Maker Interview with Adam From Lazy Guy DIY
1. Tell us a little about you - how’d you get into making in the first place?Like a lot of people, I started out as a designated ladder holder for my dad when I was a kid. I did a lot of standing around with a minimal amount of complaining (okay, probably a lot of complaining), but most importantly I did a lot of observing. Even though I missed out on some quality video game playing, I learned about tools, materials and problem solving whether I realized it at the time or not. Fast forward to my “first” senior year of college and I designed my first original piece of furniture in an industrial design class. It was an expanding wardrobe that went from 3 feet wide to 6 feet wide (patent pending) with clothes still in it. At that point I knew I was interested in making stuff, but it took several years until I had the space and means to really do it. Once that happened Lazy Guy DIY kind of fell into place.
2. Where do you do most of your work on your DIY projects?
We have an almost 90 year old Craftsman Style home that has an old corrugated metal (leaky when it rains) detached one car garage that I’ve been converting into my workshop the last few years. I first started building in our basement, but after I stained a project down there (with windows and doors open) it still took about a week to get the residual fumes out. So I made my move... err my wife strongly suggested I make the move. It’s small, but I love it. It's got a ton of personality. It’s like a cozy rustic/industrial Man Cave these days.
3. What was the first DIY furniture project you ever made? Any lessons learned to share with people from that?
Ha, I apparently got ahead of myself talking about the expandable wardrobe, but that was in college and I barely remember any of that. The first DIY furniture project I did with the glimmer of an idea that I would be launching a website was a children’s table and chairs. I originally saw plans on Ana White who offers great plans for anyone looking to get into woodworking, but I knew I didn’t want to be a knock off builder. So I started with her basic plans and made it my own by adding a chalk paint top with an inset bin for storing all the chalk. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from someone else’s work, just give them the credit. When I have a new client commission I always ask for them to create a Pinterest board with ideas they like and then I design with those inspiration pieces in mind. It’s a great time to be a maker because you’re not limited to print media or firsthand experiences to expand your craft and scope.
4. What was your first “big tool purchase”?
My first “big tool” purchase was actually paid for by my wife. She got me a RIDGID Sliding Compound Miter Saw…with lasers. She’s gotten me a few big tools for anniversaries (because she’s incredibly supportive and awesome), but I remember staring at the box and then grinning from ear to ear the first time I pressed the trigger. I recently upgraded to a different saw, but I want to make sure that tool finds a happy home with a new maker that will appreciate it as much as I did.
5. What inspired you to create this project?
Surprisingly, I don’t have a single piece of furniture that I’ve built. It’s sad, I know. I die a little inside each time a new piece leaves my shop. Ha! You can sympathize with my wife that has a growing list of build requests, but when it comes down to it, almost everything I build is a client commission. But don’t worry, I am building my first piece for our house right now! For this featured build, I had a client ask for a giant custom dining room table that would match some funky chairs they found that were all different colors. So I designed what I’ve been calling my “patchwork plank” style that would match the un-matchable. Generally, when I design a build I want it to be something that anyone can build so I can share the build plans on my website. So there’s a happy balance that goes into my work where I want it to look great for the client, but also be something I know other people can recreate in their own shops no matter what their skill level.
6. Why’d you pick hairpin legs for this project?
Rustic and industrial was the theme the clients were looking for and I knew hairpin legs would be a great fit for them. The legs are budget friendly and give a project an awesome finished modern feel. Plus… transport is so much easier when you can take the legs off and then reassemble onsite. Everything is pre-drilled and included, you can’t go wrong.
7. What was the most complicated part of this build?
I've made a handful of patchwork plank top pieces and every time I've made one I've assembled it differently. From pocket holes in every single board with a framework underneath for support to attaching the planks to a backer board, it all works. It's just a matter of how much weight you want to add and how level you can get the surface. The biggest issue comes down to size. Don't giggle. Size does matter. When your shop is this small and projects get as big as this table, you have to make sure you have a plan in how to accommodate your tools for making cuts and still being able to assemble everything.
8. What was your favorite part of this project?It's always fun when you get to run to your local Home Depot and then say I would like one can of every stain color please. Then comes the important part of mixing and matching to see what stains look right next to each other. You would be surprised how difficult that gets but the end results makes for an awesome piece and a happy client when you nail it.
9. If you could only share one Instagram channel for DIY inspiration who would that be and why?
My friend Tamar from @3x3Customs is a beast. She churns out so much quality content and is fairly new to woodworking. She's fearless when it comes to trying new techniques and sharing her wins and losses. There's a real movement of women getting into fine woodworking right now and I dig it because this has been a predominantly male saturated market. All you need is a saw and an idea and you can make great things no matter who you are.
10. Anything else you’d like to share with our followers on the blog?
Never stop trying new techniques to expand your craft. It's easy to get into a rut when you're first starting out and building the exact same table over and over. Try something new each time you make something. Not long ago I was building with only construction grade lumber and using pocket holes for the first time. Now I'm using hardwoods and jointing with bow tie inlays and adding epoxy insets. I'm not expertly trained and I'm winging it 99% of the time, but each new experience is something I can build on. If you want to follow along on my wild ride head over to www.LazyGuyDIY.com