Alex Fang: Door Project Opens Other Creative Doors

Alex Fang: Door Project Opens Other Creative Doors

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been a creative and curious person. I liked to draw, I liked photography and videography, and I especially enjoyed working with my hands. As an engineering student in college, my favorite classes were the ones where I got to go down to the lab and make things. College was where I was exposed to CAD design, 3D printing and a little welding. It’s also when I realized I loved coming up with my own designs on the computer and then turning them into physical products to help solve problems that I was facing at the time.

Alex Fang posing in his workshop

After college, I took a job as an automotive design engineer where 95 percent of my time was spent sitting in front of a computer. It was completely different from what I did in college, and there were very limited opportunities where I got to do any hands-on work. But my job always kept me busy, so I never had much time or energy to explore hobbies.

Alex Fang computer desk project

I didn’t discover my interest in woodworking until after my wife and I bought our first house. One problem with it was that there wasn’t a door between the master bedroom and bathroom, which made showers in the winter months very chilly. We wanted to put up some barn doors, but all the ones we liked were really expensive. I remember thinking, “How hard would it be to make one?” At the time I’d never done any woodworking, so I went to the obvious place to learn: YouTube.

It All Started with a Door

Alex fang cutting panel on table saw

After watching a bunch of videos from several popular influencers, I bought a circular saw, router, pocket-hole jig and a random-orbit sander and got to work. It turned out that making a door was not easy! It took me much longer than I expected, it wasn’t pretty and the size wasn’t even right.

Alex Fang using Rockler drilling jig

But I could not contain the excitement that came from building something with my own hands. So the next thing I asked myself was, “What else can I make with these tools?” But I didn’t want to just build things for the sake of building. I wanted to build things that better fit our lifestyle and the aesthetics that both my wife and I love. But I knew I had a lot more learning to do.

Alex Fang custom dog bed

That’s when I found Chris Salomone’s YouTube channel, “Four Eyes Woodworking & Design.” I was inspired by both his designs and his teaching style that made me feel like woodworking wasn’t beyond my abilities. Even though I only had a couple of projects under my belt then, I ended up designing and building my first Mid-century Modern credenza. That was the piece that really boosted my confidence and love for woodworking. I not only designed something useful that fit our lifestyle needs and space, but also something that was aesthetically pleasing to us.

Alex Fang triangle bookshelf

When we were expecting the birth of our son, I decided to build him a crib. I thought it’d be cool to document the process so I could show it to him when he was older. I began sharing photos and video clips on social media, and a lot of people urged me to post the full-build video to YouTube. So that’s what I did.

Alex Fang desktop organizer

I not only enjoyed being able to share my hobby with the world and inspire others, but I also discovered a rare opportunity to combine three of my biggest passions: designing, woodworking and filmmaking.

Alex Fang modifiable coffee table

My builds nowadays still revolve around creating things that can function to improve my family’s daily life as well as fitting our aesthetic style. I feel very lucky to have stumbled on this creative outlet that fulfills me. And I hope to continue producing content that’s entertaining and educational for my audience. I hope it will help spark someone else’s creativity the way others have sparked mine.

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