custom reclaimed wood furniture

policy

Servicable, small, meticulous - and planning to stay that way

Nearly all our furniture is made by custom order. From a simple, minimalist bench, to a more involved custom designed piece that involves digital modelling and multiple iterations, we’re willing to take the time. We’ll work the design process until your custom piece emerges - elegant, rugged, with an understated sense of inevitability.

We are a small two-person shop, and we intend to stay small. The online factories and national furniture chain stores have already been calling, but we are choosing quality over quantity, relationships over shipping manifests. When we go to China, we want to be on vacation.

Turn-around time, truth be told, is not always as snappy as with bigger shops. Typically we ask from 4 to 7 weeks on larger pieces. And we hope you decide we’re worth the wait. Please email if an accelerated delivery time is critical.

Please be aware that all sales are final. At this time birdloft does not offer refunds or exchanges. Please weigh your decision before purchasing. Please reference, too, the reviews of customers who have already made the leap, and landed happily.

Thank you for considering birdloft for your home.

faq

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 save the Spotted Owl.

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 Columbia.

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.