My name is Michael Adams, and I am a woodworker. After many years of sitting at a
computer producing nothing but bytes and bits, I began making things with my hands
that I could share with others. I come from a family of machinists and die sinkers.
My father’s Brown & Sharpe lathe in the basement and mechanic’s tools galore gave
me the freedom to be creative, take things apart, and modify them throughout my childhood.
Woodcraft is now a therapeutic hobby and part time job.
20 years ago I began my own tool collection and started building utilitarian furniture.
A cradle for our first son, end tables, hope chests for my nieces, holiday gifts,
and an oak craftsman spindle bed for our first house.
Then I received the divine gift of a guided tour of the Gamble House in Pasadena.
The home, one of the ‘ultimate bungalows’ designed by the Greene brothers and built
by the Hall brothers in the early 1900s, represents an almost incomprehensible attention
to detail, joinery, dimension, color, and texture. Nearly all of my furniture projects
for the last three years has been in the Greene & Greene style. The combination of
American craftsman with Asian influence is manifested by open joinery, soft lines,
and mahogany instead of oak. It is elegant without pretension. It rarely goes out
My favorite accomplishment so far is a close reproduction of the Gamble House entry
table that sits in our dining room. The mahogany top is inlaid with a cherry slab,
square ebony splines and plugs and handmade ebony drawer runners and mahogany pulls.
I prefer using wood that is figured and richly colored and include mahogany, bubinga,
padauk, African ebony, sycamore, spalted maple, and walnut. Figured, spalted, and
crotch wood can be challenging to work with because the grain is rarely predictable,
but the end result makes the piece unique and one of a kind. I offer my clients a
wide choice of wood samples, and many make their decision based on their home furnishings
and style. One recent client had a gorgeous wood floor highlighted with round walnut
plugs, and we incorporated the dark plugs in their new white oak tables, tying in
the furniture with the floor.
The first coat of a finish can be the most dramatic process. All of the wood selection,
sanding, and preparation come together for the first time. Finishes are usually clear
oils which enhance the grain and colors of the natural wood. Tung oil, poly mixes,
and buffed beeswax are traditional and, at times, difficult.
All the hard work is worth it when a client helps design their perfect item, I find
the right wood and accessories, the finish comes out correctly, and it’s delivered
it to someone who will enjoy it and use it daily for years to come.
I make “art for your daily life”. What can I make for you?