Featured Moonlighter: Woodcrafter Matt Sandgren Shares His Work

Moonlighting has a great number of artisans nationwide ready to help with any type of project or custom-made gift. This week, we got together with Boost member Matt Sandgren from Saint Paul, MN to talk about his woodcraft and what he creates!

To get started, tell me a bit about what you do.

MS: Typically, I make furniture; not complicated, expensive, detailed joints but simple, rustic, and leaning towards the industrial side (with some cool gas piping). In the past, I’ve created octagonal fish tank stands, rustic pine food stands (I was commissioned to make about 100 of those to be sent to Anaheim), and even cubbies for a day care. It’s a wide range of things. I really just liked to make things for family and friends and then got into selling it because I enjoy doing it.

Beautiful, Custom, Industrial Furniture
One of Matt’s industrial tables. Beautiful, functional, and built to last.

How long have you been doing artisanal work?

MS: I started woodworking 20 years ago when I got my first job in a cabinet shop. I’ve always had an interest in creating things but I found a real interest when I got into doing side jobs–I liked making the extra money while making different things. I moved on in my career but I wanted to continue making things on the side.

Do you think this is something you’d like to take up full time eventually?

MS: If this becomes lucrative enough that I could do it full time, I would. I spent a year at DirectTV installing satellite dishes. But a few months ago, I dislocated my shoulder. And with workers comp, I had a lot of time on my hands so I’ve been trying to hustle different jobs and make extra money before I dive into a different career. Making money from building cool furniture was what stood out. I could do other stuff that’s flexible like driving limos, moonlighting yard work. But if this [woodcraft] is something lucrative that supports the family, I would by all means do it full time. I like the money and making this stuff so why not?

How do you see Moonlighting helping you on your journey?

MS: I first found Moonlighting from seeing an ad on Facebook, I thought it was a good way to break into what I do. It seemed like Etsy was a lot more labor intensive to make your store, get it up there, put your card on file, etc. And they take a piece of what you make, by tracking your orders and what you sell. With Moonlighting you can just get your work out there, you all are happy to help, I’m happy, it’s easier.

What advice do you have for other Moonlighting artisans?

MS: If you’re going to make money from it, do something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy doing it, you won’t be successful, because you won’t always be rolling in the money while doing it. You don’t want to ruin your love for something by making it tedious. Love what you do and then make money doing it. I love making featured items, portable, beautiful and flexible.

What’s the best thing you’ve created?

MS: Industrial furniture, it’s simple to create and I really like how it looks. It looks rustic but it’s useable and is a furniture trend—live-edged wood and the industrial piping. It’s durable and there’s not a whole lot of places that it can be worn down. I love experimenting too. I’ve created my own techniques, too! Just practicing and going through trial & error can make something great!

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Is there anything else you’d like to share or add?

MS: It all comes down to enjoying what you’re doing. You know that saying, “If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.” For me, it’s about investing in creating things. You start with a pile of wood, put work into it, and when you step back, you can look at it and say “I’ve created that from nothing.” You get a sense of pride and it’s also inspirational to create and sell because you encourage and inspire others to create, even if it is just for yourself. And it’s also quite the inspiration to hear someone talk about their passions.

Matt SandgrenMatt Sandgren is professional woodworker in Saint Paul, MN ready to create furniture for you, anywhere! Contact him to make the perfect gift!

Artisan gifts can take time to craft so start the conversation today! Download the app to get connected with Matt and many other Moonlighters and post what you need now.

Interested in getting more exposure for your business like Matt? Learn about Boost!

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