How does shipping work?
Shipping is typically to your door by FedEx Ground. Larger
furniture comes packed in fully-insured, custom-built crates that
must be signed for on delivery. We base shipping charges on our
actual costs. Please email us your zip code for a shipping quote. All
quotes are for the continental US. Rates to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada
and beyond tend to be double the standard domestic US rate.
Can I come by the shop?
Absolutely. Just send us an email and we’ll schedule
a visit. And just to say,
Tacoma is closer than you think. For
Seattleites living in Capitol Hill, for instance, we’re
easier to get to than Ballard on a sunny day!
What exactly is “old growth” fir?
For starters, it’s a slippery term. But we should say immediately,
too, that it’s not nearly as slippery as people clambering to get
in on the excitement are making it out to be. Old growth, in its
strictest definition, means first growth. And first growth means the
forest that was here in the Pacific Northwest when white people
started showing up in the region around the 1840s. The majority
of oldest of the old growth wood then, would have been milled
anywhere from the mid-1800s into the early 1930s. By then, the
big lumber mills were already planning for life after old growth,
even though the fight to save some small piece of the ancient
forest lasted well into the 1990s, most memorably with the fight to
How do I know “old growth” when I see it?
If you are an old salt, like the guy from the power utility who
happened into our shop the other day, you just know it, you know
it deeply, and it sort of takes control of your legs and feet, draws
you right in. It’s irresistible. And when you hold it, it’s a dense,
weighty matter. When you close in on the end grain, you find tight,
tight grain. Light and dark line, wavering and arcing through the
slab (the annual rings of spring and summer growth), evidence of
the shady, rainy, slow-growing Douglas fir forest that once covered
most of the coastal lowlands from northern California into British
How accurate do you two get in your work?
When we’re working at building scale, Adrienne does her best to
keep me talking nothing more specific than 1/8ths, although the
occasional 1/16th is allowed in tight spaces. With furniture, we
both get to plumb distances that basically eclipse the ability of the
eye to register. With the bookcases, for instance, the hole we drill in
the shelf is 1/64th larger in diameter than the steel rod. It’s a very
snug, super accurate fit. And just the other day, a fresh batch of the cotter pins we
use came thru slightly larger than usual at Tacoma Screw. So we delved even deeper into
the between. We moved from an 1/8" diameter bit (.1250mm) to a No. 30 bit (.1285) - 35 thousandths more girth - and that
made all the difference. Now, once again, that balance of easy fit and perfect grab
has been restored.
Speaking of bookcases, how does a person assemble that?
Every bookcase comes with a multi-page assembly guide, complete
with crispy, easy-to-read diagrams. Every piece of furniture also gets
an indepth guide for care.
What kind of stains and finishes do you use?
Our goal is to do the utmost to preserve and present the wood’s
patina and tone on its own terms while also providing good
protection against the spills and accidents of everyday life. To
that end, we use locally produced oils and waxes in most cases.
More intensive finishes, like polyurethanes, are never used, mostly
because they form a barrier between us and the wood, and also,
because they tend to create a gloss that is a bit over the top. Stains,
in most cases, are not used either. Wood is a sensual, living thing,
and it’s subtle and it’s tactile. We like to be true to that, especially
to a wood tone that has taken one hundred years or more to
acquire, and is a unique expression of the air, light, rain and rust the
wood has endured.
All that said, occasionally we will ebonize a piece for a variety of
reasons. But we will not stain cypress a "walnut". We were trained
by old-fashioned masters of studio furniture, and that is one of the
lessons that stuck.