Meet Zipper

Zipper, the newest addition to our showroom is a wall hanging with lots of personality. Below the photographs is a story and description designer, woodworker and owner of Woodleaf Studios, Matthew Smith.

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Meet “Zipper”

This piece was inspired by the spectacular qualities of the 2 woods that are used…tamarind and wenge. The serpentine connection of tamarind boxes moves the viewer’s eye up, down, and through its central spine of wenge. Snake-like steely gray pipes neatly pierce the chocolate colored wenge exposing its tight grain and superb linear qualities. The worm eaten character of the spalted tamarind boxes suggest that filtration is somehow in progress as the mysterious material rhythmically flows in and out of the wall. Each tamarind box has an L-shaped operable door that swings out 90 degrees and is visually trapped by the pipe’s anchor plates. The doors generally require 2 hands to operate and due to the wooden indexing blocks mounted to the backside of each door can be a bit clanky sounding as they open and close. But don’t worry no damage is being done as your curiosity invites you to see what is inside each compartment.

Some assembly and your own tools (drill and screwdriver) are required when mounting this piece to the wall. And it will require 2 fairly strong and able bodied people to safely lift and position the unit onto the wall cleat. Matthew will be more than happy to speak with you and outline the installation procedure. You can reach him at (919) 834-2566. Woodleaf can also email you a short video clip of the installation procedure.

NOTE: The pipes are not meant to be used for lifting purposes. Only lift and handle the piece by holding onto each end of the wenge column. Do not lift or handle the unit by holding onto the pipes or tamarind boxes.

NOTE: Zipper will arrive with the top and bottom pipe assemblies unattached. These are the pipe assemblies which connect the smallest of the tamarind boxes to the wall via an anchor plate which literally gets screwed to the face of the sheetrock wall. All other intermediate pipe assemblies come attached and do NOT have to be undone.

This piece mounts to the wall via concealed bedrail fasteners. The bedrail fasteners engage into a concealed vertical wall cleat that is securely attached to studs. There are stabilizing thumb screws mounted into the backs of 3 of the boxes.

First you must locate a vertical stud in your wall and securely attach the wall cleat. The cleat comes with the female side of the indexed bedrail fastener hardware already attached and with predrilled holes indicating where to attach the cleat to the wall. Once the cleat is securely attached to the wall you are ready to hang the unit. The corresponding male portion of the bedrail fastener hardware is already indexed and securely attached within a dadoed channel on the backside of the wenge.

Once the main unit is hanging on the wall you are ready to attach the top and bottom pipe assemblies to the small tamarind boxes and then to the wall. Each pipe assembly will come in 2 sections…one section which gets attached to the tamarind box has an anchor plate, elbow and 6” length of straight pipe. The other section which gets attached to the wall will only have an elbow and anchor plate. Both sections will be clearly marked as to which end goes where. Zipper will come with all the screws necessary to install the unit and to attach the pipes.

Custom Kitchen Island

There is something so wonderfully multifunctional about having a kitchen island in one’s home. It allows more counter space for prepping or displaying a meal, it can function as a spot to relax with morning coffee or tea and can be a casual spot to sit and have a meal.

This kitchen island is made of solid maple, birch plywood and has a custom stainless steel top and foot rest. The table is hand painted latex gray to match the client’s kitchen and soon there will be a pair of stools to match the space! We are so happy to see the island in it’s perfect space.

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Note: The two pictures below are taken at Woodleaf Studios’ showroom before delivery.

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When Wenge Met Tamarind

Like herbs & spices speak to a chef, wood speaks to Matthew Smith. This cabinet looks as if it could walk around on it's own, so it has been named Mnyama (knee-yama) Swahili for animal. Below is Matthew's story.

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Wenge Meets Tamarind

Here’s a small, 3-drawer, 1-door cabinet that, amongst other things, can be used for storing wine and liquor. Regardless of how it is ultimately used, you know whatever is inside is very special.

 

A little background…While visiting my hardwood supplier I came across a thick, beautiful board of Wenge, a dark brown, chocolate colored African hardwood that is extremely dense and is sought after for its tight growth rings and naturally dark and delicious colors. This particular piece of wood was special. It was long and straight with no visible knots or defects.

 

And just around the corner from the Wenge sat a bin full of Tamarind, a tropical fruitwood tree that quite often becomes impregnated with bugs and worms as it grows and ages. Tamarind is primarily a yellowish, blonde colored wood with occasional patches of light browns, grays and tans. The bug traffic and worm holes, along with the natural fungal activity, imparts a spalted quality with sharp lines of blacks and browns that appear like ink drawings from an artist’s pen. I immediately thought that the dark colored striations of the Tamarind would work well with the dark chocolate colors of the Wenge.

 

So I set out to concept a few designs that would showcase the spectacular qualities of the thick slab Wenge coupled with the spalted qualities of the Tamarind. This piece playfully combines these wonderful qualities and gives life to a piece of furniture. The tapered legs with ringlet grooves elevate the piece to a comfortable height. The sock-like legs are ash with a light grayish stain topped with dark brown filler. The Wenge and Tamarind are unstained with multiple coats of Waterlox, a tung-oil based hand rubbed finish. 

-Matthew Smith

Two Sets of Twins

Which pair is your favorite? 

Last week we delivered two pairs of end tables for a client's guest bedrooms. The first pair is made of Zebra wood with a 1/2" thick glass top.

 

The second pair is made with Indian Rosewood with a concealed drawer in each top. The legs are custom stainless steel. 

Trestle Breakfast Table

We just delivered another beautiful custom dining table. This trestle style breakfast table is big enough to seat 10 people and made of Ash wood. We hope our clients get to have many delicious meals and create lovely memories around this piece. Enjoy!

 

Cross Method

In November of 2017 Woodleaf had the opportunity to design a cross with Stewart Woodard (of Stewart Woodard Galleries) for Christ Episcopal Church in Downtown Raleigh. Below is a "working" CAD drawing of the cross that was fabricated for the church. 

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Below you will see a summarized sequence of photos that show the step-by-step process of fabricating the wooden cross. First bevel cuts were made to form the prism edges of the cross. Tapered edges were then cut to allow the cross to seamlessly meet at the narrower hub (the center of the cross). At bottom right you can see the custom steel plate we had fabricated to help reinforce the hub and to provide a means with which to attach the arc pieces. The arc pieces were cut by a router on a compass.

The cross segments are made of solid laminated walnut, stained and lacquered. The arc pieces are made from alder wood. The arc pieces were first sealed, then primed with oriental red paint, gold leafed, sealed with an amber shellac, glazed and ultimately top coated with lacquer. 

Woodleaf delivered and hung the cross in The Parish Hall at Christ Episcopal Church last week. 

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Distressed Duo

We just completed a pair of Alder end-tables with a distressed finish. Did you know a distressed finish is a technique that is used to give new furniture an aged appearance? It's a classic look for cabinets, antiques and collectables. The Alder wood used for these cabinets is a softer wood, with a simple straight grain look. As you can see, it handles stress quite beautifully.  

 note: these are sample knobs, the client will provide their own set and we look forward to seeing what they will be! 

note: these are sample knobs, the client will provide their own set and we look forward to seeing what they will be! 

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Snap Pea Spectacular

This past weekend Woodleaf Studios hosted Snap Pea Underground's January pop-up dinner. It was definitely a fun and unique experience we will always remember. To see the workshop transform into a large dining room was surreal! The atmosphere was cozy yet industrial with intimate low lighting in the shop. As people arrived they had the opportunity to admire the pieces in the showroom.  All of us here at Woodleaf would like to thank Jacob and his Snap Pea crew for doing such an amazing job. Each dish of the 9 course dinner was inspired by furniture Woodleaf has made over the years. It was clear that Jacob put a lot of thought and love into each plate he set out in front of the guests. The pop-up dinner was a three night event feeding around 56 guests each night. It was a great opportunity to meet  people from the entire Triangle area. We loved every minute of it. We are passionate about what we do here at Woodleaf, and it married so well with Jacob's passion for what he does with his cuisine and how he presents it. Sharing ideas brings so much inspiration into ones life, and Snap Pea now holds a special place in Woodleaf Studios' heart. 

 

Indian Rosewood Desk

Let's face it, we spend a lot of time in our life working. For many of us that means we sit at a desk for a large part of every week. So, it's important to love the place you work! Woodleaf Studios designs custom desks for clients who want just that, to love where they work. Today, we delivered another  desk with custom made stainless steel legs. The Indian rosewood has beautiful, subtle color changes that accentuate the figure of the wood. The hidden drawers allow the desk to maintain a clean and simple look. Let us know if we can help you with your custom desk desires!

Fine Dining

Another custom dining table is ready to go to our client's home! We love making dining tables, they are the central place where family, friends and loved ones gather to enjoy meals and have many conversations. This table has half circle legs made with a steaming process to bend and mold the wood. The crotch mahogany, starburst veneer top contrasts beautifully with the ebonized finish of the border and legs. If you have any custom needs or questions, Woodleaf would love to help. 

Credenza Extraordinaire

Woodleaf Studios recently completed another custom Credenza! The clean lines and bold finish of this walnut credenza were carefully tailored to meet the wishes of the client. The mitered and beveled door frames are surrounded with crisply machined and ebonized walnut dentals.  Sequenced book-and-butt walnut burl panels bordered with ebonized bead stock add symmetry and a degree of sophistication to an otherwise fairly simple and clean rectilinear design. The doors operate via touch latch.  Do you have a dream credenza that you would like to have crafted into reality? Send us an inquiry, we'd love to brainstorm with you and create your unique piece. 

Custom Audio/Video Cabinet

Another happy client on the books today!  We recently delivered this custom piece designed as an audio/video cabinet with simple features to show off the beautiful hardwoods that were used.  The cabinet has maple aprons that run between the walnut legs supporting the cherry shelves and, for detail, the legs have maple plugs. The open slots in the back panel (bottom photo) are for wire passage. Do you have any custom shelving needs? Woodleaf would love to help! 

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Cherry shelves 

Walnut legs with Maple plugs

Scalloped Queen Bed Frame

Matthew and his team at Woodleaf just finished building and installing a custom queen-sized platform bed and headboard which included two (ever so popular) floating nightstands.  The subtle, light-brown stain on the walnut gives the bed a smooth, chocolatey finish.  The hand carved scalloped detail on the headboard adds dimension and shows off Woodleaf's attention to detail. Wouldn't you like for us to help you create something dreamy for your relaxation space? Give us a call or send us an email, consultations are free. 

Woodleaf is proud to announce...

We recently became a Platinum Sponsor for the AID (Alliance of Interior Designers), an interior design community based in the Raleigh Triangle area!  What a great and fun opportunity to meet other designers and work with such talented people! Matthew and his craftsmen at Woodleaf look forward to being a valuable asset to the AID community. We can't wait to work with you!

Remembering a Friend

In 2006 we lost a dear friend unexpectedly. And it just so happened that Matthew and his late friend, David Williams, were in the middle of a rather unusual collaboration...to design and build a mosaic table depicting the great cats of the world. Unfinished at the time of Dave's death Matthew wanted to complete the table to honor his friend. Being a professional wildlife artist Dave was brought on board to illustrate the big cats. Matthew designed and orchestrated the project and hired a marquetry artisan to turn Dave's illustrations into wood inlay's for the table. We recently came across photos of the table and wanted to share a sweet memory of a very talented friend. It was a blessing to have known Dave and to have him in our lives for so many years.  Dave's incredible drawings of nature will always bring a smile to our faces and warmth to our hearts.

"A friend can never be replaced, but will always be remembered. " - anonymous

 

 

Office Makeover

 

We just finished our latest project for a commercial office space.  They needed customized adjustable shelving and desks for two of their rooms.  Woodleaf fabricated, finished and installed these beautiful, clean, functional and affordable built in desks with heavy duty anodized aluminum brackets.  If you have an office space that needs an upgrade Woodleaf can help! 

Below are before and after photos of one of the four spaces we transformed.