Constant professional growth is driven by the research we do for every project and
the enhancement of our skills and capabilities is part of the endless process of maturing as designers and craftsmen. Our earth-friendly practices include:
- We keep waste to a minimum and re-use scrap material creatively.
- Most of our material vendors are certified "green" by relevant organizations.
- We do mostly hand-applied finishes, with only a small amount of spraying necessary. This minimizes the
amount of petroleum solvents released to the air. Although we use mostly oil-based finishes, it helps that we use turpentine (from pine trees) or ethyl alcohol (from grain) as solvents when
possible. We generally avoid water-based finishes as they don’t provide the level of quality, durability, and repairability we demand. Making durable products that won't soon end up in a landfill and emphasizing designs that people will want to hand down to future generations is the
best way to minimize wasted resources.
Our work methods include a mixture of old-world and highly advanced techniques. A lot of the basic
woodworking is done with machines, such as getting boards to the proper size for a project. When appropriate, machine made joints are used, but hand-cut ones are often used where they will show for
the most visual impact. Gary attended a course by the famous sculptor and woodworker Toshio Odate, where he learned some finer points of traditional Japanese techniques, but also that even such
a master craftsman saves time with machines on the things that don’t really show, but concentrates his energy on a few special hand-details that give the finished piece a truly custom-made
look. Craftsmen of old used only hand tools because there was no alternative. With this in mind, here are some of the techniques used in various pieces:
- Hand-cut dovetails, especially beautiful and strong for drawers
- Hand-planed surfaces, especially for table tops
- Hand-cut mortise and tenon joints, often superior in strength for critical junctions
- Use of dowels, pegs, etc.
- Carved details, rosettes, etc.
- Use of Japanese-style saws and planes for fitting components together
- Hand-pieced veneers and inlays for tabletops, etc.
- Traditional French polish finish and hand-rubbed oil finish
- Machine-made mortise and tenon joints, often concealed, but superior in strength
- Advanced adhesives that can hold in ways not possible until recently
- Pneumatic nail guns allow assembly techniques not practical otherwise
- Composite beam construction allows lighter but stronger tables, etc.
- Exotic materials and finishes that achieve dazzling looks not available in years
Here’s an overview of what we do. We are a family-owned business, not a
mass-producer, so you will get personal attention to detail for your project.
- Interior Enhancement Consultation: at your office or home, we will suggest
the addition of key furnishings, artwork, and accessories, crafted by us, that will enhance your current décor in ways you may not have known was possible. We are not interior
designers, but we work with Interior Designers, Architects, Building Contractors, or directly with clients to add distinctive elements, such as unique custom partitions, room divider
screens, hanging sculptural elements, or art display systems for wall art or sculpture/ craft items.
- Installation of Framed Pictures, Advertising Graphic Panels,
Three- dimensional hanging art, etc. Expert alignment of grouped items and fabrication of custom brackets or hangers for artwork is a specialty of ours. Whether it is Sales Centers,
Offices, Retail Stores, or Private Residences, we have years of experience, just see our portfolio section.
- We do constant research to keep abreast of the latest trends in interior finishes, exotic
materials, and hardware. We also invent new finishes or applications that will put your project at the cutting edge of innovation. We love to take old-world techniques and
give them a modern twist that makes you look twice to figure out how a surface covering or a piece of furniture is made.
- What we don’t do: art restoration, furniture refinishing or repairs,
installation of structural members, drywall, paint, or other construction-related activities.
- Furniture: we specialize mostly in contemporary and classically sleek
styles. We will work with Architects, Interior Designers, Business Professionals, and Homeowners to develop original designs for furnishings that are functional and
express the look desired. We also have collections of Signature Designs, which we sometimes keep in stock, or can produce to spec for your situation. We are happy to work with design
professionals as Fabricators of their own furniture designs. We take extra care to tailor the materials to maximize the function of the piece and to achieve the aesthetic that is
appropriate for the piece. We are skilled in using solid woods, modern composites, laminates, metals, and fine wood veneers. We will help you balance issues of “look”, durability, cost, and function
of the furniture piece, as there are usually several options for any project. The emphasis is on providing eye-catching pieces with a high “wow factor” to enhance your décor, but highly functional
with good value. We are not able to cost-effectively make items that are virtually identical to mass-produced furniture commonly found at discount stores.
- Shelving Units: we build wood and glass shelves, ranging from bookcases to
floating shelves, product displays, cable-suspended shelves, to curio cabinets. On the smaller side, think about desk-top cases to display fine watches, pens, or other artifacts.
- Architectural Millwork Accents: if you need a unique, eye-catching wall
panel, hanging panel, partition, shelf, moulding, mirror frame, interior or exterior custom doors, medicine cabinet doors, display cabinet or cubby, art niche lining, grid ceiling panels, or just
about any cool custom accent item you can dream up, chances are we can make it for you. Anything involving structural modification must be installed by your contractor, but items that are cosmetic
add-ons are best installed by us. We are experts at building stand-alone shelving units, cabinets, divider panels, and decorative accent
panels that can simply be screwed to the structure and made to look as though they were built in, but can be easily removed in a short time, with the structure intact and only cosmetic
blemishes left behind on the wall or ceiling. We also provide mouldings to frame out openings such as windows, art niches, etc.
- Hardware: we can provide top name hardware for cabinets, furniture, and
displays. We can also custom make unique handles, pulls, plates, grids, etc. from wood, metal, acrylic, and materials from nature (branches, rocks, bamboo, etc.)
- Art Display Systems: we custom make and install cable
systems to display framed artworks on the wall, suspend sculptures or crafts in mid-air, and make conservative to avant-garde pedestals to display statues, pottery, glass,
etc. Businesses, galleries, and restaurants wishing to have a versatile hanging system for frequently changed artwork can benefit from our custom sliding cable systems that make it super- easy to
swap and position artwork on the wall for a professional- looking art show. We also fabricate custom brackets to hold panels or difficult-to-display objects on the wall. A range of
materials are available such as: aluminum, acrylic, and a variety of beautiful woods.
- Picture Frames: with many years of experience in the custom framing
industry, our Certified Picture Framer can advise you on the best way to frame fine art or commercial display panels, whether you need just basics, or conservation framing for investment-quality art.
We offer a wide range of frame mouldings including beautiful wood veneers, economical solid woods, and metals. Of course, we handle all the matting, glass, backings, and hanging hardware for you. We
specialize in clean, contemporary looks, but can go more ornate if that’s what you need. Our real advantage is our woodworking skills which allows us to make fully custom-made wood frames of nearly
any wood available. Need a super-wide frame for a gigantic piece of art? Want it made with Zebra Wood, Wenge, or Walnut? No problem. Maybe a frame with rounded corners, wavy edges, funky textures or
colors, or something that captures the character of a vacation photo that will be the centerpiece of your collection? If you have an idea or need help dreaming up the wildest frame ever, we can help.
Even if you want to keep it low-key but just have a very custom, elegantly understated look, we can make it happen. We are not a retail storefront, but cater mostly to the design trade,
artists, and businesses. Individuals with artwork that calls for unusual or creative presentation are encouraged to contact us for a free personal consultation. We have extremely fair and
competitive pricing for any given level of quality and quantity. Honestly, we don’t try to compete with discount stores on inexpensive frames and we also encourage you to patronize your local retail
frame shop if you want ornate, elaborate framing or if you are looking to buy art and want to have it framed there. We have a good working relationship with several local galleries, doing
installations and specialty frame work, and we do not focus on competing with their core business of retail framing.
- Framed Mirrors and Bulletin Boards: we can provide beautiful flat or
beveled-edge mirrors with any of our standard or custom made frames, in nearly any size or shape. Expert installation available. Bulletin Boards in nearly any shape & size, using cork, fabric,
whiteboard, or steel (for use with magnets, which we can provide!)
IS SOLID WOOD BETTER THAN VENEER?
The most important attribute of a decorative object is its appearance and ability to
project beauty. The outer surface is what counts, and this is where the best looking material needs to be. If the decorative object happens to be a functional piece of furniture, then strength,
durability, repairability, and visual integrity become major factors, as well.
Solid wood is what most people think of as the best furniture material, and it often
is, but it has major limitations that can be overcome by using fine wood veneers over engineered wood products. A solid wood tabletop has obvious strength and integrity. It also has good
repairability, since a scratch or gash could be sanded out and refinished. On the negative side, solid wood can bow and warp, plus it expands and contracts with seasonal changes in humidity.
Furniture must be carefully constructed to accommodate this movement or the piece will self-destruct. Solid wood often has defects that must be cut away if they are not to show in the finished
product. A certain number of natural irregularities, color and grain variations are to be expected and should be viewed as “character” in a hand-made product. If a piece is to be made from a very
expensive wood species, using solid lumber will increase the cost quickly, plus a larger amount of the precious wood is consumed. Using veneer would stretch our dwindling supply of rare woods much
further, and help keep the cost within reason.
Veneer is simply thin slices of wood or other material which is usually adhered to a
base of engineered wood product, such as plywood or particle board. Commercially made veneer is sliced from logs in a highly specialized factory. It can be paper-thin to nearly the thickness of a
DVD. A big advantage of a veneered panel or tabletop is that it can remain flat and dimensionally stable over time. It is possible to make intricate decorative patterns with veneer. The ability to
make curved panels without seams or a lot of wasted wood opens up many design options. There is a huge variation in quality of veneered furniture, mouldings, etc. Many items found in chain
stores, even fairly nice furniture stores, are made with particle board or MDF, and covered in very thin veneers of prime woods, or worse yet, cheap wood stained to look like prime wood. Such pieces
can be attractive at first glance, but a close look may reveal flimsy construction, cheap veneers, and plastic-y finishes (see FINISHES). Some items are actually made with plastic
veneer made to look like real wood (appropriate for inexpensive office furniture or restaurant fixtures). Certainly, some top-notch stores have very well made products and corresponding prices, but
only limited options for color and finish.
Custom veneered furniture opens up the whole world of tree species for use in your
project. Choose a design for a table or cabinet and then it can be made with oak, maple, cherry, zebrawood, bubinga, wenge, or dozens of other woods. We us only the finest veneers, with an
appropriate thickness for each component. We sometimes saw our own veneers from solid boards when extra-thick material is needed for high-wear areas like some tabletops or the front edges of a
vanity. Of course, even top-quality wood veneer has minor variations in grain, color, etc.
We will help you select a finish color that meets your requirements or to match any
existing décor closely. Of course, we can stain wood to nearly any color (with the understanding that exact color matches cannot be guaranteed). We are experienced with popular colors like Mocha,
Espresso, Natural Maple, etc. An advantage of staining is that relatively inexpensive woods can be used for projects needing to meet a budget. Some “looks” call for painted surfaces and we can use
durable oil or latex paints, or even specialty distressed finishes or milk-paint.
For our higher-end projects, we like to use woods that are naturally
the color you are wanting. For example: commercial “espresso” finishes were inspired by wenge, which comes from a tree in Africa and is very dark brown in color. Using real wenge wood will
get you that color, plus it has a richness of texture and color that only comes with the “real thing”. There are wood veneers that naturally come in almost any color, ranging from almost white to
almost black, with many shades of brown and red in between. There are even woods in shades of yellow, purple, and green. Some woods have almost no grain and some have pronounced stripes, swirls, and
other patterns. We thoughtfully select wood for each project, matching grain and character to the piece.