6 Makers to Follow on Instagram

Whether you’re a maker yourself, or you just love to watch people build from raw materials to make something that is either beautiful, functional or both – it’s always fascinating to see the conception, the process and ultimately the final product these talented individuals create. 

There is no doubt that the maker community is alive and well and there is no better place to see it all go down than on social media. You can find all sorts of folks – from the pros who make a living from it working with big machinery and big budgets, to the one man shops who find solace in letting their imagination and creativity take over for a few hours each night, to everyone in-between.

While scrolling through one great maker after another, we had to pause along the way and take a closer look at some of the great talent that is out there – to find out a little bit more about them and their journey into the world of making.

Homebase:  New York, USA

Getting Started:  So I actually started because I was making guitars, and needed to find some cheaper lumber. A tree branch fell down in the yard so I picked up my hatchet I found in the garage and got to work. That hatchet didn’t work very well though. I sharpened and modded it, and decided that I enjoyed fixing up axes more than making guitars!

Inspiration:  I try to draw inspiration from all different types of sources. Social media, old timers who worked with axes for a living, and so on.

Tools that took you to the next level:  One tool that took me to the next level is my angle grinder. That thing removes rust like you wouldn’t believe!

Most-used tool:  My most used tool is my 2×72 belt grinder! I use it on every axe I make, whether it be for making or modding a handle or sharpening the head!

Homebase:  Texas, USA

Getting Started:  I started making things because I wanted a beard comb, and wasn’t sure where to get a good one. I figured making my own would show me what works and what doesn’t, and it grew from there. My cheapness continued, leading me towards rescuing tools, because I’d rather put in effort reviving something I know works, than spend money on something I can’t vouch for.

Inspiration: As I’m reading, watching, or daydreaming about the medieval period, I find myself wondering – can I make that out of wood? Should I? I mostly find myself making things to see if my loose idea can be realized, and let the material decide whether I will be rewarded or punished for my lack of planning.

I keep my failures in a bucket in my direct line of sight, and those motivate me to try again – different goal, different technique, different plan, all in the pursuit of using the most of what I have available to me.
 

Tools that took you to the next level:  My next level was when I entered the realm of the axe aficionado, and discovered that making a handle is deceptively difficult, but that effort and patience will result in a tool that can serve and be beautiful for a long time.

Most-used tool:  My most used tool is probably a small carving axe. So much of my project time is spent preparing the stock material, and the carving axe does a good job at that; I can go from that step into finer work without changing tools, making it both efficient and satisfying to use.

Homebase: Vermont, USA

Getting Started: In January of 2022 I finally came to the conclusion that the work environment I was in was no longer good for my physical or mental health, so I resigned my job as an elementary school teacher. I had a vague idea that I would do something through my wood shop but, honestly, didn’t have a concrete plan at the time. Shortly before I resigned I bought a NOS Power King lathe and after resigning, with time on my hands, I started teaching myself how to turn. I started by turning handles for files and such for my personal use and then things began to evolve. I saw that there was interest in hand made tools so I began turning handles for marking knives and awls. Since then my work has expanded to include winding sticks, try squares, marking gauges, sliding bevels, and split-nut screwdrivers.

Inspiration: I appreciate simple, classic designs. I have a variety of vintage turnscrews and have always been struck by how the handle designs feel good in the hand and are also aesthetically pleasing. For me it’s important that the tools we use not only be highly functional but also be aesthetically pleasing and inspirational. As artisans that’s what we do, we combine function and aesthetic appeal. Having hand tools that work flawlessly, feel good in the hand, and are aesthetically pleasing and inspirational is a great starting point for great work.

Tools that took you to the next level: I have to say my lathe. I had never used a lathe before I bought this one and it opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed. It has helped me expand my passion for woodworking into being a full time toolmaker and woodworker.

Most-used tool: This is honestly a three-way tie between my lathe, my Stanley No. 4, type 11 smoothing plane, and my Lie-Nielsen No. 60 1/2 low angle block plane. I use each one of these tools every day and they each play a critical role in the tools I create.

Homebase: Colorado, USA

Getting Started: I really started during the pandemic. I got hooked on the show “Alone” and wanted to try carving spoons like they did. From carving my first spoon, it’s evolved into the incredibly fun hobby I have now.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from pretty much everywhere. There are a ton of incredibly talented woodworkers on Instagram that are huge inspirations. Also just throughout life, different patterns and color combinations I see that look awesome and decide to see if I can emulate it with wood.

Tools that took you to the next level:  I’d say there are two “tools” that really help take my work to the next level. First is my planer. Once I got one it really opened up worlds of new projects that I could do and with its accuracy and efficiency, it provides incredible results and allows me to try new ideas without wasting a crazy amount of time.  Second would have to be the program SketchUp. With this program I’m able to plan my project down to each cut and see exactly how is going to look each step of the way. It’s really reduced my waste and allowed unlimited creativity.

Most-used tool:  My most used tool is the one I have the greatest love/hate relationship with: my sander. Every piece of mine takes a great deal of sanding to get it to that perfectly flat and smooth finish. It’s a very tedious labor of love that makes a huge difference in the final product. However it really tests my patience since you absolutely cannot cut corners during this process if you want a good result.

Homebase: South Carolina, USA

Getting Started: I attempted to make a backsaw, thinking it would be easy, and I failed miserably. I’ve been absolutely hooked every since.

Inspiration: Early American saw makers. That’s one of the main reasons that I collect American saws from the 1800’s. It allows me to study their work so that I can recreate it in my own way, while still honoring their form and function.

Tools that took you to the next level:  I guess it was mostly information, history, and a LOT of trial and error. I realize that they’re not necessarily ‘tools’, but that’s what really helped me the most in my learning.

Most-used tool: By far, rasps and files. Rasps to shape the handles and files to create toothlines on the saws.

Homebase: Vancouver Island, CA

Getting Started: I don’t have the usual grandfather story. I was never exposed to woodworking growing up. I’m not sure exactly when the interest started, but I think it might have been a Paul Sellers video that showed up on my Youtube feed that sparked things. Was he carving a spoon maybe? I remember a lot of spoon carving videos in the beginning! I got more and more interested in hand tools, and since I couldn’t afford new tools, I learned a lot about vintages tools and how to restore them.

Inspiration: Other makers on social media, really. There is a seemingly endless supply of talented hand tool woodworkers on Youtube and Instagram, and I will be borrowing from their designs for a long time to come.

Tools that took you to the next level:  I think the tools that helped the most in getting me to the next level were DMT diamond shapening plates, and the Veritas MKII honing jigs. Sharp tools make all the difference.

Most-used tool:  My bench, I suppose. It’s used constantly throughout every project. Woodworking is a lot more enjoyable when you have an easy way to hold down your work – whatever the project may be.