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Maker Interview: Johnny Brooke of Crafted Workshop

House One host Jenn Largesse interviews Johnny Brooke of Crafted Workshop in this installment of the House One Maker Interview Series.

Aaron: Hey guys, my name’s Aaron Massey from House One. Today I’m here with Johnny Brooke from Crafted Workshop, thank you for joining us, Johnny.

Johnny: Yeah, man, thanks for having me. And if you guys are not familiar with Crafted Workshop, why don’t you tell us a little about your channel.

Johnny: Yeah, it’s a YouTube channel. I put out pretty much weekly, woodworking projects, mostly modern furniture type of stuff, but I also do some shop projects here and there. Been at it for a little over a year and a half now and, yeah, it’s awesome.

How did you get started?

Johnny: When we moved into our house like two and a half years ago, we’d always lived in apartments. I’d always been into handcrafted items. It actually used to be called Crafted Magazine and I’d do interviews with people who made cool– like leather shoes and pants, actually all this stuff.

I could never really make the stuff myself because I was in an apartment, so as soon as we moved in the house, actually, the week before, I bought a RYOBI miter saw, it was sitting at the house when we got there. I built two Adirondack chairs that weekend and the rest is history.

I went full Ana White for those first couple projects—it was great. I just got totally obsessed with it as I do with most of my hobbies and yes, that was that.

Aaron: You don’t have any formal building training or anything like that? You just learned it on the fly?

Johnny: YouTube Academy.

Aaron: Yes, that’s the thing, YouTube Academy of Builds.

Johnny: It’s amazing, living in this day and age. I think you can learn so much for free online, it’s really incredible.

What are you best known for?

Johnny: Definitely the river table, it’s that kind of live edge table with the edges of the slabs facing in, with the painted glass running down the center. That one has definitely taken off on my channel, it’s four times as good as the next best video view-wise, that’s been a really cool one. That’s probably the biggest one but I’ve done cutting boards, assembly tables, workbenches and stuff like that, it’s kind of a mix. If you’re into woodworking, you’ll like it.

Aaron: Is that also one of your favorite projects?

Johnny: Yes, I mean oddly enough, it is actually probably the project I am probably most proud of. It’s just beautiful. Like the slab, I got this super cheap slab because it was like bowed and twisted but it’s because it had a ton of figure in it. It’s cherry and just gorgeous. I get to look at it every day, whereas a lot of the stuff I’ve built has been client pieces, so they’re at somebody’s house now. That’s definitely one of my favorites.

I built a guitar, that was one of my first projects on the channel, the Telecaster, that’s appealing and that was really sweet too, I’m pretty happy with that.

How do you decide on your next project?

Johnny: The client work was something that I accidentally fell into when I started doing this full-time. It was always meant to be a content business but then I had a couple of local people on Instagram reach out and they wanted some pieces, there’s only so much furniture you can build for your own house.

That worked well for a while but now it’s– I want more control over exactly what I’m going to be building. Now I have a list of a million things that I want to build and slowly getting through them, feels like never even making a dent in the list, but yes.

What is your best advice for new DIY’ers?

Johnny: As far as YouTube, I think consistency is critical and it’s something that a lot of people have a hard time getting through that initial grind where you’re putting so much work in and nobody’s watching it. It’s just a real bummer, but then you have that one video that pops off, then you’ve got a little bit bigger base. That just keeps happening and over time, it will happen.

That’s the thing, YouTube is this weird place where they generate, I think, most of our traffic for us. It’s a very tight community in a lot of ways. The woodworking rabbit hole is pretty deep—people will find you.

The same thing with woodworking. I mean, just pick a project you want to build it and go try it. The worst that can happen is you waste some money on materials. I built that guitar and I never used a router before so that was a good learning experience. There’s plenty of mess-ups but they’re hard to see in the final products.

What video styles or makers inspire you?

Johnny: People who I learned a ton from getting started, Marc Spagnuolo is, to me, the godfather of YouTube woodworking, The Wood Whisperer. I learned a ton of technical stuff from him because he does a really good job with that.

Then design wise, since modern pieces are what I’m really into, Mike from Modern Builds, I’ve been following that dude from the very beginning. The same with Ben from HomeMade Modern. Jimmy DiResta is obviously awesome. Bob from I Like To Make Stuff is a huge inspiration for me. The list is– basically, everybody’s out there, I subscribe to and watch daily.

I feel like I’m always able to learn some new tip or trick. I’m certainly not some amazing expert woodworker that can’t learn anything more. We all have things we can get better at.

Aaron: For sure. I want to say thank you for joining us.

Johnny: Yeah, man. Thanks for having me.

Aaron: If you guys want to check out more of Johnny’s stuff, you can check out Crafted Workshop on YouTube. And you have as well right?

Johnny: Yes, @CraftedWorkshop on pretty much any social media. I got it locked down. I made sure to do my homework before I rebranded, so yes.

Aaron: Great. Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Johnny: Thanks man.