I met Braxton Wirthlin in January of this year at his wood shop in Boulder City, Nevada. Well, actually we met at a local pub first, but I digress. Braxton is a very creative guy and he loves making things. His interests range from traditional woodworking, to digital woodworking (with CNC’s), to wood turning, to welding, to ceramics, to cooking, and videography. I am sure there are others; these are just the ones that I am aware of!
Braxton studied Visual Media Production at the Las Vegas Art Institute. His creativity and his skill with video production really show through in his videos. A great example of this is the video where he demonstrated turning a pen and the entire demonstration is filmed in reverse. It is nice to see YouTube videos that include a bit of artistry. Not everyone can pull this off, but Braxton does! See for yourself here: Braxton’s Pen Turning Video
One of his more clever ideas was to to buy an ice cream scoop, a nut cracker, and a bottle opener at the dollar store. He then stripped off the cheap plastic handles and added custom made wooden handles. What impressed me about this was that he was able to think out of the box and save a ton of money as opposed to buying similar items from a dedicated woodworking supply store.
He got his start with video production by filming his friends riding their BMX bicycles when he was a kid. Braxon also built the wooden ramps and half pipes that they would ride over and this gave him some of his first exposure to woodworking. He says that he was one of those kids who was fascinated with all things mechanical, and he was always taking things apart to see how they worked. Sometimes he couldn’t put them back together again, but that is how we learn!
In addition to making YouTube videos, Braxton also keeps himself busy with commission work. One of my favorite pieces that he made was a tap handle for a local brewery. This might look like a simple project, but it required use of his skills with design, traditional woodworking tools, woodturning, digital woodworking and wood finishing. Not to mention his ability to get the commission to begin with by marketing those skills.
When I met Braxton he was taking wood turning lessons from Jimmy Clewes, so it is no wonder that he is such a good wood turner! He had also just purchased a new welder and was planning to incorporate more metal into his work.
With all of his accomplishments, Braxton manages to live a well balanced life. He is a true family man and a stay at home dad who keeps his priorities straight. I very much enjoyed meeting him and I look forward to the day when our paths cross again.
Here are a few of my other articles and interviews that you might like: