First Women's Whiskey and Wood

This past Saturday marked the first ever Women's Whiskey and Wood and it was quite impressive! Ive hosted many Men's Whiskey and Wood nights, but because of my wife's schedule and wanting to honor her by not spending a night drinking with a shop full of women, the shop hadn't had one until now, when my wife was able to host!

I was thoroughly impressed with these women, they came to WORK! It was a small group, but they dominated the shop! Yen completed 90% of a through mortise and tenon live edge bench:

Yen using a router to cut out a through mortise.

And Kayleigh made these stave card holders for rummy:

Kayleigh's whiskey barrel card holders.

Elizabeth made a cool wine barrel stave wine rack that had somewhat of a Greene and Greene /Asian theme to it, and there were some cool children's toys made as well! The women showed up the men that come regularly and i was most impressed by their desire and willingness to learn and their readiness to work with and learn some of the more intimidating tools in the shop! I look forward to hosting more Women's whiskey and wood nights with my wife, I had a wonderful time!

Working in the shop full steam ahead! The shop dogs even had joined in the fun.

I hope you'll consider joining us for a Whiskey and Wood night in the future, a men's a women's or one of our new couples nights we will be announcing soon!

-Sincerely, Matt and Jodi

Tools Made in America

Recently I was in the market for a new cordless drill set and mostly was debating between Milwaukee's top tier set and Makita's. In my search to evaluate the different options available and decide what the right fit for me was, I had many a conversation with craftsmen, tradesmen, and makers of all sorts. Everyone had their own opinion as to which brand is better, but a question came up frequently that I, to date, had not given much thought to: What brands can I purchase that help support American workers and the American economy?"

 Image credit: www.theouthousers.com

Image credit: www.theouthousers.com

Its pretty much impossible to find power tools made in the USA any more:

Milwaukee, Ryobi, and Homelite, are all manufactured in China and owned by TTI, a Chinese company. TTI also manufactures Ridgid, even though they do not own them (Emerson does)

Stanley, Bostitch, Dewalt, Porter Cable, Proto, Mac, and Black and Decker are all owned by Stanley Black and Decker. Dewalt advertises "Made in the USA" on many of their products, but my understanding is that they are just assembled in the US, please add info on this if you know more. I believe Mac makes their toolboxes in the USA as well.

Bosch makes a small selection of their tools in the US, which is strange given that they are a German company, and even Makita, a company from Japan, outsources some production to China!

All this to say, I've been wanting to become more aware of products made in the USA, not that products made in China are always bad, many very impressive products are made there, but if I have the opportunity to choose between two products of similar quality, I'd like to begin making a conscious effort to support American companies, especially small ones.

So here's a list of companies I've found that make products in the USA, please feel free to add to this list in the comments or correct me if you have additional information!:

Some additions brought to my attention from the fine folks of Instagram:

This list will be ongoing and edited as I get new information.

Looking for a Jointer

Im in the market for an 8 inch jointer, or possibly the right 6 inch one with a very long beds! Is also take something bigger as long as it was single phase! 

 Something like this would be perfect

Something like this would be perfect

If you have one available you'd like to sell or know someone who might, let me know, I'd be ever grateful! 

Features I'd like but aren't requirements:

parallelogram beds

helix cutterhead

wheel style adjustment knobs

sturdy/mechanical fence adjustment mechanism

a pot of gold hidden in the cabinet :) 

email me at matt@whiskeynwood.com 

if you have a lead that ends up working for me, there might be a little something in it for you! 

Sustainability in the Shop

Since I run a business that is dependent on a natural product existing, and I personally enjoy the beauty of said natural product, it's important for me to preserve it as best as I can.  

Last month I held a survey over social media to see what way people would prefer I give back, the results were pretty lopsided with people preferring a donation for every purchase to plant one pioneer species tree through the U.S. Forest Service.

but I didn't want to stop there as I think there are many things that can be done to make my shop and the woodworking industry more sustainable, so here is a list of things I'm doing to make my work as sustainable as possible:

  1. The vast majority of my work is made from recycled/upcycled/reclaimed/salvage/etc. wood, this means no new trees cut down
  2. I plant one tree for every purchase made, ensuring that more trees are planted than harvested for my work (I doubt the original harvesters planted to offset the wood I reclaim/salvage) 
  3. I added LED lights and insulation the shop to reduce energy costs for operation. 
  4. Sawdust is collected and used for mixing into soil (if you are interested in getting some for your soil let me know)
  5. I'll be donating to preserve 1 acre of rainforest every quarter, this protecting old-growth timber from destruction in addition to replacing used lumber. 
  6. I avoid excess or wasteful use of vulnerable species of wood. 
  7.  Much of my packaging material is shavings from different projects done with handtools. If you'd like some, let me know and I'll be happy to give you some depending on availability.


These are just my starting point and I intend to do more things as I grow and expand, but would love feedback on your ideas for things I can do to be more sustainable!


Thanks for checking in! -Matt

The Man We(I) Want to Be

The other night I went to Home Depot to pick up some heavy duty concrete anchors for my new lumber rack and some organizational pieces for the new shop.

 

At checkout the concrete anchors were placed in the bag by the cashier without being rung up. I immediately noticed and as they were only the third item of about 30 small things to be rung up I had plenty of time for my thoughts to run rampant.

My first thought was "Free stuff, Yay! !" Quickly followed by, "if I notice before I get to the car I have to say something though, right?" Followed by "nah, it's their fault their cashiers can't even ring things up properly" (with more than a hint of my typical superiority complex). 

I then just took a pause for a moment. In that time I felt convicted, but wrestled with what I knew I needed to do because, let's be honest, $10 in free concrete anchors is about the coolest thing that can happen to a man next to getting married and becoming a dad!

Eventually after much internal huffing and puffing I pointed out the error to the cashier and she was quite taken aback by my honesty and I began to revel in the awesomeness of my honesty (can you tell how humble and meek I am yet?) 

Despite the majority of this interaction taking place in the store, the real kickers came when I was in the car headed away.  

I was sad. 

Why has it taken so long for me to do the right thing? 

Why was I so compelled to set aside my morals for $10 plus tax? 

My father taught me right and wrong, why didn't I just do it? 

I know how my wife's father would have acted, the anchors wouldn't have even made it into the bag before he pointed it out, why wasn't that my response? 

and the biggest kicker of all: 

What kind of man do I want to be to my son? 

What kind of man do you want to be? What kind of men do you want to be in the world? Men and boys look up to other men, so if you want to see men in this world of upstanding character you need to start being one. Stop compromising, stop bending the rules of your morality for $10 plus tax. 

Start showing your sons how to be men of upstanding faith and character. Make the right choice, don't hesitate, when you do, be open about it, own it! (Note to self: be humble in it) .

Make choices today, so that you can be the man you want to be tomorrow! 

UPDATE: 

Today I went to Rockler, a woodworking supply store, and picked up a couple of things for the shop they had on sale and a couple of pieces of wood including some curly koa, Bolivian rosewood and some zebrawood.

When I got home I realized the zebrawood hadn't been rung up. I had a fleeting moment of my heart sinking because I knew what I had to do since I had just written this blog post two days prior, but that quickly turned to seeing it as an opportunity to make a choice hat would help me grow into the man I want to be and give me some practice making these kinds of decisions before my son is old enough to see me make the wrong decision! 

The guy who received the phone call was a bit astonished that I would just call and give him my credit card info to charge for nothing, and was appreciative enough that he gave me a very steep discount, which I appreciated as well.  

It was a tough decision that cost me immediately, but I have a feeling I'll see the ROI very soon! Cheers!