Category Archives: furniture

Walnut Wrap Table

My buddy, John, approached me about building a table to house his record player and vinyl collection. I agreed on the terms that he teach me to shape a surfboard (more on that to come.) John pretty much relinquished control over the design to me on the basic grounds of “make it look cool.”

The recycle bin filled pretty high with graph paper before I sketched up the concept for something totally out of the ordinary. I settled on incorporating live-edge early on, I just didn’t know how exactly. Then it clicked.

Working with live-edge presents it’s own difficulties with clamping, squaring, etc. Toss in some mitres and the mix gets that much more fun. Getting the edge to match through the tables entirety was no easy feat and I spent many a minute sitting on my stool and scratching my noggin to avoid any miscuts on the saw. After all, one wrong cut and the whole piece is thrown off.

Here’s what the table were to look like if you stretched it back out:

The clamping process was no joke either.

Doesn’t exactly look sturdy from the looks of it, no? I wouldn’t let myself fall asleep one night until I developed a way to make the table structurally sound without taking away from the freestanding look of the piece. I stared at the ceiling thinking about how miserable work was going to be the next day having not gone to sleep when it hit me. Why not throw some more mitres into the mix?

This simple design can withstand all 175 lbs. of my non-steroidal muscle.

I’m so stoked on this design that I intend to make it my first production piece of furniture. Contact me if you’re interested!


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Butcher Block Table

Not long ago I moved into a new place with the worst case of big-kitchen/no-counterspace problem I’ve ever seen. I’m still waiting for the landlord to give me the go-ahead to build cabinets, but that’s been three months now and I’ve grown weary of chopping veggies on the pergo flooring. Maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was enough motivation to build a butcher block table.

It wasn’t but a few days after preliminary sketches for the table that my girlfriend, Staj, noticed an old butcher block countertop leaning against the front porch (under cover, thankfully) of a neighbors home. Eyeing the construction dumpster out front, I recognized a perfect opportunity to board the reclaimed material train. What you notice about the block is the feathered lamination on the front corner. This accent was not of original intention, but the result of  reclamation. The counter had obviously been cut to fit a wall or island and after long deliberating an approach to the missing section, I chased the rising sun. Later, I inlaid to another angled accent to balance the corner.

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Coaster Mirror

Coasters are a cool token of memorabilia for those of us too cheap to buy a pint glass from a cool brewery we visited. Unfortunately, coasters have a tendency to sit in a box years after being slipped slyly into ones pocket. What do you do with all those artistic coasters you’ve collected. Well, my parents wedge them between their mirror, which is where I found inspiration for this particular piece. 

Originally, the intention was to permanently fix coasters into the frame, but my personal collection was a bit lacking and I didn’t want to wait. I then realized the ability to easily add and arrange the coasters to ones preference would be much cooler. I got to designing a way to make that happen and after much deliberation, I devised a trapping system in which the edges of the two frames are routed out and lined with foam, allowing coasters to be pinched into the frame.

Why the bow in the frame you ask? Well, I could only make the lips of the frame so deep so I had to develop a way to accomodate all coaster sizes. Thus I created a bow in the outer frame that fits the biggest coasters in the center of and smaller ones nearing the corners. Plus it added an keg-like aesthetic to the frame which I am please about. 

The Coaster Mirror in all its glory. 

Untitled from Rick Olson on Vimeo.

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Dirtbag Deluxe Update from the Road

It’s been about little over a month since Charlie and Sheri hit the road with the Dirtbag Deluxe. I’m sure they’ve located most of the flaws right now, but it looks like they’re managing. There’s a new member of their family too. The two picked up a husky/lab super dog named Riley. From the looks of it’s paws, it’ll be the biggest member of the family in no time. Hope that plywood we used is canine urine resilient.

Live-edge Walnut Bed

This is what had been on my mind up until about three weeks ago.

  • Kickstarting my live-edge furniture career.
  • Sourcing my lumber more locally. Oregon woodworkers should use Oregon lumber.
  • I graduated college three years ago; I should no longer be sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor.

The bed above accomplished all three of these things and then some.

I will never be able to build this bed again. Why? Each piece of live-edge furniture can never be recreated.  It’s beauty is achieved by incorporating wood’s natural edges into the work which can’t be mimicked by man and his fancy tools. A woodworkers, we can only forego the typical dimensioning of lumber, instead incorporating natural edges into a work. This style, brought to popularity by George Nakashima, adds a more lively aura than any squared up and symmetrical piece. What’s truly enjoyable as a carpenter is observing every piece of lumber and letting it decide where it fits into the furniture.


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Dirtbag Deluxe Camperbed

Outfitting a pickup bed for life on the road has been on my radar for a while, the problem being is I don’t have a pickup. So when my friends Charlie and Sheri’s plans to travel around central and south America fell through, the resorted to a 4-month climbing road trip. I’ve become their go-to carpenter over the past year, so when they decided they needed an outfit for their gorgeous purple Tacoma, Brusier, I seized the opportunity.

 Unfortunately, the 3 months they allotted their mechanic to repair a failing engine while they were off in Thailand wasn’t enough time, and when we began the project, the truck was still in the shop. Going off Charlie’s measurements, we began cutting all the pieces, but I’ve been building long enough to know that assembling the entire thing without fitting in in the truck first would be a brutal mistake. And, of course, when the truck finally arrived, there were some mismeasurements, which were quick fixes since. Patience pays off, friends.

The outfit has two drawers… GIANT drawers. I’ve never made one even close to the size of these two. We joked that if Charlie’s in the dog house, he’ll have to sleep in one of the drawers; probably the narrow one, depending.

Sheri was having a tough time comprehending the fact that home for the next four months is a pickup bed. Once she took a look out of her bedroom window though, she felt better.

Charlie busted out an old fashioned bottle opener as a kitchen add on. Unfortunately, the space between the outfit and tailgate was too tight. That was until I countersunk it. Was it worth the extra effort? Absolutely because after long days of climbing, beers must be opened easily by exhausted hands. Plus it added a dimension of character that tied the whole damn thing together.

Climb on, guys.

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ZebraNut Nightstand

My girlfriend claims she has “table envy.” There’s an old carpenter’s curse of spending a lifetime building one-of-a-kind furniture but living in a home filled with Ikea-esque crap. I’ve been trying to strike a balance of sneaking a couple personal projects in here and there and this nightstand is one of them. Using a handful of Zebrawood and Walnut scraps from past projects, I combined the two based on their similar colors and tones. While there’s little nuisances (and there always will be) I’m very happy with the finished project and stoked that the lamp sitting on top and the book stashed in the drawer will be mine. At least Staj will get to look at it whenever she wants. 

I lucked out in this amazing piece of walnut with a lighter shade mixed in. It added even more continuity between the two different woods. 

I got a little carried away and ran a box joint on the legs, which then carried over into the rails. I found it a unique opportunity to really pair the woods together.

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