Blog

Art show: Mark Dunst

Join us for an Artist Reception Friday, October 7th, 5-8PM at our downtown showroom
Featuring light appetizers and wine tasting with Lolati Wines.  

RSVP here.

About the artist: Mark intentionally tries to get lost in his work, which fills him with equal measures of frustration and aspiration. It’s not the kind of “lost” where time seems to fall away – although that's important – but rather being lost where the way forward is veiled in uncertainty. In reference to his work, Mark says "we are all like each of these marks, wavering between awkward and elegant, working hard to find our place in the melody."

Featuring Pacific Northwest artists

The Joinery is proud to sell the works of local fine artists at both of our showrooms. Every two months we feature new work by a Pacific Northwest artist. With each new show there is something beautiful and fresh to see. 

We host an opening reception for the artist at our Downtown Portland location at the beginning of each show that is free and open to all. Join us for an evening of wine and appetizers, meet the artist, and get deals on their work. At the end of each run, the show moves to our St. Johns showroom for an additional two months. If you can’t make the reception, please contact us here to set up an appointment to visit during our showroom hours. For more information about the art and featured shows contact our curator, Jeffrey Howard, at HOWARD-ART.com

The Joinery custom Maud Credenza

Creating custom furniture designed and handcrafted to meet our customers specific needs is one of the things that sets The Joinery apart. Our sales and design team work with the customer to understand the key elements, and we create drawings to make sure the design and specifications meet customer needs. Then we turn it over to our craftspeople to make the piece come to life.

One recent custom piece was a Western Walnut Maud Credenza, built by Tenzin for a customer in Washington. The customer was looking for a beautiful yet elegant storage piece to fit a specific space in their living room. They loved the look of theMaud Credenza but needed additional storage and custom dimensions. As we worked thru the design, we created a custom drawing for approval. 

Maud Credenza

The customer was excited to hear that Tenzin would be building their piece, as they had seen Tenzin’s work featured on our Instagram page and loved the artistry Tenzin brings with his lumber selection and layout.

Custom Maud Credenza in process

When the piece was delivered to their home in Washington, the customer was excited to see it in their space. “It’s just an incredible piece and a wonderful addition to our house. The craftsmanship is amazing and the wood is unbelievable….. I love the design of the original Maud Credenza, but we are so happy with the modifications – it just works perfectly in our space.”

Custom Maud Credenza in Western Walnut

Customer's Custom Maud Credenza

We are grateful to the customer for sharing these photos and comments with our team. Customers often do this, which is exciting for our entire team to see. After all of the design work, communication back and forth, and the process of building the furniture as it moves through our Shop, it is rewarding to see the pieces “in the wild,” as one of our craftspeople puts it.

We now have a regular feature in our monthly company meetings called “Pieces in the Wild,” where we share photos that customers have provided and tell the story of individual pieces with our entire team.

Inside the drawer of a custom Maud credenza

To share your pictures of your Joinery furniture "in the wild" please email them here. 

One of the most important aspects of Joinery furniture is that it is customized to meet unique needs. Customers select several key attributes of their furniture, which we then build to order. One of our most experienced craftspeople, Tenzin, is able look at stacks of lumber and visualize a beautiful finished product.

Handcrafting Wood furniture with Tenzin

Tenzin has built many extraordinary – and oftentimes extremely customized – furniture pieces during his time at The Joinery, which is fitting for someone with an incredibly unique background. A Tibetan who was born and raised in the far northern Indian province of Ladakh, Tenzin began formal training as a carpenter there when he was 18, learning to build houses and furniture. He trained with a Tibetan master carpenter on traditional Tibetan furniture, which includes carving.

During this training, Tenzin traveled to remote areas in Northern India to build schools. Because of extremely cold weather in the region, the areas were only accessible for three months of the year. “A group of us who were bachelors were asked to go because the others were married and had children, so they could not leave for long periods of time,” Tenzin recounts.

The Joinery craftsperson: Tenzin

“We would build a school in one village, then quickly move to another village in the same region to build a school there before the weather turned.” Tenzin said. “We had to complete the buildings and return home before the roads became impassable.”

In 2000, Tenzin moved to the US and began working at The Joinery before taking a break to return to India in 2008. He returned to Portland in 2011 and has been with us ever since. Tenzin is also unique in that he has built products in all four product categories at The Joinery, always with great skill and precision. He is currently on our Case Team, but has also been a key contributor on our Seating, Table and Bed Teams over the years.

“I really enjoy the creative process involved,” he says. “In this era, it is rare to find woodworking businesses that make high end hardwood furniture and where builders can select the lumber and complete the project from beginning to end.” It is this creative process where Tenzin's skill and artistry really shows thru. Before any production begins, he is able to envision the finished piece and is able to select the boards that best showcase the design of the piece. With more customized designs, Tenzin draws upon his rich background and experience to build furniture to meet very distinctive customer needs. To see an example of his artistry on a recent build of a Custom Maud credenza click here

Through the years Tenzin’s favorite aspect of working at The Joinery are the people he works with. With a cumulative 19 years at The Joinery, he has had the pleasure of working with countless talented craftspeople over nearly half of our 40-year history. When reflecting on his time here, Tenzin believes people would be most surprised if they knew more about the make-up of our team. “Our builders come from diverse walks of life and training,” he notes. “Some of us are trained carpenters, while others have advanced degrees in fine arts, engineering, design, and architecture. A finished piece may include the input of several team members, drawing upon those different backgrounds.”

The Joinery team member: Tenzin

Tenzin is the consummate teammate that all of us at The Joinery appreciate and admire. He offers great insight into our furniture products and shop processes while exuding a calm, peaceful presence and kind heart that we all enjoy being around – as well as an infectious laugh that makes everyone smile.

Thank you Tenzin for your great contributions to our team and customers!

We are excited to once again offer our Joinery Oil for sale through our new partnership with Heritage Natural Finishes, an Oregon based woman-owned company. Like many businesses over the last couple of years, we have worked through numerous supply chain challenges that limited our ability to offer our oil for sale. Our newest blend is easy to apply and includes a mixture of beeswax and tung, linseeed, and orange oils. It is available for sale in 4 oz, Quart or Gallon sizes online here or in our showrooms. Contact us  here for information on in-store pricing.

The Joinery furniture oil finish

Celebrating 40 years of handcrafted Furniture 

We are so thankful to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. As part of our celebration, we are continuing to feature members of our team and unique aspects of our process throughout the year. 

Blending art and science to build Joinery furniture 

Building furniture at The Joinery requires great skill and a blend of art and science. No one brings in the science element as much as Brian, our Lead Seating Craftsperson as well as our on-the-floor engineer. Outside of his role of leading our Seating Team, Brian champions efforts to improve our shop processes to make life easier for all of our Craftspeople.   

Celebrating our 40 years of handcrafted furniture

“My specialty at the Joinery (besides building dining chairs) is designing and building jigs that help speed production, reduce errors, and get more consistent results with less effort,” Brian says. “Designing a jig can require some creativity to imagine the different ways available to do an operation on a piece – and occasionally to come up with an entirely novel approach. It requires knowing all the features of a furniture piece and determining the best order of operations. Jig design also entails understanding the accuracy required in the feature, making the jig easy to use, knowing where adjustment is needed, how long it needs to last, making it safe and ergonomic to use, making it error-proof, etc.” 

Brian epitomizes our company values of “Details matter” and “We do this together.” His thoughtful, methodical approach are perfect for his role, as are his team-first attitude and sincere desire to share knowledge to help others. 

Brian milling for a Ceilo Hall Tree

“I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to build our furniture better, faster, and with less effort,” he says. “I also take pleasure in knowing the pieces I build will be cherished in someone's home. I also really appreciate the teamwork with my fellow builders, that we share our knowledge and help each other improve.” 

As well as being our resident process improvement guru, Brian’s curious mind makes him one of the people you’d most like to have a dinner conversation with. “Intellectually, I like learning and thinking about all things human: how our minds work, role of spirituality & religion, how we know what we know, how evolution has shaped us, the nature of money, how to arrange our family/social relationships, the hazards of social media, the best uses of the free market, and the utility of marriage” – just to name a few. 

Outside of work Brian appreciates meeting new people and spending time with his nephews (and watching them grow!). He also really enjoys physical activity, including riding his BMX flatland bike and contact improv dance. (What exactly is “contact improv dance,” you ask? This is another subject on which Brian can wax poetic.) 

We are grateful for Brian’s contributions to our team. Not only will the furniture he has built live on in customer homes for decades, but so will the jigs and other process improvements he has made in our shop. 

We are so thankful to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. Thanks to our dedicated team and wonderful community of customers and partners, The Joinery continues to create handcrafted furniture that is here for good. As part of our celebration, we are featuring members of our team and unique aspects of our process throughout the year.

Celebrating Bruce's 20 years at The Joinery as a finisher

A lot has changed over The Joinery’s 40-year history, but for the last two decades one thing has remained the same: Bruce. Our longest tenured employee, Bruce joined us in 2002 as a Finisher and has been with us ever since.

Bruce contributes to the Finish team in many ways. He has mastered the nuance of finishing Joinery furniture to its silky-smooth final state. He plays an important role in training new members of the team. He builds small parts and crates. And if customers ever find that a piece of their furniture needs to be spruced up a bit? They just bring it back to us and Bruce takes it from there. After all, he didn’t get his nickname “Sprucey” by accident.

Bruce celebrating 20 years at The Joinery

Although he’s seen it all during his time with The Joinery, Bruce appreciates the continuous challenges. “The days are never the same,” he says. “After twenty years in the Finish department, I find that there is a new challenge every day that keeps you engaged.”

Bruce, a finisher at The Joinery celebrates 20 year anniversary

Bruce continues, “It’s great to come to work at a place where people care about the furniture they build. The Finish department takes great pride in making sure the furniture we send out the door is the highest quality.”

Besides being our longest-tenured employee, Bruce is just an all-around great guy. He is a fan of seafood as well as good wine. And when he's not watchign the Blazers or Seahawks play, he's probably out, fishing, clamming or crabbing.

Thanks Bruce for your contributions for half of our 40 years!

The Joinery is excited to announce a limited offering of new furniture designs to extend the legacy of a 257-year-old Oregon Oak tree, while helping preserve the fragile oak ecosystem in the Willamette Valley. 

Legacy Oregon Oak

Although the story of this remarkable tree originally began in 1765, we will pick it up more recently, in January 2017. That’s when Ben Deumling, the owner of Zena Forest Products , was put in touch with a woman who grew up on a family farm on the Little Luckiamute River, just south of Monmouth in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The woman’s 85-year-old mother still lived on the farm, and her sister lived in a house next door.

The woman wanted to work with Zena on a forest thinning and reforestation plan for trees on the farm. She hoped to use some of the lumber in a home she was building on the Oregon Coast, as well as to make tabletops for other members of her family so that the trees could live on in a different form. Zena would process any remaining lumber and offer it for sale.

The Oregon Legacy tree before downing.

TThe family worked with a local logger to implement their plan. Among the trees removed was a very large, old Oregon Oak tree. Its top was dying and it was clear that it was at the end of its life, so it needed to be taken down. As the Zena team began to process the tree, they were shocked to discover that it was 257 years old, and of stunning quality. Ben noted that it is by far the oldest tree that Zena has ever worked with. Most oak trees in Oregon are less than 175 years old, and the lumber from this tree is easily distinguishable from other oaks.

Oregon Legacy Oak

When Ben realized this, he contacted The Joinery to see if we would be interested in using the trunk of this incredible tree to build incredible furniture. With it being such stunning quality, he wanted to keep the entire lot together.  We were happy to oblige, and now to transform the lumber from this phenomenal tree into our Legacy Oregon Oak pieces.

Milling our Legacy Oak

Once the lumber arrived at The Joinery, our team was as blown away by the quality and character of the tree as Ben was. We thought that creating new designs using this Oregon Oak would be the perfect way to commemorate our 40th anniversary and continue the legacy of this remarkable tree.

Our Furniture Designer, Taryn developed new designs for a Legacy Coffee Table and Legacy End Table. We are also building Live Edge Dining Tabletops that can be paired with the base of customer choice. We wanted to create designs that showcased the beauty and incredible grain character of the two-inch thick Oak slabs. See photos and more information on the Legacy Oak Coffee Table here and Legacy Oak End Tables here; to see photos of our additional Legacy boards click here

Oregon Legacy Oak End Table

We are pleased to donate a percentage of sales of these amazing pieces to the Oregon Oak Accord, which protects and restores the oak habitat in the fragile Willamette Valley ecosystem.

Oregon Legacy Oak Coffee Table Detail of Oregon Legacy Oak Occasional Table

We currently have finished pieces at our Downtown Portland showroom, and lumber for tabletop layouts at both our Downtown and St. Johns showrooms. Please call (503) 788-8547 x 1 for further information or to come see in person.

Celebrating 40 years of handcrafted Furniture

We are so thankful to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. Thanks to our dedicated team and wonderful community of customers and partners, The Joinery continues to create handcrafted furniture that is here for good. As part of our celebration, we are featuring members of our team and unique aspects of our process throughout the year.

Celebrating 40 years of handcrafted furniture, featuring our builder Levi

Training new Craftspeople with Levi

Critical to our success over the years is training new Craftspeople as they join our team. Even the most skilled woodworkers have a learning curve as they work to understand our specific quality standards and processes for creating beautiful hardwood furniture. Levi, who has been with The Joinery since 2017, wears many hats as a Shop Lead, Lead Table Builder, and chief trainer. He recently spearheaded the effort to overhaul the onboarding process for new builders on our Table Team that now serves as a model for our other product teams.

In celebration of our 40th anniversary we connected with Levi about not only his craft, but also his passion for helping others. “Training and mentorship is such an important part of what we do at The Joinery, and woodworkers holistically,” he says. “I learned the ins and outs of furniture building with The Joinery and had a lead builder showing me the way. To this day, I still do certain operations or build certain pieces with his voice in my head. I feel a great sense of duty to not only pass on the building of timeless furniture, but all the foundational knowledge that has helped The Joinery for forty years.”

Levi building a table at The Joinery

An important aspect of the training process is to understand how new employees learn best, and use that knowledge to guide them appropriately. Recently Levi has led the effort to develop training documents for individual products to be used in conjunction with hands-on training. While training new Craftspeople, Levi balances support and oversight with the freedom for new team members to move ahead on their own. He brings a great mix of technical and people skills to his work, and has been a critical part of our team for many years.

“What I like most about my job is that it rarely feels like a job,” Levi says. “It is fulfilling, and the results of my work are tangible. I can sit back at the end of the day and physically see what I accomplished. I also love watching builders grow throughout their careers. It’s really fun to see people go from ‘deer in the headlights’ apprentices, to crafting beautiful, high level pieces and even passing on their knowledge that they learned along the way to new folks.”

Levi approaches each piece with very high expectations for quality and aesthetic beauty. “I’m never completely happy with how a piece turns out. I will be very nitpicky and hard on myself about some small detail and then hear back that the customer loved everything about it. I guess it helps to not be satisfied because it keeps you believing you can always do better and gives you motivation and focus for the next piece.”

Levi’s commitment and dedication over the years has paved the way for not just his own success in the company, but that of other as well.

Thanks, Levi, for your role in helping develop skilled Craftspeople who continue the tradition of creating handcrafted furniture that’s here for good.

The Joinery is proud of our partnerships with two Portland-area high schools to help further the woodworking aspirations of young students. In person events and tours for these programs were on hiatus for the last years due to COVID-19 but we are excited that we have opened it back up to help support our youth.   

Student from Sabin-Schellenberg tour The Joinery woodshop

We are so thankful to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. Thanks to our dedicated team and wonderful community of customers and partners, The Joinery continues to create handcrafted furniture that is here for good. As part of our celebration, we are featuring members of our team and unique aspects of our process throughout the year.

The Joinery celebrating 40 year anniversary: Story feature of Angel

The Finishing process with Angel

It takes a trained eye and a passion for details to be a part of our Finish Team at The Joinery, as these last steps are critical for enhancing the natural beauty and durability of each piece. These skills are exemplified by Angel. His love of working with wood, dedication to quality, and a great personality have made him a true gem in our company for nearly a decade.  

After our Craftspeople build, assemble and sign each piece, it is turned over to our Finish department. Under the bright lights, each piece is inspected, and then the sanding process begins. It is meticulous work, and where we often find Angel. When he first started at The Joinery, he was surprised at how the variety of wood species we offer respond to our process. Each species has different characteristics that require a slightly different approach to ensure we bring out the best qualities of the wood. 

Finisher at The Joinery: Angel

Once each piece is methodically sanded, it moves onto the most revealing step, applying our natural oil finish. It is in this phase that the true color and wood grain really come to life. “People would be surprised how different tones come out after applying oil, even though the wood is all from the same tree,” Angel says. Even after nine years with The Joinery and finishing thousands of pieces, he still gets excited to see how the piece is transformed once oil is applied.

Next, the furniture is hand-sanded and a final beeswax finish is applied to give each piece its silky-smooth hand feel. This process not only lets the natural beauty of the wood come through, but it also allows for easy repair from dents and scratches that inevitably happen to furniture that is built to last for decades. 

When speaking to Angel about his years working at The Joinery, he says he has experienced a lot of changes – from new furniture designs, new team members, and now a new woodshop location – but a constant for him is his love for working with wood. 

Thank you, Angel, for celebrating our 40th anniversary with us, and to many more years to come. 
 

Finisher at The Joinery Angel

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