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A picture of Jim Merullo

Jim Merullo

Maker

in crafter, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jim Merullo. By day I do application support at a hospital. It's not a bad job, it pays the bills, but it provides very little in the way of personal satisfaction and it is very much NOT who I am. Who I actually am is a lot of things but I think primarily I'm a maker of things, these days mostly things made out of wood. You can find more of my work at my website or on Instagram.

What hardware do you use?

Grizzly Bandsaw, Sawstop Contractor saw. Jet lathe. Stanley planes, Lie-Nielsen saws, Narex chisels. Lately I've been building a collection of beautiful tools made by smaller toolmakers such as Mass Woodworks, Crucible and Blue Spruce Toolworks. You ever get excited holding an awl? I have. When it's hand-forged with a turned paduk handle there's nothing prettier. I hope to soon have a scorp and a travesher for carving out a chair seat.

Oh, and I also have an iMac and a MacBook Pro. They're made out of plastic and silicon and every few years they get too slow to use so I have to throw them out and replace them.

And what software?

As little as possible. For work I use Windows and some Windows-based tools as well as Office 365. I am of the opinion that most software is terrible and computers should not be as difficult to use for the average person in the year 2023. Then again, if software wasn't terrible my job would probably not exist. Since my day job requires that I fight with software all day, when it comes to making and woodworking I don't want to use software at all.

Plenty of makers use things like CNC, laser cutters, and 3D printers but I have no interest in any of those things. I just want to use my hands to put sharp steel to wood, or cut some styrene with an X-acto knife and glue it to some more styrene. I keep some notes in Google Docs and occasionally if I need a graphic I'll use Pixelmator, a Photoshop clone that is more frustrating than it needs to be. I don't even use SketchUp or anything like that to draw up plans. I use a pencil and paper. All I ever wanted to do since Jr. High School was "work with computers" but I've mostly grown to hate computers and aside from the hours and hours I spend on social media and MetaFilter I try to avoid using them. I don't even play games anymore.

What would be your dream setup?

I am very fortunate that I have a really nice shop already. I have a dry basement with high ceilings that I've built out into a workspace that mostly works for me. I wired good lighting and outlets wherever I need them. If I had the space I might have a couple more bandsaws with different blades on them. If I had unlimited space, time and money I'd have a blacksmith forge, a metal shop, a leatherworking area, a sewing room, a drafting table, and a shop toilet.

Lately, as I transition from more of a general maker into a woodworker, I've been thinking about adding more beauty to my workspace. I want to build out an area for my workbench and surround it with beautiful hand tools organized in some sort of hand-built cabinet or tool chest. I'm still figuring out the best thing to do based on how I work. I will not use software to design it.