August 2015 Shop Update

Its hard to believe that August is already half gone. This summer has seemed to fly by pretty quickly but I’ll admit that I can’t wait for fall. The average temperature in the shop during the summer is in the high eighties. That is with the garage door closed and two fans going. But I’m definitely not going to complain because I’ve actually been able to get in some shop time. I have been fairly regular posting pictures and updates on social media but realized that between my website and YouTube channel I have been lacking. So here is a short overview of whats been going on at Merzke Custom Woodworking over the last couple months.


With the amount of orders I have been receiving for the American Flag Coin Rack it was time to bring in a new addition to the shop. I was able to find a Performax 16-32 drum sander on Craigslist. This will really speed up the time making the panels for the flags. I also still have to make the hickory counter tops for our kitchen and have a feeling this is going to be a huge help with that project. Speaking of projects I have been steadily working on both commissioned projects and ones around the house as time permits.


One of the big projects around the house that my son and I was able to finish was a ground level deck over an existing cement patio. In the shop there has been a stead request for the American Flag Coin Rack. I never realized when I made the first that there would be other orders for it. I have also been having some requests for different sizes and ones without the coin trays so that it would just be the flag to hang on the wall as art. IMG_2960I also plan on inlaying the stars so that the entire flag would be flush. I have been able to play around with the inlay as a single star but have yet to attempt 50 stars in perfect alignment. As it stands now most of what my CNC seems to be cutting out is stars for these coin racks. IMG_0041


It has also been brought to my attention that it has been a couple of months since I’ve released a video on my YouTube channel. Not having any shop time was initially the reason for this but then turned into the opposite. I have two videos that just need to be edited as soon as I can find the time to dedicate in front of the computer. What kind of business would I be if I didn’t put paying customers first? I was able to finish setting up my video editing set up to include dual monitors and a decent microphone (not sure if that will helps with the “ums”).



So hopefully soon I will be able to start sharing more of whats happening in the shop on “Woodshop Confessions“. But, in the mean time you can head over and watch some of the videos I’ve already posted and subscribe so you won’t miss the new ones when they come out. Also for the most current updates from Merzke Custom Woodworking you can like my Facebook page.


What a stud!

I have always been more drawn to build something that  filled a need or a given purpose. For me it has been a sense of solving a problem or creating something that filled that need. The techniques, tools, and material were selected to best suit the solution. Now what if you lock in one of those options, but can completely decide what to make, with whatever tools you have available, in whatever manner you so choose… but you must make it with only a 2 x 4 x 8!?!? Have you ever wondered what you could come up with by using just one wall stud? Isn’t it about time you find out?



Oh, and I did just mean one (1) of those precious little wall studs! So that is where Brian Gidney comes into our story. This is the third year Brian has hosted the Creative 2 x 4 competition. This yearly event is aimed to get people out and design and build a project with just a standard 2 x 4 and share with the rest of the community by way of a short video displaying the build and completed project. I have watched the videos from the last two years and let me tell you that you would be completely surprised at all the great ideas these guys and gals come up with. Brian has worked with quite a few sponsors to donate prizes for the event but most people who participate do it purely for the fun of it and sense of community. Yeah there might be a little trash talking from time to time but even that is all in good fun. Hopefully I will be able to join the fun and enter into the competition myself this year. So go over to for all the details and contest rules and then go to to see the entries from the previous years competitions.




What defines you?

Once again I’m away from my shop traveling for my day job so I must resort to typing instead of woodworking. One thing that has come up several times recently that has caught my attention is this thing of titles. Now this isn’t just about woodworking or other crafts but can probably be related to just about every part of life. I realize that it is human nature to want to feel like you belong… after all why are gangs and terrorist organizations still getting recruits. But when a persons need to feel good about themselves is only possible by either finding fault in someone else or by starting a war than we have an issue. Now I don’t think there has been a conflict in the arts and craft world since the war between the hand tool and power tool woodworkers of ’78 and the knitters and wood carvers of 1812.

But the question I would like to pose is this… Is what you do define you? or do you define what you do?

Our whole life we are placed under one title after another that most people are conditioned to need that. Regardless of what title you put on yourself and whether it defines you or vice versus, why would a person feel the need to look down on someone because they do something differently. The internet of course has just made this easier since people can now lash out with saying things that they wouldn’t dare say to someones face. But this new venue of communication has giving people a titanium back bone and brass reproductive parts (gender dependent).

I think its sad when I see people bounce around trying to keep up with the newest craze or just equally as sad is someone who is holding on to yesterday just because they are afraid of change. If you are a hand tool woodworker than be ok with that because you enjoy it. I happen to love my tools… and yes I mean all of them.

The latest craze of being a YouTube woodworker has caused some controversy is certain circles also. For some people the number of subscribers to their channel has created a Hollywood celebrity mentality on a smaller scale. Others are honestly just trying to share with others what they have learned. Crowd funding is not really something new. Public broadcasting has been doing it for years now. I personally suck at crowd funding since I have started two unsuccessful “Kickstarter” campaigns. Now in the end both projects were eventually funded by saving up the money myself but there were still some lessons learned.

As some of you know, I do have a YouTube channel… but I want to make and sell items made from wood (and maybe record a project from time to time to share). Does this make me a YouTube woodworker… or a woodworker on YouTube? How about neither, I am just me, and that my friends is good enough for me. I love the craft of woodworking so naturally I want to share it with everyone I come in contact with. Trust me my non-woodworking friends are probably tired of me talking about it. But I love to share my passion with others and the multiple online outlets is just a few options. But that doesn’t change the fact that my dream is to one day make my living as someone who makes things for others in exchange for currency. Could this possibly be just a dream… maybe. But I can’t wait to get the opportunity to find out.

So my challenge to everyone is to not just let what you do define you, but you define what you do!

I would also love to hear your thoughts on the subject so leave a comment or shoot me a message.