Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 190, July 2021Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Women in Woodworking - Meet Erin Longfellow
By Char Miller-King
Atlanta, GA

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 make.

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 rise together."

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 business.

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.

Return to the Wood News Online front page

Click the images below to visit some of our most popular tool departments

Wood Turning 
Highland Woodworking Social Media Take a look at the Highland Woodworking Facebook Page Check out the Highland Woodworking Twitter Page View the Highland Woodworking YouTube Channel Pin from the Highland Woodworking Pinterest Page Connect with the Highland Woodworking Instagram Page Read the Highland Woodworking Blog

Highland Woodworking
1045 N. Highland Ave. NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
Tel. 800-241-6748

Email us at email@highlandwoodworking.com
Visit us on the web at www.highlandwoodworking.com

Copyright © 2020 Highland Hardware, Inc.

Errors regarding pricing and specifications are subject to correction.
SOME SALE QUANTITIES MAY SELL OUT and become unavailable at the advertised price.