Down in Lilburn, Georgia there is a basement shop, divided up into a laser room, a room for the CNC, a room for powdercoating, and of course, a room for woodworking, and then out back....an 8x16 shed for metal working. The space is the home of one of the most diverse and multi-dimensional creators in our community, Mr. Chad Grosklags. Chad, who by day is one of the owners of U-Spray Inc./BugSpray.com if you look them up. Chad is also an A.C.E. or Associate Certified Entomologist which less than 1% in the industry have been able to attain.
For Chad, the love of making began at pretty young age. Memories of tree fort building with tools he snuck out of the garage as early as 2nd grade come to mind. His first metal work was around that age too. He and his friends would walk down to the railroad tracks and use scrap metal from railroad cargo straps to make whistles, and weapons to defend their forts. Year by year, the creativity and curiosity began to evolve into more and more technical projects. Take the motor out of a remote control car and trying to turn it into a helicopter using a metal coffee can as rotors. Christmas and birthdays always meant 100 in 1 kits from Radio Shack and plowing through the different projects. The next fascination was things that exploded and traveled great distances which meant: POTATO GUNS. All you needed was some vegetable cans and hairspray or lighter fluid....of course...Chad had to evolve this into a "more power" situation and he and his friends figured out how to make gun powder. He said "we did things in the 80's that today would probably have us put in jail.
The woodworking portion really came into play in middle school. While in 8th grade, the family would have a lot of yard sales. Chad and his dad would pick up old furniture, refinish, and resell it. To this day (and much to his wife's displeasure), Chad still has a desk he refinished in 9th grade in the living room. Over 30 years old now, he is told it's time to retire the desk....she may be on to something. Balancing life in and out of the shop can really be difficult. Chad focuses on always making himself available when his family needs him. Whether its school functions, church, date night, family events, whatever it is, Chad makes himself 100% committed to his time with them. This also means when there is work to be done (orders to fill, video editing, etc.) it means things like sleep have to be sacrificed. Chad referenced a quote from author Dan Thurmond "Off Balance on Purpose". The idea behind it is that if you are in perfect balance, you can never move forward. You have to lean forward in order to move forward. Lean to far, you fall. Not enough, you hold your progress back. Once you find that perfect position, hold it, and keep churning forward.
Chad first came to Southern Woodworkers in early 2017 seeing some stuff referencing the group on Facebook regarding our booth at the Atlanta Woodworking Show. As far as inspirations go, Chad draws from a wide group, and all for various reasons. First is Izzy Swan, who he describes as a "charitable soul, with the mind of a mad genius, always uplifting others no matter the status of his own life". Bobby Duke is another inspiration. Not only for his visual arts skills, but his editing and video creativity that make it so compelling to watch. Makers Media Network is an inspirational group of makers who have banded together to help each other and the rest of the community grow. During his time in the shop, Chad has a long list of podcasts he enjoys. Making It and Reclaimed Audio were the first two, but since then he has added Makers International, The Dusty Life, Making Geeks, Maybe I've Said Too Much, Making Time, Crafted Podcast/Creators Collective, The Green Woodworker Podcast, Modern Maker, MakerCast, Welding Tips and Tricks, Woodturners Anonymous, and his current favorite, Made for Profit. "I know it seems like a lot, but as much time as I spend in the shop, there are times I am all caught up and have nothing to listen too" he said.
Chad's current major project is the cabinet he is building for his Shapeoko 3 XXL CNC that was inspired by Winston Moy. It is around 50% complete, but far enough along where he has been able to assemble it on the table top. Check it out below.
Carving is the next skill on Chad's list of things to learn (and master, like he's done with everything else I am sure). His daughter is learning with the Girl Scouts, so it'll be something they can learn and master together. If you don't know, Chad has become a household name in the community for his incredible Yeti Tumblers which are powdercoated and laser engraved. You will see a link below to the tumblers, and all the rest of the socials below so check them. It has been great getting to know Chad and we got the chance to hang out at Maker Faire ATL finally, which is really where I said to myself "I gotta do an article on this guy, he's so talented." If you want to read or see more about Chad you can find him on the following platforms:
- Instagram - Chad from ManCrafting
- YouTube - ManCrafting Channel
- Facebook - ManCrafting 101
- Twitter - ManCrafting
- Website - ManCrafting homepage
I would like to once again thank Chad for agreeing to jump on board and be a feature with the Meet The Maker series. We have some more great guests coming up the next few weeks so stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by SouthernWoodworkers.com.