Are you familiar with Japandi? It is a blend of Japanese and Scandinavian designs. When it comes to the
form and function of furniture coupled with minimalism and clean lines, sleek designs such as slatted
wooden tables and outdoor lounge furniture are carefully crafted. One of the
stars of Japandi style furniture is Texas native Erin Longfellow of Maker Gray. With a background in art,
design, and photography, Erin infuses her creativity and passion into wood projects that anyone can
Erin is a full-time, self-taught maker who got her start when she became a homeowner and needed a
workbench. A simple 2 x 4 bench and a miter saw she received as a birthday gift empowered her to
locate plans online and make it. After she built her first project, she was ecstatic. "I can build anything!"
It was then that she caught the "bug" for making. She began consuming as many YouTube tutorials as possible
and started creating beds and record consoles.
Presently, with her own YouTube channel totaling nearly 10,000 subscribers, Erin focuses on high-end
furniture without the price tag. Each of her videos utilizes affordable tools with easy-to-follow plans that
any new or seasoned maker can manage. She introduces new shop accessories such as a digital angle finder and
teaches skills such as how to make 50-degree bevels on a table saw. With the help of the 3D Modeling program,
SketchUp, she was able to detail the various angles required to reduce the amount of time spent
calculating accurate cuts while building.
Incorporating concrete and metal into her woodworking projects, Erin engineers framed wall metal
mirrors and has begun exploring the world of welding, which is making a name for itself amongst woodworkers. TIG (Gas tungsten arc) welding is an advanced form that requires the user to hold
the torch with one hand and feed a metal filler rod into the weld. One of the more common entry-level types of welding is MIG (metal inert gas) welding, which
can simply be done by touching a wire fed down a hose to a trigger-activated welding gun. Companies such as Dekopro, Lincoln, and Yeswelder are making cost-effective
machines that do not require much setup. Many of the same tools used in woodworking can also be used in welding, including
a drill press, while of course using it with a high-speed twist bit or cobalt bit.
Outside of welding, Erin is a champion for weekend warriors and is a fan of power tools, adding the
SawStop Contractor Saw was one of her best additions to her shop. Knowing that there is a tool in the
shop that will prevent any unnecessary accidents is reassuring for her. However, her favorite tool is her
Track Saw. A good track saw is the bridge between the circular saw and the table saw. The track saw has
made breaking down plywood sheets a manageable process. Although plywood is easily accessible, Erin has grown
fond of white oak. You can also see her use maple in projects, such as the maple coffee table complete
with a rounded edge base that showcases her curved bandsaw techniques.
Erin's skills don't stop at woodworking and welding. Many of her skills were honed by completing
renovations of her former home before moving on to another fixer-upper with a two-car garage where
many of her creations are made. While her business, Maker Gray, keeps her busy, she considers it a side hustle to her
full-time job, working with April Wilkerson. April is a well-known, highly sought-after DIY'er with over 1
million YouTube subscribers, April is also the resident expert on the History Channel's Assembly
Required. Erin credits makers such as April, Ben Uyeda, and Mike Montgomery as the sources of her
inspiration. Being a woman in this male-dominated field means so much to Erin, she "love(s) showing
other women that they can tackle woodworking or home renovations, as well as a man can...Let's all
In developing her sense of style, Erin relies on a few techniques to upgrade her designs. With the help of
a plug cutter, she fills recessed holes that she made to join wood. While dowels would normally suffice here,
she instead uses the same species that she is already working with and doesn't have to purchase additional materials. She ensures the grain pattern
matches before securing it with wood glue.
With so much talent and encouragement, there are many things we can learn from Erin through her YouTube videos that she makes using a Canon system for photography and videography, as well as a GoPro, and Mavic Drone. You can tell she pours a
lot of her of herself into her work. "My projects are all things I want or need for myself. If I'm making
them, I feel that I might as well take others along so they can learn too. I love that so many people have
learned things and decided to tackle projects from watching my videos. I want people to realize that if
you have the desire, you can build anything."
Erin's future plans include delving into her latest home purchase and renovating it along with growing her
newly found love of welding, as well as continuing to grow the Maker Gray brand into a full-time
To learn more about Erin and her woodworking, you can follow her on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
You can find out more about Char and her woodworking by visiting her website and by following her on Instagram.
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