Posts Tagged ‘mesquite rockers’

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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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.

AZ Fine Art Exp-Living an artists life

January 20, 2012

Well opening day is here for the Arizona Fine Art Expo. The last few days have been a whirl wind of artists setting up their booths. Now that the show has opened, booths are all set up (with maybe a few minor things to do) and artists are getting their selling caps on. Many booths are setup so that the artist can still work and create (mainly painters), so as to still be able to add new pieces to the booth over the 10 week period. We opted to pay more for an outside working cabana, where we can still do some carving with grinders, hand shaping, sanding and other work. I have it setup in the booth to work on the computer, as I’m doing now, and do some inlaying. Sampson is all settled in the rv, which is right outside of the show, so we can go check on him and spend some quality time with him. He’s such a baby and doesn’t like it when we’re away from him. Scott is in the process of building a ramp so Sampson along with us, can get in and out of the rv with ease. Poor guy is getting old and can’t get up and down as easily. The weather has been just beautiful. Much warmer than back home, and it has been great sitting outside with Sampson and wearing short sleeves. We are officially Snowbirds. Till April 4th at least.

Below are some pictures of the booth setup and a great final shot of everything in the booth. We are very proud of how nice the booth looks and have gotten lots of compliments so far. We still have to setup the working cabana to enable us to start working. Scott is going to build some work benches, but it will mainly be open, so people can watch us work. We will be posting on facebook a tentative weekly work schedule, incase people wish to come and see a particular project. First on the schedule, once the cabana is up and running is to finish a large sculpture piece “Forest Reef”. Just the final sanding and finishing is all that is needed. In the meantime it sits in our booth to show people different stages of creating a sculpture. Next we will be finishing up “Twisters Cousin”. Scott started carving a smaller version of our 5ft sculpture “Twister” before we headed out to the show. He still has some grinding to do to it, then I will have hours of inlaying, sanding and then finally the finish will be applied. We plan to work on this piece the last weekend of January when a TV News crew will be here filming. Hopefully it will get us some more publicity. Other projects that will be on schedule are barstools, chairs and other carved sculpture pieces. So follow us on Face Book to see our work schedule and updated photos of everything going on.

Also happening next weekend is the opening of the Mesa Museum Contemporary Crafts Exhibit. The opening reception is friday January 27th 6-8pm in Mesa AZ and is free to the public. We have two pieces on exhibit (Bentwood Rocker and carved vessel). There are 50 pieces from 36 artists that will be on display from January 27-March 18. We received our invitation the other day and our carved vessel is proudly displayed on the cover. So that was a big surprise. We also had some publicity for this exhibit in the most recent Woodworkers West Magazine.

Of course we have to show a picture of Sampson. Here he is laying outside the rv with his squeaky toy. He’s really enjoying being able to sit outside and soak up the warm sun. No snow or -22 temps. This is the life.

This is a view from our rv looking at the show tent. Artists have pulled up to unload.

Scott is unloading a wall piece.

Starting to setup the booth. It seemed to take forever. But I guess when you have three days to do it, you find yourself not rushing. The lighting took quite a while, since we had never done that kind of setup before.

Here Scott is displaying our most recent articles from NM Magazine and Woodshop news. Everythings been polished and we’re almost done.

Booth is complete. Turned out really good. We have quite a selection.

This patriotic setup is out in the sculpture garden. This is one of my favorites so far. There is quite a bit of sculptures out in the garden, along with a sitting area and a koi pond. Inside the large tent is a cafe with some great food and sitting.  Along with some fabulous art.

Here are a few new pieces that we have displayed in our booth. To see more, please email and I’ll send you photos and info. Or better yet, stop by if your in the Scottsdale area.

“Achy Breaky Heart” is one of our newest pieces, this was carved from a very large mesquite and stands 30″ Tall and is 38″ wide. The middle was two trunks growing together and they started splitting apart. So Scott stitched it up with wenge pieces. It then took on a whole different look and meaning.

“All Shook Up” is an Alligator Juniper Burl. The picture does not do this gorgeous burl justice. It is approximately 12″ tall and 18″ diameter, which is a large burl. The burl figure on this piece is incredible. Scott carved waves into the top leaving some of the bark inclusions and then carved feet. This piece looks like its dancing. So being Elvis fans, it was appropriately named.

“Ancient Waves” is a large English Walnut Burl that has gentle waves carved into it and two fossils inlayed. The wood speaks for itself in this magnificent wall piece.

“Hearts 4 You” is one of my favorites, because watching Scott carve it was fun and amazing. Carved from one mesquite log, he carefully created four hearts into this piece, thus the name. I inlayed turquoise into some of the cracks to add a splash of color. Hard to believe he used a chainsaw to create this.

“Clam it Up” was made from Alligator Juniper. It resembles a clam shell and has abalone shell inlayed into the cracks.

“Outer Limits” is also Alligator Juniper. Being careful to leave the bark in tact and get some beautiful folds in it was quite a challenge.

“Hondo” is a Black Walnut wall piece. The walnut came from the Hondo Valley near Ruidoso. It has some beautiful dark to light tones and the carving brings that out. I inlayed turquoise and fossils into this piece.

“Haley’s Comet” adds a bold splash of color to our wall. It was made from Box Elder Burl and has chainsaw hash marks created into it. Since the burl wasn’t popping out enough for us, we decided to take a chance and dye it red. So far it has been a real hit.

Next update I’ll post pictures of the show events, other artists and more. So stay tuned.

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.