Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 170, October 2019Welcome 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 Spain
By Char Miller-King
Atlanta, GA

This month's feature belongs to Erin Spain of erinspain.com. I met Erin this past summer (July 2019) during Haven Conference, a conference for DIY bloggers who specialize in Interior Design and Home Décor. Erin was moderating a panel I sat on, where we discussed side hustles outside of the panel's main role as bloggers.

Erin began her journey into woodworking and making with a headboard she built for her son. It was an experience she truly enjoyed and from there her blog was birthed. That was nearly seven years ago. She and her family have since purchased a new home which Erin decided to decorate on a budget, utilizing the ever inspiring Pinterest for ideas. This lead to Erin become a self-taught maker and interior decorator as well as a full-time blogger. With her online resources and her home as a canvas she has amassed a fleet of tools and knowledge.

Erin specializes in creating home décor items and furniture that have a high-end look, but built on a budget. After realizing there were others who were crafty and handy, Erin thought she would try her hand at it, and it was a success. Her design and making skills match her photography skills, where her photos have garnered a large following on social media.

As a full-time blogger, Erin is also a part of the The Home Depot PROSpective program, where she has the opportunity as an influencer to attend a weekend-long event to work hands on with prototype tools and a get a sneak peek at which tools are coming to market for the upcoming year.

There are a few tools that Erin considers her go-to tools for building; her Ryobi Sliding Compound miter saw, a circular saw, drill, and orbital sander. As a blogger, Erin keeps in mind that many of her readers may not own progressive and expensive power tools. She ensures that the projects she creates are all able to be replicated without a high cost for materials or tools.

As many woodworkers look for a way to expand their skill set and incorporate different mediums into their work, Erin has taken up welding. Her first welding project was a coffee table and now she is working to repair a nightstand. Erin decided to take up MIG welding. MIG, which stands for Metal Inert Gas, is a type of welding which creates an electric arc between a wire electrode and metal. MIG is great for beginning welders as the learning curve is much shorter than its counterparts TIG and Stick welding. MIG welding allows the welder to use almost any type of metal from aluminum to steel. Some of the other notable highlights are the automation and continuous function that make it the more efficient choice for some welders.

Erin's faux marble and welded steel coffee table is a big hit among her readers. First, she cleaned the steel with a sponge and acetone. After using an angle grinder with a cutting disc she used a flap disc on the angle grinder to grind them perfectly even. Erin employed her Forney Easy Weld to assemble the legs of the table and noted that "Right angle magnetic clamps are a life saver and definitely an essential welding supply to have on hand. If you've never welded before or are just starting out, you'll want to first do some tack welds which means a you weld a little dot on each end of the piece you are welding, and then go back and weld across the seam, connecting the tack weld dots." The table was finished with spray on primer and a coat of gold spray paint. As Erin uses her cost saving majors she jazzed up this table by adding a wood top and covering it in faux marble contact paper.

One of Erin's largest projects was restoring a library card catalog her grandparents rescued from an abandoned school building. The catalog was missing a few drawers and also had a few broken ones. In order to restore this beauty on a budget, Erin stripped the current stain and sanded it down to a smooth finish before applying a pre-stain and a dark walnut stain with a satin wipe-on poly topcoat. The library card catalog not only has a new home in Erin's self-proclaimed "mom-cave" also known as the living room, but a new purpose. It currently serves as a unique place to keep crafts and small tools for future projects.

In addition to being an incredible blogger, with the making chops to prove it, Erin was named one of the top DIY design bloggers by Domino Magazine. She has also been featured in Parents Magazine, HouseBeautiful.com, and CountryLiving.com. You may have also seen her on Headline News and the morning news right here in Georgia.

Erin's goal is to become more skilled at everything and really hone in on her woodworking and metalworking skillset. Her advice to others is to, "Not be afraid to fail and understand that sometimes new things can seem intimidating, but you are more capable than you think. Just give it a try."

You can check out Erin's work on her website at https://www.erinspain.com/ and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @erinspainblog.

You can check out Char's website at https://www.thewoodenmaven.com/ and follow her on Instagram at @woodenmaven.

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