Author Archives: Bruce Johnson

About Bruce Johnson

Author-craftsman Bruce Johnson has introduced millions of do-it-yourselfers, craftspeople and antique collectors to the world of wood finishing and antique restoration. As the official spokesperson for Minwax®, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, Bruce motivates people to take the initiative to beautify their surroundings. Through his many books, magazine articles and columns, as well as frequent appearances on national television talk shows, Johnson is recognized as an authority in the do-it-yourself community. Appearing on PBS, HGTV, The Discovery Channel, and currently hosting “DIY Woodworking” and “Build A Log Cabin”, on the DIY cable network, Johnson has brought the illustrious craft of wood finishing to the forefront of the American home. An expert in wood refinishing, antique restoration, and home improvement, Bruce has published more than a dozen books on these topics, including Fifty Simple Ways To Save Your House, The Wood Finisher, The Weekend Refinisher, and The Official Identification and Price Guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement. For more than 20-years, he penned an antique refinishing advice column, "Knock on Wood," which ran in dozens of antique/collectibles publications. Currently, he writes a column on Arts & Crafts for Style 1900 magazine. A rare combination of craftsman and journalist, Johnson began his career as a high school English teacher, but left teaching to set up his "Knock on Wood Antique Repair & Restoration" shop. He spent the next 10 years as a full-time professional refinisher, but eventually returned to writing. Yet, Johnson says, he won't ever be without a workbench and a couple of refinishing projects down in the basement. Johnson is also the founder and director of the Arts and Crafts Conference and Antique Show held every February in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Grove Park Inn. The conference, which includes the largest Arts and Crafts antiques show, attracts more than 1500 Arts and Crafts collectors each year to its many seminars, tours, demonstrations and exhibits. Johnson is proud to have played a role in reviving interest in designers like Gustav Stickley, who founded the Arts and Crafts movement. His latest book, “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” was awarded the 2009 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. These furnishings are treasured by such collectors as Steven Spielberg and Bruce Willis, among many others.

A Clock From Pallet Scraps

1. Start

Using a few scrap pallet boards in my garage workshop, I decided to make a simple clock. I cut three the same length, added some trim around the edges, and drilled a small hole in the center.

2. backHere’s what the back looks like after I inserted an inexpensive, battery-operated clock, attached to the wood with a nut and washer on the front.

3. Poly

While I like the rustic look of pallet boards, I think they look even better after a light sanding and a coat of water-based Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish.

Clock #s

It dried fairly quickly, after which I pressed on a set of self-adhesive numbers and the clock hands.

Clock Hero

And in no time at all (yes, a bad pun), my pallet clock was finished and ticking away.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

A Simple Green Centerpiece

1. Boards

With everything outdoors turning green, I decided I would find a way to bring some of that wonderful green indoors. I started by going into my workshop and pulling two oak boards off my shelf.

2. Stain

Making a simple box to sit on our dining room table was easy, as was staining it Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in “Hunter Green.” After it dried, I protected it with Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish, another water-based product.

3. Hinge

To give my now green box some character, I decided to add two black gate hinges to each side.

Pull

And then added two simple pulls, one at either end.

Jars

I thought about filling my Hunter Green box with artificial flowers, but then spotted some inexpensive canning jars at the grocery store and had an idea: put an inch of drainage rocks in the bottom, then plant live flowers in each one.

Hero

The combination of my green box and several jars of green, colorful flowers certainly will bring some some beautiful color to our dining room. And since the jars don’t have holes in the bottom like standard pots, I won’t have to worry about water leaking onto our table.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

A Unique House-Warming Gift

1. Parts

I have friends who just moved into a new house in Cleveland, so I thought a special house-warming gift would be in order. For me, that means a stop by my local craft store, where I picked up a few items.

2. White Stain

I started by staining a piece of birch plywood with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in “Pure White,” applying it with a foam brush, then wiping off any stain the wood did not absorb.

3. Gel

For my trim and wooden letters, I selected Minwax® Gel Stain  in “Coffee” to achieve a pleasing contrast to my white plywood. Once dry, I glued the letters to the plywood.

5. Ohio 2

I then cut out and traced an outline of the state of Ohio onto the plywood, isolated it with blue painter’s tape, and dabbed on a layer of Gel Stain using a foam brush. As soon as I had completed the staining, I peeled off the tape.

6. Poly

I found this cute red heart in my craft store, so I glued it to my state to represent the city of Cleveland. Then I finished the entire wall plaque with Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish.

Hero

When it was all done, I had a special housewarming gift that they can hang in any room of their house.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

 

A Hanging Herb Garden

Raw

My wife Leigh Ann loves to cook, and to use fresh herbs when she does. Unfortunately, her garden is several yards away from our house, so I thought I would devise a way we could have pots of herbs growing right outside our kitchen door. I started with three, thin six-inch wide oak boards through which I cut holes for nine clay pots. Then I drilled holes for two four-foot long support dowels.

Helmsman

Since my hanging herb garden will be subject to sunlight and rain, I protected the wood with two coats of Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

Assembly

Once dry, I slid my 3/4-inch dowels through the holes in each shelf.

Peg

Then I measured, marked and drilled 3/8″ holes for the two-inch dowels on which the shelves would rest.

Hooks

An inexpensive plant hanging kit provided me with a way to mount my miniature herb garden on the side of our house.

HeroThen came the really fun part: adding pots of various herbs to my three shelves — now right outside our kitchen window.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce