Let me in the office!

This rendering of Tommy’s soon-to-be new shop is both impressive and inspirational.

I’m a furniture maker. It’s what I do, but in a lot of ways, it’s who I am: I’m a maker. I spend almost all my waking hours in the act of creation, and always have. When I moved to Cincinnati nearly three years ago I truly thought I was giving up a huge part of that maker life. And after more than two years of editing (and website development) I’m not so sure anymore.

Oh, I have my days where I’d rather be in the shop fitting a few boards together (most days actually) the entire day, but more often than not I find myself tapping on keys in front of a computer screen. Lately, it seems my “making” consists of editing audio and video, writing and editing content for 360 and expanding and maintaining the website on which you are reading this blog.

And like many of you, my fellow makers, I digest the content of others to help fill that desire to create because, as I’ve said, I’d rather be in the shop. You and I live in those brief moments where our real, and virtual, friends show off their latest efforts. Throughout the last few months I’ve been following my real and virtual friend, Tommy MacDonald, as he preps, plans and begins work on his new shop. And, so far, it’s all been happening live on Facebook. He was also doing live in-shop demonstrations on Tuesday nights for a while (and with a little encouragement he might start doing them again…so, get over there and encourage him, will you?), but has put them on hold because he’s about to start filming the new season of Rough Cut (he’s a busy guy).

Not much room to move in my current garage “shop,” but that will change over the next few months.

And what all this vicarious making has done for me is make me look at my life differently. First, it has inspired me to get started working on converting my garage into a home shop. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since moving to Ohio. So, as I work my way through the conversion from storage facility (we don’t actually park cars in our garage, but then who does?) to functional workshop, I’ll try to document some of the more interesting moments, because I’m sure a few of my real and virtual friends out there might be interested.

And, lastly, watching Tommy and a bunch of others put their creative efforts out there before the world has made me look at my time in the office differently. I spend all day, every day, in the act of creation whether it is filming and editing a project or technique for the 360 members (you can join here) or building a new section of the website (or an entirely new website… *cough*) or drawing a future project in SketchUp, I spend my day making. That, to me, has been a revelation because, until lately, that’s the part of my job that I try get out of the way in order to jump into the shop for longer stretches. And looking at the time spent in the office differently has made me appreciate and enjoy it much more. Evidently, my “making” is like my friends, both real and virtual (but not imaginary).

So, who are you watching and how are they inspiring you? Just in case I’m missing some creation inspiration out there. Right now, I’ve got to get back in the office and get busy “making” something.

— Chuck Bender


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3 thoughts on “Let me in the office!

  1. I’ve got to say Chuck, your “making” is some of the best I view, and that is saying a lot because I view literally hundreds of “maker” stuff weekly.
    After you & Glen, there are guys like Jay Bates, Steve Ramsey, Jimmy Diresta, Frank Howarth, Marc Spagnuolo and so many others. (sorry for any names misspelled.)
    This doesn’t even include the legends like Norm, and Frank Klaucz and Saint Roy.
    There are so many awesome content providers that it is tough to watch them all.

    I very much appreciate your efforts to improve 360’s web site for guys like me who have a tough time navigating some sites.

    But in the end, I am a member of 360 Woodworking because you & Glen have forgotten more about woodworking than I’ll ever know, and if I can pick up a trick or two occasionally, that makes the experience all the better. (You guys have helped up my game a lot.)
    Keep up the good work and I am going to enjoy watching you transform your garage into your home shop.
    And, thanks again.


  2. Chuck, Good to hear how things are going. I appreciate the essay.

    1. Elmer,

      The important part is that you bug Tommy Mac to continue his Tuesday night live sessions. You did that, right?

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