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Failing at Furniture with Andy Rae

My conversation with Andy was everything I hoped it would be.

He’s a Master craftsman, teacher, and author of countless books and articles on woodworking. But that’s not why I had him on. I decided to interview Andy because while he’s a little salty on the outside, he’s one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known on the inside.

Andy and I shared a warehouse space, where he was building furniture and I was running a yoga business. Our first conversation took us deep into the rabbit hole of fine woodworking and hand-cut dovetails. Before moving to Asheville from L.A., I owned and operated a high-end cabinet and furniture shop. So looking around at all his tools and jigs really took me back.

It took me a little while win Andy over. Even though we got into a cool conversation the first time we met, it took me some time to win his trust and affections. I’m used to this. Not everyone takes to me right away. But once in a while we’d get into these revealing conversations and Andy is never one to hide the truth. He’s had a life of real ups and horrific downs. He talks about them all with clarity, kindness, and a sense of having come to peace with some very heartbreaking events in his life.

When I decided to do this podcast, I hoped Andy would be my first guest and he was thrilled to do it. There were conversations we’d started but never finished. Surfaces we’d scratched, but depths not fully explored. We left no stone unturned in this interview. Andy shared his most cherished accomplishments, his justifiable disappointments, and the profound loss he’s endured. All with the grace of a Buddha.

We had an amazing conversation. The first half geeks out on woodworking quite a bit, so hang in there if you feel like it’s too grainy (haha), but the second half becomes very personal, with wonderful but unintended callbacks to part one. You’re going to want to hear the whole thing. I’ve listened to it several times: Laughing, learning and happier for having met Andy.

When I set out to do this podcast, this is exactly the kind of dialogue I was hoping to have with people. May it be the first in a long series of successful conversations about failure.

Check out some of Andy’s woodworking books below and on Amazon!

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