The Art of Wood

our mission in woodworking


Book matching boards means taking two boards sawn sequentially from a tree and opening them up similar to opening a book.  This yields a matched pair of boards that can make excellent looking wider panels or a wide tabletop.  Here is an example, first in the rough boards, then in a finished 4′ x 12′ conference tabletop.


We look for sequential boards in all the panel material we purchase and make an effort to purchase sets  of boards from the same log, specifically book matched sets.  We believe that seeing the symmetry in a book match reinforces the grain and beauty in the wood, making it more than the sum of its parts.  The echo of shape, color and form serves to make a stronger statement than either board could do on its own.

Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 9:59 pm.

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Our philosophy of woodwork

Corlis Design has been in existence since 1983 as a custom design / build firm specializing in woodwork.  With a background in both architecture and construction, I have always admired the work of Charles and Henry Greene and the Hall Brothers.  As much as any team of designers and builders, these men teamed up a hundred years ago to bring the best out in each other and raise the bar in architecture and specifically, the use of wood in the built environment.  Their work has inspired generations of woodworkers since and we are proud to call them an inspiration.

Our work is also inspired by world class material from some of the best sources developed in our 25+ years of experience.  People like Lou Irion at Irion Lumber in Wellsboro, Pa. have lived their entire life honing the ability to find the finest lumber in the land.  Once we have the right material, the rest is relatively simple, honor the wood and let the material make the statement.  We prefer to never stain, knowing that there are enough authentic colors in the wood kingdom that usually one can find the appropriate wood without trying to make it something it isn’t .   We also try to stay away from trendy finishes and seek authentic, timeless methods that should not go in and out of style.  A naturally finished beautiful piece of figured wood has an incredible tonal range and unique color and look.  Stain compromises this beauty as it introduces a monochromatic mask to the native beauty inherent in the wood.

We seek out wood in sets, buying material from the same log for consistency of color and figure.  We are always on the  lookout for unique “may not see it again” finds and matched sets of sequential boards.  This allows us to make a study or a kitchen all flow with one cohesive look.  No mismatched grain or color.  This is not an easy feat, as most lumber is separated at the sawing stage, but it is a journey we are committed to and believe in.  Once we began to work in this manner, we didn’t want to have to go back.

Posted 12 years, 11 months ago at 1:24 pm.

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