Alamo Hardwoods Blog


Paris Doors, Continued


alamo hardwoods \ san antonio | paris france eiffel tower
You know what this is, doncha?
Paris is one of the most walkable cities in the world for a tourist.

Something special hides in most every corner. One could spend a lifetime wandering the streets and still feel like there's more to see.  Most artists talk about light and their work. It's plain to see what magic can occur at any moment as thing change form hour to hour.
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak door carved Paris france fancy
OOooooooo, Fancy!

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak doors paris france
White Oak Door showing ammonia fuming to emphasize grain and flake pattern

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | paris france white oak doors

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak door paris france
"I always feel like, somebody's watching meeeee....."

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | paris france doors white oak
So this is like the Versace of doors?

Posted by JR Huebinger on 27th January, 2015 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: doors, details, travel, white oak, wood, Paris
Tags: history, historic district, travel, wood, paris, restoration woods, restoration millwork, doors, Historic Preservation | Historic homes | historic building re-use

Paris Part 1


alamo hardwoods | san antonio | notre dame paris church
Travel allows one to see everyday things in a new light, breaking free from the standard, mechanical routine we often become hypnotized by.  Here are some impressions of Paris, walking around only days before the recent events.  The sun breaks through and there are moments of serenity found all over. Enjoy.
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | paris painted wood door moldings
Painted wooden door in the Hotel de Sully

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak wooden door Paris moldings weathered
White Oak door showing decades of weathering in Paris

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak door Paris weathering
Does one fight the elements with maintenance, or allow the years to show?

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak door paris carvings moldings
A deep overhang and maintenance make a noticeable difference, take note, architects

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | white oak door paris moldings pattern
Like snowflakes, every door is different, showing the taste of the owner, and the skill of the designer and carpenter

Posted by JR Huebinger on 24th January, 2015 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: Paris, doors, wood, white oak, travel
Tags: alamo hardwoods, travel, historic, wood, doors, paris

Kerrvile Furniture Show, The Winners!


alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrville furniture makers show
!"Sorry to leave you readers hanging for so long as to the winners of the Kerrville Furniture Maker's show (of course, you COULD have just gone to their website http://www.texasfurnituremakersshow.com/
if you were truly that curious)

The judging was quite difficult and there was much discussion about what should be the criteria for one piece to be considered superior to another.  We agreed that machine labor should not be punished versus hand labor.  Some pieces received extra points for creativity and the "I've never seen that before" credits.  In some instances, it came down to the judges running their hands around underneath a piece to check for the finish quality in the nooks and crannies.  Many pieces were downgraded by their poorly applied finishes that hid the wood quality under thick, goopy poly-plasti-ure-tex.

One judge recounted how one evening at ten o'clock one of his female clients called him to say that she was sitting in bed, reading, just stroking the surface of a side table he had made for her.  (Lesson woodworkers, it's all in the surface treatment! it sounds like it can even get you dates!)

Each category allowed for us to find a piece that exemplified that particular category as a fairly clear winner, then the real work started.  How do you compare apples to oranges and declare one to be superior?  Should a flash of creativity be valued over obvious months of pure labor? (hint, in America, yes) 

In the end, we made our selections and the announcements were made.

Interestingly, once the veils were lifted and the names were revealed there were MANY familiar faces for me at the show.  The Two art pieces, the rib chair and the tower drawer were actually made with Alamo Hardwoods lumber (Iknew I smelled quality!)

One judge announced "If you didn't get an award, just blame the judges!" , which was fine for him. He got on a plane the next day!
I had to live with all these people. And the next morning we had a critique, where each maker had the chance to learn just what we liked (and didn't) about their pieces.  Imagine the Nuremburg trials....

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrville furniture makers show wood modern
The Announcement (You can feel the tension, right?)

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | wenge| inlaid wood table
"You are here"

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mesquite campaign table
Texas Mesquite Campaign Table with Modern Mesquite Table in background

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | berdoll sawmill table
Texas Table by Berdoll Sawmill and FUrniture

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | modern art furniture
Modern Art Furniture

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | White oak bench
White Oak Bench

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | modern contemporary bench walnut woven seat
Winning Modern Bench

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | Kerrville furniture makers show winner chair ash
THE WINNAH!!!!! Bent Ash Chair

Posted by JR Huebinger on 22nd January, 2015 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: art furniture, art, Kerrville, local furniture, modern, wood
Tags: Kerrville, art, art furniture, wood furniture reproduction historic, contemporary wood furniture

Kerrville Texas Furniture Maker's Show


alamo hardwoods | san antonio | Kerrville furniture show | ayres and ayres | historic post office
The Kerrville Arts Center, Housed in the Old Post Office Designed by Ayres and Ayres
Jr Huebinger, Assoc AIA. was recently honored by being asked to judge the Kerrville Texas Furniture Maker's Show. (ongoing until Nov. 29 so hurry out there!)

With a bachelor's of Architecture and a lifetime of handling and specifying wood for furniture and buildings, I felt fairly qualified to look at custom, hand made furniture with a critical eye.

I traveled to the thriving metropolis of the hill country, Kerrville (pop 30000) the night before to meet with my fellow judges and walk through the show space.  The Arts Center is housed in the 1940's Post Office, designed by well known San Antonio architecture firm Ayres and Ayres.  Having worked on many of their houses and buildings before (I was actually baptized in an Atlee Ayres designed church) I could feel Robert's hand all over this space.  The white oak molding and paneling are remarkably well preserved.  My fellow judges were both mature furniture makers and teachers so they understood every cut that had been made.

On the initial walk through, the quality and high level of craftsmanship was evident and very impressive.  In many pieces the hours and weeks of work were clearly evident.  The casual observer would find the lines or colors striking, the design pleasing or not, but  I had a job to do.  I had to put aside my personal preferences ( now where in the house could I squeeze in that super cool multi wood bent bench?!) and evaluate the craftsmanship and finish first, then the design aspects.  While I appreciated the pair of side tables and lamps that clearly belonged on the set of the new Austin Powers movie for their fun factor, did the hand work match up to it's competitors?

The next morning we returned for the hard work.  We went piece by piece and debated how much work was evident and how well executed each piece was.  Did the finish help or hurt the piece?  (in many cases the finish really knocked a piece down a few notches)  How much time had been spent on the piece?  We had no names but only a brief written description of each piece to guide us.  Sometimes the description told a story that was not easily evident in the piece.  What appeared to be plywood, was actually hand sliced and laid out veneer!  A wood that was a mystery to the other two judges (but I had seen a few times before) turned out to be Chinaberry, an imported landscape tree from Asia that few people love.  The more we debated, the more difficult the work turned out to be.

To find out the winners, you'll just have to come back for the next blog post!
alamo hardwoods | san antonio |Ayres and Ayres White Oak details
White Oak Details by the Firm of Ayres and Ayres

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | multi wood bent bench table
Multi-Colored Woods Showing Off their Natural Beauty

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrville furniture show
Austin Power's Bedroom Furniture

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrville furniture show
Dangerous Furniture (Or is it Art?)

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrvile furniture show ash chair
How did He DO that?

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | Kerrville furniturw show Texas mesquite bench
Stipple Carved Texas Mesquite Bench

alamo hardwoods | san antonio kerrvile furniture show art

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | kerrvile furniture show chinaberry table Texas
Chinaberry wood table

Posted by JR Huebinger on 17th November, 2014 | Comments (21) | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: Kerrville, Texas, local furniture, art furniture, craftsman
Tags: Texas, Kerrville, Art, Furniture, handmade, wood, alamo hardwoods, modern design, wood art

Mexico Revisited


alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexico city | pyramid with church
Ancient sculpture with Colonial Church
Mexico exemplifies the clash and melding of cultures that is the "New World".  Upon arrival, the intent was to take the people who had been here for thousands of years and "convert" them to Christianity for the good of the crown.  To drive home the point of who was now in charge, any holy spot was targeted for colonial construction in the image of Spanish architecture.  The details will sometimes pop out from the strangest of places.  A piece of stone reused here and there.

Each architectural fashion from Europe has crashed over the shores like a wave.  The high French fashion was imported for the most expensive houses in the most fashionable neighborhoods.  The materials available were put to use in the newest trends: inlaid floors etc.

Sometimes a structure took SO long to build, that by the time they had completed it, fashion had changed. Such is the case with the Palace of Fine Arts known as Bellas Artes.  The exterior screams the "Belle Epoque", dripping in more marble than one can imagine.  But enter the gilded doors, and suddenly forty years have passed and the interior is the height of fashion in the Art Deco style straight off the Paris runways!  Marble shines under the glow from frosted Lalique style frozen light "fountains". Yet the color palette of the marble is radically different. Gone is the fluffy wedding cake, replaced by dark chocolate slabs.

And that repressed native culture? The Aztec gods Tlaloc and Chaac make cameo appearances in the ornamentation as gargoyle !
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexico city| coyoacan | colonial convent
Colonial Convent in Coyoacan

alamo hardwoods| mexico city | empire style french
French Empire Style Imported

alamo hardwoods| san antonio | mexico city | empire french house parquet floors

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexico city| bellas artes exterior
Bellas Artes

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexico city | bellas artes interior | art deco
Bellas Artes, Art Deco Interior

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexico city | bellas artes | dome interior | art deco light fixture | glazed tiles
Dome of Bellas Artes

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | bellas artes | mexico city | art deco door
Art Deco Detailing in the most "humble" of places

alamo hardwoods | mexico city | ancient motif art deco | bellas artes | gargoyle face
Ancient Culture Resurfaces

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

Posted by JR Huebinger on 5th August, 2014 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: cross cultures, history, travel, Mexico, ancient, modern, wood, details
Tags:

James Hammons, Guest Blogger


alamo hardwoods | san antonio | james hammons | utsa architecture student guest blogger
Guest Blogger James Hammons, UTSA Architecture student
The dialogue between man and wood is more perhaps revered and esteemed than any other material. It is a love that can be attributed to its characteristic materiality. Wood has a unique warmth and charm because its nature allows us to very easily understand it and its relationship with the forces of nature.

The simplest to understand is time. Sure, other materials age, but the rust of steel and crumbling of concrete lend only a vision of degradation as time moves on. The message of these materials is singular and simple; man's conquering of nature, as if such a thing could be done.  However, even the most basic understanding of the properties of wood lends not only a relationship of time, but knowledge of the place life has in time.

A cross section  of a tree shows us the way the tree has been formed by time and adaptation.  We can understand age, drought, climate, etc. A milled board is capable of enticing any thought or emotion.  The smell of cedar might bring back a distant memory. Grain might spur a thought about nature and order.  A natural edge cut slab might bring feelings of awe and peace.  Perhaps this is why, when used expressively, wood resonates so perfectly and so naturally with the human soul.
James Hammons, UTSA Architecture student, guest blogger
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alamo hardwoods | san antonio  | bark wood lumber

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | natural edge close up tree

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

alamo hardwoods | san antonio

Posted by James Hammons on 18th July, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: guest, student, wood, details
Tags: architecture students, wood art, Alamo Hardwood San Antonio, UTSA Architecture Students

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