Sustainability and Values

Paul Jackman

THE ARTIST 

Paul Jackman is an artist, woodworker, and internet personality most known for his nearly 400,000 subscriber YouTube channel Jackman Works, and, more recently, his Netflix show Making Fun. 

As a lifelong woodworker and maker, Jackman officially got his start on Cape Cod at the Upper Cape Cod Vocational High School where he studied woodworking and carpentry. Upon graduating in 2009, he founded Jackman Works. At the same time, he went on to obtain an engineering degree from Syracuse University and the following year, began his YouTube channel. In 2016, Jackman began working for himself full time, producing YouTube videos and other social media content based around his woodworking.

Starting in a tiny basement workshop, he relocates frequently due to his wife's military career, and has had workshops in Boston's Northshore, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and now is located back in Massachusetts. As clever as he is creative, he can make anything, but is most well known for high end reclaimed projects (often from pallet wood), oversized recreations of everyday objects, and satirical and irreverent build videos to go along with his creations.

His fast-paced videos are meant for anyone, but he especially hopes to inspire a younger generation to use their hands and just start making stuff. Referring to his educational background, Jackman says that very few people these days are lucky enough to have the hands-on learning experience that he had, so he’s trying to pay it forward by translating what he knows into very easily digestible videos where people are entertained while they learn and often laugh at his own expense (usually on purpose… usually).

Paul Jackman Gallery 10

Cape Cod Wall Map

Paul Jackman Gallery 1

Pallet Wood Clog Work Boots (with a wheel in the heel!)

Paul Jackman Gallery 2

Patchwork Plywood and Ebonized Oak Dresser

Paul Jackman Gallery 3

Jackman Works Adirondack chair

Paul Jackman Gallery 4

Jackman size

Paul Jackman Gallery 5

Kitchen Island Cabinet from Reclaimed Wood

Paul Jackman Gallery 6

Giant Baseball Chair

Paul Jackman Gallery 7

Wavy Vase

Paul Jackman Gallery 8

Giant Articulated Hands

Paul Jackman Gallery 9

Giant Wood "PEZ" Dispenser

Paul Jackman Gallery 11

Giant Wood Hand Plane

How did you get into woodworking?

Well, 112 years ago my Great-Grandpappy met my Great-Grandmomma and long story short, 84 years later I was born. Throughout my childhood I developed an irrational hatred towards trees, which extends to my life today where I send chunks of trees through sharp blades in every way I can possibly find.

Backing up a bit though, when I was a kid, I loved to build anything and everything. I would also try to take apart anything and everything to see how it went together. Likely to avoid this, my father started bringing home plywood that was destined for the trash from job sites that he would drive by. This began my first foray into working with wood, which mostly took the form of skateboard ramps that I just built but rarely actually used (I was pretty popular among the neighbourhood kids though).

From there, when I got the opportunity to attend a vocational school for high school, I jumped at the chance. They have a couple dozen technical disciplines to choose from and all of the students got to experience each one for at least a day. The carpentry shop just felt right to me, and looking back now it all kind of makes sense. I studied carpentry ranging from cabinet making, to turning, to framing and remodeling houses and after 4 years I was hooked.

What inspires your creations?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I guess it’s just an incessant need to be different? I’m super passionate about pushing the boundaries while testing my patience to see where the limits are. I love playing with patterns and colors. Also, I probably need a therapist.

I had a desire to explore more fluid shapes

What made you decide to add power carving to your repertoire?

Curves, who doesn’t love some curves? Seriously though, the human eye is naturally attracted to objects with pleasant curves to their shape. Plus, it has always struck me as curious, why we take this natural organic shape of a tree, mill it down into straight boards, and then make cabinet/tables/etc. almost entirely with straight lines. And even more, what’s funnier than taking a naturally organic shape, manufacturing it into a straight/square piece, and then turning that back into a natural organic shape again? I’ll answer my own rhetorical question, nothing, nothing is funnier than that, so that absurdity of that is naturally going to attract my attention.

I feel like I didn’t really answer the question, but I guess at the core of it, the only place that we often see curves in woodworking is with ogee type profiles, wood turning, etc., but those still have a certain consistency to them, and I had a desire to explore more fluid shapes. Also, as with most of my newly acquired skills, I had a project idea where I needed to learn a skill to complete it, and that was my “Manly” Christmas Story Leg Lamp project that was my first ever power carving project where I wanted to carve the shape of my own leg.

What is your favorite power carving tool and why?

No question, that’s definitely the TURBOPlane. It’s the only way I’ve found to be able to shave down my massive #jackmansized toe nails. For real though, it’s the power carving tool that I always go to first just because it works so quickly and smoothly and is just one of those tools that’s a blast to use. It’s a tool that solves problems for me because it does a job that no other tool can do.

What impact has power carving had on your art/passion/livelihood?

Well, first off, it’s made me at least 200% more attractive. Other than that, it has honestly opened up an entirely new lane of woodworking that you just simply can’t do without the power carving tools. Whether it’s a project that is dictated by the power carving, or just a project that you add a little bit of extra curve too, it allows your brain to make new connections that just don’t happen when you’re ripping boards on the table saw, or cutting box joints.

What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting into power carving?

Start power carving yesterday. Seriously, the sooner you start adding freehand curves to your work, the sooner you’ll develop applications for the technique. Start with a log you don’t care about, try a scrap piece of lumber, then you’ll be addicted and Arbortech will own your soul. And I can think of many worse things than that.

Paul Jackman Mini Wavy Vase Video

       

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