! While I truly love what I do (making tools) tool making consumes my time in the shop I can’t remember the last time I made a piece of furniture. Like I told my good friend Chris Kuehn “you are no longer a woodworker but a toolmaker you are.”

Posted on November 11, 2014 .

Mark Harrell, Bad Axe Tool Works

1. What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice?

 

Here are two: Ramble On (Led Zeppelin) and Sheep (Pink Floyd), not necessarily in that order. I’m a child of the ‘70s.


 2. What is your favorite food?

 

Top Sirloin, grilled precisely at 145 degrees with perfect hatch marks. Best served with potatoes au grautin, fresh asparagus and a Bordeaux.


 3. Who is your celebrity twin?

 

David Lee Roth. We both lost our hair at about the same rate.


 4. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

A fighter pilot.


 5. If you could live in any time period in history or future, when
    would it be and why?

 

The present. Because I’m walking this Earth. . . right. . . . now.


 6. Who is your role model, and why?

 

Teddy Roosevelt. He was fearless.


 7. What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like?

 

Making the best damn saws on the planet. That’s my day job, and I LIKE it.


 8. When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do?

 

Timber-framing my dream shop. But until that happens, my annual Roubo bench build.


    What do you hate to do?

 

Painting and sheet-rocking. J


 9. What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life
    moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years?

 

See response to question no. 8.


10. What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does
    "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it?

 

Watching my children evolve and rising to the challenge every step of the way.


11. Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a
    maker? Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff?

 

No one taught me how to build—all that was self-taught. But I will say that the ethos I bring to the table was as a direct result of the senior NCOs in Special Forces who taught this very young Captain new to the trade that excellence was/is never an optional approach toward anything.


12. What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?

 

My off-grid, timber-framed, strawbale insulated (and plastered) home with a 200 square foot graywater greenhouse, composting toilet, superefficient appliances, water ram, raised beds and earth-bermed storage space. Both Earth First! and the NRA would have approved.


13. How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and
    perfecting your craft?

 

For about 16 years now, beginning with the period shortly before the answer I gave in question no. 12.


14. When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them?

 

My wife Yvonne and I have a deal. She cooks, and I do the dishes. I hate doing the f-ing dishes, but her cooking is worth it. I therefore have my best ideas while doing the dishes.


15. Who are some of your favorite makers?

 

Thomas Lie-Nielsen—he led the way. Tom Fidgen—he’s the soul of the industry. Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill for being the Pied Pipers who inspired an entire market. And at the top of the list—my wife Yvonne, who though she does not make or sharpen saws, helped me build Bad Axe through her astonishing fiscal and business acumen.


16. Who is your biggest fan?

 

My son and daughters. They humble me.


17. What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What
    makes you laugh?

 

My children. They excite me. Sometimes there is laughter involved. I try to expand upon the latter.


18. What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making
    stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)?

 

Measure twice, cut once. (if only I had listened. . . . .)


19. Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

 

“Better to have tried and failed, than to be counted upon those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

--Theodore Roosevelt

Posted on November 7, 2014 .

Jim Crown, Crown Plane

https://www.crownplane.com/

1. What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice? I play Kyuss When the circus leaves town a lot but usually iPod is on shuffle variety is the spice of life

2. What is your favorite food? Mexican

3. Who is your celebrity twin? No one I stand alone in my looks!

4. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up? Batman

5. If you could live in any time period in history or future, when would it be and why? I guess now that's why I'm here

6. Who is your role model, and why? Never really had a role model but respected many who have been in my life it's dangerous to put someone on a pedestal 

7. What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like? Crown plane has been my job for the last 15 years

8. When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do? What do you hate to do? Playing music been in bands since 1994. Go back to working in a kitchen

9. What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years? Doing what I'm doing now with no bills. Just keep hammering on 

10. What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it? Not working for the man and just being able to keep doing it

11. Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff? My father let me hang out in his shop as a kid and from then on I worked with my hands doing something. 

12. What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?Music in a band

13. How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft? Last 20 odd years

14. When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them? When I least expect it 

15 Who are some of your favorite makers? Macintosh Stickley Wright

16 Who is your biggest fan? my dogs Hank and Loretta

17 What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What makes you laugh? Music has since as long as I can remember and it's always been there. Playing in front of people. My friends 

18. What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)? Take care when creating become your job the lines can get blurred

19. Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps? Have at it and enjoy 

Posted on October 25, 2014 .

Ron Hock, Hock Tools

http://www.hocktools.com/

Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft?  My father began his own company designing and manufacturing bakery and restaurant equipment in downtown Los Angeles in 1948. His little company went on to have 30 employees and a golden reputation for top-quality products. So I grew up with entrepreneurial and metal-manufacturing "buzz" all around me.

I earned my MFA from the University of California at Irvine as a painter and sculptor -- always intrigued with the materials of the arts and crafts, always exploring what they could do, often incorporating unconventional materials into my work. On and off during that time I worked in my father's business doing pretty much everything there was to do. It was one of those ground-up educations in small business and manufacturing, including sales and marketing, designing products, setting up machinery, production engineering, and learning a lot about metal. My art education sort of blended and fused with my practical manufacturing education, and it’s always made sense to me that I’ve ended up where I am. I guess you could say that I was mentored by my father, along with some of the best artists in L.A.

I worked in the family business for a couple of years after graduate school before moving to Fort Bragg, California, where I began crafting knives. We moved here in 1981 and it was only a year later that I got "the call" from James Krenov's assistants at College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program to make plane irons. 32 years later, I'm still doing that and a whole lot of other blades as well.

What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?  The sentimental answer to your question, "what's the coolest thing you have ever made" is of course our son, Sam Hock, who's a writer in San Francisco. You can read his web comic at www.commandobear.com (go all the way to the beginning and read the whole thing. It's really good.) But as a maker of things it's hard to beat having made blades for Jim Krenov. He is well known for having been demanding and cranky but he loved the blades I made and was perhaps my most appreciative fan. I miss him and will always be proud and grateful to have had his support. The best thing I've ever made we still make: The best blades you can buy. Every one, every day. It's what we do.

Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps? I can give business advice all day long. You know the usual stuff like keep good records, pay your bills, your taxes, etc. All true, by the way. But my best advice is to:

1. Get a spouse who believes in what you are doing (even if you are a hot-shit young sculptor deciding to make kitchen knives one at a time), and is willing to be the main household support until you can fully share or take over that job.

2. Recognize an opportunity when it presents itself even if it's not exactly what you have in mind. I never set out to be a woodworking handtool maker. I was doing the lone-craftsman thing making kitchen knives, selling (or trying to sell) them at crafts fairs. I even stubbornly resisted "the call" at first. But I made a batch of blades for the Krenov class and was amazed by the appreciative reception. That was a lot of blades ago!

I've never "pushed" my business. I've always allowed Hock Tools to be pulled along by our customers' demand. "Hey Ron, make a blade for my Blurfl". Okay. After several such requests, Blurfl blades get put on the shelf and -- surprise, surprise --  I had a catalog of products!

3. You’ve heard it before: hard work and perseverance are the keys to success. My own experiences tell me that, along with a hard-line attitude about quality, these adages remain true.

4. Enjoy the ride you are on! It’s been 33 years for me and I can't imagine a better career.

You can read more of my thoughts about perseverance here: http://hocktools.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/on-showing-up/).


Posted on October 25, 2014 .

Erik Florip, Florip Toolworks

1.     What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice?

No Quarter- Led Zeppelin

2.     What is your favorite food?

A medium rare bleu cheese burger…so good!

3.     Who is your celebrity twin?

I relate with Nick Offerman on a lot of ideas.

4.     When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Fighter Pilot

5.     If you could live in any time period in history or future, when would it be and why?

Though the idea of living in the early days of America seems romantic, I choose modern day. I enjoy having reliable electricity, a 4x4 that requires very little maintenance, and the ability to order saw making materials on a Monday and have it on my doorstep the next day. I love all things old and often say “they don’t make things like they used to”, especially when it comes to old machinery, but things like the internet have a very high value. I wouldn’t be writing this if it was 30 years ago and I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today without technology.  

6.     Who is your role model, and why?

I consider my parents as co-role models for me. They are both great people and worked very hard to provide for me and my siblings when we were growing up. My dad started out working a minimum wage job to support my mom and four kids, and they now own two successful businesses.

7.     What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like?

I am a Sergeant in the Marine Corps. I am coming up on eight years of service and have had a lot of jobs during this time. I’ve floated to the other side of the planet on a ship, stood watch at 1 a.m. 9,000ft up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when it was 25 degrees below zero, and I’ve led Marines on combat patrols through the poppy fields of Afghanistan. Suffice to say, I have not had a very regular day job. Lately things have slowed down; I get out of the Marine Corps at the end of the year so my new assignment is helping to run a recreational center for single Marines. It’s the first time I have had a set schedule in seven years.

8.     When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do? What do you hate to do?

When I’m not working I like to: go antiquing with my wife and daughter, go for a run, read, and plan. I have a simple life and I love it.

One thing I don’t like to do is watch TV or movies. I’ll watch an episode of American Pickersonce or twice a month but that’s my limit.

9.     What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years?

In my dream life I am enjoying a great family life as well as operating a successful tool manufacturing business. I am currently working with a woodworker/web designer on a website and have been collecting equipment as I can afford it. I hope to launch the website along with a small line of tools at the end of the year and continue to prototype and add tools as I’m able. In five years I would like to offer saws, chisels, planes, marking tools, and wood. I want everything to be manufactured in-house.   

10.  What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it?

I consider Florip Toolworks to be my greatest success so far. It is still in its infancy but it has always been moving forward due to nothing less than hard work and sacrifice. I will consider my life a success when I have a business that runs itself, a happy family and, since I’m also a car guy, a lineup of my favorite rides!  

11.  Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? Or what was the catalyst that led you to start making stuff?

Woodworking got me to where I am today. It led me to old tools, specifically saws. After buying up some old saws I had to learn how to sharpen them. One thing led to another and Florip Toolworks was born. There is a lot more I could write about the process that led me to where I am today, but I just started a series of articles on that very subject. Visit  http://www.timetestedtools.com/erik-florip-introduction.html for more on the topic.

12.  What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?

I built a Krenov style cabinet out of cherry, carob, and padauk.

13.  How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft?

A little over a year.

14.  When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them?

My best ideas happen when I’m under stimulated; I’ll pull out a piece of paper and start writing or drawing. The desire to create something new or something better drives me to think and re-think current tools or methods.

15.  Who are some of your favorite makers?

Isaac Blackburn, Glen Drake, Lie Nielsen

16.  Who is your biggest fan?

My wife,Temple.

17.  What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What makes you laugh?

My daughter, she makes me laugh more than anyone or anything.

18.  What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)? 

Buy the biggest and best tools you can, especially when it comes to lathes and mills. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.

19.  Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Do it and don’t half ass it. It takes a lot of time and effort but the payoff is something that nobody can ever take away from you. 

Posted on August 21, 2014 .

Jason Thigpen, Texas Heritage Woodworks

What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice?
-I've got my Pandora set on Frontier Ruckus with a heavy emphasis on North Mississippi All-Stars, Widespread Panic, and Alabama Shakes. Y'all should try it. It will blow your creative mind!

What is your favorite food?
-Mexican food. Nothing else even comes close.

Who is your celebrity twin?
- Any twin of mine would be too much of an introvert to be a celebrity!

What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like?
-I've been a mechanic for over a decade, working on everything but specializing in European cars. I was a Master Technician for BMW for several years. Most of my day as I'm working on cars, I'm thinking about the work that needs to be done in the shop!



When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do? What do you hate to do?
-The only thing that can take me away from making stuff is my family. We enjoy random dance parties, high fives, and sword fights. And nachos. We really enjoy nachos.

What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years?
-Our plan is to build a small shop and house on the family ranch in Leakey. Then I could sit on our porch every morning with a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise. Have breakfast with the family, then go out in the shop and get to work. Our kids will be homeschooled, so some parts of each week will be set aside for lessons and hands on learning in the shop. There are tons of practical life lessons that can be taught in that environment. Texas Heritage Woodworks is making this dream look more and more like a reality. I believe we have found a way to live and work on the ranch. We hope to make great strides towards this transition in the next year. Five years from now, we intend to be well established out in the country, living the dream.


What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it?
-Personally, I'm happily married to my lovely wife of eight years. We have two amazing boys with a third child on the way. Personally, I see that as successful. Professionally, I've been successful in my career as a technician. In my personal business, I'm seeing more and more success with each coming month. I will feel successful in my business if it can become self sustaining.

Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff?
-Making, and working with my hands in general, has been an ever present part of my life. Growing up, my dad was "frugal", a trait that is apparently genetic! Instead of having someone come out to build or repair something, we did it ourselves. I grew up out in the country; fixing fences, building barns, performing minor medical procedures on livestock, all were daily occurrences for me. When I started dating my wife, who was raised under similar ideals, I discovered her dad also dabbled in leather work and woodworking. I was interested, and he was very supportive. Those mediums were just a natural progression for me.



What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?
- I am in love with my Auger Bit Rolls. There really isn't a product out there like it. I've got a dozen to take to WIA, I hope the rest of the woodworking community feels the same!

How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft?
-I've been seriously doing this for only around six months. I sold my first apron around 10 months ago. At the time, I never thought it would manifest into what it has!

When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them?
-there is no telling where inspiration will strike. It can literally happen anywhere. In the middle of the night, while making dinner, out in the shop, or on the drive to work. Some part of my brain is always tuned into progressing my business and improving my product line.



Who are some of your favorite makers?
-That one is easy. Roy Underhill has been a staple in my life for years. The progression towards handtools and traditional construction techniques all come from him. Lately, it's Marco Terenzi, the 24 year old Miniature craftsman extraordinaire!

Who is your biggest fan?
-My wife. No doubt about it.

What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What makes you laugh?
-watching my two sons, ages five and nineteen months, learn and grow each day. It's one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring things to witness! Playing old school Nintendo with my oldest is a newfound joy!
 

What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)?
Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?
-That you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just because there are other items out there similar to what you want to do, doesn't mean you can get a foothold in that market and be successful. All it takes is a small innovation to really change how the industry views a product. Be persistent and have faith in yourself.

Posted on August 21, 2014 .