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Andy Klein is an amazingly creative person. He has 5 patents for various different woodworking related inventions, and certainly there will be more!  His most successful invention so far is a saw blade that allows you to make a box on your table saw like magic. His saw blade invention is now fully developed and will be available through a major woodworking retailer sometime in 2017.

Andy Klein

Andy Klein

He is currently trying to find manufacturing and/or retail partner to make two of his other inventions available to the public.

The first of them is new kind of parallel clamp.  This new clamp does everything that a regular parallel clamp does AND it can also function as a panel clamp.  If you have ever had a panel bow up when you tried clamped the pieces together then you would love this one!  I don’t have a good picture of his revised design, but I would encourage you to watch the video that he made about it:

Andy’s video about his 4-Way Clamp Design

The second one that he is trying to get to market is a fast acting, non-racking twin screw vise.  He wanted a twin screw vise, but he couldn’t find one that he liked so invented one!

When I asked Andy about his creative process he said that he begins with a “Worthy problem”.  What he meant by that is a problem that doesn’t already have an adequate solution.  From there he imagines a “Worthy Solution”.  In this context, the worthy solution is not the final result.  Rather, the worthy solution is the criteria that must be met.

In the example of the saw blade for making drawers, the worthy solution was:

  • It must be fast
  • It must be easy
  • The completed drawer must be sturdy
  • The completed drawer does not have to be “pretty”
  • In this interview he explains his creative process and how you can develop your own ideas.

Now he has a set of criteria (worthy solution).  The value of the worthy solution is that it provides him a goal and it prevents him from stopping the design process too soon. Next is an iterative process of brainstorming and trying out different ideas until all criteria is met.   He keeps working on the problem until he “checks all the boxes”.

If he can’t find a solution that checks all the boxes and meets all criteria he might put this particular problem on on the back burner, or just forget it and move on to something else.

In addition to being a successful inventor, Andy is also an accomplished woodworker.  His biggest project was a “Twisted” dining room table.

Another creative table that he built was his Fossil Table

I hope you liked this article and I would love to know what you think about Andy’s creative process.  Another really creative guy is David Marks, and I posted a fantastic video interview with David in this article.