Walnut Picture Frame


I recently heard a short story about value. It goes something like this. A well known artist sketches a quick diagram on a napkin. It took very little time and resources, only a pen and a delicate material most wouldn’t even consider paper. The artist proceeds to offer their piece for sale and she finds an interested client. Naively, the client expects to obtain it for a minimal cost. The artist, however, refuses. This drawing didn’t take two minutes they claimed, it took all of my life to reach this level of proficiency. For that reason alone, she justified a high price tag.

While not for sale, this finished frame gained some interest in value. Were one to be attached, I wouldn’t know what to ask. First, to make this frame, I hand selected two salvaged pieces of black walnut from a scrap bin, planed and cut them down to matching dimensions, then began designing their final “L” shape. Precise table saw cuts helped them achieve a near perfect geometry. Next, I trimmed the corners diagonally with a miter saw, prepping the joints for bonds via glue and nails. I ended up with a sound rectangle on my second attempt (Four clamps providing force in eight directions can get dicey). Copious amounts of work went into sanding the structure, polishing, and devising a plan for a glass inlay. I ended up resting the glass with a bit of gorilla glue in the four corners. That way it stays in place with zero shifting, but most of the pressure is offered from the thick cardboard backing instead, held in place at eight critical points. This also serves as the photo backing. 

The photograph tells a unique story too. A slow exposure of a 40m waterfall, pouring into a small lagoon, labeled “Grand Staircase – Escalante” taken March 2018. Some may relate to not so small journey required for photography. Slow shutter knowledge, nd filters, and raw post processing are just a few of the hurdles I overcame to get the shot, in addition to years of composition with my Fuji x100s. Throw in the fact that my girlfriend and I traveled to Southern Utah for this location, which is actually the middle of nowhere, but happens to reside near Escalante and hiked in several miles to be greeted with freezing cold waterfall spray on an already brisk spring morning.

My point is that considerable effort, time, and creativity went in to crafting this piece from the outer bones, to the photograph, and everything in between. One could claim this only took me a few days work in May or this frame’s fruition is the culmination of an intense charrette in which all of my worldly design skills were tapped into — photography, woodworking, conceptual ability…


Wood: free

Labor: 10 Hours

Expertise: 2-3 years

Glass : $2 from Goodwill

White Matte Window: $2.75

11x 17 Photograph: $15.65 

Rough Cost of my project: 2-3 years and $19.38

(Cost of Tripod, Camera, and Adventuring were offset)



Ask any New Englander and they have likely heard of the fabled Baxter Peak, known more tellingly as Mount Katahdin located on the southern half of Baxter State Park. A near century old land preserve that had stretched its borders incrementally over the span of 30 years to accomplish an immodest two hundred thousand acres with nearby national monument. Ostentatious this park is not. Yes, LL Bean has capitalized this natural environment too from their dubious clothing lines and graphic tees, blindly pushing Freeport to get ‘out there’ and glamp some more.

Having soloed up and down Mt Washington in the early spring in under five hours, I had not expected a less elevated peak to offer more challenge. I was fooled.  Beginning with a wet, mosquito ridden night, transferring to a 4:00 am wake up in order to guarantee an impromptu day permit, I would venture to say Katahdin is not for the fainthearted. Hitting the trail at 5:50 am. Erin and I hiked for about two hours via Roaring Brook trailhead towards Helon Taylor where we first escaped the treeline. We then pushed ourselves for another two scrambling up ^Pamola and crossing the infamous Knifes Edge beckoning at the summit. Our ascent totaled roughly four hours and our descent followed suit of four more hours of boulders and crag hopping down a drainage referred to as Saddle Brook. I was glad to have my Asolo Fugitives on my feet that day and the overall experience was great to the say the least. 

Sightings of snow and ice were quite strange as it was June 21st, the day of summer solstice. Gatekeeper mentioned the summit air was estimated to be 43° at midday.

29128689658_1e9e1c0205_o5,267′ + 6′ = 5,273′


Tree to Table


Once destined for dining, this table now resides as my desk. It was handcrafted using free walnut and oak off cuts that I salvaged myself. It’s true, I claimed all this wood for the cost of driving 3.2 miles and loading it in the bed of my Cherokee. In other words it was a free table top, lest I add the dozens of hours joining, planing, sanding, re-sanding, and coating towards the final tally. It was a labor of love, what else can I say.

Where did I find beautiful hardwoods for free? Gaston & Wyatt Cabinetry in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thank you for offering free hardwoods to architecture students and filling my fall semester with all the walnut I could ask for.

For those that care:

40″ x 26″ x 1 1/2″  Standing Height 37″ 
Pattern (Left to center): Black Walnut, Red Oak, White Oak, Red Oak (Quartersawn)      

Legs purchased from Etsy.com

(s)wells, maine

42082583532_afe7044769_oI’m a purveyor of small things. From tiny homes to small quivers, my fascination with minimalism takes plight. I believe the message we are primed to believe, that more money, and grander cars will bring us happiness, is not accurate for someone like me. As I enter my twenties I’ve begun to realize that constantly pushing the bar, finish line, or whatever made me feel majorly incomplete all the time.  Nothing I could ever buy would be as rewarding as something I completed with my own hands and I take that to heart. Feeling content about having life hardly figured out has been my biggest takeaway yet.Having a few set goals and steps to achieve them, with less things helped me accomplish so much more this year. With Avocado Coast Its been my goal to share simple pleasures i.e. photography, art, and surfing to prove that less can be more.

41227936725_b9ba71e648_oA couple inspiring photographs lead me to document tiny curls this past month. Gripping my A7 with a fixed 135mm f2.8 manual lens like my life depended on it, I carefully shot within inches of fast moving curls. This required me getting in the water and crouching, for your own visualization. The a7’s tiltable screen allowed me to find manual focus on this raging XXS day.


Alaia – (The Lumberjack)

41227993765_53438566a2_oBuilding any sort of surf craft with your own hands is an incredibly rewarding process. Not only are these builds more sustainable than the leading alternative, they have a story to tell– and one worth telling. The time put into a board such as alaia is not as significant as a full hollow surfing board per it’s simple plank construction, but finishing a board the same week you start is gratifying in its own way. 

I began  by clamping four cedar boards together all measuring roughly 2 x 6 in width and thickness. By the end of the week, final shape was trimmed down to a slim 20 inches with a strong taper near the tail. The main challenge was not finding it’s outer spoon like foil, but rather trimming the rails down to a rideable thickness. My old hand plane took its time with this job, churning out cedar curls by the hundreds. A wide single concave pattern rests in the tail with hope that it will do something beautiful.

Here it is in Wells, ME