I’m Adam Ulm. I’m a Navy veteran who caught the woodworking bug several years ago, and now it’s all I think about. Well, not all I think about; I have an amazing wife and a toddler son who surprises me every day. They are my two favorite people in the world and I can’t wait to hang out with them every day. Woodworking though has become a passion that energizes and recharges me. Since you’re reading this, you can probably relate.

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The two main things I love about woodworking are that it allows me to express my artistic side, and presents me with engineering challenges to overcome. While growing up I always wanted to be artistic, but I was never very good at artsy things. I always thought of myself as a “left brained” person that didn’t have any artistic talent. Since I’ve found woodworking, my perspective has changed. I do think of myself as artististic now. I really enjoy the freedom woodworking gives me to create any design that makes me come alive. The engineer in me gets to thrive as well in this because each new design presents some challenge that my brain must solve.

I really like that it’s not just a time-wasting hobby too. At the end of any project I (or whomever I’m making it for) have something I can use and that I can take pride in when I look at it and think: “I built that.” Most every project I build has to meet two criteria: (1.) It has to be beautiful, or at least my attempt at beautiful, and (2.) It has to be something functional that can serve a purpose for someone. Those two elements are what I believe art is. I don’t think pieces of art can only be things to be looked at, I think they can also be something to be experienced with the other senses. Just as a Ferrari, or a Stradivarius violin is art, a Sam Maloof rocker or Nakashima table is art. I aspire to create pieces of art to be experienced.

My goal for American Craft Woodworks is to give you Woodworking Projects, Plans, and Pointers that will be entertaining for you to consume and will keep you coming back for more. Whether you’re an experienced woodworker looking for inspiration, an aspiring woodworker looking for tips, or just someone who enjoys checking out the interesting projects people are working on, AmericanCraftWoodworks.com is the place for you. If you can identify with my story or my motivations, you may just find my new projects and content interesting as well. Sign up for my email list to get notified of my new blog posts, new woodworking plans, or to be the first to know about any new free stuff I can offer! I promise not to spam you or ever sell your information.

Background

I grew up as a country boy, with a family who didn’t have much money. We weren’t poor, but my Dad was (and still is) a pastor of a small church, which is not a high salary position. We lived comfortably because my parents were frugal and creative. We couldn’t afford a lot, or to pay for repairs so I grew up learning how to make and fix things. My Dad and I would rehab old (and I do mean OLD) dirt bikes for me to ride, build skateboard ramps and obstacles (even though I only had one short sidewalk to ride on), and take on other various challenges. Because of this attitude of self-reliance the word “can’t” has never been a big part of my vocabulary.

Being from the country, there weren’t many great employment opportunities. One day some friends and I went to see a movie and one of the previews was a commercial about the Navy SEALs. I didn’t really know anything about the SEALs, but the commercial sure was exciting. It looked like a much better employment opportunity than anything I could find. I called the recruiter the next day. Long story short, I joined the Navy in January of 2000, went to BUD/S (the preliminary training requirement to become a SEAL), got injured in training, and ended up on a ship (the USS Bonhomme Richard, LHD6) just in time for war. So I joined the Navy to become an elite commando, and ended up a computer nerd. Oh well, it pays well.

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I decided to stay in San Diego when I finished up my enlistment in 2004, started working as a contractor for the Navy, and went to college. I found the beautiful woman who is now my wife in 2008, and was married in 2009. That may not seem relevant to my woodworking background, but without her I would have probably never found the craft. You see, my father-in-law is a professional custom woodworker, and my initial attempts at projects were partially made as a way to bond with him.

Because I work as a computer systems engineer, I don’t get the satisfaction at the end of the day of looking at what I’ve built with pride. That’s probably one of the other big reasons I got into woodworking. I really enjoy being involved in a craft with such a rich history and great community. Woodworkers tend to be such an interesting, creative group of people, that I just really enjoy being around you.

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to getting to know you.

Adam Ulm