Synopsis: After a profession as a industrial furnishings designer and maker, the man who introduced Gorilla Glue to the U.S. market finds success again as a easy woodworker.


For practically 60 years, I’ve been designing, shaping, and crafting furnishings. My journey has taken some attention-grabbing twists and turns, from framing tract houses, working for Knoll International, and founding my firm Giati Designs, to creating the model, product, and firm often called Gorilla Glue. Most lately I’ve come full circle back to the place I began: two arms, a chunk of wooden, and making an attempt to make issues which can be lovely and practical.

As I grew up in California, my father had a small hobbyist woodshop in our basement, so at about age 10, I started woodworking. Like many, I took store class all through junior excessive and highschool. I additionally discovered from wooden turner Bob Stocksdale and spent two years working for Sam Maloof, an enormous affect on my life. At 15-1⁄2 I left dwelling, working summers as a carpenter, dropping out of school, and getting my journeyman’s union carpenter license in 1972.

Early on, I believed that if I designed a lovely piece of furnishings, naturally it will be wanted, manufactured, marketed, and offered by an organization like Knoll, Herman Miller, Thonet, or Steelcase. I attempted for years to break into the furnishings design enterprise, and I had quite a lot of doorways closed in my face. I used to be naive in considering that craftsmanship was all it took. I submitted drawings, photographs, fashions, and prototypes to numerous corporations. I traveled to headquarters and met with design administrators. On a couple of event I truly walked the streets of Manhattan carrying a wood chair on my back. Eventually one in every of my prototypes got here collectively in a means that helped me break via and get my furnishings commercially produced. One success led to one other, because it does.

The start of Gorilla Glue

In 1986, after having labored on the East Coast for a few dozen years, I returned to California and arrange store in Santa Barbara. In 1991, I based Giati Designs for the function of getting my high-end teak out of doors furnishings manufactured and offered. At the time, Indonesia was one in every of the solely sources for plantation-grown licensed teak. Teak is a very troublesome wooden: The resin dulls chopping instruments, and the oil in the wooden makes it powerful to glue. And for out of doors use gluing it’s much more difficult.

I wanted a greater glue. I discovered {that a} type of moisture-cured polyurethane glue was being developed to change epoxy for environmental causes. I first ran throughout this new kind of glue at a small manufacturing facility in Bandung, West Java. It didn’t work nicely. About a 12 months later, our manufacturing facility in East Java confirmed me one other moisture-cured polyurethane glue made by a small Danish firm. It was fairly good, so I requested if they might make some modifications to the product. Then I acquired the rights for North America and different territories.

I got here up with the identify, drew up the brand, and Gorilla Glue was born.

Back to the coronary heart of issues

As the years handed, though I by no means stopped designing and making furnishings, I wished to expertise again the pleasure of working wooden full time. So I offered Gorilla Glue to a beautiful household in Cincinnati. Through their arduous work, the enterprise has grown practically a hundred-fold.

Only lately do I really feel that I’ve lastly discovered my voice as a woodworker. I’m having fun with the luxurious of residing to work, as a substitute of working to reside, and the continued pleasure I discover in exploring what wooden can do.


Some time in the past, a ebook of tales arrived in the mail. The creator, Mark Singer, is a woodworker, metalworker, inventor, manufacturing furnishings designer, proprietor of a number of corporations, and the entrepreneur who introduced Gorilla Glue to the United States. The ebook he despatched us, Heartwood: Lessons Learned During a Lifetime Working with Wood, was written as a portfolio of his work, however grew to embrace reflections on his profession for his kids to learn. Presented listed below are a couple of snippets of his story.


Mark Singer is founding father of Giati Designs in Carpinteria, Calif.

From Fine Woodworking #286

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