To keep one of the oldest skilled trades alive, Casey McCafferty is rattling the boundaries of tradition by creating modern pieces that defy eras with CBM Woodworks. This once charmless auto body shop in the heart of Venice, California, has been reborn as a undeniably raw and creative workspace for self-taught craftsman.
Scroll through to learn about our go-to woodworker, explore McCafferty's workspace and shop his custom pieces.
Consort: Did you undertake formal training within the industry, or did you find your way into wood working via a different route?
McCafferty: The original plan was formal training at the College of Redwoods in Fort Bragg. That dream fell through, but having enough custom commissions from clients, I learned and still continue to learn on every unique project I build.
C: CBM Woodworks has been opened for a year now, what inspired you to start your own business?
M: The idea of being my own boss, and at the same time doing what I love, has always been at the forefront of my mind. But until I found my passion for woodworking, I wasn’t sure which medium would send me in the right direction.
C: Tell us about your studio space, how it influences your work and supports your design process.
M: Compared to most furniture makers, my shop is pretty raw. It’s a big shed in the heart of Venice, with half of the roof missing. Being able to mill wood and soak up some vitamin D at the same time makes me happy. When people are happy, amazing things happen.
C: What part of the process excites you the most?
M: Looking at the shop drawings and rough sketches side to side with the finished piece. With custom furniture, you don’t always know all the steps you will need to take to get to that completed piece of art.
C: What’s your design signature?
M: That’s a good question… I’m still trying to figure that out!
C: Describe the commissioning process you employ. What aspect do you enjoy most and which do you fear the most?
M: I really dislike talking money with clients, but it is a necessary component. My absolute favorite part is getting that emotion of approval after the job is done. When you put so much time, effort and love into a piece, you almost become attached to it. It is a product of myself, so when you receive a warm reception, it feels good.
C: What would you most like to make that you haven't made so far?
M: A boat, everyone wants to make a boat right?
C: What do you enjoy doing apart from designing and making furniture?
M: If I’m not in the shop, I am somewhere outdoors. Hiking, camping and nature are my other passions.
C: Handmade is the truest luxury. Do you find that most people agree?
M: People in the design world understand this, but most others don’t. Trying to explain to someone why a table cost $15k is sometimes difficult, unless they work through the whole process with you.
C: Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
M: I plan on taking my design company in three directions, crazy right? Fine furniture is what I love, so that will always be part of CBM WOODWORKS. But id love to start manufacturing some designs to make my furniture more accessible to everyday people. Whenever someone is concerned about the price of a piece of furniture I totally understand because I can’t even afford my furniture. Third direction would be doing big design installations.
C: What is your first memory?
M: Let's see...probably a Disney World Memory.
C: What is the first piece you sold?
M: A stupid reclaimed hickory table.
C: What can you first remember really wanting?
M: A welding set when I was 9.
C: When was your first kiss?
M: My wedding last year (laughs). I had to be in sixth grade.
C: What was your first car?
M: It was a '97 Chrysler Sebring convertible!
C: What was your last phone call?
M: It was with my mom.
C: What was your last meal?
M: By myself right before you got here. It was two paleo nut bars and a banana.
C: When was the last time you were drunk?
M: Let's see...I'm not drinking this month, so 28 days ago.
C: What was the last emoji you used?
M: Probably a smiley face but I didn't actually use an emoji, I went the old school way with a colon and parenthesis.
C: When was your last vacation?
M: Nicaragua last August.
Photos: Colin King
Shop all of Casey's work on Consort here and tell us what you think in the comments below.