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Featured Shop: Dock Artisan

Nov 26, 2012

by rockapplewood handmade and vintage goods

My name is Joel. Along with my wife Iris and my aunt, Casey, we are Dock Artisan. We handcraft rare audio works and wood docking stations for smart devices. We live in Murphys, California – Queen of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. All of our material comes from local fallen and reclaimed wood . We love to give wood a new life with purpose.

Our process begins with finding suitable wood to work with. We rely on various sources to locate material, from obtaining special use permits from the National Forest Service to donations from friends and family. After our wood finds have been cured, the creative process begins. Every piece is studied for its best use. Once the design is completed, the real woodwork begins. I hand plane, route, drill, sand, wire, and polish every piece. It is a lengthy process, but I fully enjoy it.

As far back as I can recall, I have always pursued the freedom and satisfaction that comes from working with my God-given gifts. Everyone has at least one talent they can use to better themselves and the people around them. I love working with wood, but what keeps me going is the diversity in the actual process. If I had to grind out cookie-cutter wood pieces all day I would lose interest real quick. But every piece is unique and this brings a challenge both in the design and actual build out of the piece.

Quality craftsmanship is huge for me, but even more so for my wife. I thought I knew what quality was until she became involved! Iris is in charge of our shipping and quality control, and that is a capital C on control. I can’t count how many times I’ve given her a piece to ship out only to get it back five minutes later, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She does a phenomenal job on the final detailing process of every piece and is a giant piece in the Dock Artisan puzzle.

I can’t say that I have a favorite piece that I have made. I always try to improve and experiment which always leads to a new favorite. My wife and I are always throwing around new ideas and I try my best to write down our brainstorm sessions. Some of my most sought after pieces became gorgeous by accident. My creative juices flow best when I feel free to try new things and make something new. Sometimes it is hard to be efficient in this process because development always takes more time than you think.

One of my good buddies gave me the vintage golf club dock idea. I had my own small collection of old persimmon and maple laminated wood drivers, so I experimented with what I had. Once I developed the working model, I had to find more clubs. My big breakthrough came when I found myself at a church thrift store staring at an entire wall of old golf clubs. Not only did I buy every single one, it inspired me to visit more thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales. This type of material sourcing is a fun way to take a break from my usual shop work and score some great gems.

Etsy is a modern day soap box for the little guy to stand on and shout to the world. It gives businesses like ours an international platform to sell our products, and has opened up so many doors for me and my family.

Maker photographs by Jodi Mockabee Photography, product photographs by Dock Artisan.

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