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.