CREATIVE PROCESS

"A tree provides perhaps our most intimate contact with nature"

George Nakashima

Black Walnut Burl being cut up into slabs for future creations. That was one huge and loud chainsaw.
We were able to use some of it for a walnut burl rocker, the headrest for a desk chair and a carved wall piece. Also see Bowlzilla on our carved sculpture page to see just how beautiful the walnut was.

Green Building
We currently use a few methods of "Green Building". One is to not use endangered wood species. We only buy from reputable lumber companies that do not import endangered wood species. Most of these companies work with tree farms that plant and maintain sustainable forests for the lumber industry.

The other method and perhaps one we have used and strongly endorsed since moving to the mountains is "Forest Restoration Wood". This wood comes from forest cleanup and private landowner cleanup. By maintaining a healthy forest we help to prevent costly and hazardous forest fires and improve the watershed. Most of our carved Vessels and Sculptures come from "Forest Restoration" wood and the woods vary from Alligator Juniper to Walnut (like the large burl pictured above). We also work with Mesquite, which comes predominately from Texas. Since these trees are most times considered a nuisance by ranchers, it is usually bulldozed over and thrown in piles to burn. We buy our mesquite from individuals whom either get the wood from ranchers before this is done or wood on its way to the landfill.

Another method and perhaps a very important one, is we create furniture that will last for generations. You are assured that your special heirloom piece is built strong and long lasting and not something that will be disposed of in a landfill.

"It doesn't matter how beautiful a chair is or how beautiful it is put together, if it doesn't sit well, it's a bad chair..." Sam Maloof

This quote by Sam Maloof, is the most fitting quote to describe how important a comfortable chair is. A well made chair fits the body and cradles you in comfort. You should be able to sit for long periods of time, without discomfort. We build our chairs and rockers with our customers comfort in mind. We like to say we create "Functional and Comfortable, Beautiful Works of Art." We test all our rockers and chairs out, to ensure that they are stable, fit right and feel comfortable. Though we are inspired by Sam Maloof s' Rocking Chairs and Dinning Chairs, we design and build ours with our own unique touches. We made our own templates and did not purchase one from anyone. We have learned to create them through trial and error and are continuously making changes and adjustments to our designs to perfect them even more. 

ROCKING CHAIR CONSTRUCTION
Our handcrafted rocking chairs are created with each individual in mind. Though we create a majority of our rockers to fit most individuals comfortably, we will also custom fit a rocker to your size and shape. Therefore, a taller person may need the rocker elongated, a shorter person may need it smaller and petite to fit them, etc. Our most popular seller is a medium size rocker that fits most individuals in any household. When filling an order, we take all this into account and create a rocker that will make you "the customer" completely happy.

The Back Lumbar support is a very important part of the rocker and chair construction. The lower back endures some of the most stress and strain in the body. Therefore, the lower lumbar support when sitting, is very crucial. We test fit ours to be sure that it fits perfectly into that lower back area. We then hand shape each support and fit it into the headrest and seat. We do both the firm and flexback spindles, depending on the customers wants.  
 
The curve of the headrest on a rocker ties in the comfort of the lumbar support, since this is where they meet, and your head rests. So the shaping of the headrest is just as important as the seat and the lumbar support. This is where we like to add carved "dog ears", "horns" etc. on the top, for an artistic look and feel to the rocker.

Next the armrests need to be situated just right, so they aren't to high or to low. You should be able to gently rest your arms downward, without feeling like your shoulders are raised up into your neck or that you are straining to keep your arms stretched down to the armrest. We do more hand shaping than most woodworkers. This process although more labor intensive and time consuming, makes a piece flow seamlessly and much more comfortable. There are no hard lines that your body rests against, just smoothness. The whole flow of the rocker from seat, to lumbar support, to headrest and armrest should cradle your body in comfort. Then the rocking motion should tie in the whole effect with smooth effortless motion. Our runners are laminated, which gives them added strength and stability and sometimes we inlay in a different type of wood for an accent. The runners should be firm and strong, since they endure all the weight and pressure. While rocking you shouldn't feel like you're going to fall forward or backward. You should feel as one with the rocking chair. The overall rocking experience should be relaxing and therapeutic.

SEAT CONSTRUCTION
Our most popular seat is the carved seat. We use this technique mainly in our handmade rockers and dinning chairs. The carving of the seat is a very important part of the design and when done right, makes the seat very comfortable and stable. The scooping effect in the rear of the seat, makes the lower back more comfortable and the dish out in the front, lets the thighs fit in smoothly. When we construct our seats, we keep the strength of the chair in mind. Most seats are one board and then just routered out to give a carved seat look. This doesn't make for a very stable seat, nor is it as comfortable as a true carved seat. Our seat is made of five boards for more stability, that are layed out for the best grain pattern and then joined together at a series of different angles to achieve a curved seat, like a "Barrel Stave". To further enhance the curve of the seat we use a grinder to "carve" or "dish out" the shape of the seat, so that it forms to the mold of a persons back end. Maintaining a consistent flow during the dishing out and sanding stage, ensures that the seat will have no bumps or dips, therefore, adding to the comfort.

Laminations in form for the bentwood rocker

Beginning stage of a carved chair seat and the leg joinery. This shows the interlocking joint between the leg and the seat. This is one of the strongest joints and is very important to a chair and rockers stability and longevity, since they endure so much abuse. We take extra precautions, even though we probably don't have to and screw the leg to the seat and then add plugs, usually in a contrasting wood. This shows how meticulous Scott is and the fact that he wants each piece to stand the test of time. Next we have the seat construction, showing the Barrel Stave, before Scott carves and shapes it.

An expectant mom in her new custom rocker

ROCKING CHAIR BENEFITSThere are many benefits to rocking in a rocking chair. Be it to relax the lower back after a long day, to calm a crying infant or to nurse a baby. Rocking is a favorite pastime. So why not buy a rocking chair that is not only comfortable but artistic and an heirloom piece as well. See our Rocker page

Our creative process is always changing. In the past we have concentrated solely on fine furniture, specializing in rockers and chairs. However, as we've evolved as artists, we've found that the carved sculptures is where our hearts are and where we can be most creative. We enjoy the process of looking at a big chunk of wood and seeing all the possibilities that it can become. Scott has a real eye for seeing unique designs and then creating a true masterpiece. We also like the idea that all our creations are "TRUE ONE OF A KIND" art collections. Between the wood we use and the carving process, no two are alike. We recently made the decision to start moving more over into the sculptures. But we do still create fine custom rockers and chairs along with other fine custom furniture for clients. This allows us the ability to take our time with the creative process and ensure that each piece has all the attention to detail that we strive for. Please visit our Fine Furniture page to see what we have created in the past. We can also work with your design ideas to create something special just for you.


The Creative Process starts the same with the sculptures and the rockers. Finding the right wood. We hand pick out all our logs and lumbered wood. Most of the logs we use are "Forest Reclaimed", such as Alligator Juniper. But we also use a lot of mesquite and other unique woods not normally used. We especially like to use burl wood, since it is very hard to find and therefore makes for very unique pieces. The wood we prefer to use for the rockers is highly figured woods, such as Oregon Black Walnut, Tiger Maple, Bubinga and more. These woods make a rocker really stand out and become an artistic focal point in the home.

Next in the Creative Process is seeing the end result in the mind and making it happen. Sometimes the sculptures may take a slight turn, if the wood dictates it wants something else, but overall whatever design Scott has in his head, is what happens. For the rockers, it's a matter of taking the time out to lay out the grain patterns just right, so everything flows and is pleasing to the eye. As a rocker is being constructed (see below) it gets carved, shaped and sanded as it progresses, till the very end.

All in all, our Creative Process for both the sculptures and rocking chairs has evolved artistically. We take more time to ensure they are up to the highest of standards and become art collections to pass down for generations.

THE CARVING PROCESS
As stated on our vessel and sculpture page, all our pieces are carved. Scott first starts with the chainsaw to remove a bulk of the wood and start the design. Then grinders do all the various shaping. Below are pictures of some pieces during the process.

Carving process of "Twister"
Carving Process of "4 Ways Through"

Copyrite           2002-2017 Scott and Stephanie Shangraw. All rights reserved.

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