Handmade Cruiser

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You give up a lot when you search for surf in colder climates. Including anything pertaining to the warm and comfortable. Search the globe and one might not find winter waves more convenient and also lonely than in southern Maine. Vactionland’s “off-season” has a lot to offer, of course the trade off is that surfing Maine can be a rather cold and unpleasant experience. “It’s too damn cold!” Some will say. “Don’t you have to wear a dry suit?” Others will ask.

During the summer months, grey skies, tall pine trees and rocky point breaks are taken over by teslas, beach moms, and increased traffic. Around this time, I bring out my own summer wheels. I made it from an eclectic mix of hardwood stringers all salvaged from scrap bins. I once passed a tesla with it, I swear.

Pictures from Kennebunk Beach

29″ x 8″ x 5/8″

Walnut, Oak, Maple

 

 

 

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)

Tree to Table

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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)      

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Legs purchased from Etsy.com

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