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White Oak Bookshelf

   

 

One of the struggles of living in NYC, especially when young in your career, is that space is limited.  Rooms play many roles: "This is my bedroom/library/den/office/kitchen/bathroom. And here's my closet"  As a builder in NYC, this presents a fun challenge of building pieces that fit, enhance and maybe take some of the sting out of such situations while also being versatile enough to fit into future living situations.  This bookshelf is a good example of one such piece, as it was designed to fit exactly on a metal filing cabinet, but you can imagine it in a future library surrounded by other, similar pieces.  

Another cool feature of this bookshelf is that it is left completely unfinished.  The client did not want any chemicals on the wood, and leaving it natural also makes it more versatile for other living situations.  Over time, the tannins in the white oak will react with the environment and its color will deepen into that beautiful tan/brown so characteristic of white oak.  I look forward to seeing this process. 

The burl (irregular grained wood that is really beautiful) in this piece was selected to match the client's curly hair.  

Watertower Scrap Desk

   

Made of the scrap patina of the lumber for the picnic table, this colorful, rustic desk now resides in my room.  I was without any of my own work, so I spent some time making this little desk for myself, as there is a trend amongst craftspeople that I'm trying not to be a part of.  The Romanian carpenter who I worked under referred to himslef as a "shoeless cobbler."  With almost 40 years of woodworking experience, one would expect his home to be full of beautiful creations, slowly built by him over the years, not according to shop drawings, but just as he pleased.  However, this isn't the case, and he said his home does not have anything he built, except maybe a cutting board or two.  Having spoken with other craftspeople, he is not alone.  I can think of a few reasons for this trend, and I'll spend more time pondering it.  But for the time being, I wanted to build myself a little thing of wood that I think is beautiful.   

Watertower Picnic Table

   

My last post was prophetic, as this picnic table was commssioned just after my last update.  I wish I had better pictures of this piece.  I will soon, actually, as it now resides on land just acquired by a friend and his family.  I wanted to share these couple of pictures that I took right after I'd oiled it.  This is a 9' long x 3' wide picnic table that comfortable seats 12, but can uncomfortably seat more than that.  It is made from wood salvaged from an NYC watertower.  As one would expect of wood used in watertowers, it is very durable in water and the colors are very rich in this wood.  I have access to white cedar and redwood, too, depending on the watertower that gets salvaged and brought to my supplier.  

Shelves in May

It's not surprising, as I sit down and think what to write about the work I recently completed, that two people asked me to build them shelves in May.  Spring does this to us.  Spring creates in us an impulse to reorder.  Perhaps the trees, now so full of perfectly orded leaves, inspire us to fill our walls and homes with little books, figurines, and other things we've picked up along the way.  Maybe having these things on display make us feel alive.  

I look forward to the feelings the Summer brings.  I imagine a couple on their NYC rooftop, enjoying the sunset, breeze and each other in two lounge chairs made by me.  I also think of a group of friends gathered around a picnic table in some backyard, enjoying the weather, good food and company.   

 

   

   



Heart Pine Entrance Table

 

This table was designed to fit an entrance area just inside the client's apartment.  The client requested that the table be both elegant and feminine.  We dialogued about a few of the drawings and pictures I sent her.  The light design was a nice contrast with the strength of the heart pine, and this piece was a real plessure to build!