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HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY—to “A Splintered History of Wood”

Ten years ago Harper Collins published my first book—A Splintered History of Wood: Belt Sander Races, Blind Woodworkers & Baseball Bats.

A Splintered History of Wood

A Splintered History of Wood

I got to travel the world—Venice and Cremona Italy, New Zealand, Tanzania, East Coast and West coast while researching it. I got to interview the likes of Jimmy Carter and Mira Nakashima. And I got to travel even more places while promoting it. It was selected by NPR as one of it’s “Best Books for Gift Giving,” and won a variety of regional awards. I gave presentations at dozens (and dozens) of libraries, book stores, clubs and conventions. It even became Amazon.com’s #1 “Mover and Shaker” for a brief stint.

The highlights were unexpected. One rough-around-the-edges fifteen year old kid approached me after I spoke to the Kansas City Woodworker Guild and told me A Splintered History of Wood was the only book he’d ever read; that alone was  reward enough for having written the book. A doctor used a chapter out of it for an article he wrote for a Mayo Clinic Journal on aging. And I met another fellow who was on a mission to visit every city and place highlighted in the book. And lots of people have gifted it to the favorite woodworker, historian or curiosity seeker in their lives.

In retrospect I learned writing doesn’t just involve writing new chapters in a book; it also involves writing new chapters in your life. And that’s what’s kept me writing, researching, building and speaking for the last decade.

Thanks to everyone that’s helped me on this journey. And Happy 10th Anniversary to A Splintered History of Wood (available at Amazon.com)

April 16, 2018

I’ve entered the world of Instagram. My first dozen entries are based on “The World’s 12 Most Amazing Woodworking Projects” (though EVERY woodworking project is amazing.

If you like stuff like that, follow me at https://www.instagram.com/spikecarlsen/

Next up? “The 12 Coolest Woodworking and DIY quotes”

Livio de Marchi driving his wood Ferrari in the canals of Venice. I spent a few minutes with him a few years back ... an absolute character and artist

Livio de Marchi driving his wood Ferrari in the canals of Venice. I spent a few minutes with him a few years back … an absolute character and artist

 

5) marbles Fred Cogelow

A statue by Fred Cogelow … so realistic you wanna sit down and pick some wisdom from this guy!

10) Cress chairth

An imaginative chair (and woodworker). Fun stuff from Jake Cress

https://www.instagram.com/spikecarlsen/ 

A WOOD BIKE? YEP! AN AWESOME RIDE? YEP!

A WOOD BIKE?? OKAY, so I splurged a little.

Renovo "John O'Day" wood bike

Renovo “John Day” wood bike

I have a wood cowboy hat, wood necktie and  wood canoe. Why not a wood bike? I began looking into Renovo http://renovobikes.com wood bikes on a whim … and that whim turned into some serious investigating … and that investigating turned up some great information …

A place where ash, bubinga and walnut meet

A place where ash, bubinga and walnut meet

Seat stays made of laminated walnut and bubinga

Seat stays made of laminated walnut and bubinga

Wood has 4 times the shock absorbing qualities of most other common bike frame materials. The hollow, laminated frame makes it both strong and light (23 pounds). And of course it’s the most gorgeous bike I’ve ever owned and/or ridden.

Divine finger joint joinery

Divine finger joint joinery

And the folks at Renovo were kind enough to customize the bike by integrating some ancient Kauri wood http://ancientwood.com into the seat and handlebar rings (so I can tell people I own a 50,000 year old bike!)

50,000 year old ancient Kauri Wood incorporate into a trim ring

50,000 year old ancient Kauri Wood incorporate into a trim ring

More updates after my next ride!!

 

 

March 25, 2018

Check out this Emmy-nominated video Spike posted on YouTube yesterday. Thrilling plot AND the end contains hints about his book coming out this fall BUILDING USEFUL AND UNIQUE KIDS’ FURNITURE by Linden Publishing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViBELAy8Yuk!

5 books by Spike Carlsen; another one coming out fall of 2018

5 books by Spike Carlsen; another one coming out fall of 2018

BUILD A BAD ASS TABLE

Why is Spike smiling so broadly (and dressed so sharply?)

VIKING SPIKE copy

He’s  proud of the “Viking Long Table” he built and designed for The Family Handyman magazine. You can find all the step-by-step directions on how to build it in the April 2018 issue of the magazine.

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It’s based on the table he built his own backyard several years ago; upon which he and Kat have hosted many a fine feast (mostly revolving around pizza!) Info on how to build the benches and other great stuff can be found on the magazine’s website at http://familyhandyman.com

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DETAIL YOUR DIGS with Men’s Health (& Spike)

Sandwiched between “Lust Lessons” by Augesten Burroughs and “Run your Best 5 K” in the April 2017 edition of Men’s Health, you’ll find the latest piece I wrote for them—”Detail Your Digs.” It’s more about house health than men’s health—but lots of great spring house prep information for everyone. Complete with fun illustration (like the shark in the pool and pizza on the roof.) And no, that’s not me on the cover. Check it out.COVERSPREADBY LINE

ONE PROJECT—AND 3 WAYS TO GIVE IT

About 30 days ago I posted the first of, what was supposed to be, a series of gift projects great for holiday giving. The snag was, 25 days ago I busted my pelvis—sort of negating the “series of gift projects” idea. Some day soon I’ll cover the “How to screw together a busted hip” project (definitely NOT a DIY thing) but for now here’s another gift project.

0-tic-tac-toe-jpegIt all got me to thinking there are 3 WAYS TO GIVE GIFTS LIKE THIS: 1) You can build the actual project and give it, 2) You can give the gift of time by offering to build the project with a kid, grandkid, friend or spouse, 3) You can give the gift of know-how by wrapping up the book in which the project first ran. All ways are good ways. Today we look at a simple TIC TAC TOE shelf featured in “Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects.” Stay tuned for more (unless I crack the other hip.)

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A simple woodworking gift for holiday giving (#1)

Okay all ye DIYers, woodworkers, crafty people and gift makers, here is the first in a series of holiday gift project ideas for your perusal (and construction); from the pages of “Ridiculously SImple Furniture Projects.” It’s pretty straight forward—and as long as you’re gearing up to make one, you might want to think about making several. There are even printable plans at http://www.ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com/ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com/Home.html 

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HAPPY sawdusting! (And if you want a signed copy of any of my books for gift giving, just give a shout.)

BRICKMANIA!! (LEGO heaven)—& great fundraiser for EVOLVE Adoption a

I have the  honor of being involved in a unique upcoming fundraising event to help support EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services. I’ll be the MC for their BRICKMANIA event, Saturday, Oct. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. You’ll find more information at www.EvolveServices.org/AutumnFestScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.47.51 AM

The theme is “building families.” There will be craft beer-tasting, tacos from Chowgirls, silent auction, live auction, LEGO building competitions, raffles and a short, but sweet, program where (in 5 minutes or less) I’m going to build something that’s in tune with the “building families” theme. They’re still looking for sponsors and auction items, so contact them if you’re interested. Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.48.15 AM

The venue is Brickmania Toyworks in NE Minneapolis. The place consists of 10,000 sq. ft. of outrageous, gargantuan, million-piece building, battleships and unusual objects. So come, laugh, drink, eat, build and GIVE!!

“Books, Banter & Little Bites” — July 30, Squash Blossom FarL

On July 30th (2016), I’ll be participating in a fun author event at Squash Blossom Farm. Lucie Amundsen (of “Locally Laid” eggs and same-name book fame) will be speaking about her memoir and business. I’ll build a Leopold Bench and talk about “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects.” Teresa Marrone will be talking about her just-released book “Dishing Up Minnesota: 150 Recipes from the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” then leading a foraging hike through magical Squash Blossom Farm afterwards.

Lots more information at Facebook events page and the Squash Blossom Website click here

Teresa Marrone, author of "Dishing up Minnesota: 150 Recipes from the Land of 10,000 Lakes"

Teresa Marrone, author of “Dishing up Minnesota: 150 Recipes from the Land of 10,000 Lakes”

Lucie Amundsen of "Locally Laid" eggs and book fame.

Lucie Amundsen of “Locally Laid” eggs and book fame.

Spike Carlsen will build this Leopold Bench—then give it away to someone attending the event!!

Spike Carlsen will build this Leopold Bench—then give it away to someone attending the event!!