Hey everyone, my name is Matt. Welcome to my shop.
Who I am
I did not grow up in a family of woodworkers. When I was a child, my father taught me the value of self-sufficiency and the do-it-yourself mentality. I don’t remember ever seeing a repairman at our home. Whether it was chopping firewood, building a shed, or fixing cars, my dad always tried to do it himself — and usually succeeded. Indirectly, my dad also taught me that you can learn to do things outside your area of expertise without formal training.
I attended The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where I earned a BS in business. I majored in Finance and minored in Information Systems. While in school, I started working at a start up company creating medical records software where I managed the product development. I was the bridge between the users and the developers. It was my responsibility to design a product that the users loved. The company didn’t grow as quickly as was necessary and I was laid off in Dec 2014.
After losing my job and searching for a new position for several months, I came to the realization that I could pursue what I loved as a career. I have been a full-time content creator since early 2015. It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t change anything and I have never been happier. I really enjoy interacting with the community and teaching people about something I love.
I live in Grant, MN with my wife Lindsay, our sons JR and Max, our daughter Eloise, and Pancake, our French Bulldog.
What I do
In short, I turn trees into fine furniture.
All of my woodworking projects start with material I harvest myself. Some is harvested from dead standing timber in the forest, but recently I’ve been getting more of my material from urban logging. When someone has to remove a tree from their yard, they think of that wood as garbage. The same goes for trees felled during storms. There is often nothing wrong with these trees, and I have made quite a few projects from wood that otherwise would have ended up as mulch.
I am fascinated by all aspects of woodworking and I try to share that with others. My videos follow the course of my projects from tree to finished furniture. Most logs I harvest are slabbed with a chainsaw mill in my back yard. From there, I cover the processes of furniture design, stock selection, milling rough lumber, cutting joinery, assembly, and finishing. I also make videos about related topics including hand tool maintenance and use, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, useful shop projects, and even the fabrication of my log-hauling trailer.
The projects I choose are based on my own interest, and I devote my full time and attention to each one. My woodworking career has included furniture from various periods, and I continue to explore new styles and methods as I learn and grow as a woodworker. However, I do not make a living from woodworking and I do not sell any of my furniture. I make educational videos about woodworking and related topics in the hope that I can inspire others to hone their skills and try new things. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
Why I do it
I started doing my Shop Update videos because I was uncomfortable with public speaking. At first, the update videos were just a record of what I was doing in the shop. Though they still accomplish that task, they have become much more — a way for me to keep my fans informed of what is coming, a place to showcase short updates about the projects I’m working on, and a way for me to give back to the community by showcasing projects made by the viewers. If you have a project you’d like to submit, please contact me.
Many people believe they are limited by what is available for sale around them — but trees are almost everywhere. It doesn’t take much space or equipment to mill your own lumber, and having custom-cut hardwood gives you nearly infinite options when it comes to furniture design.
Fine woodworking and the creation of fine furniture can seem daunting, especially traditional hand-cut joinery. I take pleasure in explaining the techniques and processes behind the creation of fine wooden furniture.
I believe that anyone can make what I make. It takes time and practice, and there will be a lot of mistakes along the way, but I hope that my videos show people that woodworking is both fun and accessible. If you have any questions about a project or just want to say hello, I would love to hear from you.
I live in N MPLS near the parkway. I’m taking out a large Ash tree and the main trunk is still up. It’s a healthy tree that just got too big for our lot. If you were interested in the wood I could try to get the trunk on the ground vs lopping it off as chunks. Let me know if you might be interested.
As much as I’m interested, Ash can’t travel across county lines. I’m now limited to only ash trees in Washington county. I appreciated the offer though.