Mid Century Bench

Just delivered this Mid Century Bench to a great client.  This turned out to be a very beautiful piece.  Solid walnut with a hand woven danish cord seat.  Standard dimensions, 48x18x16.  I have two more in production that will be done after a custom order.  Look for them to be available this fall.  Thanks for checking in.

Danish Cord Bench Feature

My Danish Cord Stool was recently featured in a custom home here in Cardiff by the Sea. My friend Cindy did all of the interior design and it came out great.  When she asked if she could use some of my pieces I was stoked. 


You can see more of Cindy's great work here: http://www.cindycourson.com/index/#/cardiff-by-the-sea/


More on the stool here:  http://www.alibiwoodworks.com/blog/2014/4/7/mid-century-stool-wrap-up

Thanks for checking in.  



Danish Cord Bench

Just started this Mid Century Bench for Cyndi. A fresh roll of Danish Cord, L Nails and some very nice walnut stock.  



Now that the stock is broken down into rough sizes it has to acclimate to the conditions here in my shop. After a week or more it will be ready to flatten and prepare for the joinery. Till then, thanks for checking in.  

Mid Century Dresser Build

Just wrapped this super fun build;

81 individual pieces, 9 glueups, 86 walnut pinned joints, Graduated drawers in American Black Cherry with undermount soft close slides, Black Walnut case, Highly figured Claro Walnut top and drawer fronts all came from one board.

36"w x 20"d x 32"h

The highly figured Claro Walnut top and drawer fronts came from one piece that I had been saving for just the right project.

The case is built around these blind dado webs pinned with walnut dowels

Tapered feet to keep the case up off of the floor and give it that Mid Century feel

These tiny chamfers are beautiful as they pick up the light but they are also functional; the edges are too sharp after hand tooling and can actually cut you.  The Cherry drawers are pinned with Walnut dowels to match the patterning on the case.

Heritage Lumber

I recently picked up some very special lumber. I have plans to build our dining room table later in the year and I made the decision that this is the last table I'll ever own. I believe in making furniture that will outlast me and hopefully become heirlooms.  

To that end I searched high and low before I finally found Logs to Lumber. I've been casually looking for something special for about 6 months so when I found this set of 6 quarter sawn and book matched walnut boards I bought it immediately. 

76wide x 72 tall x 1.25 thick

76wide x 72 tall x 1.25 thick

Being book matched means that they were milled from the log sequentially and will open like a book to match each face. This allows for a larger and more seamless appearance.  


Quarter sawing is a method by which the boards are sawn from the log with the annual rings mostly perpendicular to the faces. Quarter sawing yields boards with straight striped grain lines and greater stability than flatsawn wood - just what I want in a table. 

Note: image borrowed from Google image search

Note: image borrowed from Google image search

Nerdy wood speak aside this is pretty rare to find anymore and very special. With the recent fad of "slab" furniture (which I eagerly await the demise of) it's very exciting to find a sawyer with this level of talent and pride in his craft.  


Thanks for checking in.  

Hand Tool Sunday

Chores are done. It's a very nice day for a few hours of hand tool work. I'm also working out designs for a few new projects that will be coming in 2015. 


Thanks for checking in. Have a great week. 

Backyard Renovation

My day job as a landscape architect has come home with me for an intense back yard renovation.  As we move through renovating the house this has been a constant thorn in our side.  After a long day of making furniture who wants to sit in a garden that looks like it belongs at Castle Greyskull?

You can see our sweet fall down fence that was so termite infested that we would get woodpeckers pulling bugs out of it.  Add in the incredible amount of concrete and terribly overgrown Birds of Paradise... Time for an update!

So I set about removing the two Birds and dropped the old and nasty fence.  Better already.

Next up, we have to do something about all of this concrete.  Water is precious here and I wanted to decrease our impervious area.  I had the slab saw cut and most of it removed.  The good news is 100% of the concrete went to a recycling facility to be made into more concrete.

I moved the goofy half moon step and added a small wall to keep the grade at the original level.  This is important because the view to the west (opposite the camera direction) is of the ocean.  The photo below is from the day the concrete was poured, the gas fire pit is an integral color charcoal with matte finish.

Trees.  My favorite part.  The boxed tree in the foreground is a Madrone (Arbutus 'Marina) and the tree behind it is a Cork Oak (Quercus suber).  Cork oak are a pretty special tree.  They are the only source of natural cork.  Harvesting it causes no harm to the tree when it is peeled off from the trunk, making it a sustainable product.  There is one more tree behind what looks like a giant cactus but is actually a Candelabra euphorbia.  The tree in the way back is a Tipuana Tipu, a large fast growing tree that will give great afternoon shade.

Cork Oak bark.

Beyond the fire pit area I have installed decomposed granite which will be the base for an artificial turf panel.  The fire pit will get another layer of the decomposed granite, but in a nicer golden color.

Its been a busy couple of weeks in the yard and it feels great to sit by the fire in the evenings.  After I finish up the landscape side of things it will be time for some custom patio furniture.  Thanks for looking.

Mid Century Bench

Just finished: Mid Century Bench in solid walnut with a hand woven danish cord seat.  This bench is so great.  Designed and built by hand here in our sleepy little beach town, Cardiff by the Sea, California.  Coming in at 48"x16"x18" this bench works great in an entry way or at the foot of a bed.   This bench has been sold, but I would be happy to create a custom bench to meet your needs.  Just drop me a line.

Drawing on all of the experiences of the Mid Century Stool, (here) this bench was a super fun build, looks beautiful and most important: it is functional in every day life.

Above and Below: The signature horns on the ends of the bench are hand carved.  It is the details like this grain wrapping through the radius that sets hand made furniture apart from the fray.

Lots of L Nails to accept lots of weaving.

photo 5.JPG

This Danish Cord is a great contrast to the richness of the walnut, is an unbleached paper product and very sustainable.

Leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any questions about this bench.  Have a great week.

More bench teasers...

A great weekend with a bunch of progress. The final coat of finish went on this solid walnut MCM bench. All of the Danish L-nails have been installed and the hand woven seat with Danish cord has begun. 


This bench is really going to be special. All of the joinery and materials are period correct and have come together to make a very nice piece of furniture. Should be done in a week with a full write up to follow. 


This part is so exciting; being close enough to see all of the design and building come together, but just enough left to do to anticipate the final form. 

Have a great week and check back for another materials update. 

Miter and Mortise Mania

Nearly all of June found me on the road for the day job, so it's been great to get back into the shop. 

I've wanted all of the frames in our house to match for the longest time. Since I had to wait three weeks for a custom router bit for the MCM Bench I got after these frames. 


I added a mortise and tenon to all of the miters to strengthen the joint.  


This is just the first three. Six more in the works - why did I want all of these to match again?

for scale: the Herman Miller picnic poster is 36x48 with frame and matte.  


This is a little teaser for the bench I am currently building. More to follow after the weekend. Enjoy!

+ Oh the Vanity

When we moved into the house, this bathroom had been shared by a group of college students for a few years and was...not real nice.  In fact, I gutted it down to the studs before we ever showered in it.  I generally try and demo as little as possible to reduce landfill contributions, but there were some pretty serious neglect problems.  The good news is we had an opportunity to create some unique furniture.  Sure, a bathroom vanity isn't always on the average list of definitions for furniture.  In my house it sure is, though.


I knew right away that I wanted it to take cues from a mid century modern credenza or dresser. I looked at all of the hyper modern manufacturers to see if I could save a little time and buy something.  Nope.  There is some good stuff out there, for sure.  Just not what we were looking for.

I took out a ridiculous faux oak, country styled vanity and created this custom vanity in its place.  The exterior shell is all American Black Walnut ply.  I used solid Black Walnut dowel legs to tie into the furniture in the other rooms in the house - they are typical for the period.  Solid surface counter in white with a very minimal edge overhang.

And this right here: this is where the real magic happens.  This is the difference between a custom piece of hand made furniture and something you can buy off of the shelf.  Whats the big deal?  Context sensitive design, thats what.  That sink up top drains through the P-trap in the wall below.  That P-trap is a space killer in almost all vanities you can by at the big box retail stores.  That is why you will see doors on so many vanities.  They allow for room the plumbing.  Unfortunately it is a huge waste of space.  I solved this by making 2 half drawers in the center.  This is much more efficient than a dark shelf that you have to bend over to find.

All drawers use soft close Knape Vogt Slides.

I grain matched the drawers for a clean, modern and consistent look.  

About those drawer pulls.  If this wasn't for our house they would be the typical chrome or stainless steel.  But, because we live close to the ocean we give a few subtle nods to the beach life, like these hand painted urchin knobs.

The tiles are 12x24 Marazzi Italian, high recycled content, linen texture.  Unfortunately, they stopped making them.   I liked them so much that I had planned to use them in the kitchen, which will soon be remodeled too.

Octopus towel hanger guy is happy.  Thanks for checking in!

+mid century stool

Fisrt half of the Danish cord weave is complete. Thankfully the second half is much easier - my hands are pretty chewed up.  This little stool is going to give my bum a place to rest when I'm using hand tools at my workbench. 


the Danish cord sets off the Cherry nicely. 


I plan to do a more in depth write up when it's all finished, enjoy the rest of the weekend!

+ New Business Cards

What a week it has been. Parts of the site are offline and being recreated - bear with me on that. I've got some new content in the works. 

In the positive side, new business cards. The front, shown here with my Auriou Rasps, came out great. I'll post the other side later this afternoon. I'm real pumped on them. As someone who makes objects I still get excited about analog things. 


If you made an order, I'm on it this weekend. Enjoy yourselves!

Around the shop + Update

It has been a busy few weeks at the shop.  I have had quite a few orders for plant stands to keep me busy.  I am putting the oil + varnish finish on them now, so all other work stops.  Cant have any dust to contaminate the beautiful deep grain finish.  I will have a few images of them to share when they are finished.  Thanks to all who have ordered.  The e-commerce portion of the site is coming soon and will make this easier.

I have also been working on this prototype stool that is very exciting.  This one is solid American Black Cherry and created specifically for my workbench since I need a place to sit when I am using hand tools.  It would be easy to adapt to counter or even bar height.  When it is finished I will talk a little more about the design specifics.

Here you can see a groove going through the top rail and the signature "horns" on the end.  These may look familiar from my logo.  The groove is there to accept the danish cord weave that will create the seat.  I think this is going to be super comfortable. 


In the picture below you can see how the  joints get fared together and the corners get rounded over to give it a really organic feel.


Here is the model I create for form and composition.  I talked about this here.  Even with a full CAD plan and 3-d model there is a fair bit of freestyling that happens.  For now, I have eliminated the handles on the ends -  I think it ends up creating a much simpler and stronger form. 

danish cord stool

And of course Cali is super stoked to see it come alive.


Next update this weekend.  A few more things in store...Stay tuned and thanks for checking in.