Monday, December 30, 2013

Oversized Floor Mirrors

A few months ago, I found myself complaining to Ken that I needed a floor length mirror. He agreed to design and fabricate me a mirror and boy, did he deliver. My complaint launched a series of designs for oversized floor mirrors. The mirror was so stunning, we developed a line of oversized mirrors with custom finishes, sizes, and glass type.

The process:
Using the abundance of reclaimed timbers that date back to the 1800s, Ken constructed an oversized mirror frame after he planed, grinded, shaved, and sanded the reclaimed wood. The result was a 5 x 9 foot reclaimed frame. He called me out to the Studio to see if it would suit my needs…

The bones
With my seal of approval, we moved on to finish. I chose an antique black finish for this frame because I knew that the frame was going to outline a pane of antique mirror. Below is a picture of the new finish on the frame and the pane of mirror before assembly. 

Pre Assembly
Post Assembly
It is hard to tell here, but this mirror is antique glass that has inconsistent imperfections throughout the mirror. It is stunning and hard to capture on film but I have done my best to take some detailed shots of the mirror and frame. 

Corner detail with antique black finish

Antique mirror detail
The constructed 5 x 9 foot floor mirror is displayed at the entrance of our closet as seen below. It took four guys at 3 am to bring it into the loft and safely secure it to the wall. 

In all of its splendor
Each mirror has a hand rubbed patina and a choice of .25 inch mirror in regular or antique finish. The antique glass is state-of-the-art glass that has a distressed, well-aged appearance for a perfect antique pattern. Each mirror also has a layer of SoftTouch gripper on the bottom and a top wall mount for support. Mirrors can be custom made with a variety of finishes, mirror, orientation and size. 

Standard sizes are 3 x 7, 4 x 8, and 5 x 9. 

We have a 4 x 8 foot, antique mirror with an antique black finish on display at Lost Antiques in Design District Dallas, Texas. The mirror weighs 300 lbs. (Piece #45)

For information, purchase or custom order, please contact 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reclaimed Timber Coffee Table (Piece #50)

We decided to do another reclaimed timber coffee table and make it slightly different to test our design capabilities. The concept for this piece was similar. We used the reclaimed pine timbers and mixed them with pieces of hard maple and walnut. The unique thing about this table is the pieces of pine that we chose show the variety of the reclaimed beams. The colors and markings are completely distinct from other pieces we have worked with. The wood has more character and took stain radically different. Here is the table top once we glued up, grinded and stained.

Glue up in progress

Note the different patterns in the wood

We incorporated two pieces of hard maple into the table top because we knew that the table was going to have a dark finish and wanted the strips of hard maple to stand out. It creates a varietal of textures, tones and patterns into a single piece. This would also allow the end user a multitude of design capabilities. 

For the bases, we designed and hand forged 1/2 inch recycled steel. Each table top base is unique and customizable to each piece. The table creates a utilitarian design that can be used as a table, bench or ottoman. 

1/2 inch, hand forged recycled steel bases

Dimensions are L 71" x W 29.5" x H 14" and it weighs 270 lbs.

This table is available for purchase and is being showcased at Lost Antiques in Design District Dallas, Texas. For more information or for a custom designed piece, please contact Chelsea Layne at . 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reclaimed Timber Coffee Table (Piece #21)

This piece was our first attempt at an oversized coffee table and, in my opinion, it yielded some beautiful results. We found that we ran into certain design limitations when looking at modern day coffee tables. The limitations were functionality, size and durability. We set out to design a table that would serve multiple functions, be large enough for the scale of modern and mid-century couches, feature a low profile, and would be a conversation piece in any space. The design is beyond functional because it can serve as an ottoman, table or bench.

Staying true to our design concept, we used reclaimed materials to create the table. This table, in particular, is made with reclaimed pine timbers dating back to the 1800s from a historical site in the stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas. We used pieces of mahogany and poplar to add greater detail. The table was then glued up and set to cure. 

Fresh off the glue rack
From here, we cut three Wenge butterfly splines to determine positioning. 

Determining positioning for the butterfly splines
Once we determined their placement, Ken hand carved the table one inch deep so that the butterfly splines could be set into the tabletop. 

Hand carved
Butterfly splines in position
For the wood finish, we decided on a darker stain to bring out the polar detail and to soften the contrast between the reclaimed timbers and the wedge butterfly splines.

Table finish
With the tabletop completed, we designed table bases out of .5 inch, hand forged, reclaimed steel. 

Raw bases after welding
Bases added to the table top

The table is L 92.25" x W 24.5" x H 14.5" and weighs 312 lbs.

Currently this table is for sale and is on display at Lost Antiques in the Design District of Dallas, Texas. For further information or custom table order, please contact Chelsea Layne at

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Factory Cart Addition

We are starting to fabricate a line of oversized floor mirrors and ran into another handling issue. How were we going to receive the large sheets of mirror and glass and how were we going to store them safely? We needed a way to receive the massive sheets of mirrors from street level and store them in a way not to compromise them. The solution needed to be tall and mobile. Sounds easy enough, right?  

The first thought was to build a secondary factory cart. Instead, we decided to add to the existing one. The addition would consist of an A-frame that could be lifted on and off the factory cart when needed by forklift. Ken constructed the A-frame with welded steel that provides the mirrors and glass with superior security.


Completed racking system
Now we get to fabricate the line of oversized, reclaimed mirrors. Stay tuned to see how they turn out. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coffin Racer for Denton's Day of the Dead Festival

We have been hard at work in the Studio so we decided to take some time and create something fun. A friend of mine informed us that Denton hosts a Day of the Dead Festival each year. This festival is home to a soapbox race featuring coffin cars. Having never even been to a soapbox race, let alone building a soap box racer, we signed up. Over a team meeting, we came up with Race in Peace (R.I.P.) as our coffin racer’s name. We wanted to do something different from the competitors so we designed our coffin to be colorful and groovy.  Our creative process was as follows.

Inspiration: We decide on a trike

 Ken built the chassis using a steel frame, which included a steering wheel. We knew that the coffin car was something that we were going to want to keep so we weren’t thrilled about the idea of slamming it into a stack of hay bails to stop the momentum. Ken fabricated a brake system that allowed me to push on the pedals and it would effectively stop the back two wheels.

Completed Chassis

For the body, we cut the frame of the coffin on the CNC machine. The total length of the coffin ended up being nine feet long to house the chassis and allow for more than one driver. Ken hand-shaped a wood fairing for design and aerodynamics.

Coffin racer body

Hand carved fairing

To execute our vision, we made the decision to paint the body like an old school red and white VW bus and add some groovy details.

Base coat

Finishing touches

Weighing in at 223 lbs. Is there a prize for the heaviest car?

We had so much fun the day of the festival. We brought our kids to cheer us on as we competed against 40 other coffin cars. We ended up placing 10th out of 40. We were very pleased with this considering it was our first attempt at soapbox racing. Here I am ready for race #2.

Thank you to all of our friends and family that came out to help and root us on. See you next year Denton!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our Version of a Cat Scratching Post

Here at the Studio, we have two furry friends named Amos and Loki. We needed a scratching solution for them so that they would not destroy furniture throughout the space. In a hunt to find something to go in the Studio that wasn’t an eyesore, we came up short. We decided to fabricate something ourselves that would incorporate design and functionality.  We started out with a four-foot tall, raw, reclaimed pine beam. Ken hand chiseled a portion of the beam so that we could wrap it in .75 inch manilla rope and it would be flush with the wood.
Hand chiseling for the inlayed rope

In order to secure the rope, we wanted it to be discreet. We used a peg system on the backside to attach the ends of the manilla rope for a seamless design. Here is the peg system before we put on the rope.

Peg system

 For the base, we chose .25 inch steel plate with an oxidized patina.

.25 inch steel base

Side view

The cat scratching post is now a sculpture in our living room that is both beautiful and functional. The cats are able to scratch in style.

Amos enjoying her cat scratching post

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Factory Cart

I am constantly surprised about the difficulty of handling some of our supplies and materials. Initially, we were positive that the forklifts would be enough to satisfy our handling needs but we were wrong. Because of this, we consistently have to design and fabricate stuff that can handle the sheer scale of our work. The handling techniques are often unexpected and the mass of our work continues to escalate.

With the hole between the warehouses completed, we needed a way to move materials back and forth between the two spaces.  Ken also needed a way to safely cut the large reclaimed timbers. The solution was a large factory cart that would serve multiple purposes. The cart would also allow us to receive materials from ground level and it would include rails on the bottom side so it could be moved with a forklift.

Steel frame on casters

The Studio requires something really large for the scale of materials that we use. However, there isn’t a lot of utility with a really long factory cart so Ken designed sliding extensions on both sides of the cart. The frame is steel and has an open center for cutting large pieces of wood. The cart also has removable handles and a sacrificial top.

Sliding extensions on both ends
It is a beast

We use this cart every single day in the Studio. It is so useful that we are contemplated fabricating a second one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Connecting the Warehouses

Since we now have two warehouses side-by-side, we have the ability to connect the two so we can quickly access the materials stored next door. We keep our forklifts in the warehouse next door so we needed a connecting door that was large enough for our materials, and the forklifts. This would provide the studio with the ability to transfer equipment and materials from warehouse to warehouse seamlessly.

Before Picture

First, Ken met with a couple structural engineers to determine it was safe to cut a hole between the two structures. Instead of hiring contractors, Ken created a way to do the task himself (as usual). So for many days, the boys chipped away at a solid cinder block wall. Ken welded a structural doorframe that could accommodate for a garage door and reinforce the large hole.

Framed out

We now have a bay-sized garage door that allows us the ability to move materials and access our warehouse space with ease.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Lonely Door

With the loft still being under construction, there isn’t a whole lot of privacy in the space. However, we made time to make one door. This door was considered to be the “test” door but the results were so amazing that we will be using the same technique to fabricate other doors when we get around to it.

Ken found some reclaimed flooring from a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse at our favorite salvage yard and there was enough to make two door fronts. Not wanting to use all the wood for one door, we decided to use the reclaimed flooring on one side and reclaimed cedar on the other.  The cedar was a reclaimed beam that we cut into veneer using the band saw and arranged in a random horizontal pattern.
Reclaimed school flooring in a vertical pattern on the front of the door

Reclaimed cedar in a horizontal configuration on backside

To add an industrial element, Ken fabricated steel hardware to incorporate into the design. Thus, completing the lavatory door.

Installed door with hardware

When the door is opened, there is a hint of fabulous red that shows around the edgeways.

Hint of Fabulous Red

 From the inside, the cedar door is beautiful. I still can’t decide which side is my favorite.

Look from the inside

 Hopefully we get around to making some more doors soon.