Friday, December 24, 2010

Sapele is the new Mahogany

I got a referal from a good friend to help out a friend of his that had an unusual request to replace his front door.  He and his wife had been on vacation in Bali and wanted to bring the Bali resort feel home with thier entry door replacement.  The shot below is what they had existing.
The shot below is what I replaced it with.  Sapele hardwood that I finished with my imported boat varnish system.  The tambour panel mimics the reeded glass sidelites and the tapered casings with the notched header really makes for an island feel in this entry way.  I like how this entry totally blends with the redwood ceiling to transform this entryway.

Dream Mantel Build

I'm fortunate to every now and again get the opportunity to flex the design muscles a little.  I had built a mantel for a contractor buddy of mine, Jason Willis, in the past, so when he got a client that really wanted to take it over the top with something elaborate and gawdy, I got the call.  I was stoked to be able to help Jason look like the rock star he is with this mantel.  I put a bunch of time into working the design sketch for him, we ended up scaling it back the origional design to 'value engineer' the project.  Regardless, he showed up on the job with a design presentation that made the interior designer on the job look like an ametuer.  He said it was very gratifing to stand back while the designer made all kinds of hand gestures and desciptions of what she had envisioned for the space while the client just kept saying she needed to see it, that she was visual.  Jason didn't say a word until asked then dropped the sketch on her that sealed the deal right then and there.  Here's a shot of it half installed.  I'll post up the completed photos in the next few days..

Mantel Season

Mantel Season is in full swing.  We do more than alot of mantels a year, and the end of the year is always the busiest.  Why? Everyone wants a mantel for the holidays.  It's understandable, where do you hang your stockings for Santa unless you have a mantel.  For the first time I had three projects in the spray booth at once, that's how busy we have been.  I feel very blessed to be this busy in this economy.  Here's a shot in side my booth of just a few weeks ago, two doors, two mantels, one spray booth.  Its a good problem to have.

I've had quite a few people emailing asking questions about finishing.  What equipment I use, what I thin the material with and all that.  I've decided to do a piece on finishing.  I'll post it up here when it's done so keep a look out for that.  It may also make it's way to the HGRadio website or my good friend Gary Katz's awesome webzine, ThisIsCarpentry, maybe all of the above.  Wherever it lands, I'll be sure to keep you guys informed of it.

Redwood Arbor

We're beta testing a new offering to our services menu with pre-fabricated arbors and pergolas.  One of our regular contractor clients asked us to design one for a high profile client of thiers, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to test out the prefab.  We did all the cutting in the shop and installed this bad boy in about 8 hours.  We'll have it to 4 hours once we bring it to the retail market.

Fiberglass Doors

It's no secret, I love wood.  But lets be honest, technology is cool too.  When technology from the space industry makes its way into the building industry markets we get better products for the home.  Case in point fiberglass doors.  ThermaTru, Masonite, and PlastPro are three manufactures that are excelling in this exciting new technology.  Why fiberglass?  Because the trees we are harvesting these days are new growth, which means alot of sapwood, which is softer than the heartwood.  To make a very long and complicated discussion short, the wood we get today is nowhere near as durable as the old growth of yesteryear.  So fiberglass is coming into the market as a nearly industructable substitute.  The technology is now to the point to where a good finisher can make fiberglass doors fool even pros like me.  Heres one we did for a family in Napa.