NEW WORKSHOPS ANNOUNCED (!) & Photos of Our May Day Camp

When I first started KKDW, I never imagined that it would ever be anything more than just me building furniture in a makeshift shop underneath my porch or in my living room. But today I work out of KKDW HQ, our team of one is now a team of three (plus four doggos between us), and there's so much more going on than just furniture. I never planned to make teaching workshops a big part of our little company, but classes & Day Camps have become one of my favorite things under the proverbial KKDW umbrella. One of our Day Campers explains our camps best:

You show up, learn how to weld, eat & drink topo chicos, get good at welding, then eat again & drink beers.

Sounds about right. I love meeting the folks who come out, I love working with y'all, I love teaching alongside Travis, and I love seeing people rule so hard at making stuff.

That's all to say, we're gonna keep doing these workshops since y'all seem to dig them, too! I hope you can join us for one of our upcoming Day Camps out at KKDW HQ. Our projects for the summer & fall include a coffee table, a welded floral wreath, and a stool. I can't waaaaiiiiiiitttttt!

Here are some photos from our most recent Day Camp at the end of May, where our project was a 5-ft-long bench. As everyone arrived, the sky was overcast and rain was falling, but just as we moved into the shop to get started, the rain stopped and the air stayed cool for us. We ate vegetable chili during our lunch break, and as everyone finished up their benches, Travis pulled our dinner off of the smoker, where it had been cooking all afternoon. The smell of smokey oak logs & bbq mixed with the fresh smell rain as we cracked open our iced-down beers.

Welding goddess illustration by Eva Claycomb.

Photos of April Welding Day Camp, plus a little lagniappe

Sunday, April 9, we hosted one of our Spring Welding Day Camps. It was an incredible day of welding, bench-making, food-eating (big bowls of veggie chili for lunch, then a spread of stuffed chickens & boudin wraps & beers to end the day). Everyone ruled so hard mastering their own bench projects; this was some serious welding, and I'm happy to report that every single person's bench passed the test: sit down and wiggle your butt around to see if your bench works ;)

My next workshop will be April 30 at the amazing Hotel San Jose where we'll use KKDW shop-made rings to create beautiful floral wreaths. Their courtyard is an idyllic escape, plus flowers plus complimentart mimoasa/coffees? You're set. Join me!

Then, Travis & I will be holding two more Day Camps this season: a full Day Camp on May 20, and a Mini-Camp on June 24.

Scroll down to see a little treat for making it through this long post xo

!!!   A NEW SOUNDS LIKE: True As Hell   !!!

Pairs well with: 

  • Driving with windows down

  • Sitting comfortably at twilight with glass of whiskey and bonfire

  • Laying in sun with eyes closed while wild turkeys gobble in distance

  • Whatever else it is that you do






1)
Still Drivin'
Paul Cauthen, My Gospel

2)
Be a Man
Júníus Meyvant, Floating Harmonies

3)
Teddy I'm Ready
Ezra Furman, Big Fugitive Life - EP

6)
Many Rivers to Cross
The Animals, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted

5)
Danse Fambeaux
Dr. John, Gris-Gris

5)
Easy Now
Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton

6)
Party Time
T.G. Sheppard, I Love 'Em All

7)
That's How I Got to Memphis
Tom T. Hall, Ballad of Forty Dollars and His Other Great Songs

8)
All I Wanna Do
The Beach Boys, Sunflower

9)
Bad Dream baby
Springtime Carnivore, Midnight Room

10)
Never My Love
The Association, Insight Out

11)
A Dime at a Time
Del Reeves, Our Way Of Life

12)
No Matter Where We Go
Whitney, Light Upon the Lake

13)
Sea of Love
Phil Phillips & The Twilights, Sea of Love

14)
Cucurrucucu Paloma
Caetano Veloso, The Best of Caetano Veloso

Please support the artists & their work by buying their music.

Winter Day Camps at KKDW HQ

We feel so lucky to have a space where we can welcome folks who want to learn a new skill. Our shop is a special place to us, and it means the world to be able to share it in a meaningful way.

In January we hosted Day Camp: The Basics of Welding; it was amazing group whose project was building their own stool. We covered everything from equipment and techniques to sourcing steel. My favorite part was probably when everyone went over to our scrap steel pile and picked out a few scrap pieces to practice welding together--it's one of those rites of passage for everyone learning to weld to have some sort of weird steel "art" as they're getting the hang of it. After the work, we settled into a spread of BBQ brisket (that had been smoking since 2 AM that morning) and a keg from our buddies at ABGB.

Then this past weekend, we changed gears just a bit and held Day Camp: Welding & Floral Styling. Everyone cut, rolled, then welded their own chandelier hoop--then I showed everyone how to style it with a bounty of florals. It was an amazing change of pace to be loud and messy, cutting steel and welding, for the first half, and then have an almost meditative second half as everyone styled their own chandelier hoop while Willie Nelson serenaded us on the stereo and the birds chirped outside. Throughout the entire Day Camp, Travis had been smoking chickens on our smoker, and afterwards we all celebrated with BBQ chicken tacos and beers--a perfect day, y'all.

We'll be hosting another workshop this spring, and we'd love to have you out! Classes are capped small and tend to sell out early, so sign up here to hear when registration is open first :)

Our friend Drea and her scorched denim--a testament to the mild danger of welding ;)

Our friend Drea and her scorched denim--a testament to the mild danger of welding ;)

BIG NEWS: OUR SISTER SHOP, FAMILY

So, we've been working on this idea for a collection of utilitarian items, accessories that fit into all projects for both home and business. Through months of thoughts, prototypes, and finally photos, I am a puddle of melty excitement to announce KKDW's sister shop, FAMILY.

As the compadre of KKDW, Family provides you with beautiful accessories to help you create flexible storage solutions. More designs and pieces will be added regularly, so continue to check back, but to start with, check out our shelf brackets, hooks, and first door handle.

Logo by our very favorite Lauren Dickens. I literally cried when I opened up the logo file for the first time. She's the best, isn't she?

Video below by our exceptionally talented and genius friend, Drea. Give her a follow if you don't already. Video music by KKDW's very own Aaron Ward <3

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Wreath Ring in Action

My friend Leah came over yesterday to play with flowers in the Ranchito Studio. We styled her KKDW Wreath Ring (the 36" in Sea Gray) with blooms she brought and also snips from trees around the studio and down the road. Hung up as a floral chandelier, I can't stand it. This baby just begs to be hung low above a crowded table during a dinner party.

Photos of the final chandelier and process shots in the studio below...

KKDW in New Mexico

We snuck away to New Mexico for a few days to drink beers, eat delicious food, and try to recharge our batteries. I took so many photos of the dogs and us on various hikes, and the scenery in every single one blows me away; I wanted to give the photos life other than buried deep in my phone's photos. I promise the next blog post is on NEW WORK in the shop (so soon), but until then, I hope you don't mind very photogenic dawgs in the mountains...

Our Early Summer Floral Day Camp

Earlier this summer, some friends joined us for a Floral Design Day Camp. As everyone arrived we sipped mimosas and ate strawberry scones & peach galettes from fruit I had picked the day before from a local orchard. Using those colors as our palette inspiration, and we jumped into learning about flowers, starting with care and temperament, and into every step of the design process from the how to properly cut flowers to peppering in wispy chocolate cosmos.

While we were working with flowers, Travis had been cooking ingredients for tacos on the smoker, so we ended the day camp with homemade tacos and cold beers. Take a peek at some of the photos we captured, and sign up for the KKDW newsletter to hear about future workshops!

NEW TO KKDW: WELCOME, TRAVIS!

I'm moving up from a one-woman show to a two-person party: please help me welcome Travis to KKDW! Over the past few years, my husband Travis and I have worked independently on our own fabrication businesses while joining forces on larger projects here and there, and now we’re making it official. Very stoked to see where this takes KKDW, and even more stoked to have y’all joining along.

This small change will mean more large-scale fabrication projects, more furniture, new workshops, a forthcoming sister shop for all your utilitarian needs (think: sleek shelf brackets, hooks, table bases, and much more), and best of all... a new branch we're working on called KKDW Ranchito (coming soon!). I can say that the future is out there, and it's all because of you.

And for anyone who has met Travis or seen his work, you already know that he is a rare jewel of multifaceted skills, vision, and consideration. KKDW is lucky to have him.

 

Sounds Like: You Got It

Here's a short list of the songs I've been listening to. These songs are best served over slower mornings with coffee (or bloody marys), and late afternoons right as the sun starts to sink. Hope y'all enjoy. Cheers!

9.

Wheels

The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Gilded Palace of Sin & Burrito Deluxe

 

10.

Baby You Got it

Brenton Wood

Brenton Wood's 18 Best

 

11.

Toujours Plus Loin

Johnny Hallyday

Le Pénitencier

 

12.

No Expectations

The Rolling Stones

Beggars Banquet

 

13.

All Strung Out

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

All Strung Out

 

14.

Down Here

Turnpike Troubadors

The Turnpike Troubadours

Please support the artists & their work by buying their music.

1. 

Ain't It A Sin

Charles Bradley

Changes

 

2.

Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

The Standells

Dirty Water - The Hot Ones

 

3.

Are You Ready For The Country?

Waylon Jennings

Are You Ready For The Country?

 

4.

Todo Terminó

Juan Wauters

Who Me?

 

5.

Satisfation

Otis Redding

The Very Best of Otis Redding

 

6.

Come Tomorrow

Townes Van Zandt

Delta Momma Blues

 

7.

What Good Could Ever Come of This

Eliot Sumner

Information

 

8.

Pay You Back With Interest

The Hollies

The Hollies' Greatest Hits

New to the shop: Mahogany

New mahogany coffee table & XXL mirror, two designs now in the shop.

Mahogany is at once burly and delicate, a perfect marriage for these XXL pieces that showcase the hefty lines mahogany's capable of. The thickness of the mahogany, particularly on the coffee table, is hands-down one of the front-runners for my favorite aspect of the design, but it's neck and neck with the coffee table base. The pedestal base is bent steel, welded into a tripod, with a matte black powder coat. Que bella.

I shot everything at the shining start of sites, One Eleven East. The space is naturally filled with light so soft you'll just want to lay down on the floor and never leave. Which is what I almost did. One Eleven East is a historic building (constructed c. 1983) recently renovated into an event space and studio. Side note: my husband, Travis, built out a lot of the space throughout the renovation--lotsa reasons to love this place.

Flowers & Furniture

A few months ago I had a dream that I was building furniture out of flowers. Unlike so many dreams, this one seemed too beautiful and too attainable to not give it a go, so I welded up a steel cage to house florals, along with a credenza base, and got to work. I am still stunned by the result (in a good way). The best part of the Floral Credenza is that because I welded the cage, I'm able to restock and redesign the florals anytime, or let everything dry for something more permanent.

I've also got a new piece of actual furniture to share. This one is a solid wood credenza in lightened maple. I was using some maple scrap from my shop, so to make the most of it, I built the top in a herringbone design. I also added a handful of rectangular and double-dovetail keys on the top, which ended up looking so ethereal and beautiful in the lightened maple. Because the entire piece is 100% solid wood, creating the herringbone design without the aid of a plywood anchor or something to nail the maple to was a little tricky to finagle at first, but in the end I got it to work like a dream. The base is welded & waxed steel.

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Spalted Pecan Side Tables

Spalted Pecan Side Tables. This design is now up in the web shop. Solid pecan case & drawer fronts, and solid cedar drawers; welded and waxed steel base. The drawer pulls are heavyweight leather with brass hardware. The original design for these is for a friend of mine, and god bless her for feeling adventurous about this pecan. It teeters between a blush pink and a high-contrast beige and dark gray--it's really, really beautiful in person.

Giveaway: Long & Low Table in Ready To Ship

Hey, you guys! Fall is my favorite season. After a brutal Central Texas summer, a day under 80 degrees feels like a gift, and it always gets my little mind-cogs turning again. The past couple summers have struck me down; I wade through the heat as if I have no creativity, no thoughts, no brain, and no business doing my job--I just end up go-go-going, pouring literal sweat into projects that don't inspire me or feel real to me. I'm still stumped as to why things have had a habit of following that pattern.

But then, without me expecting it, Fall snaps me out of it. I get to thinking again, dreaming about designs, stoked to be in my shop building (and building and building). And that disparity between my fall attitude and summer saditude got me analyzing my business and trying to drill into the fulfilling aspects. I'll be driving around, making lists of my dreams (a favorite pastime), and I have a somewhat new one I'd love to share with you...

The way KKDW functions at this very moment, I will build one version of a piece of furniture for a specific person, then I'll photograph it and put it on my website, and there the design will remain for infinite future people to order it, made-to-order-style. So, if you wanted a Small Open Record Cabinet, for example, you'd need to wait 6-8 weeks for me to build it. In other words, I don't have an inventory of furniture.

But I'm toying with this new idea where I'd build the piece of furniture first, and let the sale come second.

This would be rad for me because I'd get to spend as much time as I desired to perfect each and every piece without the deadline of shipping the furniture in a certain amount of time, and it would mean that when you see a piece you like, BOOM, out it goes in a matter a days, not weeks/months. Of course, I'll still be building the canon of designs in my web shop for folks, but I also feel really excited about this "ready to ship" section of the shop. So excited that I'm giving away a sample piece: the Long & Low Table. Want it?

To win the Long & Low Table, follow @kkdwco on Instagram and answer the following question in the comments section right here on the blog: What is the piece of furniture you'd most like to see in the new "ready to ship" section of the KKDW shop? Answers can include stuff like functionality, materials (type of wood or something that's only wood or something that's wood & steel, etc.), size, anything you think would be helpful so we can all be awesome together.
Enter through Friday, November 13 at 11:59 p.m. CST, and be sure to associate your comment with your best email address, because that's how I'll notify the winner. I'll choose the winner randomly and let the person know on Monday, November 16. Shipping and/or delivery is included**.

Thank you all, really, for what feels like endless support already. And I'm not just saying that because Fall has me in a good mood. Love you.

**Please keep in mind that I can ship the Long & Low Table to USA addresses only. Sorry, international peeps! But if you enter the drawing and I pick your name, I'll send you a little something, too!

EDIT 11/16/2015

Wow, thank you so much to everyone who entered and for some incredibly thoughtful comments. And congratulations to our winner: Jen! I'll do this again sometime soon, y'all.

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Design & Build: Kettle & Brine

I teamed up with Travis for another large-scale design & build project, this time for new Austin, TX-based home and kitchen shop Kettle & Brine. The project was an intense straight 30 days of muscle-screaming work, worth every ache because the end vision came through beautifully. The pièce de résistance is the solid brass checkout counter--an L-shaped 8-ft leg and 5-ft leg beauty queen.

Custom shelves line the back walls: spalted pecan and welded steel shelf supports. That pecan... man, that was a trip. The boards I used were so gnarled and short, it took a full week of work to get everything to flat & smooth perfection so you can appreciate the beautiful spalting. The bank of drawers beneath the shelves grounds the design and also gives Kettle & Brine a lot of extra storage space. Also built from pecan is the 12-ft-long live-edge slab table and accompanying benches.

Finishing out the space is a tiered display credenza, built-in shelves, a long bank of drawers along the east window, cubbies along the west window, and a butcher block kitchen island with welded steel base. The triangle-shaped walnut display shelves and the paneled side wall were done by my friend Matt at Only Sun Woodworks.

Kettle & Brine is every food enthusiast's dream, so be sure to give them a visit if you're in the area.

New to the shop: shaker bed

 The newest addition to my webshop is the Shaker Bed

This Shaker Bed is solid wood through and through. Knotty alder makes up the headboard, footboard, and aprons; the slats that support the mattress are poplar; the pins I used on the headboard are white oak. The head- and footboards are built with mortise & tenon joints that I used a drawbore technique on, which is a fancy way of saying they're not going anywhere. No nails or screws or other non-wood fasteners, and the whole thing is finished with natural oils, waxes, and a series of steps that take days to carry out. The entire bed feels so lovely, I'm plotting my next bed design--but the next one I might need to keep for myself.

If you're interested in a little more information about traditional joinery, check out a brief intro to it in my previous post.

What the hell is joinery?

If you scroll through the furniture in my shop or follow along on Instagram, you may have seen me mention the term "traditional joinery." The type of joinery I use in my pieces is important to me, and ultimately it's the reason my furniture works.

So, what the hell is joinery, and why do I keep talking about it?

The quickest definition of “joinery” is a technique woodworkers use to connect (or join, get it?) pieces of wood together. But from there nothing else about it is quick. I’m gonna give you a very basic primer on joinery to better explain what I’m talking about when I say a piece is built with only traditional joinery, and why it’s a totally awesome thing that when done correctly cannot be matched in terms of strength, longevity, or beauty.

First up: never nails. The problems with fasteners like nails or screws are vast, but not inherent; the bulk of the issues stem from the fact that when you're using a nail or screw, you're most likely putting the wood together in the weakest of all ways--something called a butt joint. With a butt joint, the connection between two pieces of wood is deriving strength from only the nail or screw; the connection is not only spectacularly weak, loose, and fallible, but it has the longevity of something akin to the budget end of Ikea furniture.

Wood--a once living, growing, organic thing--is susceptible to moisture changes, which can lead to movement. Even slight changes in wood will compromise that flat surface-to-surface butt joint that you have with the nails and screws, and in more extreme circumstances this can tear out the nail/screw, totally failing the piece of furniture.

But, fear not! Because if you have a piece of furniture that is build correctly using traditional joinery, this ain’t no thing.

There are hundreds of types of joints, some better than others. Some slide in and then can't slide out, some you pound in with a mallet, some you use wood pins to secure. But the key to a strong joint is that you make a cut in one of your pieces of wood that can some how receive the cut you make you make in your second piece of wood. It's all about fit.

A mechanical joint, for example, is a type of joint that derives its strength from the physical action of working a giving end into a receiving end--like the joint above on the left. Physically malleting one of the sides into the other, then working the wood pins in creates friction and tension, and that tight fit (when you've done your work right) translates to a joint that's not going anywhere. Joints like these also account for the natural movement of the wood. As the wood expands and contracts over time, as it's wont to do, the joint will never fail. Beautiful, right?

To make joints fit right & tight and achieve their peak functionality, there are lots of different cuts involved, different tools, different bits, measurements, tests, and planning. And there are a bunch of forms of joinery, but they're all basically variations on the main theme: strength, flexibility, and toughness.

And at the risk of giving you way more information than you want to wade through about joinery, I'll leave it here: The bottom line is that joinery takes years to learn, implement, and perfect. But when I build a piece using traditional joinery, you can see the level of attention I've put into it, which to me is one of the best parts. What you’re getting out of a piece that’s built with traditional joinery is something strong, engineered to last a lifetime, and something that took hours to build and get juuuuuust right. The beauty's in the details.

**Edit** For those who are wanting more joinery info, I encourage you to check out Woodwork Joints.

Sounds Like: Forgetting Everything I Know

Man. I've been listening to these songs for weeks and haven't figured out why I like them all together like this, but I'll say that they're perfect to put on if you're taking a road trip, drinking cold beers for your health, or finally getting to that pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Speaking from experience. And that Beach Boys track is a trip, huh? Enjoy!

.

1.
Lonesome L.A. Cowboy
New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Adventures of Panama Red


2.
Empty Nesters
Toro y Moi
What For?


3.
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)
The Isley Brothers
This Old Heart of Mine


4.
Pata Pata
Miriam Makeba
Pata Pata


5.
I Got a Line On You
Spirit
The Best of Spirit


6.
Give Back the Key to My Heart
Uncle Tupelo
Anodyne


7.
I've Been Lonely Too Long
The Rascals
The Rascals: Collections


8.
Christine's Tune
The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe


9.
Willin'
Little Feat
The Best of Little Feat


10.
Welfare Bread
King Khan & The Shrines
What Is?!


11.
Stoked
The Beach Boys
Surfin' USA


12.
Pretty Pimpin
Kurt Vile
b'lieve i'm goin down...


13.
Joy In the Morning
The Gaylads
BB Seaton Presents Sunshine Reggae, Vol.1

Please support the artists & their work by buying their music.

 

Design & Build: El Cosmico, Marfa, pt. 2

For the past few weeks I've been working alongside Travis to build a new space for El Cosmico: a 21-acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas. He and I worked with the crew extremadamente talentoso of Bunkhouse. We focused on The Highland House of El Cosmico, installing a collection of original designs that elevated the building's inherent magic.

The project included welded shelf supports that worked with a series of shelves, drawers, and hanging racks so that the space could be changed easily and as seen fit. We also built two display tables; two table-top mirrors; a full-length mirror; a reception desk with a waterfall steel top and alder front; steel window; steel & alder pendant lights; record storage & credenza. Materials included alder and raw steel.

You can see photos of the full project below or check out some process & behind-the-scenes dog pics in pt. 1, or view the entire collection of final photos via my recently added Special Projects page.