The before the finish photo of a new super awesome super unique sassafras coffee table
This morning, we moved the completed tables out of the finishing room, moved these two in, and placed the first coat.
The 12' solid walnut conference table will be shipped to Master Architect Phil Kean's, this is the first of two conference tables that'll be used in their new office/showroom. We,ll spray finish 5 coats of our super earth friendly water based urethane before they are ready to ship. The top won't be attached to the legs/stretcher piece until we complete the spray finish.
The coffee table was made from perhaps the worlds largest?? sassafras tree. Joe Mcphail, friend and local arborist lost the tree to typical tree crew "topping", which kills every single tree that's topped.
Great fun finding this one this morning. It was sitting on top of the pile of raft race memorabilia in my closet, that I meant to get thru, but didn't even notice all weekend.
I believe I remember these guys "singing"? this song in the park after the race. This poem/song captures most of the "raft racers" views of the race, and the fun and the dam at the time.
Any locals remember these guys?
The slow studio has not been living up to it's moniker. We are cranking, and can't take on any more custom orders this year.
Here are a few pics of our finishing room today. It's all walnut. Huge walnut bench, walnut side table, another beautiful small modern walnut table going to Phil Kean, and a couple of walnut tabletops that haven't been sold yet.
Just received pics from our friend and international do gooder, Paul Makepeace. Paul is from Brisbon Aus, but spent several years here with IFDC. Now, I think he's based in Johannesburg, although it seems that many of his updates are from Nairobi. I suppose I can classify this blog post as one more adventure I haven't experienced yet.
A few photos of Sarah and my trip to Cape Town last week end. It was fortunate that Sarah was in Johannesburg for the week with work so I went down from Nairobi and caught up with her for the weekend. we went Shark diving on the Sunday and the bay was full of Southern right Whales--great weekend
Hope you are well
Just received the first 25 scanned slides back from the local Walgreens. Although it's great to see these ole '80's pics, the quality of the results was less than impressive. Low res, washed out pics, and obviously I was/am much better looking than then. I'm seeing lots of friends in here. -- Jogging any 30+ year memories?
Looks like we'll be sending the entire lot of 250 or so slides to ScanCafe, which seems to be the scanning service getting the best reviews. If you have slide scanning experience, please share!
We packed up our first set of three benches for the exciting new Museum of Alabama project in the back of the truck yesterday and carried them to Montgomery for inspection. Vicky Lewis, the project lead Architect with the supercool Museum design group, PRD out of DC flew in for a couple of days of fast paced inspection, design, and whatever else she does to ensure that the construction of this project flows right along.
Vicky had a couple of great suggestions of rounding the top inside edge of the back to be more comfortable. And round the outside edges of each section for comfort as well.
The Museum board of directions was meeting yesterday, walked thru this stage of the entire project, and seemed quite happy with their first viewing of the benches as well as the rest of the project.
I love this project, but it's certainly out of our norm of "one of a kind" pieces of furniture. Also the quantity of 35 benches and stools is just a bit daunting (at this time). Hopefully by this time next week, after we've had a chance to move through several existing large dining table projects, I'll have a better handle (and confidence) on this one.
The Museum (this phase II) should be open well before the end of the year. As you can see, there's more than a little work to be accomplished in the mean time.
A friend was in town earlier this week, and dropped by in her Tesla. Amazed! My gosh this "car" is amazing. First, I'm not sure we should call it a car. I think it deserves it's own category. This is a "something??" on steroids. - Well, maybe it's "somethingS".
1) Beautiful work of art. Feels nothing like any car I've ever seen/felt/touched/sat. Beautiful workmanship, minimal design, none of the old "car" limitations of transmission or engine that just takes up space. It's interior and exterior should be sitting in a gallery or museum.
2) Over the top safety design throughout. Perhaps the safest "car" on the road.
3) Over the top speed. The test drive only a few blocks around town were at downtown speeds, but I could feel (from the passenger seat) that it was ready to GO.
4) Over the top technology throughout. So much I didn't see, but I felt like I was inside a beautiful huge computer starting with a touch screen display. I have serious "judgement" of the way our car makers have placed limited GPS + systems in our cars. For the most part they've been crazy expensive, but my issue is how "dated" they become within 6 months. Note; Apple's getting it right later this year when they introduce a bluetooth link from our iphone to monitors that all the car makers will be installing. This sytem, following Tesla's lead, will allow our common pc technology of auto updates to firmware.
5) Oh I forgot one. Almost seems like a byproduct of this amazing work of art. Earth friendly, and might just help ween us from our massive, gluttonous addiction of petroleum products.
I almost forgot - It's made here in USA, Fremont California. At first it sounds odd, but right in the middle of Silicon Valley makes perfect since, since it's just a huge computer.
No - it's a work of art, i mean it's a race car, a possible path from fuel (middle east) dependency. - As multi-functional as Elon Musk's super cool Swiss Army Knife!
Back to Tesla. I thought they began over $100k. This morning Google told me they begin at $65 or so. Still way too rich for my blood, but (one more) amazing thing about this "something" - if it's primarily a computer, it'll be getting much better every few months, it'll be knocked off like crazy, the knockoff's will get quite good in time, and the price will drop every few months.
One of the pics below is of it beside Linda's 13 year old Volvo, which is aging quite well. Hopefully the Volvo will hang in there for at least another couple of years, and by that time, maybe we can trade for a TESLA.
If this "something" were a car, it would have to be the best car in the world.
I just ran across this oldie. A 1980 photo of Dad and me awarding the City Police Department with funds that purchased bullet proof vests. We were shocked to hear they didn't have them. Larger cities had been using them for a few years. We had raised over $6k that year from the proceeds of the Raft Race, and we were honored to help a bit. My gosh time flies!
We missed the first screening of this new documentary a few months ago, and have been anxiously awaiting this afternoon's viewing. It was worth the wait! Greg 'Freddy' Camalier got it right. This wonderful story about our community's rich music history told through many of our neighbor's eyes (Rick Hall, Swampers, etc) and every top recording artist of the 70's on. -- Great fun hearing Aretha, Greg Allman, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood, Keith Richards, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Alicia Keys and on and on and on - share their memories of recording in Muscle Shoals.
Although most of us know many of the "player's" in our super cool local history, this movie put together lots of the parts that I was missing.
My gosh, our community is on a roll. "Muscle Shoals - the movie" is another wonderful gem. Looks like it'll be released in September. Can't wait to see it again.
Linda and I have been wanting to support UNA's International Student Program for years. Finally signed up Monday for their "Friend's of International Student Program", met the two super sweet students we'll be hosting, Gina and Aimee (their English names), and yesterday began their tour with a McFarland Park river side picnic breakfast then straight to the Florence Farmer's Market. It was fun introducing them to some of our fav local farmers.
Later we introduced them to the best Chinese restaurant in the South, the Rice Box, where our friend Chiong Chen (UNA Art Department Chair) joined us for lunch and Maggie Chen (owner of the restaurant) along with her children Wilson and Kelly stopped by for the welcome as well.
Aimee and Gina seemed thrilled to have met our friends, and to have found such a wonderful restaurant just up the street from UNA.
Just received these pics from Steve Ainsley, previous publisher of the TimesDaily and recently retired as publisher of the Boston Globe. We made several pieces for he and Ann last year, but just now sent pics.
His home is obviously quite stunning. But I have to say, the cliff top view of the Pacific from their backyard is as well.
This weekend has been dedicated to finding tubs, dusting off pics, newspaper articles, letters, bumper stickers, awards and other historic memorabilia related to this notorious event. This afternoon we'll be scanning the ones that'll fit, and hopefully soon placing here on a page dedicated to the event.
After year's of work with the city and UNA, Dr. Chunsheng Zhang's amazing health institute deal finalized yesterday. So exciting to see this one come back together after all the hurdles we seemed to have set out in it's way.
I hope we all will welcome Dr Zhang's team and support this amazing new learning center that will be a huge addition to UNA's already diverse program.
I take Frassie for a swim most afternoons after work. Wednesday was my second "meeting" on the water. Andy Mann, pres of the exciting new (to the area) Progress Bank (building presently under construction) joined us for a swim before work Wednesday. Andy's a much better swimmer than I am. Frassie still thinks she can take him. Either way, we had a wonderful start of the day, enjoying another of the areas many beautiful assets.
I also talked Andy into a couple of video "commercials" for the Bank. I'm looking forward to review. If he'll approve I'll share them as well.
Here's a great shot of Andy with the morning's sunrise right behind.
I just dropped off a mix of kiln dried, but very very natural pieces of a mix of hardwoods. Very little gets thrown away here, but most might call the bulk of it garbage. Aaron Benson, UNA's new super talented, creative ceramics/sculpture professor will be sharing with his new students-I believe to build a piece of furniture toward the end of the semester. I believe the class will also include ceramics, metal and more.
Aaron just moved his family here from NY a couple of weeks ago, and as far as I can see all are thrilled to be making Florence Alabama their new home.
Our friend and local architect Bob Whitten brilliantly describes Alabama's only Frank Lloyd Wright home located two miles down the street from our studio. Very nice presentation about the history and design of another or the area's beautiful "little gems".
If you haven't toured this home/museum yet - it's a must.
Generally I don't watch tv series, never watch commercials, and never place at the top of my priority list to watch tv. But that all changed with Breaking Bad and - Heizenburg. After begin blown away with the pilot five year's ago, I was hooked. Have seen every episode at least once. This is our fav series of all time.
This quirky, off balance, schitzo plot that shows the best and worst of our human condition, often in each character each episode - not surprisingly isn't for everyone. I haven't found too many Alabamans who'll admit to ever hearing of it. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that there are quite a few closet addicts here as well. Somehow it's just about perfect for me.
Last couple of weeks we caught up on the previous season (5), in prep for the last Season of Walter White, Jessie and gang. Tonight Linda, Sassafras and I will be glued to the tv, watching it live - commercials and all. Might even go all out and pop some corn.
Tuesday TimesDaily writer Bobby Bozeman and photographer Matt McKean stopped by for a studio tour and interview. Except for the very uncomfortable part of having my pic taken (for good reason) I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with and getting to know them a bit.
Nice article published in this mornings Life section of the local paper.