The Donate-A-SK8 Holiday Gift Drive is on...

The Handmade Skateboard Cover

Calling all Woodworking and Skateboarding Elves...

Put your hands-on, maker, DIY, or donation skills to work for a good cause to help give a kid in need a gift to remember this holiday season. Join Matt Berger, author of The Handmade Skateboard and founder of SK8 Makers, and Mark Hicks of MarkBuildsIt in their effort to donate at least 25 handmade skateboards to local toy drives around the U.S. by building one yourself or sponsoring someone who can. So get involved and give the gift of an Ollie, Heelflip, or Nosegrind to someone who can use a little more fun in their day. 

Visit Donate-A-SK8 Holiday Gift Drive to learn more about this really cool effort... 

The Classic Potato Salad from The Peace, Love & Potato Salad Cookbook

Teresa Blackburn, the recipe developer and coauthor of The Peace, Love & Potato Salad Cookbook along with Kickstarter-legend Zack Brown, shares a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cookbook on her site: Food on Fifth.

In advance of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, she's also shared the Classic Potato Salad (and a pre-order discount!) recipe here. Who's hungry?? Follow along with us on social media using the hashtag #potatosalad. 

Photography by Danielle Atkins

Photography by Danielle Atkins

Brioza's Grilled Beef for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is only a week away -- and it's time to dust off the grill! To get us in the mood, we're sharing a recipe from Stuart Brioza, the Chef and Proprietor of State Bird Provisions and The Progress. Brioza's treasured kitchen tool is the metal skewer.

Excerpted from A Colander, Cake Stand, and My Grandfather's Iron Skillet by Erin Byers Murray. Pre-order now and get 25% off list price with code: COL516. Limited time offer!

I first started using a metal skewer when I was staging at the restaurant Michel Rostang in Paris. All of the cooks would temp their meats by using a skewer—they would stick the skewer through the roast, whether it was lamb or something larger, and then hold the skewer to the top of their bottom lip, rubbing it from side to side. They’d know the doneness of the meat by how warm the center of the skewer was. They didn’t have to remember specific temperatures, it was all by feel. The first time I saw it I thought it was just awesome.

Chili Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup fresh red chili juice (preferably from Fresno chilies)

2 tablespoons lime juice 2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

Garlic Chips:

10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced on a mandolin

2 cups whole milk

Rice bran oil, for frying

Grilled Beef:

12 ounces beef strip loin (2-inches thick)

Kosher salt to taste

Vegetable oil

1/4 cup scallions


In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together. Reserve until ready to use.


In a large pot, combine the garlic and whole milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a simmer, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and rinse garlic with cold water until it runs clear. Transfer the garlic onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

Pour enough oil into a medium pot to reach a depth of 2 inches. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the oil to 275°F. (Use a deep fry thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil.) Add the garlic in batches so that they do not overcrowd the pot. Fry, turning the garlic over occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain the oil’s temperature, until the garlic slices are light golden brown and crispy. Transfer the pieces to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Reserve chips until ready to use. 


Prepare a grill or grill pan over high heat. Using paper towels, pat the strip loin dry and generously season all over with salt. Rub a touch of oil on the grill grate or pan. Grill the strip loin and cook to medium rare by testing the steak with a metal skewer. (Insert the skewer at an angle at the thickest part of the steak. Pull it out and rub it across the bottom of your lip. For the perfect medium rare, it should feel hot, then warm, and then hot again going from one end of the skewer to the other.)

Transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices.

In a serving dish, place the steak slices on the bottom and drizzle the chili vinaigrette over top. Garnish with garlic chips and scallions. Serve hot. 

Alpha Hydroxy Facial from The Natural Beauty Solution

Berry season is here! To celebrate, we're sharing the Alpha Hydroxy Facial from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard. It looks good enough to eat, no?!

1/2 cup organic berries

2 tbsp organic plain yogurt

2 tbsp kaolin clay

water or hydrosol, as needed

Combine berries, yogurt, and kaolin clay in a blender and puree until smooth. If you don't have a blender, simply mash the berries with the other ingredients to form a paste. If the mixture is too thick to spread easily, add a little bit of water or hydrosol to loosen it up.

Apply the mixture liberally to your face and neck. Allow the mixture to dry for about ten minutes, then use your fingers to gently massage the mixture into your skin using slow, circular motions. Rinse with tepid water, then follow with a toner and moisturizer. This recipe should be used right away, but can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For more beauty recipes and tips, purchase a copy here.

Hot Tempeh from The Hot Chicken Cookbook

Hot Tempeh from The Hot Chicken Cookbook. Photograph by Danielle Atkins.

Hot Tempeh from The Hot Chicken Cookbook. Photograph by Danielle Atkins.

Excerpted from The Hot Chicken Cookbook by Timothy Charles Davis

After being made aware of my interest in Nashville-style Hot Chicken, I’ve had countless friends tell me that they want nothing more but to try a piece of the fiery foul, but that doing so would e ectively put the kibosh on their vegetarian/ vegan lifestyle. I’m sympathetic to their plight. Mind you, I’m nothing approaching a vegetarian, but I also don’t consider a meatless meal to be “missing” something. Sometimes I make the meatless version of a given dish, and sometimes I don’t. I like meat, but like the writer Mark Bittman, I prefer it more for its flavor and umami than its heft or size, and believe that the less meat we eat, the better for our health, our pocketbook, and the environment.

Which brings us back to Hot Chicken. What’s the best and most notable thing about Hot Chicken? The “Hot.” The Hot in Hot Chicken invariably comes from a spice paste. If the paste is the thing, the thinking goes, why hasn’t someone come out with a vegetarian Hot “Chicken” experience?

Our prayers have been answered. Nashville restauranteurs Nick Davis from The Wild Cow and Isaac Beard from Pepperfire Hot Chicken tag-team a vegetarian version.


  • 2 slices wheat bread, lightly toasted

  • avocado, cut into strips

  • lettuce (iceberg will do in a pinch)

  • sliced tomato

  • shredded carrots

  • bean sprouts

  • Veganaise, or other vegan mayo

  • tempeh steaks (The Wild Cow marinates theirs)


  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup hot frying oil
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Bake tempeh according to instructions on package (you’re looking for it to have a slight, fried-chicken-like crisp on the outside, yet still tender and chewy throughout). Assemble rub mix, brush liberally on tempeh. Toast bread. Spread both sides with Veganaise. From the bottom up, layer lettuce, tempeh, lettuce, carrot, avocado, tomato, and sprouts. Assemble sandwich, slice diagonally, toothpick each triangle. 

#WoodWednesday: The Secret to Foolproof Glue-ups

Here at Spring House Press we steer clear of politics, but–as any woodworker worth their salt already knows–to get things done, it takes a village. . . of clamps. For instance, to glue up this single panel of a guitar amp cabinet, I managed to squeeze 15 clamps into a space of 2 square feet. More ridiculous than that: To guarantee good results, I would have been in trouble with even one less. So are clamps the secret to good glue-ups? No, not really. It’s more about what you’re clamping. In this glue-up, for instance, only 3 clamps are used to close up the joints between the 5 separate boards that make up the panel. The rest are used to secure each of the 5 boards to 3 separate clamping cauls. The cauls are the real and often overlooked key to flat glue-ups.

A clamping caul is nothing more than a thick hardwood board jointed by machine or hand so that one wide edge is dead flat. When gluing up a tabletop or panel of any kind, simply place the cauls an inch or so in from the edge of the assembly and clamp the flattened faces of the boards to the caul. Then when the panel comes out of the clamps, the bottom edges of all five boards will be flush and flat. (It’s worth noting—in this assembly keeping the panel flat is imperative; I was able to find some beautiful tiger maple, but it was already thin and I needed to keep the assembly as flat as possible so that the final workpiece doesn’t turn out too thin after jointing and planing the assembled panel.)

Clamping cauls couldn’t be easier to make and are a critical part of any workshop. To make your own cauls, start with a stable hardwood like oak or beech. Mill them from at least 2” stock and and aim for at least 2” wide to ensure that they won’t bend under clamping pressure. A good set of four clamping cauls made from beech has lasted me about 12 years so far. Just lay on a coat of shellac when you make them, then wax them frequently to make sure glue doesn’t bond to the caul when they’re in use. Sure, it will require a few more clamps, but you’ll be amazed at how easy a good set of cauls make it to achieve flat assemblies.   —Matthew Teague

Originally posted on March 2, 2016




Time Talks KFC Hot Chicken with Spring House author Timothy Davis

With KFC quickly rolling out Hot Chicken to all 4,300 US locations after "the most successful product testing in the company's history," Time reached out to Spring House Press author Timothy Davis and others for their take on how it compares to Nashville's best (as deliciously seen above) in what's shaping up as the #1 food trend of 2016. Check out what Music City thinks about it's iconic bird being pitched by Norm McDonald -- KFC Introduces Nashville Hot Chicken: Music City is Skeptical


Carve a Pumpkin with Cool Tools

Darbin Orvar demonstrates how to put those woodworking tools to work when carving your pumpkins for Halloween. Very cool and very fun ideas to WOW your neighborhood ghouls and goblins on trick-or-treat night.

Check out Darbin's other clever carpentry ideas -- Thor's Hammer, anyone? -- for Halloween costumes and much more on her You Tube channel

KOTA Longboards: Knights of the Air...and the Pavement

With the release of The Handmade Skateboard and our efforts to promote it, we've discovered some amazingly creative skateboard builders: most recently, KOTA Longboards. Handmade in Denver, KOTA (Knights of the Air) was founded by former US Navy Pilot, Michael Maloney. His love of woodworking led him to crafting skateboards while his military background led to the styles and names. Each is derived from the historic World War I military airplanes flown by the “Knights of the Air’ -- a group that took to dangerous skies but always kept their chivalry, honor, integrity and courage intact while pushing their aircrafts to the limit. These boards -- and the brand -- are very, very cool. Check out this great piece to learn more about KOTA Longboards...

Go build a skateboard!

Meet Salemtown Board Co. in Nashville...Cool Decks, Cooler Story

It's Skateboard Week here at Spring House Press as The Handmade Skateboard finally makes its way from the printer to the stores.   We couldn't celebrate skateboards without sharing this story about the Salemtown Board Co. They're based in our very own Nashville, they craft some very cool decks, and -- most important -- they have a very cool mission.  Check it out...and, If you're not going to make your own deck, go buy one from these guys.   

Skateboards at the IWF Show in Atlanta, GA


Matthew's walking the floor at the International Woodworking Fair in the expansive Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, and what did he discover?  Stuck between monstrous and loud CNC machines, John Van Brussel at Veneer Systems Inc. uses a whisper-quiet VacuPress pump and a flip-top frame and base to build about a half dozen skateboards--from longboards to street decks. The same foam mold has been used to build dozens of boards. 

A Sneak Peak at The Handmade Skateboard

When we started Spring House Press we did so with one primary thought in mind: A whole new generation of DIYers isn’t able to find projects and how-to information that really speaks to their interests. With that in mind, one of the very first calls I made was to Matt Berger. Matt and I worked together at Fine Woodworking magazine back in the 90s. From southern California, Matt came in with a passion for traditional woodworking and craft in general, but also a new set of interests that represented what I now see as a renaissance in working with your hands.

Back then we were both determined to learn all we could about woodworking and logged countless hours in the magazine workshop. But even from the beginning Matt’s projects often had a decidedly different bent than much of the work you saw in the shop—Shaker side tables and 18th Century reproductions, projects that brought to mind plaid flannels and dusty beards. While Matt became a well-versed woodworker with a broad range of interests and talents (including the traditional), the first project I remember Matt building was a maple longboard. I’d dabbled in building skateboards as a teen, but Matt had clearly taken it a few steps further. I’ve always been amazed at Matt’s ingenuity and passion for all things craft.

A few years later Matt left the magazine and moved on to American Public Media. And he’s now moved over to a job at Apple. I’d lost touch with Matt in the last few years, but he was the first maker that came to mind when we talked about launching SHP. I wonder if he’s still building skateboards, I thought. Boy was he. And he’s still a great craftsman, natural writer, and a tireless worker.
I’m in the midst of editing Matt’s first book now, and we couldn’t be prouder to have him as one of the first authors from Spring House Press. Take a sneak peak at The Handmade Skateboard: How to Design and Build a Custom Longboard, Cruiser, or Street Deck from Scratch, which will hit stores in August.
—Matthew Teague