Paul van Altena

FIRST Weekend
Furniture, Woodworking
Contact Information
Open by Appointment Year-Round

I work with raw wood slabs and logs to create functional art. My aim is to showcase the beauty present in nature and to not overly modify what it already is. I use resin fills when appropriate but prefer to use sparingly so as not to overshadow the natural beauty of the wood. I source the material locally in California, sometimes as close as my backyard. Some of my favorite wood species are walnut, madrone and oak which are plentiful in this area. All of it is salvaged. I do like many of the more exotic tropical hardwoods but feel it’s hard to know that it’s sourced in a sustainable way. Even if it is, there are the environmental costs of shipping. I do mostly commission work but my favorite way of creating is to find a beautiful log or slab and think of the best way to honor it’s beauty. I build custom doors, cabinets, tables large and small and art pieces, the more unusual the better. If you can buy it from a store I won’t be building it. Right now I’m exploring the use of veneers cut from large slabs on my sawmill. I am steaming some of these veneers to use on curved panels and using vacuum bag clamping techniques. It’s a great way to conserve material and also very interesting to explore repeating grain patterns.

Paul van Altena
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