A Holiday Message from Jonathan Katz-Moses

A Holiday Message from Jonathan Katz-Moses

I remember so clearly how I became obsessed with woodworking.

I was running my own construction and Christmas light installation company at the time...

And while the company was doing well, I knew my life was missing some sort of creative outlet.

As often happens, I ended up finding that outlet through necessity.

A friend of mine needed to build a bench for his girlfriend as a Christmas gift. It was December 23rd.

I helped him get it started in a frantic panic build. But when he left for work, I kept going — and ended up finishing it at 4 AM after working all night.

The emotional energy and joy I felt after that build was undeniable.

So I decided to do it again. And again. And again.

My shop at first was a backyard shed with no electricity. But I kept at my new craft.

Overtime, I began selling builds and dedicating more time to woodworking.

And without realizing it would be one of the most pivotal decisions of my life, I started sharing my work on YouTube.

As my channel started growing, I was able to upgrade to a bigger shop.

It kept growing, and I was able to hire a videographer (who’s now my partner at KM Tools).

The growth continued — and soon skyrocketed…

8 years later, I find myself running Katz-Moses Tools — a company with a 16,000 square foot headquarters, multiple employees, and customers in over 170 countries.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because I think it’s a perfect illustration of the accidental ways people end up not only achieving their dreams — but finding new dreams along the way.

Woodworking doesn’t have to be anything more than a hobby for you.

But every new hobby you get into — every new craft you learn — it can be the catalyst that gives your life new meaning…

Or even completely changes its course.

My message to you this holiday season is to let yourself delve into your craft, whether you’ve been doing it for years or are just starting out.

The act of creating is an innate human need. And when you harness it, you’ll be amazed at what opportunities it can bring.

I want to thank you so much for your support that has allowed me to transform a hobby into a fully-fledged business.

And from my family and the KM Tools team to you and yours, I wish you all the best for the holidays and the upcoming year.


Talk soon,
Jonathan Katz-Moses
Begrudging Optimist and Occasional Woodworker

26 comments

James Hoshield

James Hoshield

Thank you for sharing this story. It was something that I really needed to hear. I think it’s time to shake off the dust and get back into the shop.

Happy Holidays and many more adventures in 2024!

Thank you for sharing this story. It was something that I really needed to hear. I think it’s time to shake off the dust and get back into the shop.

Happy Holidays and many more adventures in 2024!

Larry Goldsmith

Larry Goldsmith

Great story, Jonathon.. it was meant to be and was your calling. Thanks for passing along so much of your knowledge.

Larry

Great story, Jonathon.. it was meant to be and was your calling. Thanks for passing along so much of your knowledge.

Larry

Andy

Andy

Woodworking for me started out as a necessity. I had a series of jobs that made having a house/apartment unnecessary/inconvenient. I was traveling a lot and always staying in company housing (hotel, barracks, etc.).

This lifestyle continued for 16 years until I finally decided to build a house. When it was time to move in, I realized I didn’t really have any furniture. I started looking for stuff at various furniture stores. What I found was items that were WAY too ornate for my tastes, or WAY too expensive, or WAY too cheap and would need to be replaced in a couple years.

I’m not sure what caused me to think about building my own furniture, but I thought that I could build more economically than buying. So I started looking for plans online and came across the Ana White website. Found something I liked and downloaded the plans. Of course, I didn’t have any tools so I mentioned to a neighbor that I was planning on buying a table saw to help me out with this project. As luck would have it, he had just purchased a humongous RV and needed room to store it. He offered me his Delta table saw free of charge. I also got a table top Craftsman drill press in the deal. That is what I used to build my first bedroom worth of furniture.

Since then I have built two more bedrooms, along with a bunch of other projects around the house. This includes building the infinity cube that I saw on the KMT YouTube channel. Of course, I’ve also bought more tools, including some from KMT. Now when I decide I need something, the first thought is whether I can build it. I’ve also had friends and family asking me to make things for them.

With all the tools and materials I’ve purchase, I’m still not certain if I’m ahead economically compared to buying all that furniture. But one thing is for sure. I haven’t had to toss a single item I’ve made.

I probably won’t make this into a major business, but it will keep me off the streets at night. Retirement is coming up soon though, so who knows…

Woodworking for me started out as a necessity. I had a series of jobs that made having a house/apartment unnecessary/inconvenient. I was traveling a lot and always staying in company housing (hotel, barracks, etc.).

This lifestyle continued for 16 years until I finally decided to build a house. When it was time to move in, I realized I didn’t really have any furniture. I started looking for stuff at various furniture stores. What I found was items that were WAY too ornate for my tastes, or WAY too expensive, or WAY too cheap and would need to be replaced in a couple years.

I’m not sure what caused me to think about building my own furniture, but I thought that I could build more economically than buying. So I started looking for plans online and came across the Ana White website. Found something I liked and downloaded the plans. Of course, I didn’t have any tools so I mentioned to a neighbor that I was planning on buying a table saw to help me out with this project. As luck would have it, he had just purchased a humongous RV and needed room to store it. He offered me his Delta table saw free of charge. I also got a table top Craftsman drill press in the deal. That is what I used to build my first bedroom worth of furniture.

Since then I have built two more bedrooms, along with a bunch of other projects around the house. This includes building the infinity cube that I saw on the KMT YouTube channel. Of course, I’ve also bought more tools, including some from KMT. Now when I decide I need something, the first thought is whether I can build it. I’ve also had friends and family asking me to make things for them.

With all the tools and materials I’ve purchase, I’m still not certain if I’m ahead economically compared to buying all that furniture. But one thing is for sure. I haven’t had to toss a single item I’ve made.

I probably won’t make this into a major business, but it will keep me off the streets at night. Retirement is coming up soon though, so who knows…

cynthia schneider

cynthia schneider

Thank you for your generous soul and your generous teaching. If were all as generous and accepting there would be no war.

Thank you for your generous soul and your generous teaching. If were all as generous and accepting there would be no war.

Beth Smith

Beth Smith

Jonathan-

Thank you for having the tools, apron and videos that my husband has, uses and desires to be a better woodworker. Between my mother and I he got some of your items and was ecstatic . He can’t wait to use his KM stop on his Grizzly! Merry Christmas!

Jonathan-

Thank you for having the tools, apron and videos that my husband has, uses and desires to be a better woodworker. Between my mother and I he got some of your items and was ecstatic . He can’t wait to use his KM stop on his Grizzly! Merry Christmas!

Julie 'UmaJulz' Soltow

Julie 'UmaJulz' Soltow

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you again and again for sharing your journey and your knowledge with us thru youtube and your blog. I have learned so much from you through your videos as I begin my own journey. They have helped me refine the idea of wanting to make things, to how to make those beautiful, useful things really well with a higher level of workmanship. Please keep sharing, it nudges me along my journey of “firsts”.
I appreciate you and everything you bring to the craft.

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you again and again for sharing your journey and your knowledge with us thru youtube and your blog. I have learned so much from you through your videos as I begin my own journey. They have helped me refine the idea of wanting to make things, to how to make those beautiful, useful things really well with a higher level of workmanship. Please keep sharing, it nudges me along my journey of “firsts”.
I appreciate you and everything you bring to the craft.

Phil Westover

Phil Westover

My son-in-law loved the new K-M shop apron he received this year. With it came my explanation of who I got if from and how a guy on the internet has become a friend, even though he wouldn’t know me from Adam! Some of my best builds were done using skills I learned from you, some projects on which I never would have tried if it wasn’t for you great instructions and videos! I for one am glad you took up the woodworking craft, and I wish you many more years of success in doing it. – Phil Westover, Springfield, Oregon

My son-in-law loved the new K-M shop apron he received this year. With it came my explanation of who I got if from and how a guy on the internet has become a friend, even though he wouldn’t know me from Adam! Some of my best builds were done using skills I learned from you, some projects on which I never would have tried if it wasn’t for you great instructions and videos! I for one am glad you took up the woodworking craft, and I wish you many more years of success in doing it. – Phil Westover, Springfield, Oregon

ward Wilcox

ward Wilcox

Your an inspiration. Delighted you grew into the company you now head. Your dovetail video was very helpful. I see your energy and delight when you work and that’s what the world needs more of.

Your an inspiration. Delighted you grew into the company you now head. Your dovetail video was very helpful. I see your energy and delight when you work and that’s what the world needs more of.

Blake

Blake

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. And thank you for guiding me along as I develop my woodworking skills. You are a wonderful teacher, and I really appreciate the effort you put into your work and your videos.

Merry Christmas.

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. And thank you for guiding me along as I develop my woodworking skills. You are a wonderful teacher, and I really appreciate the effort you put into your work and your videos.

Merry Christmas.

Mike Carpenter

Mike Carpenter

I read all of your blogs and have learned a lot from you. I started woodworking as a hobby later in life. Ever since I retired, I have absolutely loved spending my days in my wood shop. I lose all track of time when I’m out there, so my wife sends out the dog to bring me back to the house for dinner. I recently became a grandpa for the first time. I bought my grandson one of your child shop aprons for Christmas. He is only 10 months old, but I look forward to the day I can spend time in my shop sharing my love of woodworking with him. Keep up the good work! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

I read all of your blogs and have learned a lot from you. I started woodworking as a hobby later in life. Ever since I retired, I have absolutely loved spending my days in my wood shop. I lose all track of time when I’m out there, so my wife sends out the dog to bring me back to the house for dinner. I recently became a grandpa for the first time. I bought my grandson one of your child shop aprons for Christmas. He is only 10 months old, but I look forward to the day I can spend time in my shop sharing my love of woodworking with him. Keep up the good work! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Richard Masterson

Richard Masterson

Have followed you for quite awhile, watched as you evolved, and grew with you.
At nearly eighty now, took up woodworking about six years ago, I agree with you – get out there, be safe, but try everything. This is such a rewarding craft.
Keep sharing with us as you learn or improve on techniques.

Have followed you for quite awhile, watched as you evolved, and grew with you.
At nearly eighty now, took up woodworking about six years ago, I agree with you – get out there, be safe, but try everything. This is such a rewarding craft.
Keep sharing with us as you learn or improve on techniques.

Gman

Gman

My woodworking life goes back 40+ years. The switch started 20 years ago when I started “flipping” houses. It came when I got estimates for cabinets, I figured I could buy the necessary tools, built them and end up with a “shop”.

When the housing market crashed is 2008, I still had most of my tools, but no need to use them. Then can the “live-edge” craze. This started a love affair for the wood vs the tools/building. I’ve built a few tables and desks for friends (clients?) and have been rewarded well for the efforts. Now retired, how does one earn a consistent living with woodworking? This happened when we invited a few neighbors over for dinner and with 1 being an artist, started a collaboration for consigned conference live edge tables. Now we’re talking the 16+ foot types. Amazing how things progress, even better when you learn to share ideas and help those around you. The rewards I received by helping others is what started my new “career” at an old love.

My woodworking life goes back 40+ years. The switch started 20 years ago when I started “flipping” houses. It came when I got estimates for cabinets, I figured I could buy the necessary tools, built them and end up with a “shop”.

When the housing market crashed is 2008, I still had most of my tools, but no need to use them. Then can the “live-edge” craze. This started a love affair for the wood vs the tools/building. I’ve built a few tables and desks for friends (clients?) and have been rewarded well for the efforts. Now retired, how does one earn a consistent living with woodworking? This happened when we invited a few neighbors over for dinner and with 1 being an artist, started a collaboration for consigned conference live edge tables. Now we’re talking the 16+ foot types. Amazing how things progress, even better when you learn to share ideas and help those around you. The rewards I received by helping others is what started my new “career” at an old love.

bruce newman

bruce newman

I guess I was about 7 years old—-80 years ago—when I first started playing with wood. My dad was a creative tinkerer and he let me play with the jig saw, but never the “buzz saw.”
I pasted cutouts of new cars on plywood and then cut them out and nailed them all over the workshop.
I read about “perfection” recently and realized that the little booboos we make are part of the hand work —per the Japanese philosophy. The greatest joy though is when dear friends tell you how much they appreciated the hand made gizmo you gave them.
Happy New Year

I guess I was about 7 years old—-80 years ago—when I first started playing with wood. My dad was a creative tinkerer and he let me play with the jig saw, but never the “buzz saw.”
I pasted cutouts of new cars on plywood and then cut them out and nailed them all over the workshop.
I read about “perfection” recently and realized that the little booboos we make are part of the hand work —per the Japanese philosophy. The greatest joy though is when dear friends tell you how much they appreciated the hand made gizmo you gave them.
Happy New Year

Jeffrey Paxton

Jeffrey Paxton

Your message really resonated with me this Christmas season! Began woodworking six years ago when I moved into my home, with attached garage. The joy it gives me to create fuels my very soul. My goal in the future is to have a dedicated shop that includes my wife and family. Merry Christmas Jonathan!

Your message really resonated with me this Christmas season! Began woodworking six years ago when I moved into my home, with attached garage. The joy it gives me to create fuels my very soul. My goal in the future is to have a dedicated shop that includes my wife and family. Merry Christmas Jonathan!

Steve Aughinbaugh

Steve Aughinbaugh

Great message. I am not sure who said it but it is a truth that more of us should try to live by: work at what you love and you will never work another day. Another corrolary is to learn to love your work and do the best job you can while constantly learning.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Great message. I am not sure who said it but it is a truth that more of us should try to live by: work at what you love and you will never work another day. Another corrolary is to learn to love your work and do the best job you can while constantly learning.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Will

Will

Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve always respected you and now feel like I know you a little bit better.

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve always respected you and now feel like I know you a little bit better.

Happy Holidays!

Walter Wall Scott

Walter Wall Scott

Merry Christmas to yourself and all your family Jonathan. I would like to thank Chris Giffrow and yourself as well as the KMWDF. You all helped spur me on when I became disabled by helping with the tools to help not only me but other people in a similar position as myself.
Once a committed wood butcher
but now still a committed wood butcher, but with style.
Walter Wall Scott.

Merry Christmas to yourself and all your family Jonathan. I would like to thank Chris Giffrow and yourself as well as the KMWDF. You all helped spur me on when I became disabled by helping with the tools to help not only me but other people in a similar position as myself.
Once a committed wood butcher
but now still a committed wood butcher, but with style.
Walter Wall Scott.

Brad Lee

Brad Lee

JKM – good you’re doing well. Please consider sourcing and selling ONLY “made in USA” tools. I was shocked and disheartened to learn that some of your tools are supporting the Chinese Communist Party.

JKM – good you’re doing well. Please consider sourcing and selling ONLY “made in USA” tools. I was shocked and disheartened to learn that some of your tools are supporting the Chinese Communist Party.

Steve

Steve

Happy Holiday 4 bed, 3 dining tables, multiple coffee tables and now 10 chairs – later. You helped.

Happy Holiday 4 bed, 3 dining tables, multiple coffee tables and now 10 chairs – later. You helped.

Donald Kern

Donald Kern

Great story of how an inner creative desire, combined with using the growth of social media and your penchant for excellence in woodworking and sharing with others blossomed into a successful enterprise. I built my first chessboard in jr. high shop class as a gift for my grandfather who taught me to play chess when I was four years old. My love for woodworking (and chess playing) grew and probably was at least a factor in my many happy career years as an engineer. Design, analysis, and building is in my DNA! Thank you, Jonathan for all your great advice for the woodshop! Happy holidays!

Great story of how an inner creative desire, combined with using the growth of social media and your penchant for excellence in woodworking and sharing with others blossomed into a successful enterprise. I built my first chessboard in jr. high shop class as a gift for my grandfather who taught me to play chess when I was four years old. My love for woodworking (and chess playing) grew and probably was at least a factor in my many happy career years as an engineer. Design, analysis, and building is in my DNA! Thank you, Jonathan for all your great advice for the woodshop! Happy holidays!

joe livingston

joe livingston

I also began woodworking as a hobby. now it has grown into a 1200 square foot building where I spend most of my days. I also know the feeling of making something out of raw boards that gives joy to the customer. when I see their facial expressions and hear them say" just what I wanted’, it makes me want to do better on the next job. I do it for that moment, not for the money.

I also began woodworking as a hobby. now it has grown into a 1200 square foot building where I spend most of my days. I also know the feeling of making something out of raw boards that gives joy to the customer. when I see their facial expressions and hear them say" just what I wanted’, it makes me want to do better on the next job. I do it for that moment, not for the money.

David Alison

David Alison

Happy Holidays, Jonathan! Appreciate you sharing what got you started, and how it’s evolved.

Happy Holidays, Jonathan! Appreciate you sharing what got you started, and how it’s evolved.

John

John

Hi Jonathan, I was using my KMT marking knife yesterday on a project and it made me smile with the increased accuracy I am able to achieve. Love what you do for the woodworking community. All the best for the holidays. Cheers JV

Hi Jonathan, I was using my KMT marking knife yesterday on a project and it made me smile with the increased accuracy I am able to achieve. Love what you do for the woodworking community. All the best for the holidays. Cheers JV

Patrick Daniels

Patrick Daniels

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours Johnathan, and thanks for all you do!!

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours Johnathan, and thanks for all you do!!

Rick loss

Rick loss

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you

Rick loss

Rick loss

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you

Merry Christmas Johnathan, and thank you

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