Putting the "log" back in Blog

A Big Woodworking Screw-Up

Posted on October 15th, by Andy Brownell in Projects. No Comments

Ok, I’ll admit, the title is a bit misleading, but it was just too easy.
This weekend I spend most of Saturday screwing things together on a set of 70 boxes I’ve been commissioned to make for a custom invitation. Each box had two hinges with four screws each. That’s 560 brass screws, not to mention the other four for the front latch bringing the grand total to 840 1/2″ #4 screws. Thank goodness for power tools.

The poplar boxes made it possible to avoid the pre-drilling entirely, with just a firm awl mark to get things started. I used some antique … Read More »


BOOK REVIEW: Jeff Miller’s Foundations of Better Woodworking

Posted on October 1st, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Publications. 3 comments

Just about everyone has a favorite teacher, coach or mentor. At one point or another in our lives, we’ve had the opportunity to be offered instruction and guidance that really stands out. Factors like personality, charisma, passion for the topic or an innate ability to articulately convey information all help make a great instructor. Jeff Miller has fulfilled that position in my life for the last 16 years.

In his latest book, Foundations of Better Woodworking, Jeff offers some insight into why this is the case. Jeff takes a holistic look at “How to use your body, tools and materials to … Read More »


A “Creepy” Tale for WIA 2012

Posted on September 28th, by Andy Brownell in Gorilla Glue, marketing & promotion, Wood. 1 Comment

As a member of the online community loosely identified as “woodworkers”, I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a relationship with Gorilla Glue here in Cincinnati over the last 4 years. Additionally, as a professional in the marketing and advertising industry, I’ve been able to combine my professional know-how in digital marketing and branding. So is the case with my ongoing analysis of “glue-creep”

The year-long study I’ve been conducting in conjunction with Gorilla Glue is around the phenomenon of Glue Creep (or what some people refer to as glue line telegraphing) and has been a multi-stage review on a variety of … Read More »


The Power of Content and Real-Time Marketing (via @PHFagency)

Posted on September 28th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion. No Comments

Here are a few thoughts from my day job at Powerhouse Factories here in Cincinnati that relate to brands as well as woodworkers. After all, aren’t we simply cultivating our own brands as woodworkers online? The first excerpt is around how to approach content marketing, and the second is around real-time marketing. Enjoy.

Helping Brands Become the Best Themselves They Can Be

Regardless of size, many brands today are challenged with leveraging their own unique points of differentiation. I’m not referring to a bulleted list of items on a marketing strategy sheet, though. They lack the ability to tap into their own internal expertise … Read More »


The Benefits of Monotonous Production Woodworking

Posted on September 25th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects, Publications. 1 Comment

I’ve been going through the process of building 70 boxes that are a part of a larger, high-end invitation project. They are 14″ x 7″ x 3″ each, made from 1/2″ poplar. These are a far cry from “fine furniture” but still need to be built in a way that holds together and looks decent. Making 70 of anything can be both daunting and extremely boring.

Despite the monotony associated with production woodworking there are some positive aspects that can come out of an exercise like this beyond getting paid. My brother, who is also a woodworker, reminded me of this based … Read More »


750 bd/ft of Walnut Down for a 3 Year Nap

Posted on September 12th, by Andy Brownell in Wood. 2 comments

So here is a quick gallery of the cut and stacked lumber from the walnut tree cut a few weeks ago. Grain looks awesome. Pieces range from 5′ – 10′ long, 10″-34″ wide and are cut at 5/4, 9/4 and 16/4 thick to allow for shrinkage as they dry. Everything is flat, stickered and will be covered and sealed shortly.
Now all we need is time, somewhere around 3 years for the thick stuff to be ready.

Patience and time will tell, as is the case with any tree cut and milled from a yard. Fall of 2015 seems like a long way … Read More »


Down Goes a Big Bundle of Walnut Straws

Posted on September 2nd, by Andy Brownell in Projects. 2 comments

I posted a shot from last weekend of a co-worker’s walnut tree that was coming down for a construction project. Now it’s cut and waiting for the sawyer to arrive. I think this 15′ long, ~ 3,100 lb. section, despite some of it’s flaws, has some serious potential.

I’ve done this once before on my split-top Roubo bench from a maple tree log. And after all, the editorial mission of this blog is: “Putting the Log back in Blog” (see header at top left side of web page). So I’m just staying true to that. There’s something unique about following a tree from … Read More »


Foundations of Better Woodworking by: Jeff Miller

Posted on August 29th, by Andy Brownell in Publications. No Comments

I was just given an opportunity to read an advance copy of Jeff Miller’s newest book Foundations of Better Woodworking, How to use your body, tools and materials to do your best work. Of course I jumped on the chance to be one of the first folks to read it. Why? Jeff is a good friend of mine. And he’s taught me much of what I know today about woodworking, going back to February of 1996.

The table making class I took with Jeff that cold Chicago winter was what you’d expect, a class that gave you a finish-ready table at the conclusion. … Read More »


The Hidden Potential of a Black Walnut Tree

Posted on August 27th, by Andy Brownell in Projects. 5 comments

I love trees, and even though it kills me to see this tree come down for a construction project in the next few weeks, for a co-worker I know it will go to good use in 3 years or so. Perhaps a table, bed, some chairs, who knows.

At over 24″ in diameter, this black walnut is uninterrupted for the first 10′, then the next 8′ should produce some usable 6-12″ wide boards as well. I’m thinking it should yield four 16/4 pieces (always tough to find in walnut), and then a number of 8/4 boards for the rest. Perhaps some … Read More »


Consolidated Project Gallery on Pinterest

Posted on August 19th, by Andy Brownell in marketing & promotion, Projects. No Comments

People have been asking, so I finally got around to consolidating all of my furniture projects into a single gallery using Pinterest.

This represents about 16 years of building stuff, first starting with Jeff Miller (J. Miller Handcrafted Furniture), and then in my own shop here in Cincinnati.

You can check everything out here: Project Gallery.