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Black History Spotlight – African American Woodworkers
Wood has always been a prominent building and construction material because it’s durable yet versatile. Making things from wood can start as a simple hobby and over time become your skill. Then beyond skill, there is a natural talent. Many woodworking projects today are replicas of another man’s creation.
While imitation is the best flattery it’s important to pay homage to those who paved the way before us. After the 13th amendment abolished slavery, many men had learned a trade that they continued to master as freemen. African American woodworkers were familiar with the beauty of wood and thus made beautiful cabinets, furniture, bed frames, instruments, and more.
Henry Boyd – Furniture Maker
The Boyd bedstead – a collector’s item today was one black man’s dream in the 1800s. At 24 years old, Henry Boyd moved to Ohio as a free man with no money and no one willing to hire him. He took odd-end jobs until one day an opportunity allowed him to craft a countertop for his boss at the time. That one opportunity showed he was a master woodworker. It led to more contract jobs until one day he was able to open his own shop.
In his shop, Henry builds bed frames with a revolutionary design. The bed design was highly sought after because it allowed the beds to be sturdier and more durable. He operated an integrated workplace of up to 50 men at one time. His success and popularity continued to rise, and he eventually built a showroom showing his bedsteads and parlor furniture. While some praised him, others caused his business to close from constant arson. His work auctions for top dollar today and regarded by some as the greatest pre–Civil War woodwork.
Thomas Day – Cabinet Maker
When you ask for a “daybed” do you know you’re referencing the African American master cabinetmaker Thomas Day? Thomas Day born a free man in Southern Virginia moved to North Carolina and opened his own cabinet shop in 1827. 96% of the cabinetmakers in North Carolina were white at that time but Day had proven his skill and was treated with high regard in his community. He had unique artistry that excited his customers and kept them coming back.
He added architectural enhancements and curve features unlike any seen before. Yet the shapes were subtle small touches that gave simple pieces like sofas and dressers, great character. The Civil War caused Day’s shop to drop in prominence but today you can find his millwork in homes throughout North Carolina. From playful staircases and archways to hand carving that showcased his woodworking mastery – his work is in museums and considered to some as prized possessions.
Freeman Vines – Guitar Maker
Another North Carolina freeman who never made two guitars alike is Freeman Vines. A guitarist and wood craftsman, Freeman Vines has been making wood guitars hoping to create the perfect sound. Rescuing wood and upcycling its material adds a story to each guitar. He uses wood from unlikely places such as the soundboard of an old piano, the steps of an old tobacco barn, or even a previous hanging tree.
He crafts these reclaimed wood guitars by hand then plays each one of them. Some guitars are shaped like African masks while others have a simple design like that of a leaf or oar. Most notable about this skilled woodworker is his ability to rewrite his own people’s history. He made four guitars from a black walnut tree where a young man was hanged, and it plays beautifully honoring his ancestors with every strum.
Make a Lasting Mark
History is many things to many people. It can be a teacher and it can be a mirror. Showing us how we as Americans need to change and showing us how the past is ever-present today. History is important to us and we strive to understand it and learn from it. At Woodstock AP, we treat all people with love and kindness. We handcraft wood pieces with the hope that they will bring happiness to whatever home they find. Our showroom is open, book an appointment for a dedicated tour and design consultation.
Winter season is in full effect with snowmaking record appearances and temperatures steadily dropping. Get cozy next to your fireplace to keep warm, but why not enjoy the scenery too?! Finding the right mantel to enhance the look of your fireplace has never been easier. Match it to your interior design theme or choose a show-stopping, stand out mantel.
Prominent interior designers have named elegant, luxurious design themes as trending in 2021. In those types of designs, non-brick fireplaces that resemble hotel décor are the go-to. When we say non-brick, we mean a fireplace with some type of panel covering. That covering can be reclaimed wood panels, 3D panels, or geometric architectural panels. With a sleek fireplace, find dark-toned mantels that blend well with the overall theme. We have made some beautiful black and dark gray oak and walnut mantles that seem subtle but make a bold design statement.
Modern interior designs now lean heavily on natural elements and earth tones. In contemporary country themes, fireplaces made of brick or stone are a classic look. Incorporating wood delicately creates an inviting and open space. A brick or stone fireplace is typically large and can cover an entire wall. You may be wondering why you need a mantle when the bricks/stones are the centerpieces of the modern cottage design. A mantle is meant to be a design extension or a compliment to your fireplace. An extra-long, oversized mantel painted white, red, or brown to match the brick/stone color is a gorgeous addition. Not to mention the bonus shelving it provides as well!
When it comes to a reclaimed wood mantel – don’t think rustic, think rustic vogue. We cover our mantels with real American reclaimed wood panels. The variety in naturally weathered reclaimed wood allows for multiple color options ranging from mixed grays, browns, and whites. Have a fluid look from a reclaimed wood fireplace covering to the reclaimed wood mantel, truly making the fireplace stand out. Too matchy-matchy for your taste? Consider pairing it with a reclaimed wood accent wall in the same or adjacent room to complete the look.
From a vision to reality
At Woodstock AP, we listen then we create! Our team of design experts keep up with the latest design trends and find the best material. No matter the design theme or even if you have no design in mind, we can help. Book a dedicated hour with our team today.
Read Our Previous Blog Posts To Learn More About Wood
Re-design with Live-Edge Wood
Being quarantined at home, waking up surrounded by the same thing every day has us ready to freshen up our spaces. Bring life to any room with live-edge wood! Live-edge wood is named for the distinctive look that surfaces when a tree is cut to reveal its darker inner grain and it is outer, lighter sap all in one unique slab. Not only does each piece provide a natural, calming effect – each piece also promotes organic, green living.
A custom door as one-of-a-kind as you are, can be a showstopper in your home. Use a sliding barn door as a divider between the living and dining room or entry into a bathroom or bedroom. Either way they are sure to wow, when designed to your exact liking.
A pristine hand-crafted barn door from Woodstock is: 1) Functional – it’s easy to install and slides in & out of place taking up limited space 2) Stylish – it enhances the comfort and feeling of openness in any room 3) Friendly – budget friendly starting $1,000 less than a standard door & eco-friendly reclaimed barnwood doors are unique and help reduce deforestation.
A good wood craftsman knows the most consistent thing about wood, is that it’s never consistent. Each tree has an origin story and each grain is never the same. However, the more familiar you become with wood, the easier it is to remember all its complexities. Here on the west coast, there are many native trees that have some of the most beautiful wood to familiarize yourself with. Alligator Juniper, California Buckeye & Mesquite trees are all native to the south west region of the United States.
Remodeling? Want to do something different in your home but don’t know what? No need for wallpaper or paint, cover your wall with the timeless beauty of wood. Wood wall paneling can be 3D, reclaimed or matched & sequenced.
Residential or commercial, big, or small – any wall can be Woodstocked! With our patent pending click and stick method, installing your wood wall has never been easier. It is quick, mess-free, and simple for any do-it-yourself-er. Gayline, our in-house design expert can help you select the exact wall you need for your home or building.
Custom does not mean complicated. When some people hear “custom”, they think long wait times, high prices & a difficult process. Custom manufacturing at Woodstock is not a nightmare. Our professional staff understands what makes a product special: the quality of materials, uniqueness of design, customizable options and high level of service.
From the moment you walk in the door, to the time you are admiring the completed product in your home, we want it to be a peaceful process. Find comfort in knowing that your product was crafted with love. A love for wood and a love for our clients!
Kevin travels through the country to hand select wood from 100-year-old barns. Every time he goes on one of these journeys, he learns another interesting wood origin story. Recently, while in Kentucky he saw barns that have been around for over 150 years, dating back to the civil war.
The wood Kevin hand selects is real, durable and a part of the United States’ history. Its authenticity can’t be beat or easily recreated. Just as memorable as America’s wars are, so is the look and feel of reclaimed barn wood. Considered an American treasure, reclaimed woods’ possible uses are endless from furniture and décor to aroma and appeal.
Wood is versatile – it ranges in color, shape, and size. Your piece of furniture starts as a tree, cut down by a lumberjack. The tree is sliced into logs by a mill and hand crafted into your dream piece. The process is exciting and challenging, now imagine slicing the wood to 2 mm thick making it as thin as a slice of cheese for a hamburger. The sheets can be as thin as 0.6 mm that can cover other surfaces instead of one solid piece of wood. That is veneer – a type of overlay decorative surface that can cover cabinets, dressers, counters, shelves, racks, walls…the list is essentially endless. Veneer makes the application of wood more flexible.
When shopping around for live edge wood, beyond finding a piece that catches your eye, the quality of the wood slab is very important. As a custom shop, we choose the absolute best wood materials and provide exceptional craftmanship for your finished product. We are sharing 5 expert tips for shoppers on the hunt for live edge wood.
There are so many ways to decorate your home. With a personalized design and custom furniture, your home becomes your oasis. Never settle for less when creating your indoor haven, go big! A dramatic décor choice that will enhance any room are faux and hand hewn beams.
No matter which type you choose, wood beams can add depth to any room making it beautiful. Beams don’t have to be limited to a ceiling; they can frame a room by being placed vertically from floor to ceiling. Schedule a free project consultation to find the right beam for you.
Cameron Fults, a lover of the arts is a trained classical guitarist. After graduating, Cameron joined Woodstock Architectural Products full time operating the production facility and warehouse. He took the time out of his busy day of manufacturing to tell us what he loves about wood, his favorite projects, and fascinating wood facts.
Go behind the scenes with Cameron in our warehouse. He makes wood manufacturing look like a breeze!