Putting the "log" back in Blog

Power Carved Bowls with Arbortech Tools: Pt.1

Posted on September 30th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. 6 comments

Earlier this year, I worked on a stool project that required a carved seat bottom with a simple concave surface. I purchased the Arbortech TURBOplane to help accomplish this task after seeing a video by Marc Spagnuolo (aka “The Wood Whisperer”).  Following the post I made about this project (recently re-blogged with more detail and photos), I was contacted by Australia-based Arbortech about doing a few additional contracted projects for them, using a wide range of their power carving attachments. This post covers the first of two parts of an ideal starter project: a series of carved bowls using their tools. In the … Read More »


Five Lessons from Large Case Construction

Posted on September 6th, by Andy Brownell in Around the shop, Projects, Tools, Wood. 3 comments

 

My latest completed project, a cherry dining room sideboard, is one of only a few case pieces I’ve ever built. This relative giant is actually the first of two pieces on a commissioned project for a couple here in town (the second being a corner cabinet). It measures 72″L x 36″H x 18″D, it has three drawers, two sets of doors and uses frame and panel construction throughout. I also decided to skip the use of cherry plywood, and instead used re-sawn solid panels throughout the construction.

Taking on a project like this has taught me a great deal, so here are … Read More »


Seat carving with Arbortech’s TURBOplane

Posted on September 1st, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Tools. No Comments

Disclaimer: This post is done on behalf of one of my generous sponsors from down-under, Arbortech. The opinions and experiences using their TURBOplane contained below are my own.

Carved furniture can be a very different kind of woodworking. Free-handed removal of material is a completely new experience for me, where I’m used to cutting straight or curved lines with blades. Power carving can be like a messy version of high-speed woodworking in three dimensions.

When teaching yourself how to use any rapidly-rotating sharp tool, starting out simple is usually the best way to go when honing a new skill. This replica of David Ebner’s “Renwick Stool” … Read More »


Stacked Lamination Coffee Table

Posted on April 9th, by Andy Brownell in Gorilla Glue, Projects, Publications. 8 comments

Most furniture I’ve made it’s been about angles, curves and accurate joinery of dimensional lumber. In order to stretch myself a bit in both design and execution, I’ve recently begun working on a stacked lamination coffee table. This stacked lamination style became popular during the Midcentury period by artists like Wendell Castle. After seeing some of his highly carved, organic work in person at the Chicago Art Institute, I couldn’t resist giving it a try for myself.

Depending on the size, stacked lamination projects can either be created from single solid pieces, or smaller pieces mechanically joined together to create a void … Read More »


Get Woodworking Week 2015 – Small Craft Projects

Posted on February 16th, by Andy Brownell in Projects. 1 Comment

Wood is Good

2014 gave me a chance to do a bit of decorating around the house with some smaller projects. These were all commissioned projects I did for The Gorilla Glue Company and Rust-Oleum. In fact, their products compliment each other and I found quite a bit of overlap on all of these projects.  It’s nice to crank out a project in a few hours, or over a weekend. In the end, you have something that adds to your home decor, not requiring a full-sized project commitment. Beyond that, it allows you to experiment with different techniques or materials. In addition to wood, these … Read More »


3 Content Strategy Questions To Ask Yourself

Posted on February 3rd, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion. 1 Comment

Author’s note: The following post originally appears on the blog for my employer, Curiosity Advertising. I’ve reblogged it here because I thought it might interest fellow woodworkers and tool companies in the context of either a personal or corporate content strategy.

The concept of content strategy has really begun to pick up steam over the last few years. While the idea isn’t anything new, brands and agencies have a great deal more to choose from, resulting in more to consider when developing a content strategy for their business. On the agency side as well as being a woodworking blogger, it’s like being a … Read More »


Spike TV and Ellen: Has Furniture Design Jumped the Shark?

Posted on January 23rd, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects. 3 comments

Anyone who builds furniture and consumes media has probably heard of two new television shows—Spike TV’s Framework and HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge. These are television shows that have or will hit cable this season catering to a very specific niche audience. At face value for any serious furniture maker, reality furniture design challenges—with unrealistic timeframes to create and build original work—seem to be an anathema to serious craftsmanship and art. Not to mention the hosts wouldn’t be my first choice for bringing credibility and authenticity to the concept. I much prefer Common in his late and passing role as Mr. … Read More »


Pinterest: From Casual User to Loyal Advocate

Posted on January 12th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Publications. 3 comments

I’m officially a fan of Pinterest. In 2014 it helped me successfully grow client business (woodworking and advertising) and aided me in securing a contract to publish my first article in Popular Woodworking Magazine in 2015.  I’ve been integrating Pinterest into my toolkit far more than I have in the past to aid in visual discovery, design inspiration and collaboration. On the whole, Pinterest boasts about a 2/3 female, 1/3 male split within it’s user base, more than doubling the number of males over the last year. As a contributor to the growing minority, my recent fandom has been driven by two factors:

1. My Job: I … Read More »


An Esoteric Lesson in Furniture Design: Pt. 1

Posted on December 7th, by Andy Brownell in Design, Projects. 2 comments

I’ve gone out of my way to really try to push myself in design and technical execution over the last few years. Doing so has taught me that having curiosity to try new things and a willingness to fail are two critical elements for moving forward my passion for woodworking. This is as true for visual design as it is for learning new woodworking skills. Like anyone with a hobby like this, I only have a limited amount of free time to spend on woodworking’s many facets (design, tools, technique, writing, and everyone’s favorite $$) so the choices I make on how and … Read More »


4 DIY Gift Videos: Perfect For Beer Connoisseurs

Posted on November 2nd, by Andy Brownell in Projects, video. No Comments

With the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what to give as gifts. For anybody you know who is a fan of beer, here’s a set of 4 DIY videos, including links to the original blog posts, that should help inspire you to make something by hand, rather than going out and buying one. The projects with links to the original blog posts include an easy to make bottle opener, a growler crate, rosewood handled knife and a serving tray designed to be held by a beer bottle. These videos were filmed … Read More »