Hey guys, I’m John Malecki. Born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, I’ve bled black and gold my whole life. Now I pay homage to the Steel City as a builder in the neighborhood of Braddock, sharing my craft with my clients and you at home.
Making a career out of woodworking wasn’t always the goal, though. Ever since I was little, I had dreamt of a career in the NFL. After a successful high school football career, I earned a full scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh to play football. As a starter since my sophomore year and captain my senior year, my football career helped me graduate from Pitt with my bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2010.
After college, I signed a futures contract with the Tennessee Titans, then bounced around a few NFL teams for a while — the harsh reality of the NFL. After a bit of dumb luck and help from one hustler of an agent, I was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers and played with them for about 2 years. I feel honored every day to have had a chance to live out my dream in my hometown.
After finishing my career in the NFL, I took a year off from just about everything. While figuring out my next step, I began tackling DIY woodworking projects in my spare time. I ended up developing a deep passion for the hobby, constantly inspired by the possibilities that lie within my own two hands.
Woodworking was challenging, fulfilling, and fun, hooking me in before I knew it. As I acquired more tools and started working out of my buddy’s garage, I found a new passion: building a life as a builder — the builder — and haven’t looked back since.
For the past few years, I’ve been astounded by the response from the public regarding my work. As it turns out, you never really stop having dreams — whether they’re playing in a Sunday night game or sharing your craft with the world — and I’m grateful every day that I have the opportunity to live mine. So let’s do this; check out my videos, my blog, and get some inspiration for your upcoming project. You’ll be impressed with how far your hands can take you.
How did you get into woodworking?
It honestly came to me as something that peaked my interest in the offseason while I was playing football. I saw a table I wanted and I decided to learn how to build one, and a few years and a few tools later I was fully into being a woodworker
What inspires your creations?
Nothing specific, I just really love to create and working with my hands. I love grand architecture and seeing how hotels and spaces that accommodate a lot of people design things. I always love that sort of work
What made you decide to add power carving to your repertoire?
Paul Jackman, he made it look really fun and I wanted to give it a try!
What is your favorite power carving tool and why?
I love the TURBOPlane, it’s a beast and hogs out a ton of waste quickly.
What impact has power carving had on your art/passion/livelihood?
It has added another dimension to my creative process and ability to create difficult shapes. It lets me think outside the box a bit more.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting into power carving?
Buy a good respirator, and just dive into it. It’s a lot of fun and easy to get the hang of!
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