Jonny Lambert, better known as Jonny Builds, has a YouTube channel based around woodworking with epoxy. Unlike most makers, Lambert had never taken a woodworking or shop class in high school. When he joined the Marine Corp after graduating though, he received a crash course in tools while working on Harrier jets. As the aircraft needed maintenance, Lambert learned to work with a variety of tools that would prove helpful later on.
Above: Lambert, taken by Mark Adams at Maker Camp | Story by Leah Kossak, TotalBoat Social Media Specialist
After leaving the Corp, Lambert joined the police force in Oklahoma City. Early on though, he knew he didn’t want to be an officer for more than twenty years, so after some time, he started trying to figure out what would be next.
“I was buying my own cheap and crappy furniture, so I decided to try making my own instead.”
In order to learn more about building furniture, Lambert ordered Benjamin Uyeda’s book, HomeMade Modern: Smart DIY Designs for a Stylish Home. Instead of just finding woodworking tips though, he found Uyeda’s popularity on YouTube intriguing.
Above: Lambert using TotalBoat High Performance Epoxy for an inlay
“Right from the get-go, I wanted to not only create a business, but do YouTube as well.”
Above: Lambert pouring a flood coat on top of slab table that was repaired using the Japanese art form, Kintsugi, which entails embracing flaws by putting broken things back together with gold
Early on, Lambert learned the importance of thumbnails. During the time when he had just 7K subscribers, he used vintage lumber to build a Parsons-style table for a friend in Oklahoma City. Since the wood was so porous, he decided to try using epoxy to make it stronger.
While the YouTube video of the table build flopped immediately, his Instagram post about it, featuring a thumbnail of him pouring the bright turquoise epoxy, did fantastic. Lambert changed the YouTube thumbnail to a similar image, and all of a sudden he was gaining 10K views an hour. To date, the video still ranks among his highest, with over 12 million views.
“All of a sudden, I was on the map as someone that works with epoxy in the YouTube and Instagram space. I liked having it as another tool in my shop, a material that wasn’t going anywhere. As I incorporated it more, my views continued to climb.”
Above: Lambert, right, next to Mike Mills, founder of TotalBoat, who’s rocking a Jonny Builds shirt at WorkBench Conference
“It’s been the most important, beneficial, and long-lasting brand partnership I’ve had. TotalBoat has guided my entire career in woodworking and on YouTube.”
Above: Lambert cast a murder hornet in the handle of a dagger
His first project with TotalBoat High Performance Epoxy was doing an axe handle modification by casting a real scorpion in resin. It’s still his highest-ranking video on his channel, with over 16.5 million views.
While he loves our newer deep pour epoxy resin systems, TotalBoat ThickSet and TotalBoat ThickSet Fathom, Lambert normally utilizes our High Performance Epoxy instead by pouring in 1/4-inch layers.
“I find myself reaching for it before any other epoxy, for most projects. I’ve just been using it for longer, and it’s perfect for when I need a quicker cure time for a deep pour.”
Above: A Star Wars-themed coffee table Lambert built
Lambert has also used our varnishes – TotalBoat Halcyon for his cabinet rebuild in his kitchen, and TotalBoat Gleam varnish for his outdoor projects. He used Gleam for a friend’s tiki bar in 2019, and says it’s still holding up years later.
Above: A mid-century modern bed Lambert custom-made for his daughter, Chloe
Lambert also loves TotalBoat’s new food-safe wood finish, Wood Honey. “It’s a simple finish for a cutting board and super easy to apply, plus it smells great.”
Ever since the first WorkBench Conference, Jonny Builds has been a staple at it every year, and attended his first Maker Camp this year.
Above, L-R: Jason Hibbs (@bourbonmoth), Brandy Aubé (@brandy.studioaube), Justin Mabie (@_callmemabie), and Jonny Lambert at WorkBench Conference
“While the classes at WorkBench Con are great, the connections made during the after-hours hangs is unparalleled. Everyone’s together in the same place and you are able to not only make partnerships, but friends, in such a fun community.”
After retiring from the police force this past October, Lambert finds himself looking forward to attending many more events.
“It’s been a phenomenal transition from being a cop, I just love my job. I’m always thrilled to go to work now.”
Above, Top & Bottom: A unique epoxy river table build by Lambert
Lambert’s excited to see how far he can take not only his channel, but the growth of his business. He’s looking to branch out more now that he’s only doing one full-time job. He was able to hire an employee who’s been helping him with editing reels and videos. Next, he’s looking to build out the business more into manufacturing.
“The TotalBoat relationship has always felt like family and I feel so lucky to be one of their ambassadors. I am constantly using ‘The TotalBoat Model’ as an example for any new brand.”
Above, Top & Bottom: Lambert and his wife, Katie
While TotalBoat considers Lambert as part of the family, his real motivation comes from his daughter, Chloe, “one of the coolest people I know”, and wife, Katie. All of his favorite projects have been for his family. He’s handcrafted a bed and desk for Chloe, and a desk for Katie. He’s looking forward to gifting them projects for the holidays this year.
Above, Top & Bottom: Lambert’s daughter, Chloe, with the desk Lambert built for her & the beautiful desk with epoxy inlays
Not only will 2023 bring new business opportunities, this loving family is also going to welcome a daughter in June!
To watch Lambert’s full videos, visit his Jonny Builds YouTube Channel. And for more updates on his projects, follow @jonnybuilds on Instagram.■