By utilizing a variety of artistic techniques in addition to excellence in traditional woodworking, I seek to create truly unique works of art that are also functional. Lichtenberg figure burning, resin and glass colored inlays, and custom black flat bar steel table legs I fabricate are a few of my specialties. Lichtenberg figures are natural electrical patterns in wood created by electrocuting the surface of wood, using a baking soda and water solution for conductivity, with the extremely dangerous high voltage of a home rigged microwave oven transformer hooked to a pair of metal contacts. For my epoxy resin inlays, I only use the highest quality casting resin from Resin Research, a company founded by the surfboard shaper of my youth, Greg Loehr, a a pioneer of ultra clear UV-resistant epoxies. I have done limited work with glass inlays for true river and lake tables in the Klassen tradition , and am looking to expand that, as I find glass to be aesthetically far more elegant than epoxy.
A native of Florida who has also resided in North Carolina and California, I developed my woodworking skills while spending ten years living in Oaxaca, Mexico. I worked there with large slabs of guanacastle/guanacaste/parota, a huge tropical shade tree. I presently make my home in San Antonio, Texas where I work primarily with Texas native hardwoods like mesquite, ash, hackberry, black walnut, red oak, live oak, pecan, and a rarely used rock hard Southern elm, ulmus crassifolia aka cedar elm which is perhaps my favorite wood of all. My uncle Mark Reno taught me chainsaw milling and was a great inspiration to me as a frontier-style outdoorsman, recycler, and carpenter. His close friend Barry Massin was another of my inspirations, a renowned Miami "industrial artist" who was always a never-ending whirlwind of creativity and manic enthusiasms.
WHY WE'RE DIFFERENT
Okay, maybe you've seen other woodworkers using some of the same techniques, you may wonder "what are you doing that they aren't?" First of all, resin work in wood has admittedly become overdone and done badly all too often. Everyone wants to build a river table or something shiny with a ton of resin in it. The execution is usually fine, but the artistic vision is terrible. There is also a bad habit of coating entire surfaces in resin. It screams "making clocks in 1970's shop class". I only use resin as fill material in cracks and channels and never coat and ruin the natural grain of the wood with it. I also try to minimize the amount I use so that it doesn't dominate, and so that it always remains all about the wood. I'm a woodworker, not a resin worker. There is nothing that reveals the natural beauty of wood so much as my custom blend of mineral oil and beeswax. I'm dedicated to working with creative artistic techniques but maintaining traditional woodworking beauty while doing so.
I source my wood personally by harvesting it myself, and try to chainsaw mill dead trees wherever possible that would otherwise end up in landfills or burned. When taking live trees, I only do so when they have already been designated for removal by a landowner. My goal as an artisan woodworker is to create sustainably-resourced quality work with native materials. Most commercially produced furniture is produced by denuding the rainforests of SE Asia and elsewhere, with labor that is lucky to make $1 per hour. Dependent for so long on cheap imports and/or massive economy-of-scale production, Americans have lost sight much of the time of what the true value of artisan woodworking is by the standards and wages of our own society. These are pieces meant to be appreciated and handed down for generations. Every step of the process from harvesting the raw wood to sanding out the finished product is conducted by me.