Portland, OR-based wooden sunglass makers Shwood have teamed up with Boston boutique Bodega to create a line made from 100-year-old Bushmill's whiskey aging barrels.
No matter what you make, you've gotta have a place to do it. And while you're dining room table might work for light projects, I say any serious maker, crafter, or artist needs a proper workbench.
Designer David Stark has recently collaborated with Haus Interior to produce, "Wood Shop," a temporary collection of all-wood art, accessories, and...you know, basically everything you want made our of hardwood.
So...if I had my preference, I would never admit this to anyone that hadn't seen me in bandages. I'd keep it as my own little secret, and try to come off as a professional, and never have to be vulnerable online. Cause that's what you do with embarrassing information, right? Curate it out of your internet identity, and only take photos of your house when its clean and full of interesting items and cups of tea?
Except...I don't really believe that. I believe in authenticity, and telling the whole story, and being willing to geek out over something amazing and admitting you're not too cool to get obsessed with new ideas, and all that stu
Physical music media have gone through a curious century. The vinyl album dominated for nearly 75 years, than gave way to a ten-year success of the cassette, which was left behind by the CD, with all the 8-tracks and mini-discs and other less successful technologies mixed in. And now, at least among those who are serious about music - a mix of the two extremes: digital, either as actual files or subscribed up the in cloud somewhere, and the original vinyl LP, still reknowned for its warm fideiity and large cover art.
Of course, modern furniture isn't built to house LP collections. They don't fit in contemporary milk crates, and most of those little flatpack cube-storage units are just a half-inch too small. So, it's time to build your own.
Shwood, makers of handcrafted wooden sunglasses, teamed up with San Francisco clothing company Huf to spend a day skateboarding through downtown Los Angeles. When one rider broke his deck, the Shwood craftsmen took the trashed plywood, laminated up, and created these amazing recycled skateboard-version of their awesome sunglasses design.
They film the whole process, showing how these beautiful pieces are glued up and made by hand. Accompanied by T. Rex's "Mambo Sun," this video's a must watch.
Bottle cutters were everywhere in the 1970s...tucked in with the macrame and string art kits, they allowed hands-on folks to create recycled vases from wine bottles, or drinking glasses from jars, cool lamps and lighting fixtures, and all kinds of upcycled goodness, like this great project by my friend Tyler Goodro:
Unfortunately, the kits are increasingly rare and growing more expensive on eBay, so it's a pretty big investment if you're just interested in learning and not planning on cranking projects out in bulk.
When my neighbor, Gina, moved in next door, a standalone porch swing appeared on our shared patio. The thing was at least thirty years old, and had been outside for just as long, and showed the wear of snowy winters, blazing hot summers, and all the rainy days in between. Not that it was likely much to look at when it was new.
It was, in every way, an eyesore.
But, my goodness, if that thing wasn't useful. I'm sure I sat on it a good fifty times more often than she did. I took to enjoying my breakfast on it, and built a little morning routine around sitting outside, reading the week's New Yorker before I started my day. I used it to prepare for my bike rides: changing shoes, making adjustments, etc. And my friends and I would eat dinner out there, and watch thunderstorms. Boy, it was ugly, but it made me appreciate my patio, and got me out there frequently.
Then, Gina did the unthinkable: she got married, had a baby, and moved away. And, with her, away went the porch swing. And though I love my current neighbor (Hi Jillian!), she brought no shared furniture to the arrangement.
So, I figured it was time to make some outdoor seating of my own. For inspiration, I turned to the most iconic of mid-century bench designs, the Platform Bench by George Nelson (1946). It was created from easy-to-find 1x6" cedar decking, making it quite inexpensive to build, and safe for outdoor use.
Wanna make one, too? Okay, here we go...
"The Carpenter," is a beautiful two-minute short by Greek design and art studio Deep Green Sea. This entry is "the first of a series of short films regarding the art & science of professionals working with their hands."
It's really lovely stuff, and has got me feeling super motivated to clean up my workshop (still devastated from a recent major build, which'll be posted next week), and make something amazing.
Click play to watch the video:
The Studley Tool Chest, built by piano and organ maker Henry O. Studley is surely one of the greatest records of U.S. craftsmanship. Built in the early 20th-century, this masterpiece is only 39x20x9", built stows and organizes more than 300 hand tools.
Check out this video tour by New Yankee Workshop host Norm Abrams:
No, no. That's not a protective case. And it certainly isn't CNC-milled or cut with a laser. It's a handmade wooden iPod Nano.
When Josh got a new iPod for Christmas, he couldn't just throw the old one away. So, he did what anyone would do - made it a wooden enclosure, complete with contrasting click wheel.
Not only does this go in my "Why didn't I think of that?" file, it belongs at the very top. I've often made cool, mod places for birds to hang out (like this contemporary birdhouse, a more complex mid-century modern one, and this minimalist bird feeder). I love making stuff with a bold, typographic punch, and I certainly have all the tools and knowhow to pull these off.
My friends Lish and Nick are one of those couples that just make sense. They're a great fit - he's a hacker, she's a crafter - and you can tell they really just like each other. Their home has gotta be just one of those places you wanna hang out, especially now that they just built this custom crafting table to house and work on all their projects.
I was lucky enough to escape town on Thursday and Friday, and get in a tiny trip before the official end of summer and at least pretend like I got to go on vacation. So, after a day of seriously awesome roller coasting and generally ignoring work related things, I came home rested, refreshed, and ready to make stuff. So I did.
Magic Wands. A few months ago, my uncle picked up a very old lathe from a friend who's dad owned it before he passed away. My uncle offered it to me, and it took a bit to get things working again, but I finally got it running and all the collets and morse tapers figured out, and fired it up.
It should here be noted that I have never used a lathe, and had zero idea what I was doing. So, I started with some blocks from the scrap bin, and just started learning to use the tools. I wasn't really ready to turn something useful, so I just took my time spinning down different spindles and tapers, and just learning what's possible. By the time I was done, I had some pretty thin cylinders that, well, resembled a magic wand. So, though I'm no geek crafter or con attender, I thought my niece and nephew might like to have a wand each to stupefy and expelliarmus each other, so I finished 'em as such. You guys, turning is fun, and delightfully messy. Expect more projects soon.
I know, I know. Your $20 Ikea coffee table is fine. But, the thing is, I'm old now. I just turned 32, and 32-year olds have beautifully crafted, handmade, coffee tables. I think it's something we're legally compelled to do. Look it up on Wikipedia.
To start out our project, we needed some pretty wood to form the top and second shelf of the table. While at an antiques fair in Massachusetts, my lovely wife found three sets of wooden cigar rollers. Since they came in sets of two, we'd have three for the two levels of coffee table goodness.
Next, we needed the rest of the crap to put it all together. It's best, when doing a build from
Comedian Russ Armstrong profiles Stevenson Birtch, a character he created to explore an emerging stereotype: the flannel-wearing, loft-meets-workspace living post-contemporary craftsman who does things like, "make woven belts out of reclaimed Civil War horse saddles," and builds all his own tools using smaller tools, that he also made himself. And you know, whittles his own toothpicks, and pulps his own toilet paper.
You know the type.
Watch the video. It's funny.
The craft of skateboard production is no small potatoes: steam-bending plywood, custom wood laminating, great mechanics, awesome art. Not surprisingly, a well-crafted deck can also net a few hundred bucks. And for good reason.
But, what if you just wanna try it out? What if you just want something simple to cruise around the neighborhood, or to misbehave with a few buddies, a scooter, and some rope?(I'll tell you that story another time).
You make your own, from simple household materials.
Last week, my friend Kelly shared these awesome wooden pennants on her site, Design Crush. I loved the way they evoked such a classic shape, but avoided the cheap felt look, and opted for woodgrain.
The designs there weren't really my style, so I decided to have a go at making my own.
You should, too! Here's how.