David Picciuto, Woodworker and Artist


Cool Tools Show 228: David Picciuto

Our guest today is David Picciuto who’s probably known best for his YouTube channel Make Something. David has written two woodworking books, loves art, music and go kart racing. All of which uses plenty of tools although he claims to have no real connection with them. You can find him on Instagram @makesomethingtv and on Twitter @drunkenwood.

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Show notes:

A personal library of books
I’ve probably got 350, 400 books, somewhere around there, and I’ve been collecting books for years now. I go to Goodwill’s or thrift stores, or there’s a great website called thriftbooks.com where I just buy used books. I’ve got tons of woodworking books and metalworking and DIY art books, how-tos. Just galleries, tutorials, anything that has to do with making I will collect, even if it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever use. I’ve got sewing books and jewelry and crafts, and I just like having them for reference. I trust a book more than I trust a YouTube video because I know the time it takes to write a book, and it might not always be the case, but it’s assumed that the person writing the book is an expert at that thing that they’re writing about. So I will go to a book before a YouTube video if I have access to it. I’m in the process of recategorizing everything, and there’s an excellent phone app called BookBuddy. And if your book has the ISBN number, you can just scan it with your phone and it imports all the information in there. If it doesn’t, you can manually type in the ISBN, or you can manually key in everything and I use that.

Adobe Illustrator
I have been using Adobe Illustrator, since maybe ’98, ’99, when I was in college. If you’re not familiar with Adobe Illustrator, it’s a vector drawing program, and I use it to sketch up ideas. A lot of times the finished product might be drawn up in Fusion 360, but most of the time it starts in Illustrator because I’ve been using it for so long and I know how to use a few of those tools, and I can quickly get this sketch that I have on paper into the computer world, where I can then manipulate it to where I want — just with a mouse. There’s a free app called Inkscape, and I’ve only dabbled in it so I could recommend something to other people. Because they see me using Illustrator and they find out the cost and they’re like, “How can I do this?” And so Inkscape is another way around that. I think it’s a free software, both Mac and PC.

Glowforge Laser Cutter
So I was working with a woodworking company called Rockler maybe five years ago, and they were sponsoring some videos and they said, “Hey, we’re going to work with this laser company, Full Spectrum.” And so they sent me a Full Spectrum laser at that time as part of the sponsored deal, and so I got to play around with that. And that was before lasers had cameras in them, and the software was really hard to use and difficult, and not laid out well, and it felt like it was going back to windows 3.1 when I was using it. Now, since then they’ve come up with cooler lasers with cameras, they got the cloud software, and their software’s really cool. But Glowforge was first to the market, so I was one of the early adopters who bought in the first run and got that Glowforge when it was way cheaper than it is now. So I got pretty lucky hopping on that train. You don’t need to download this complicated application to your computer, you just take your SVG and load it into the software. Because the laser has the camera built into it, you can see exactly where your artwork is going to be placed on the material, and you can cut that out.

SawStop Table Saw
Most wood workers would say the table saw is the centerpiece of their shop. And I’m fortunate enough to have the SawStop, it has the crazy flesh-sensing technology in there, so it’s nearly impossible to cut your fingers off. If any part of you touches the blade it closes this electrical circuit, and causes a break to slam on the blade and then pull it underneath the table, all within a fraction of a second. It sounds like a shotgun because it’s this really loud release of energy to stop that incredible force of that blade spinning. I’ve done the hot dog test using a hot dog on there, and it didn’t even leave a mark on the hot dog.