Skip to main content

Art thief

Hey, I can’t think of everything. That’s why I steal great woodworking ideas wherever I can.

People always ask me where I get the ideas for projects. Naturally, I’m quick to tell them that I’m incredibly creative and have thousands of fantastic ideas for beautiful things to make. (At the same time, I usually also tell them how modest I am.)

I do have great ideas from time to time, but the truth is that I grab ideas wherever I can find them – books, museum displays, magazines and, frequently, I just outright steal them from other woodworkers. Here’s an example:

AJBLOG-1017 image

I got the idea for that glass-lidded box while at a Christmas arts and crafts show my wife dragged me to. At the time, necklace beads were all the rage and one of the vendors had a few boxes he’d made specifically for beads. Of course, Sally wanted me to make her one.

Surreptitiously snapping a quick photo, I later studied the picture and refined what I wanted to do. And here’s the thing – unless it’s a reproduction of a vintage piece, I rarely create an exact copy of anything. In the case of that box above, the only thing I kept was the clear glass lid and the idea of using metal rods to hang necklace beads.

My version has different joinery and bottom detail, completely different hinge arrangement, a lower profile, and my own take on the overall design. A few years later I even did away with the clear glass. The net sum of what remained of the stolen idea? A lidded box with metal rods.

So, yeah, if I see an idea of yours that I like, I’m gonna steal it. But rest assured that my version will end up being so different that you likely won’t even recognize it.

Related Articles

FullSizeRender

Works of art

I can’t tell you what art is, but I know it when I see it.

AJBLOG-998 image

Art of the matter

Woodworking is an art, so it’s only fitting to surround myself in my woodshop with more art – in a manner of speaking.

And the purpose was?

I found an interesting relic in my shop yesterday. Nicely made, but I have no idea why I made it.

AJBLOG-1008 image

Changing tastes

I used to really like dark stain and used it on almost everything. Now, I rarely touch the stuff.

AJBLOG-1049 image

Mystery solved

I was robbed of some of my best wood supplies! Fortunately, I found the thief – she was upstairs getting a cup of coffee.

Extra dusty

No matter how efficient your dust collection is, it can’t get everything.

AJBLOG-1035 image

Dream projects

I think every woodworker has a file full of notes and sketches on dream projects they want to do “someday.” I know I do.