Putting the "log" back in Blog

Floor Lamp Project and Some Design Inspiration Tools

Posted on March 6th, by Andy Brownell in Design, Projects. 1 Comment

I tend to shy away from drawing designs out on paper and continue to postpone learning Google SketchUp. Right or wrong, I’m far better at developing designs slowly and iteratively during the fabrication phase. I do much better in three dimensions. While miniature prototyping has been something I’ve done in the past for original design projects, my latest project, a multi-function floor lamp has taken a slightly different route.

Social media tools like Pinterest (for image search, discovery and inspiration) and Canva (for design curation and layout) have helped me fill in gaps in skills like drawing. I’ve got a fairly … Read More »


Lessons From An Unemployed Woodworker

Posted on February 26th, by Andy Brownell in Around the shop. No Comments

Today is officially my last day of being unemployed. I start a new position on Monday, as the VP of Brand Studio for Scripp’s Newsy division. It’s an exciting opportunity to do something new and different, outside of the agency world that I’ve been in for the last 19 years.

My unemployment has been relatively short (just 2 months), and I feel extremely fortunate to be going back to work so soon. I can only imagine how difficult it can be for people who spend a year or more looking for work. That being said, I’ve spent a good deal of … Read More »


How to Build a Stacked Lamination Sculpted Bench

Posted on February 4th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. No Comments

I recently finished up a how-to video on building this stacked lamination bench. I used my sponsor Arbortech Tool’s TURBOplane for the vast majority of the sculpting process. The tool attached easily to my Rigid angle grinder, with this being the fourth project I’ve made using this particular power carving attachment.

Editors note: This is also my first real attempt at filming a woodworking video on my own with my Nikon D5200. I also taught myself how to use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing. I had no external lighting or microphone, so be kind. 🙂


Furniture from Boschendal Estate, South Africa

Posted on January 13th, by Andy Brownell in Wood. 1 Comment

I was recently in South Africa on vacation and visited the Boschendal Estate Vineyard. It’s really old, like founded in 1685 old. It’s located about 60 km from Cape Town in the famed Stellenbosch wine country, home to hundreds of wineries.

It was a short stop that included an awesome meal, great wine and a quick visit to the refurbished Cape Dutch manor house. In the main building was a collection of furniture that covered a range of styles. Much of it was built with the traditional South African woods like Yellow Wood, Stink Wood and Iron Wood, among others. I … Read More »


Learning to Power Carve with Arbortech Tools

Posted on December 9th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. 3 comments

The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. The opinions and projects featured within this post are my own. So my opinion is that despite the general mess left behind with power carving any wood, these tools deliver on performance, quality, and learning curve—not to mention they open up a whole new world of sculpted furniture design. Read on if you are interested in discovering why.

It’s been almost a year since I began my sponsorship with Arbortech. In that year, I’ve learned a great deal about power carving as well as how to integrate … Read More »


Power Carved 1970’s-Era Abstract Sculpture

Posted on December 5th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects. No Comments

The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. This is the first of a two-part series on power carving a 1970’s-era abstract sculpture. The opinions and projects featured within this post are my own.

The 1970’s Are Back!

Like most eras in history, the decade of my birth had some pretty horrendous interior decor including heavy shag, artificial wood panels, and clashing tropical patterns to name a few. There were however, some stylish carryovers from the midcentury design movement that had elements worth mentioning. This included the use of darker woods, contrasting curves and sharp angles, and the … Read More »


Stacked Lamination Coffee Table Pt. 3

Posted on November 30th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. 1 Comment

The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. This is the second in a series of posts on building, carving and finishing a stacked lamination coffee table project. 

With this project finally complete, I wanted to share some final shots and thoughts on how this sponsored project has impacted my woodworking experience.

Almost two years ago today, I was inspired by a visit to the Chicago Art Institute’s furniture collection. Wendell Castle’s work was featured among others in an American Studio Furniture exhibit. Castle’s work spans several decades and encompasses a variety of materials including metal, … Read More »


Stacked Lamination Coffee Table Pt. 2

Posted on November 28th, by Andy Brownell in Projects. No Comments

The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. This is the second in a series of posts on building, carving and finishing a stacked lamination coffee table project. 

In my previous post, I discussed some of the techniques used in the assembly and shaping the base of this stacked lamination coffee table with Arbortech’s TURBO and MiniTURBO planes. The weather this fall has been nice enough to allow the vast majority of the work to be done outdoors. This is advantageous for two reasons: the first being that working outdoors is far more enjoyable than … Read More »


Stacked Lamination Coffee Table Pt. 1

Posted on November 22nd, by Andy Brownell in Projects, Tools. 1 Comment

The following post is sponsored by Australia-based Arbortech, makers of power carving, sanding and cutting tools. This will be the first in a series of three posts on building, carving and finishing a stacked lamination coffee table project.

I mentioned in my previous posts on carved bowl making, that wood carving is a very different kind of woodworking. Grinding away material is more akin to sculpture, versus building a dimensional piece of furniture. With any new technique or tool, a learning curve is usually required to become proficient. This coffee table is probably a more advanced project, so if you are … Read More »


Power Carved Bowls with Arbortech Tools: Pt. 2

Posted on October 3rd, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. 1 Comment

In part one of this sponsored project series, I discussed how you can ramp-up your power carving skills with Arbortech’s angle grinder attachments. These tools can really ad a new dimension to your woodworking repertoire. All of my bowl projects in this series, including the one shown below all came from scrap end-cuts—pieces left over from larger boards that have sat around my workshop collecting dust—which have now found a second life. This post will focus on the major steps and a few tricks to make this bowl with the Arbortech Mini TURBO plane and the Contour Random Sander attachments.

Simple … Read More »