Jill’s “Ventura” Table

Jill’s Ventura Table


In October 2020 I offered a new dining table to my daughter, Jill. She’d said she wanted to be able to seat up to 10 since they do a fair bit of entertaining.  She accepted my ‘gift’ and the process started. It took a while to settle on design but she found a picture of what she wanted and shared it with me. To my surprise it was a mid-century/contemporary sort of look and I fell in love with it. Next came wood selection and, finally, between hard maple and walnut she went with the latter. It took a while to find the lumber in the lengths I needed but, finally, alas, I found it. Take a look at the results….and I hope you like it.

Sherri’s Island Paradise?

Sherri’s Island Paradise?

Sherri and husband, Herb, were relocating from Oregon to Upstate South Carolina. They’d bought a house which was still under construction but Sherri didn’t like the ‘standard’ kitchen island. She had some ideas on what she wanted and contacted me via CustomMade to see if I might be interested in building a replacement for her. She sent me her sketches, I sent back some drawings, and the ‘gig’ was on. Additionally she requested a matching table.

I really enjoyed working with Sherri as she was patient with the process but knew exactly what she wanted. She was quick to respond to any questions I might have and was slow to change any detail already decided. It was my pleasure to work with Sherri and Herb and I wish them the very best in their new life in SC.

See the link for details….

Joy’s Mid-Century Modern Full Bed in……Walnut

Joy’s Mid-Century Modern Bed

It’s mid-summer 2020. It’s hot outside and I really don’t like to sweat that much so ‘yard work’ is not an attractive activity. No one has contacted me from CustomMade recently and all personal wood projects are done. Shop cleaned, re-arranged, and updated in some areas for efficiency. Hmmmm.

So let’s take a look at the CustomMade job board. Look! There’s an inquiry from someone in Asheville, only a couple of hours from me….for a bed….in WALNUT! EUREKA!


So I sent a proposal (late, of course) but ‘Joy’, the author of the inquiry, was intrigued by the fact that I could, not only build, but deliver and setup, her new bed.

After some talk of design, and a final proposal, Joy accepted my bid and the job was on.

The rest of the story? Well you’ll have to go the gallery to see for yourself but Joy sure does like it. Me too!

One Little Corner

One Little Corner Gallery

A couple of years ago we did some renovation in our Kitchen/Family room and ended up with one little corner in our kitchen, sort of an intersection between kitchen and Family room. And we need just a wee bit more storage. My wife then saw a ‘Chimney Cabinet’ which is a long tall ‘drink a water’ cabinet that just fit the corner. Narrow (15″) by narrower (12″) and 75″ tall with adjustable shelves and shiplap back. Hinges and antique walnut knob from Etsy and finally painted and coated with a water-based urethane.

For just a wee-bit more storage.


California Oakenwood

California Oakenwood Gallery

OK! Fine! In my last post I said I wouldn’t post Carol’s stools but they turned out so well, and the oak and walnut contrasts so beautifully, and Carol sent pictures of the stools placed in her home….so Imma gonna post those pictures anyway.

Carol and Bob were wonderful to work with. Patient, for sure, but the best part was they knew exactly what they wanted. No, ifs ands or buts…they knew, and it made the project ‘go’ very efficiently. And once you see their pictures I think you’ll agree that their taste is, well, impeccable.

PS: I don’t know the kitty’s name but he’s obviously an efficient photo bomber. For our purposes we’ll address him as Oakenwood, or Oakie for short…

California Oakenwood Gallery


Barstools, barstools, and more barstools; and other stuff

I won’t bore you with a lot of details but, since the Folding Table project, I’ve been busily making barstools.

Beth (see Walnut in Vermont) had originally ordered 4 stools of solid Walnut (frame, seat, and backs) but called back for 2 more.

Emily, from Manhattan, requested 2 barstools (38″ tall at the seat!). Walnut everything.

And Carol, from California, ordered 3 barstools of White Oak frames and Walnut seats and backs. I have to say that this is a beautiful, and robust, combination. I don’t have a gallery for these stools simply because they (the barstools) are on the site already in different species. But below are a couple of photos (sorry, can’t help myself).

Have a great summer and stay safe…..


Chestnut: One Tough Nut!

Will’s Folding Table

A client right here in South Carolina contacted me, through CustomMade, for a folding top table.  To be perfectly honest I didn’t fully understand what a folding top table was….I kept thinking ‘drop-leaf’….but Will finally showed me the way and off we go. The design of the table was easy as we’d found an online picture of the table he wanted. The choice of wood species was a bit more difficult but we settled on re-claimed Chestnut for lots of reasons (eco-friendly, color and grain patterns, and the charm of all those worm holes).

And a bench to match.

The unusual specification was that Will wanted the table to be 36″ (counter height) tall and, of course, the bench had to compatible with that height. Different.

I was definitely pleased with the outcome and I think Will was too. It was a fun project but definitely had some significant challenges. Check out the photos….

Walnut in Vermont

Walnut in Vermont Gallery

Beth from Vermont contacted me vis-a-vis my ever-popular bar stools, except she wanted four solid Walnut stools. So we settled on specifications and got to work. Turns out my local walnut store had an ample supply of some very high quality walnut (no kidding! no knots, almost no sapwood, very clean) so I stocked up and built ’em. I love to build these stools because there is a fine balance between machine work (table and miter saw, planer/jointer, etc.) and hand work (hand planes, chisels, and other shaping tools).  The last trick on this project was how to move them from Anderson, SC to Vermont, since Vermont is a bit outside of my delivery scope. Turns out there are very useful and safe delivery services that pick up and deliver up and down eastern US, and they do it quite cost effectively. Bottom line is that the stools turned out well and Beth says ‘they are works of art’. Aw, shucks…

You Win Some, You Lose Some

You Win Some? (link to photos)

So, having carved some additional seats from my last big project I decided to put a stool frame under one of them. This stool has a Birch seat and Mahogany  frame and is pretty much typical in most ways. With this stool, however, I got just a little bit lazy with the back….rather than rip veneer strips and glue them together in a form to create a laminated, curved back, I tried something different….as you can see in the photos. Some may like this look but, frankly, I don’t. Nor will I ever do this again unless someone specifically asks for it (why would they do such a thing?).  The back reminds me of something off an M1 Abrams tank which is as elegant as a crack in concrete!

All well, you win some, you lose some. This stool will prolly hang around in my shop for a while…

It’s May in October!


In April 2019 I was contacted by May, an Interior Designer based in Manhattan (that’d be Manhattan, New York City). She had been perusing CustomMade for barstools for a new Thai diner in NOLITA (just north of Little Italy)  and came across some I’d made for my daughter-in-law, Allie. Well, May needed 20 (yes, twenty) of these but did not want the frame…just the seats and backs. We’d have to come up with a way to connect them but I was sure there was an elegant but robust way of doing so. These seats would be mounted to a chrome, swiveling pedestal….and did I mention she wanted 20 of these?

So it all came to pass. I’d connect the backs via two chromed brackets mortised into the back and screwed underneath the seat with inserts and stainless steel machine screws. Of course I had to ‘farm out’ the brackets and boy did I learn a little bit about steel, bending steel (accurately),  and chroming! Especially chroming. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you can substitute chroming with “silver powder-coating”. It AIN’T the same. Anyway….

The idea was to make and finish 20 seats by 1 June and I did….I shipped on 24 May. Unfortunately, due to building renovation, licensing and permitting issues, as well as labor problems, the diner has yet to open but we’re hoping for November. Meanwhile May sent me these pictures and I’m so glad to have been a part of her project.

So, if you’re ever in Manhattan and are craving some Thai cuisine, I’d recommend “Thai Diner” located at the corner of Mott St and Kenmare St. I’m sure it’d be a fabulous experience!