We label ourselves as “Landers’ Studio, fine custom furniture design and specialty millwork.” And sometimes it is the specialty millwork that brings us the most unusual projects. One time, a woman came to us with a broken wooden heel on a very expensive pair of Italian high heels. No common shoe repair shop had the capacity to recreate a new wooden heel to match her coveted shoes. So we restrained ourselves from saying, “Well, shoe repair is not really what we do……” and realized we were her only alternative. She walked away a very happy customer.
Similarly, we had a client with a Rolls Royce with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. The dashboard was a beautiful Carpathian Elm burl veneer. The client, of course, wanted the steering on the left-hand side for the States, but he did not want to lose the burl dashboard. We were able to locate a matching veneer and create a new dashboard, finishing it with the appropriate amount of sun-fade to match the rest of the car’s existing woodwork.
We like to think with Mark’s creativity, woodworking skills, and the tools at his disposal that there is very little he cannot do if he sets his mind to it. We will often tell a client with a challenging project, “We can do that!” When the client walks away, we may look at each other and say, “Now how are we going to do that??”
So we were unfazed when a client drove up in his 1928 Ford Traveler wanting to explore the possibility of making a whole new wooden box for the “Woody”. Mark and the client are now looking at various wood combinations to decide on the best visual effect and long-term resilience. We have never done this before….but WE CAN DO THAT!
We were recently commissioned to make 6 interior doors for a remodel by Austin builder, Scott Murray. Scott’s clients wanted the doors and cabinets to be as light in color as possible, so a two-step bleaching process was approved on an ash sample. The doors and moldings had to be constructed prior to going through this bleaching process. Four of the final doors of bleached ash have a stainless steel mesh panel and two of the doors have the steel mesh panel and a pane of tempered glass to make the doors more noise and dust-proof.
Kimberly Reeve, the Capitol reporter for the Austin Business Journal, wrote “If you have always wanted to own a piece of the Texas Capitol, look no further than a display of heritage oak products at the Capitol Gift Shop.” She explains to her readers how the hailstorm of 2008 caused $50 million in damages including the loss of many heritage oaks from the Capitol lawn.
The Texas State Preservation Board commissioned Landers’ Studio to create art objects and sculptures from the wood. Kimberly’s blog invites the reader to click on several photos of the sculpture collection now available in the Capital Gift Shop. The photo above is a sold sculpture titled, "Rain Over the Llano Estacado."
Over a year ago I was commissioned by the Texas State Preservation Board to create sculptures made of oak burl and stumpwood. The wood came from trees on the State Capitol grounds that were felled by a wind storm in 2008. The first group of sculptures is finally being released for sale today. And, literally, on sale! I am not sure what that says about my art.....
This mesquite TV console was one of our recent projects. In determining the client’s specifications for this TV base, we had crafted a simple black TV stand for the client to live with a while to make sure the TV was at the proper height for his viewing needs. In selecting the material for this project, the client and his designer ultimately decided that the TV console should be out of mesquite. Much to my dismay, my former source for wide, clear boards of mesquite from Argentina was no longer available. We were finally able to track down some mesquite outside of Waco, but we had to wait a lengthy period of time for it to be kiln-dried. After this wait, the boards did not yield enough clear material for the project. So with the client’s approval, I re-sawed thick veneers to be book-matched to provide the needed widths for the low table. These veneers would then be attached to a Baltic Birch plywood core. I was able to use another shop’s veneer press for this process. The mesquite veneered components were then assembled into the shelving unit. A coat of natural stain brought out the lustrous beauty of the mesquite grain before we finished it with pre-catalyzed lacquer. We mitered the corners in order to achieve the continuous “waterfall” effect of the grain. The mesquite console is now a centerpiece in the client’s tasteful living area.
In 2008, strong winds blew down several old oak trees on the capital grounds in Austin, TX. The State Preservation Board stepped in and stored several pieces of these venerable Heritage Oaks in a warehouse for future use. They recently brought several pieces to Mark to see what he could create from this wood in order to make the pieces available to the public in the various state gift shops.
In viewing these first two pieces, Mark thought the wood itself was beautiful enough to stand alone as sculpture. He sanded the wood to a polish and attached brass rods to mount the wood on bases of thirty-year-old Texas walnut.
The sculptures are titled, “What I’ve Seen” and “What I’ve Heard”. Ah, if only these trees could talk…..