Peter Brown, better known on Instructables as Kludge77, is a woodworker and self-proclaimed “computer geek." He originally joined Instructables on a whim, posting a project and YouTube video here and there. After picking up followers and winning contests, he has become one of our regular authors. His forte is using common objects, such as sprinkles, rock salt, Jawbreakers, Oreos, crayons, and bacon, in uncommon ways; you never know what he will come up with next. Wanting to learn more about Peter, I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about him and his work.
When did you first start making things? What was your first project/what types of projects were you interested in?
In 2007, I was your typical male homeowner. I had a handful of tools for working around the house, but no skill with any of them. Jigsaw, cordless drills, a box of nails, Sawzall, etc. I had a bench to put them on and some peg boards for my screwdrivers. One day my wife asked me to build a bookcase for this odd space in the living room. So I did. It was square, held together with screws and too much glue and poorly stained. I loved it, but what's more, I loved the process of making something. I was hooked, and within 2 years I had amassed a full garage worth of stationary power tools, some of which I still use every day.
Tell us about your workspace.
The shop I'm in now is my third space and I'm not fully moved in yet. It's an odd space because it not only has a refrigerator and a darkroom, but also an oven and a kitchen sink. I almost don't have to leave the shop for anything. Oddly enough, my last shop even had a restroom. Almost all of my tools were sourced second-hand from Craigslist. I have a table saw from 1950, a band saw from 1960 and some other neat vintage tools, most of which I've added googly eyes to. Googly eyes on power tools make me laugh, and I want my shop to be fun. I also tend to horde strange mediums in a drawer: cotton balls, denim, wire, candy dust, rubber hose, etc. Sometimes I'll open a drawer and recall a project that I hadn't thought about in months.
What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration when deciding what to make?
I enjoy making things from the wrong materials. A ring from colored pencils, a bracelet from blue jeans, or a glass from a salt block. I think it's less about the item for me and more about the material in use. So I spend time looking at different material and just wondering how I could use it in conjunction with my power tools. I'll like wandering through home stores, craft stores, and yard sales looking for something to jump at me. I spend a lot of time on websites like Instructables, and talking with other makers. The truth is, you never know when you're going to see something that sparks an idea, or when someone else’s project will springboard an idea you hadn’t considered before, "I liked that, but what if they had done this instead?"
Will you tell us about some of the other designers and/or other Instructablers whose work you admire? Why?
I love that Instructables isn't just limited to one genre of making. While I follow a lot of woodworkers and makers, I also have tried many recipes from bakers and cooks on here! One that comes to mind was called " Unicorn Barf" that Danger is my middle name posted. It was excellent! I can almost guarantee a 2-hour sugar coma! As for makers, I think Carl Jacobson is one of the more skilled woodworkers I know. His Instructables are detailed, his processes make sense, and he produces really fun stuff! I have seriously considered driving to his house to steal that amazing X-wing fighter he made!
What are your goals, plans, or hopes for your future projects?
I'm not lying when I say, "I have no idea what I'm going to build next." My current project came from an old viewer email that I re-read and thought, "I should try that." I'm not a planner, or good at organizing my thoughts. I'm really more of a storm of chaos in the shop (and in other aspects of my life.) So, whatever I end up making, I bet it will be strange, and I hope I have fun making it.
You share your projects on Instructables as well as YouTube, do you have any Instructables or YouTube only projects and how does posting your instructables benefit you on YouTube? Do you notice a difference in views?
There are videos I've made for YouTube that didn't seem like they would work well as Instructables, so I didn't post them. I've yet to make an Instructables only project. I totally notice a jump in views. I first started posting on Instructables on a whim, but after one post got a fair number of views, I tried to put more effort into it. I've been steadily growing a fanbase on Instructables alongside YouTube. It's nice, and a totally different community. Sometimes YouTube comments can get you down, I've never had that sort of feedback here. It's a friendly place to share ideas and to see folks trying new things.
What kind of robot would you make?
“A pick up after me robot”. Its life would be menial and bleak. Its only task would be to sweep up the shop, put things back in the right place and get all the blasted rust off my tools. If it ever became sentient, I'd be hauled away in handcuffs some federal robot advocacy group.
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