Posts Tagged ‘custom made mesquite rocking chairs’

Fall Happenings and the Bending Process of the Bentwood Rocker

November 16, 2013

It’s been a busy fall here for us here in the land of Shangrila. Our two new little boys, Apollo and Perseus (pictured below checking out the shop) are growing like weeds (up to about 80 & 90lbs at just over 5 months old). They are keeping us very busy and entertained. But we’ve also been busy with customer orders, making a delivery to Mystique Gallery in Scottsdale and now getting ready for another 10 week adventure in AZ at Celebration of Fine Art. We just finished up a desk chair for a NM customer and are underway on a large bedroom order going to a new home in Breckenridge CO.  This large order not only has a king size bed with night stands, but a desk and low back chair and two bent wood rockers. The bending involved in making one of these unique rockers is quite a task. In this blog I will show some of the steps in the creative process.

boys in shop

Apollo and Perseus at 4 months old, checking out the shop. They love to see what’s going on and pick up pieces of wood to chew on.

Shangraw_21079-ZAPP

Here is a completed Bent wood rocker made from Cherry and Ash

The first process is prepping for all the gluing of the legs. This process has to take place before it gets to cold. So we were in a crunch to get all the major gluing done before winter hits. Luckily our weather has been gorgeous and not to cold, which is unusual for this time of year. Scott also changed how the glue up goes on the legs, making each leg of the rocker, three separate glue ups. This may take more time, but makes it a little easier and a much stronger bend.

Once the three bends are complete, the arm gets glued up on a separate form that lies on the leg. Normally we use contrasting woods, to really show off the whole process.

The seat and headrest (normally the same wood as the arms) are glued up, carved and shaped and then the process of putting the rocker together and shaping it, takes place. Even though the bending process of this rocker is very time-consuming and hard, the unique design makes this rocker like no other out there. It’s not the typical classic look, but has a more modern design.

bennett runner strips

This is a set of 9ft long strips ready for the first glue up.

bennett 1st runner glueup

Laminated strips glued up on the form. A lot of clamps go into this glue up. It takes both of us almost hour to do the glue up.

bennett 1st runner

This is what the first glue up looks like when taken out of the form.

bennett 2nd runner glueup

Here is the second glue up. This glue up is a little shorter than the first, building up the middle section of the leg, to make it stronger.

bennett runner glueup closeup

Close up of the second glue up

rocker legs 2nd glueups

Now four rocker legs are glued up and ready for the 3rd and final glue up to beef up the curve area.

final glue up on rocker leg

This is the last of the glue ups on the legs. A small section of laminations is glued on to the curve to make it stronger.

rocker laminated back slat

While some of the legs are being glued up, the laminations for the backrest are cut. Here we have walnut with ash in the middle. The contrasting woods blend in with the rest of the rocker and the ash in the middle of each backrest make them even stronger. These will be flexible backrests, that will flex as you rock.

glue up of rocker spindles

Here is two backrests being glued up on the form. This form was especially made to fit the curve of the back.

cutting rocker leg

Here is Scott trimming up the sides of the rocker leg. It is quite a cut on the bandsaw.

runner sanded

This is what the rocker leg looks like with all the bends glued on and sanded flat. Now it’s ready to attach the arm.

arm form

This is the arm form clamped on to the runner. This form is specially made to get a nice comfortable sweep while rocking.

arm glued up

The arm is now glued on to one of the legs. It’s a tricky glue up due to the curve and takes about an hour from start to finish.

rocker arms

Here you can really see the contrast in the woods, with the walnut arms glued on for one rocker. Next the seat gets attached, then the headrest and back spindles. And finally all the sanding and finishing. Stay tuned for the next blog, showing the completed rockers made from walnut and ash, along with the other bedroom furniture.

Shangri-La Woodworks, Scott and Stephanie Shangraw, HC 61 Box 40

This was our first bent wood rocker made from walnut and mesquite.

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New Babies and Chair Delivery

July 25, 2013

It’s been a busy few months. We just completed a large chair order and delivered it to Midland. It consisted of 12 Greek God chairs and 2 Shangrila II Rockers. All made from Oregon Black Walnut. The delivery went smoothly, even though it rained my whole drive there. The rain stopped just long enough to unload and then it started right up. Couldn’t have timed it better. We are now getting ready for our three summer shows. The first takes place in Park City UT August 3-4. Then the next weekend is the Sculpture Show in Loveland CO August 10-11. The last show will be Sausalito Art Fest in Sausalito CA over Labor Day weekend. We are scrambling to create more unique and new pieces for these shows.

Not only are we busy with all this, but we just got two 9 week old Merle great dane puppies. The brothers names are Apollo and Perseus. They are a handful, but so much fun as well. Their training is underway and they are catching on real quick. Now if I can just get them to quit chewing on any piece of wood they can find. Lord knows we have a lot of that around here. Hopefully once the teething stage is done. Traveling will be more of a challenge. So Scott will have to go to some shows by himself. But hopefully as they get older we can take them to more places with us and get them used to it. Below are some pictures of them.

Boys in vehicle 3

The boys sleeping on the car ride home. They were so good and slept most of the way.

Boys at home 2

Here they are sleeping at home. They already have quite a few toys. Perseus is suckling on a squeakie toy.

Apollo sleeping

This is Apollo sleeping. He is a lighter grey with black markings.

Perseus sleeping

This is Perseus sleeping. He’s dark grey with black markings.

Seems like they do nothing but sleep, eat and poop right now. There is some rough housing in between. They are going to grow like weeds though. It’s quite amazing. Lukly their parents are not real big danes, so these guys won’t be giants. We are so enjoying them and glad we got them. They make us laugh all the time.

Here is the chair delivery to Midland TX. Their house isn’t quite finished, but when it is I will post more pictures. I can’t wait to see everything in their place and how beautiful the house is.

Matt Johnson carrying chair

Here Is Matt carrying in one of the Greek God chairs

johnson chairs delivered

This is all 12 chairs

johnson rockers in home

The 2 Rockers

Matt Johnson sitting in rocker

Matt trying out a rocker

This was a big order and we have to admit took a little longer than we had planned. But seeing them all complete is well worth it. And it is especially satisfying to know the customer is happy.

Trip to Oregon

November 11, 2012

One of the places that was on our bucket list was Oregon, and we finally got to make a trip there recently. With the passing of our beloved Sampson, we needed to escape home and the void he left. So instead of shipping a bubinga rocker to Primary Elements Gallery in Cannon Beach, we made a last-minute decision to deliver it ourselves, along with a few carved vessels and bowls. The drive was long and we pushed it in two days and arrived in Astoria at our hotel, on the river late at night. The drive was a little boring and our mood was quiet. We’re both missing Sampson so much and he is always on our minds. But we were excited to see Oregon for the first time. They don’t call it a rainy state for nothing. It started raining almost the minute we drove into the state, continued the three days we were there and most of the drive out of the state. It was quite foggy upon arrival and made it hard to see. The Columbus river was quite spectacular with its grand size, dividing Oregon and Washington states and running almost the entire length of Oregon till it hit the ocean. There were several large barges running up and down the river. Our room in Astoria had a view of the river and the large bridges that run over to Washington state and to the rest of the Oregon coast. Our first day there, we looked around Astoria and had to admit it wasn’t what we expected. I had always wanted to go there (being a fan of the movie “Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop”) and I guess I had a different vision of what it would look like. We toured a few things, including the Oregon Film Museum that concentrates on the “Goonies” movie and it was a huge disappointment. We did have a nice lunch on the river at a fancy restaurant and watched some ships come and go, along with a few sea lions swimming by. That same day we went to the historic Fort Stevens, which was thick with trees and was where the river and the ocean met. It was quite pretty, but the ocean always is. We drooled over the washed up logs and contemplated on how to get some home. But you must have special permits and a way to load them. Maybe next time. They definitely get a lot of rain up there. Everything was covered with moss. The trees were loaded with it, even homes and rv’s. The rain and fog gave an eery feel to everything. Overall, we enjoyed our trip and look forward to going back and seeing more of Oregon.

Our second day was making the delivery of the rocker to the gallery in Cannon Beach. This was a cute little town and everything we had expected to see in this area. We wish we had chosen to stay here instead. Maybe next time. There were several galleries and shops in the downtown area with quite a few shoppers for a rainy day. We made the delivery and chatted with the owner of the gallery, Stephanie for a while. Yes we share the same first name. She is a vibrant, energetic, friendly lady and seems to love what she does. Her gallery had an array of different artwork, along with a nice selection of wood art. While we were there placing out our pieces, we chatted with a couple and they ended up buying one of our carved mesquite bowls. That was a nice start to what we hope to be a long relationship with Primary Elements and the owner Stephanie. The rest of the day, we looked around the town and some of the sights. Our final day encompassed yet more rain and fog. We toured the Seaside Aquarium and had fun feeding the sea lions on exhibit. They were quite entertaining and we enjoyed the aquarium. By then though we were so sick of being wet and not being able to see much, we headed back to our hotel and relaxed for the next days drive. We wish we had planned better to leave a little earlier and head south to the Redwoods. I believe we would have enjoyed that so much and driving along the coast would have been beautiful. So next time we’ll have to incorporate that in. We hope the gallery does good with our pieces and that we can make another trip up next year.

Now that we are home, we’ve been working on finishing up orders. We are making a trip to TX to make four deliveries and pick up mesquite logs from our friend and fellow woodworker Buddy Compton. Then it’s back home to work on a few more orders and what we will bring to the Celebration of Fine Art in AZ. This will be our first year at this 10 week show. Celebration is the original 10 week show, being around for 23 yrs, and it is an honor to be juried into this show. It is quite hard to get into and they have a big waiting list. We hope Celebration will be a big show for us and that we can continue going back each year. We will miss some of our friends that will be at the other 10 week show, but luckily we can see them here and there and catch up. We have a nice booth that looks out over the sculpture garden and an outdoor work area out on its own. Since we are messy and noisy we will be put in a different area, but just down from our booth. We leave home on January 4th and the show starts on January 12th and runs through March 24th. Scott and I will be there everyday working for the 10 weeks, so we hope to be able to replenish what we sale and make more for the shows after this one. The weather will be so nice and we wish we could leave now. I’m looking at lots of snow outside, with a night of minus temps ahead and dreaming of the warm weather in Scottsdale.

Next year should be an interesting one for us. We are going to load up on a few more shows and travel to some places we have wanted to go see. So we plan to be busy and hopefully have some fun as well.

View of Astoria bridge going over to Washington State

View of river and boardwalk from hotel

Fort Steven-Ocean and river meeting

Scott and the owner of the gallery, Stephanie

One of the carved juniper bowls on display in the gallery

Scott with a new customer and her birthday present, a mesquite carved bowl

Cannon Beach

Whale sculpture in Cannon Beach

IN MEMORY OF OUR BELOVED SAMPSON

Family and friends that know us well, know how much Sampson meant to Scott and I. Our world evolved around this beautiful giant baby and we miss him so. Our lives have been quite lonely with him gone and it will take a long time for us to heal from this loss. Here are a couple of the last pictures we took of him. We will meet again at “Rainbow Bridge” someday in the future.

Outside enjoying the beautiful weather with on of his squeakies given to him by our good friends Gilda and Larry and their dog Chino

Laying on his favorite blanky among all his many squeaky toys. That dog loved his squeakies. What a sweat face.

My favorite photo of Sampson from a few years ago on a trip to Dog Beach in San Diego, CA. We all had so much fun.

Curly Maple Rocker

July 17, 2012

I promised that I’d post the professional photos of the Curly Maple with Ebony rocker and here they are. I normally go for the darker woods, but this is just gorgeous and one of our favorites. It just might be a keeper.

We just found out that we were accepted into the Celebration of Fine Art Scottsdale. This is the original 10 week show, being it’s 23rd year, that takes place Jan-March each year. This show is very hard to get into, so we feel very privileged to be a part of the Celebration family. We will miss some of our new friends that will be at the other show, but we can visit them when we all have time over the 10 week period. We are looking forward to the show and are already making plans for some spectacular pieces. We will also be having a gallery showing at Mystique Gallery in downtown Scottsdale while we are there and this should be very exciting.

Currently we are gearing up for two upcoming shows in Park City UT and Loveland CO. Scott leaves in two weeks and we’ve been busy creating new sculptures. While he is gone, I will post some of these pieces on the blog for all to see.

This photo shows how pretty the grain is.

Here you can see the contrast between the black of the Ebony and the light of the Maple.

We also had the Bentwood rocker that was made from Cherry and Ash photographed. This picture is much better than ours and really shows off this rocker.

Shangrila Happenings

June 2, 2012

Since getting back from our three-month adventure in Scottsdale, we’ve been busy doing things around home. That 10 week show really wore us out and it was nice to be home for a while and just relaxing, doing work around here and enjoying our peace and solitude. Scott’s mom came to visit for two weeks and we enjoyed having her here. Sampson’s health is improving. It’s been a slow recover but he’s getting stronger every day. It’s going to be a long process and we have to make sure he doesn’t over do it and go backwards. It’s hard to accept that he’s getting older, but he’s getting better and we hope to have him around for many more years. We also had a new cabin shell delivered. It will eventually join our original cabin with a sunroom connecting them. We have a lot of work to do before that point (wiring, insulate etc). But for now it houses our workout equipment, that has been stored since moving here, a place to put completed pieces, storage and a work area for me to inlay and do finish. It’s nice to have the work space. I’ve been able to work on a few new wall pieces for the upcoming shows (see some of them below). But first we want to show off our newest rocker made from Curly Maple and Ebony.

This Curly Maple with Ebony rocker has been on Scotts’ wish list for some time. So finally we made it. The Curly Maple has some incredible figure in it and Scott did a great job laying out the grain patterns to really show it off. The Ebony was inlayed into the runners, used for plugs and splines on the headrest. The black is a wonderful contrast to the white of the Curly Maple. Ebony is an expensive exotic wood and lends itself to being used for accents. I believe this is by far Scotts favorite rocker to date and it might be hard for him to give it up. But I’m sure this rocker is sure to go real fast. We will be having it professionally photographed in a few days and post those when they are ready. They are sure to wow more than our photos.

This shot is the best close up we could get to show the curly maple. But it doesn’t really bring out the figure. Hopefully the professional pictures will.

Headrest shows the Ebony splines that run through it. You can see some of the figure here as well.

Ebony inlayed into the runners. What a beautiful contrast.

Finally got a picture of this gorgeous Shangrila II rocker made from Bubinga. Photographer Brian Leddy took it last year while doing a photo shoot for NM Magazine. He traveled down to our place and took photos of several different pieces. But this is the one I really wanted. We never had photos taken of this beauty before it sold. It sure looks good with the NM landscape in the background. The Bubinga wood is one of my favorites because of how beautiful the grain is. And using it on this rocker makes it a real stand out.

This is another photo Brian took of Scott and I with the Bubinga rocker and one of our dinning chair prototypes. I really like how it turned out. The backdrop is so pretty with the trees in the distance. We get to look at this beautiful view every day.

Here are some of our most recent projects that we just completed for our show this week in CA.

This is a new wall piece design that we started doing. It consists of Mesquite log slices in various sizes layed out on plywood. Epoxy resin, mixed with black dye, is poured over the piece for one initial layer and the gold leaf is glued on top of that first layer. Then different stones (turquoise, coral, sugalite, canary and malachite) are layed on top of the gold leaf, still letting some of it show through. Another layer of Epoxy resin is poured over the entire piece till it is level with the top. The piece is then ground flat, sanded and a couple of coats of poly are applied to the wood pieces. Then another epoxy pour (possibly two) are the final process. We definitely go through the Epoxy Resin, but the effect is really cool. The ideas are rolling off of us and you will see many new designs coming up. Dims 37″ round

Made from Mesquite and Elm slices this small wall piece has routered grooves with different Gold Leaf layed into them. No final Epoxy pour was done. Just finish on it, to make it a little different. Dims  30″ round
NEW SCULPTURES

Here are a few of our newest sculpture pieces. Some will show up again in a later post after the Professional photos are done. But for now this is a quick over view of some.

PIERCED

This sculpture is still being worked on. But it will be complete just in time for the show. Professional photos will show up in a later post. As you can see it was quite a bit of work and took longer than planned. Scott first carved the outside and then outlined where he wanted to pierce with veins. He then drilled holes to a certain depth. Once he did that, he then started carving the inside till he reached those holes. This process took a while as he went down the sculpture to the bottom. Then he shaped the holes to a more appealing design. Dims are 31″ T x 14″diameter

GOLDEN MOSS

Made from Alligator Juniper this is a first in what will be a new design series for the sculptures. In a few areas of the piece gold leaf was applied to resemble the look of moss growing. Many coats of a gloss finish were applied to give it a high shine and add depth to the sculpture. Dims 12″T x 18″L x 6″W

EYE POD

Yes that is the name of this piece. Scott was being clever. To me it looks like a pappoose. This piece was a smaller version of one we had at the AZ Fine Art Expo. It is made from Mesquite Burl and came out just beautiful. Even though the design is simple in nature it is one of our favorites. It has such a nice natural shape to it and the little tunnel Scott created adds a uniqueness to it. Dims 26″L x 7″T x 5″W

Mini Me-Twister

This is the smallest twister we’ve made. So we’ve gone from 5ft tall, then 3 1/2 ft to this little 14″. I think this one will be popular, due to the size and design. This one perches on a Wenge base and can fit just about anywhere. Dims 14″T x 11″diameter

Mesquite Canyon

Another in our Canyon series, this one is sure to go fast. I inlayed turquoise into the natural cracks and Scott was sure to leave the yellow sap wood on the top, making a beautiful contrast. Dims 12″T x 14″L x 4″W

Bloom

Made from Alligator Juniper this vase-shaped vessel looks like a bloom opening up with the folds and curves in it. Even though it is only 12″ T and 8″ wide, it was one of the hardest to sand because of the tight curves and folds. This one stands on its own, making it easy to show off anywhere you place it. Dims 10″T x 12″ diameter

This Ironwood has turned out to be an incredible wood to work with. It has so much beautiful grain and color contrast. We don’t have much left, but Scott was able to squeeze out making this oblong heart shaped piece.

Oregon Black Walnut Rocker and New Sculptures

February 14, 2012

I finally took pictures of this gorgeous black walnut rocker that is here  at the AZ Fine Art show. The figure in this rocker is just incredible. We have been very happy with this wood and have made a few rockers out of it. This new design, “Shangrila II” features the flexible back and they have been a huge hit since we started making them. We have been perfecting them since we first made them and I do believe they make the overall comfort of this rocker design far supperior to any out there.

Here is a side shot of the rocker. Notice all the beautiful curves this rocker has. It is very artistic to look at.

Wish this back shot was better quality so the figure in the headrest showed up better. But even in this picture you can see how beautiful it is.

Here are two rockers happily in their new California home. The one on the left is a Maloof inspired design out of mesquite and walnut. The one on the right is our Shangrila II rocker out of that gorgeous black walnut.

NEW SCULPTURE PIECES

“Forest Reef” is made from an approximate 800 year old Alligator Juniper tree. This piece has gotten the most attention at the show. It is 30″ long, 24″ wide and 19″ deep. Scott tunneled out the middle and created a bridge as you can see in this photo. Yes he used the chainsaw first to remove most of the wood, being very careful to leave the bark in tact. I inlaid turquoise into the natural cracks and then many hours of sanding later, this beauty was complete. It resembled a coral reef, so I looked up different names for reefs and found one called “Forest Reef”. It was meant to be. You have to see this in person to truly appreciate it’s size and beauty.

“Tango” is a mesquite wall piece that has some gentle waves and bends carved into it. It came from a large block of mesquite, so we were able to keep some of the natural shape and sap wood in it. I inlaid turquoise into some of the natural cracks to add a splash of southwest color. It is 27″x22″.

This is a new wood that we haven’t worked with before. Ironwood. And there is a reason they call it Ironwood. It’s as heavy as a metal iron. We thought we’d give it a try to see how it worked and we also needed more smaller pieces, since we sold our other smaller carved bowls. So we rescued a few logs from the fire pit here and went to work. Even though Scott didn’t have his big chainsaw, he was able to create a few. It took longer, but they turned out just wonderful. The grain patterns going from the almost black, to brown and then to the blonde are just beautiful. We’d get one coat of finish on them and they’d already have a buyer. They were willing to wait for them to be completely done to get them. We will definately be creating more pieces out of this. Especially some larger sculptural ones. So keep an eye out for these beauties.

Wood Shop News Article

January 6, 2012

Our Wood Shop News Article finally came out and it turned out great. Jennifer Hicks did a fantastic job.  We expected to get a few woodworkers emailing us, but we’ve also had some potential customers contact us as well. So some real good leads have come from this article. This magazine is geered to all woodworkers, but mainly emphasizes on large cabinet shops. So getting Jennifer to come to our rural home and interview us was quite a surprise. We feel honored to be in this magazine amongst all those power house wood shops.

We also had some photos in Wood Worker West Magazine, for the Mesa Museum Contemporary Crafts Exhibit that we were invited to. This was a surprise to see our two pieces that will be on display at the Museum January 27 through March 18. Right now we are geering up for our departure to the AZ Fine Art Show, that takes place January 19 through April 1. We have been busy working on many new carved sculpture pieces and a rocker. We will have some outstanding and unique pieces there and can’t wait for the customer reactions to our work.