Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
… attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of our experience.
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
Take time to discover the subtleties.
…both the experience of the work and the result will be different each time.
Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.
Put yourself into your work and your work will make friends.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
If you hit the bulls-eye every time you are too near.
Furniture is mute, but continually communicates its presence.
Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.
Without deviations from the norm progress is not possible.
Those of us who want to do what we really care about need never to be bored doing it.
The beautiful is that which is desirable in itself.
After learning the tricks of the trade don’t think you know the trade.
The hand is the tool of tools.
If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it.
Appreciation of beauty is not a matter of judgement but of response.
A commission from a appreciative client. I was given dimensions and artistic license. Which happen to be my two favorite things.
There is a short video of the making on my youtube channel linked below.
Commissioning a piece from outside Florida is not a problem. I ship my fine studio furniture all over the country. My work is sold in galleries in Seattle, WA, Santa Fe, NM, and Mendocino, CA. The individual furniture piece will dictate how it should be shipped; for instance, a large dining room table may be blanket-wrapped and sent specialty furniture mover or crated and shipped freight. On the other hand, a small cigar, jewelry box, or carving may be crated and shipped fedex. One of my main tasks as a furniture maker’s apprentice was fabricating crates.
That’s right, parties. We have them a couple of times a year at the shop, and we would like for you to come. We usually have them during the downtown Gainesville Artwalk, and they are open to everyone. We often have a nice hardwood, scrap-fueled fire, stiff sangria, fine custom wood furniture from local makers, and little kids running around like crazy. If you would like to be notified, sign by hitting the join me tab or send me a note on the contact page. You will get an email occasionally whenever I finish furniture pieces and update the website with photos.
When I begin a new commission, I like to meet with the client to discuss the project. At this meeting I am gathering the clues and inferences that will lead to ideas and possibilities. Sketches and pictures you have collected can be helpful. We can look at wood samples and pictures of other projects, no matter how extraordinary or ordinary. We can discuss your hopes, dreams and necessities.
Dimensions are important. If we are designing a display cabinet for an object, I will need to get careful measurements of the object, and I may take pictures for reference. For a dining set, the room size is important, as is the number of diners to be accommodated. While I design and produce the finished piece, I like to think of a commission as a collaboration, which reflects the unique character of the client.
At the end of this meeting, if we are to proceed, I will ask for a design fee. This fee could be between two to five hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the project, and is applied to the cost of the final piece.
After our meeting, I will make an initial drawing and sometimes a scale model of my proposal. I find scale models helpful when a drawing can’t get across what a small detail will look like or if the three dimensional shape of a piece is hard to translate from a simple drawing. We may refine our ideas with a few drawings. On larger or more complex pieces, I may build a full size mockup of the project. This gives me a chance to work with the proportions of a piece and imagine how different elements relate to each other. In the case of a chair, for instance, a mockup can tell us if a chair that looks good as a drawing also fulfills its most important function: is it comfortable? A mockup can also give us an idea of what a finished piece will look like in your home.
After we have finalized the design and picked a suitable wood and finish, I will give you a bid for the cost of the project. This may include the cost of crating, shipping/ delivery, and any special installation that may be required.
I usually request that a deposit of 50% be paid to begin construction.
As I am building a piece of furniture, my goal is to stay open to the possibilities that always present themselves as I am working. When choosing wood for a piece, the actual tone of the wood may call for a doorframe to be a little lighter in weight. The grain pattern may want a different curve: not a radical change, just a response to the material.
I encourage clients to make an appointment to visit the shop during construction, if possible. I enjoy explaining the process and giving you/clients [choose one] an opportunity to see joinery and other details that may be invisible in the finished piece.
At the time of delivery, I ask clients to pay their balance, unless prior arrangements have been made. I am happy to work out a payment plan on larger projects.
After the commission is complete, I will provide you with a booklet documenting the process. Sometimes I am able to photograph from very early in the construction the falling of the tree or picking the lumber from the sawyer all the way to the delivery. The pieces I build are meant to be heirlooms, and the process of making and acquiring them should be a source of pride and an experience to share with others.
I serve those who desire the refinement and attention to detail not available in production furniture, but realized by the hand of an artist.
- Jason Straw, Worker In Wood
There are two main styles of furniture construction: solid wood and veneer. Of course solid means solid, and its aesthetic is comforting; knowing that your furniture is solid oak, afzelia, or walnut is a source of pride. Solid wood also acts like solid wood in that it moves according to changes in the air’s humidity. In Florida, a solid wood dining room table top could easily move 1/2” from summer to winter. This means that a solid wood piece should be designed properly so that the table will not literally work itself apart over the years. There are other ways to work around wood movement; the main technique that I prefer is using veneer.Many people today rightfully cringe when they hear the word veneer in reference to furniture. The tradition of veneering was hijacked to make cheap furniture that anyone can afford to throw away. Commercial veneer is currently 1/48th” to 1/64th” thick and keeps getting thinner. Amazing, right? Typically, logs are steamed for days until they can slice the veneer off with a razor. This takes an enormous amount of energy, and it discolors the wood from other planks in the species, which makes it very difficult to match commercial veneer with solid wood legs and so on. I would like to introduce my clients and students to the European tradition (veneering dates back to the Egyptians) of sawing veneer from a plank of wood. Using this technique, veneer can be made to an appropriate thickness of approximately 1/16th so that it works like real wood, has the color of other related solid wood such as legs and stretchers, and can be repaired and refinished many times. Sawn veneer at this thickness is not able to overpower the adhesive, and so by cross bonding (how plywood is made), we can arrest its movement and allow for great exploration in design, whether by marquetry or parquetry. In the website’s gallery, you will see many of my custom furniture pieces where the grain is going in every which way; that is veneer at work. Besides liberating the design, working with veneer also allows a solid wood plank of sometimes extremely valuable and one of a kind wood to be stretched up to 6 times per inch of its surface area. I’d also like to note that I am happy to build pieces completely out of solid wood, which is often faster and easier; however, solid wood construction does not offer the creative flexibility and the wood movement stability of shop-sawn veneer. Substrates:
I am proud to offer FSC (Forest Stewardship Certification) formaldehyde-free, soy-based glue Made In The USA commercial veneer core plywood and traditional custom shop made lumber-core substrates.
This should be a list:
I am proud to offer high-quality lumber-core substrates:
· Forest Stewardship Certified
· Made in the U.S.A.
Custom Mill Work Services:
Wether you are a fellow woodworker, contractor, or someone just trying to build a shelf for their home, if you need wood milled to any custom specification, call me. There is nothing too extraordinary or too ordinary for me to talk to you about.
After years of specializing in historic home restoration, I found myself becoming interested in more sensitive work. In my pursuits, I was able to apprentice with an art deco furniture designer and builder, Jeff Newell, in Denver, CO. Then, I was accepted into the Fine Woodworking program at the College of the Redwoods, the school James Krenov founded. I spent two very intense years, including multiple workshops, shows, and competitions, working for Brian Newell and having a remarkable time. Now, I am back in Florida, working with the sensitive eyes and hands of a furniture maker.