Custom Fine Furniture
Ruby Pear Woodworks is a full-service design and manufacturing furniture shop. I’ll work with you through inspiration, design, construction, and finishing, and all the way to delivery and installation. My workshop motto — beautiful, thoughtful, handmade — informs every step of the process.
It all starts with an idea. A client will come to me with an empty space in her house, a need in his mind, or a vision for making their lives better. At this point we’ll work together to talk about style and ergonomics and personal preferences. We’ll trade images of other furniture we like, and talk about the room the piece will live in. I’ll come by for a visit — to measure, to see where the light comes from, to get a feel for the space. Then I’ll hit the drawing board.
Much of the furniture I design finds a comfortable home in the Mid-Century Modern school. Furniture in this era was relatively simple and unadorned, letting the figure of the wood take prominence. I work very hard to not over-design my furniture; instead of adding inlays and curves and lines and knobs, I say this to myself:
The wood is beautiful. Beautiful is enough.
Design work happens initially on paper, and then through a 3D model on the computer. This serves as the blueprint for construction, and is what we use to make a final agreement before I get started on the build.
Wood selection is one of the most important parts of the build. It's also one of my favorites! Matching colors and grain lines; taking test swipes with a plane to find the sparkle under the rough surface ... this is where my role as a studio craftsman really comes to the fore. Wood is more than just a commodity; it was once a living part of a forest. Creating quality furniture is a way for that tree to live on and on for generations.
I prefer to build my furniture from domestic hardwoods such as maple, oak, cherry, and walnut. This wood is readily available from local suppliers at a reasonable price, and comes at a much lower environmental cost than tropical hardwoods (which I do still use occasionally). We’ll choose the kind of wood for your project based on color, style, price, and your preferences.
I also have an extensive (and ever-expanding) collection of special wood here at the shop. This wood comes from all over — friends of the shop, local sawmills, word of mouth … I’ve been known to follow the sound of a chainsaw to rescue logs from the chipper a few streets over. The collection currently includes some beautiful signature pieces including:
- 75-year-old red oak benches from a local Lutheran church
- huge slabs of local chestnut
- smaller pieces of spalted chestnut
- lots of old weathered cedar fence boards
- beautiful thick slabs of spalted maple
- live-edge book-matched cherry planks
- matched fir slabs
- spalted birch
- Logs of cherry, pear, birch, and holly…patiently waiting for the mill
These special slabs and logs are waiting for just the right project to take on a new life. A tour of the collection is a great place to find the inspiration for your own new beautiful piece of furniture.
Let the sawdust fly! Construction typically takes four to six weeks. The majority of the work happens at my own studio in Northwest Seattle. I love to send my clients progress shots along the way. The piece of furniture they’ve commissioned is being made by a real person, and there’s a real story that is involved in its creation. My clients love to see our vision coming to life, step by step.
As the actual object emerges from the plans and blueprints, slight changes are often made to the design. A thoughtful approach to the craft places the wood first — I need to respond to its demands and listen to its suggestions. My clients understand this approach and are usually happy to let me take the lead, but of course we work together throughout this whole process.
Furniture is finished according to its style and need. I avoid staining whenever possible — it detracts from the natural beauty of the wood, and that natural beauty is what I’m all about. Typically I’ll add an oil finish to bring out the natural luster of the wood and give it a soft glow without giving it a plastic feeling. Pieces that need more durability get some polyurethane or other varnish. Really special show pieces will get a simple beeswax finish or even no finish at all.
Delivery and Installation
I love to see my pieces installed in my clients’ homes, in the exact places they were designed for. I’m happy to help with the delivery and installation where possible, and delivery within the greater Seattle area is included.
Buying from a local craftsperson means more than just feeling good about supporting local business. It also means that you know where to find me for questions, repairs, or to build another one to match. I stand behind the quality of my work, and want all my clients to be completely satisfied with their investment.
Let's Get Started!
If you’d like to work with me on a piece of furniture for your home, or have any questions about the process, let me know!