Projects

Croft House Box to Bonhams

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Like I mentioned in the earlier post about my coffee table, I have a lot of Macallan cask wood.  It didn’t take me long to do something else with it!  A friend had a set of the 1950, 1955 and 1957 Lalique bottles from Macallan that he planned to send to Bonhams in Hong Kong for auction.

The Lalique Collection is the result of a very close relationship between the two companies and will continue over the next few years to be 6 bottles in total, housing some of the rarest and finest liquid The Macallan has to offer. This is a key point – there’s a lot of old whisky out there and anyone that knows their stuff will attest to the fact that some of it is, frankly, crap.  When it got old it got nasty, but some distilleries still sell it for mammoth amounts of money knowing it will likely never be drunk.

However, some liquid out there carefully followed Demi Moore’s plan of attack (minus the drug addiction bit...she get's a pass on that one) and got better and better and better with age. I’ll attest that the Lalique bottles are full of Demi Moore Whisky. I know this thanks to a drunken night in the tasting room at the distillery... I’m probably not supposed to share that.

Sorry, back on track, I love lamp.

The trouble with auctioning them all together is that they are in 3 separate boxes, and that’s just…well…it just didn’t seem right to sell as a collection in loose boxes, so I decided we should make a chest out of cask wood.  My friend is usually the instigator of these projects, so he didn't take any convincing.

Croft House stepped up again and all it took to make a great chest was a few sketches, a lot of inspiration images and a pretty clear idea on the hardware I wanted to use - think “upscale pirate fodder”. The collection, after authentication by Macallan, snagged a 3 page spread in the Bonham’s catalogue and was picked up by worldwide liquor press.  Oh, and yeah, it sold for a stack of money. Result.

ETCHING - trust me, keep your volume down...

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Video Interview - The Macallan Masters Of Photography - Annie Leibovitz.

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The first post of a few posts on the Masters Of Photography collaboration The Macallan have completed with Annie Leibovitz and Kevin McKidd. The next post is will be a fun story about how randomly bumping into Kevin AT Croft House in Los Angeles was the catalyst for spawning this project.

Until then, this is a fun video from The Macallan where I discuss the shot we did at a bar in Hudson, NY.

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Photo Credit: The Macallan and Annie Leibovitz - All copyright belongs to them, I'm just sharing.

www.themastersofphotography.com

Things I Love: Great Knifemaking

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We know the guys at Strider well, Duane, the owner is a master metallurgist and the effort he puts into blade making is right in line with the effort we put into eyewear. There are a lot of flamboyant knife makers out there, crazy handles with weird and wild shapes. I understand the value of these, in fact I love many of them, but step back and think about the core purpose of a knife – to cut something. The best possible knife in the world is sharp and stays sharp. Simple? No way, sorry. To stay sharp, it needs to be hard, but if it’s hard, typically it’s brittle, therefore it needs to be ductile, but that makes it difficult for it to be hard… see the problem? Vicious circle. Duane is a master at sourcing these hard to achieve qualities.

Great knife makers are not really known for their shapes, they are known for the quality of their blade. A great blade is like a perfectly balanced car – one that absorbs all the bumps on a rough road but magically has “razor sharp” firm handling on a track. Incredibly hard to achieve and only mastered by a few.

The pictures here are of a piece we co-designed with Strider. It has a ridiculously good (and EXPENSIVE) Damascus steel blade that blends these properties perfectly. For the handle, we brought a little 3 dimensionality to it that is not common in normal handles. The shape is machined out of a 90 layer billet of carbon fiber. The back plate is aerospace titanium. Bells and whistles galore J

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Croft House Macallan Table

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Croft House Table

Somewhere hidden in a storage unit, I have all the parts for a 1934 Ford Pickup Hot Rod. It has all the promise of being a wickedly cool rat rod, but none of the love to get it there. Back when the project was fresh in our minds, it was going to be a true old school moonshine runner. I enlisted the help of the team at The Macallan back in Scotland and by some form of black magic, they sent me an entire shipping crate of used whisky barrel staves.

Side note: Unwrapping the crate gave a smell I’ll never forget – it made our whole warehouse smell like glorious 18 year old Macallan for about a week. Ridiculous.

Well…the rod is still on hold and there was a LOT of wood, so it was only natural that I’d ponder another kind of project for some of it. Enter our new house and the large area where a coffee table should be.

My wife was searching on craigslist for reclaimed wood furniture at that point in time and found a couple of guys in LA making some gorgeous pieces at really reasonable prices.  I called them and found out they were growing to become the store that is now Croft House on La Brea in LA.  Riley, one of the owners was intrigued by the inherently bent barrel wood and was sold on the project once he heard it was from a whisky barrel – The gang at Croft House have a soft spot for the wonderful stuff – see their in store bar. His vision and mine were identical. We sketched a lot, piled wood all over the place in patterns and finally decided on a plan.

Fast-forward to the results below. I was blown away. Everything I hoped in my head was achieved; I wanted it to be a mix of the clean smooth cask end and the incredibly rough (but now straight!) cask staves. The finish is a simple wax and when I inevitably scratch or ding the table, I just wax over it. Perfect.

More Croft House projects to come…we had fun.

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Rough Sketches - How Projects Begin

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They sure as heck are not all pretty! I love Note Taker HD on the iPad. Believe it or not, this doodle is a drawing that went out to quote for a presentation box to hold 6 apocalypse-ready .45acp silver bullets.

You never know when the werewolves are coming, but your silver bullets better be ready. A friend is putting a lot of time into silver ammunition and I felt that it needed presentation worthy of the effort (and MASSIVE cost!). We'll see how it all pans out...