Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Brad Smith: Story of a Stool

comments (16) November 3rd, 2009 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 137 users recommend

Video Length: 6:52
Produced by: Jonathan Binzen

The timberframe shop Brad Smith built himself in Southeastern Pennsylvania is teeming with the ingenious jigs, fixtures and approaches to work that he has developed over the past twenty-five years building his line of farm-inspired furniture. Smith and several assistants produce hundreds of pieces each year--from his signature stools and benches with axe-handle legs to beds and tables. This audio slide show follows Smith as he builds a stool, and it highlights an array of the clever yet straightforward jigs that enable him to work so quickly and efficiently.

Smith, who was drawn to making things in wood as a boy growing up on a farm, went on to study furnituremaking at the School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute of Technology. His teachers there were Bill Keyser and Doug Sigler, and Sigler emphasized the need for students to make a practical business plan before launching into furnituremaking full time. In response, Smith decided to come up with a line of furniture that could be made with off-the-shelf parts. He found that axe-handles made great stool legs, and the character they gave his first pieces inspired him to design a whole line around them.

Brad Smith appeared on the back cover Membership Required of our 2009 Tools & Shops issue, FWW #209. For more on his work, read Masterful Production. Membership Required

posted in: blogs, videos, pro portfolio

Comments (16)

SeanMWalker SeanMWalker writes: Excellent video!
Posted: 2:26 pm on November 14th

crzcrz crzcrz writes: wow i was amazed how great his shop was. One day i hope to have a shop like that.Loved his jigs, loved his furniture even more.
Posted: 1:24 pm on December 5th

GoodOLBoy GoodOLBoy writes: Loved it! Im jealous of the shop, hope to have one as beautiful some day! Great job Brad, I love your designs incorporating american heritages of farming in your pieces.
Posted: 8:03 pm on December 3rd

handycars handycars writes: This is a wonderful video. Brad is a genius when it comes to creating jigs as evidenced by the several shown in this clip. I was able to come away with a keener awareness of how to approach certain tasks and am anxious to experiment with creating jigs / tools to help in projects I hope to have time to do. Thanks for having this.
Posted: 3:21 pm on November 27th

greenvillager greenvillager writes: Awesome
Posted: 10:09 pm on November 26th

marioignacio marioignacio writes: Yes mario ignacio

Posted: 9:36 am on November 26th

marioignacio marioignacio writes: He apreciado con mucho detenimiento estas habilidades en donde la madera protagonista es el motivo de la creatividad, lamejor opción fué suscribirme a esta revistya finewoodworking en donde tengo absolutamente todo lo necesario para desarrollarme integralmente en el campo de la carpintería fina, Dios los bendiga por la labor que hacen y que muchos hombres y mujeres tienen el mejor provecho de sus enseñanzas, porque no solo son los negocios los que llenan las necesidades, sino ese calor humano que ustedes transmiten por medio de esas explicaciones tan exhaustivas. Gracias amigos.
Mario Pena
Posted: 9:35 am on November 26th

Chaqueno Chaqueno writes: Very nice and simple, but yet producing pieces of art work. Well done and all the best Brad.
Posted: 9:48 pm on November 25th

lorafa lorafa writes: Very ingenious and impressive use of jigs and shop space. The final products look very nice too. I am in the process of putting together a little shop myself. My wife and I recently had a detached garage built at our home, so I am playing with different ideas on where things should be placed. One of the things in the slide show really caught my eye. The way Brad had one of his routers set up so that it could be stored up against the wall making room for another machine or table. Brad I hope you don't mind, but I think I am going to incorporate that idea into my own little shop. Thanks.
Posted: 1:37 pm on November 25th

garethfx garethfx writes: Now THAT’S an argument for keeping things simple. Excellent piece of reporting on a great set of ideas - really enjoyed that!
Posted: 1:23 pm on November 25th

BJHoliday BJHoliday writes: As someone who struggles to make a decent crosscut sled or router table I was totally in awe of these jigs. Great slide show!
Posted: 1:19 pm on November 25th

RMassey RMassey writes: WOW! Great slide show. Beautiful shop, ingenious jigs, envious collection of old machinery and a very nice finished product. I love how he even uses his scrap for packing. What a sharp guy! Makes my own shop feel a little inefficient. Thank you.
Posted: 11:42 am on November 25th

woodheat woodheat writes: Nice slide presentation Jonanthan. Brad has a most impressive shop setup. I like all the jigs but the final use of the seat blank cutout is classic. Really cool stool too. Thanks.
Posted: 1:25 pm on November 20th

brandonicus brandonicus writes: Truly impressive! Very clever jigs. I suppose that is an advantage of building the same piece over and over, you can really fine tune the process.
Posted: 1:11 am on November 11th

murphreejz murphreejz writes: Very impressive work flow.
Posted: 8:59 pm on November 4th

drdenny2990 drdenny2990 writes: awesome video about Brad Smith
Posted: 4:19 pm on November 3rd

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