Thursday, December 9, 2010

Modern Log Cabin Coop---Chickens Not Included

Hello faithful readers.  Matt and I have been busy putting the finishing touches on our modern log cabin chicken coop.  It features interesting joinery, a sliding barn door, and all the features you have come to expect from a Just Fine chicken coop: private nesting box, easy egg retrieval, removable roosting bars (for cleaning), redwood along the base (resists rot without heavy chemicals), good ventilation, skylight, protection from predators and that heavy Bay Area weather, and of course, FUNKY STYLE.

Building up the walls, one "log" at a time:

Before roof and paint (please notice that handsome barn door):


That little sliding red door on the left is where you will pick up your freshly-laid eggs.

Come check us out at the Crucible's Gifty craft faire this weekend in Oakland, Friday 7-10pm ($10) and Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm (free).  Our coop will be on display and for sale.  Over the next year we will be designing and building another 10 custom coops, so if you want to rap about getting one of these beauties in your backyard bring a pencil and paper.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More on Rust

Building these shelves for William Stout's new store on Solano required quite a bit of time in the grinding room at the Crucible.  We are truly living our mission statement of using recycled materials whenever possible.  But man, what a job it is to get these old pieces of steel looking bright again.  Gettin' there:

These posts were previously part of the last installation at the old SFMOMA near Civic Center, before the move to 3rd Street in 1995.  Now they announce William Stout's new architecture and design bookstore on Solano Ave in Albany, which opened in September. We are happy to have some pieces in such a fine establishment!

This last photo was taken on install day.  They look better with books, go check them out in person and support your local publisher/bookstore.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tiny Bowling Set

Frequent Just Fine Collaborator Sheri K. commissioned the Just Fine Squad for a custom hand-turned gift: a tiny wooden bowling ball and 6 pins.  Apparently, her friends just moved into a house with a long hallway.  The pins are poplar, the bowl was a log of undetermined species and origin (but it's heavy! I hope her friends have stout baseboards in that hallway).

We made a lot of sawdust, but my chickens like it.

In her first trial roll, Sheri was wide left; second, wide right; third, strike!

Speaking of gifts, Just Fine will be manning a table at the Crucible's Gifty sale December 10-11-12.  We will have all sorts of wood and metal goodies, small and big.  If we can get our act together, we may even have one of our new experimental chicken coop designs built and for sale!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Contract in the Mail!

That's me (on the right) at the West Oakland post office, happily handing over the signed book contract Matt and I have been negotiating since May. Over the next year we will be working on the manuscript.  Sorry to be so secretive but I don't want to give away our awesome idea! More details soon.

I spent another week on the Lost Coast, re-surfacing Leah's tiny deck.  This is my work table for the week, with views of the Pacific and Big Flat:

A couple of the joists under the deck had rotted out over the years.  Here's the deck before:

And after:

I was lucky to re-use the redwood deck planks.  They were still in good shape.
I almost brought back a stray cat.  His tail was lopped off and his ears are all chewed up, but he's friendly.  He walks like a pit bull.  Meet Mr. Man:

This week, Matt and I are teaching a chicken coop building class with City Slicker Farms.  We'll check in next week with photos of the coops we are building for a few lucky West Oakland residents.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Humboldt Fog

Team Just Fine spent the last week on a ridge at 1700 feet on the Lost Coast in beautiful Humboldt County, California.  A 25 year old redwood deck & stairs was in bad need of an update and we were happy to provide the labor.  Here is the finished product:

Carpentry presents its own set of challenges from furniture making.  Different tools, different methodology.  The controlled environment of our shop in Oakland and close proximity to hardware stores and suppliers was a far cry from our new job site. The lumber yard was a half hour drive down a steep washboard road, so we brought along all the tools we thought we might need, including saws, screws, shims, and sawhorses. We were at the mercy of Mother Nature, who for the most part cooperated with our plans. If the sun wasn't shining, our client's solar array wouldn't provide the juice needed to run the chop saw and circular saw simultaneously.

Here is the cedar planking, I like the 2x6, it feels solid underfoot.

We drove in at night, not recommended.  But we did catch a beautiful sunset.  Deep in the flats of Oakland, Team Just Fine sometimes forgets there are beautiful sunsets and stars in the sky.

This is the tiny octagonal house we slept in, with views of the Pacific Ocean.

Sunset from the tiny octagonal house:

We were above the fog line, thankfully, so blue skies greeted us every morning with our coffee on the short walk to our job site.  If you haven't lived within a 2 minute walk of your place of employment, Team Just Fine highly recommends it.  On our last day of work, the fog cleared and we were rewarded with views of the ocean down below.  Not another house could be seen in any direction.

If you haven't been to the Lost Coast, go explore this beautiful untouched gem of the Northern California Coast.  Matt remarked that it feels more like the Pacific Northwest than California.  We brought back some of the old steps, so if anybody wants an old growth redwood table top, or kitchen island, or desk, please send word along.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We have been busy, just not busy posting to our blog

Team Just Fine has been busy with projects, just not busy blogging about them.  Matt finished some very slick (sapele, walnut, cherry) custom synthesizer parts for our friends at Magic Echo Music.  Kevin scored a fun job with the proprietor of a very excellent new architectural book store on Solano in Berkeley.  Kevin has been teaching weeklong summer classes in wood turning for high schoolers at the Crucible.  Check out those huge melon-sized mallets his kids made!  And the youths are so well-behaved they didn't even bop one another.

To top all that off, the Just Fine lads have been feverishly preparing a book proposal.  Keep your fingers crossed for that, and check back soon for updates and pictures of our work.  In the mean while enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Have Hens, Will Travel

With all the scraps of lumber, plywood, and hardware cloth laying around, I thought I would build my hens a nice new portable coop. Behold, the Just Fine Mini Coop-er with end-grain painted "California Poppy Orange" in honor of our great state.

I plan to bring the girls over to friends' houses as a sort of mobile weeding service.  With weeds gone and chickens happy with adventure and full bellies, I drink lemonade and catch up.  Brilliant!

Have a special furniture or garden project in mind?  Want a special mobile pet carrier of your own that is not plastic or made overseas? Contact the Just Fine Design/Build team and we will be happy to bring over Frank Lloyd and Amelia for a free garden-weeding and project consultation. 

Who knows, maybe they will even lay you a special egg while we're there!

Monday, May 31, 2010

New Bench for the Crucible!

We love our chances to collaborate with other artists at just fine, and our latest collaboration is complete. Danny Garcia, a longtime volunteer at The Crucible who also runs the awesome estate sales business called old hat did the metalworking for this bench and I (Matt) did the woodworking. It is made from square tube steel with a 'presto black' patina, and reclaimed Doug Fir that was from Crucible founder Michael Sturtz' cellar of his house in Alameda. The boards are in the same plane as the metal to try and highlight the metal frame, which too often gets covered by the wood.

The bench rotates on a single caster so the lift gate that is behind the bench is still usable - pretty clever we think.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Butterfly Roof Chicken Coop is done and loaded and headed to Maker Faire

Good vibes today at the Crucible as Matt and I put the finishing touches on our latest chicken coop design!  It miraculously fit in the Just Finemobile without having to take it apart...I feel like I just won the lottery.  Diggin' the periwinkle and mustard yellow color combo.

It's really more like a stylish chicken condo with its butterfly roof, oversized door, chicken ramp, custom enclosed egg laying stations, roosting poles, and recycled copper pipe water catchment system.

This is our work bench, featuring: impact driver, drill, drill bits, tape measure, chips & salsa, epoxy, hammer, copper tubing, ear muffs, 1-5/8" wood screws, 2-1/2" wood screws, coffee, clear coat, mango with lime juice and pepper flakes, leather gloves, pen, door handles to be installed, level, sketch book, pliers, water bottle, staple gun, copper flashing, combo square, sharpie, box cutter, latex gloves....It takes a lot of goodies to make such a nice coop!

Last pitch for Maker Faire, Matt and I are installing the coop there tomorrow and we hope to see you there this weekend!

Updates from the Lads at Just Fine

Hello out there!  Matt and I have been busy with a couple fun projects.  Our chicken coop is nearly complete, it just needs finishing touches like fancy door closures and the copper pipe water catchment system.  The butterfly roof is magnificent and the whole package has some really nice flourishes.  As if you need another reason to go, come check out our coop at Maker Faire this weekend in San Mateo.  We will be there with my hens Amelia and Frank Lloyd.  Matt also made a fantastic wood sign and our friend Libi Wood has been preparing some propaganda.  Sweet!  No new pictures of the coop yet but maybe tomorrow.

We have also been busy building and installing some massive three dimensional frames for our friend Aliza Rand.  Her MFA show opens this Friday night at the Berkeley Art Museum on Bancroft.  Her pictures are massive--up to 11 feet tall!  Aliza's cyanotypes elegantly capture shadows from around San Francisco on light-sensitive fabric.  We are really excited to be a part of a show at BAM which is a beautiful concrete gallery built with no right angles.  The frames turned out "perfect" says Aliza and the install was difficult but a learning experience (all our jobs are!). 

Finally, a little Just Fine press and more links than you can shake a stick at.  In case you missed the interview with the folks at Maker Faire you can find it here.  And our friend and collaborator Liz Dunning gave us a shout on her blog.  She was recently interviewed on a great new blog I just found called Handful of Salt.  Check out Liz Dunning, she makes beautiful furniture in Alameda on the old Naval Base and she has a sweet blog of her own!  We found Liz when we were researching how to make the Rump Stumplings (which recently sold at Zonal!) with a mini chainsaw----she had done something similar for a set of benches.  I was with Liz on Sunday for her birthday ferry ride to Angel Island and it was a beautiful day in the sun.  Check out this nearly secluded beach we found with a view of San Francisco!

That's it for this installment.  Check back soon and we really hope to see you at Maker Faire.  Matt and I have been working long days and a few short nights to get the new coop ready and we are so proud to show it off to the world!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

new coop on it's way!

We here at Just Fine are in the midst of another chicken coop design/build, and will be showing our new baby at Maker Faire next weekend.
The 'chick-in-a-box' will have a butterfly roof with a water catchment system, a sliding door to get the eggs, and will come apart easily into four separate wall sections. Check out our process shot of the redwood (and fir) framing.
Will be finished soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Alameda Backyard Chicken Coop Bicycle Tour: May 16

Hey friends of Just Fine--
Join us for a bicycle tour of backyard chicken coops on the beautiful, sunny island of Alameda, California next Sunday May 16th.

Click here for details. It starts at 1pm and it is a self-guided tour (receive a map at the starting point). This is a FREE event and refreshments will be served along the way. We are currently designing and building 2 new coops to bring to Maker Faire May 22-23, so we are curious to see where other backyard farmers keep their chickens and how they have built their coops.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rump Stumplings now featured at 'Zonal'

We're happy to announce that the 'Rump Stumplings' now have a temporary home at the retail store 'Zonal' in Hayes Valley. We're excited about this local collaboration, and encourage people to go into the store to check out their stuff. Russell, the owner collects really beautiful farm furniture from the late 1800's and the store mostly reflects his specific and refined taste - though he does work with a few local contemporary designers and we're happy to be a new addition to the shop.

go to:
568 Hayes st.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rump Stumplings

Another project in the books! (well, they aren't sold yet but that's where YOU can help us)

We replaced the flat bar in the front & back with round tube, we think it softens the angles a bit and gives each piece more character.  The set will be on display and for sale this weekend at the Crucible's Open House along with lots of other nice work.

Thanks for looking and please spread the word.   -- jfdb

Steel Blackening Trials / Rust Appreciation

Who knew it would be so hard to turn steel black?  So many choices, so many chemicals, so many trials:  Gun Blue, Presto Black, Presto Black Gel, Slate Black...all recommended by various folks, all disappointed us in one way or another.  Some gave the steel a rainbow trout sheen, which was cool but not what we were seeking.  Other patinas yielded various shades of brown/silver/black.  All of them highlighted the welds which is what we are trying to blend in the first place.  Without going to the trouble and expense of powder-coating, how does a fabricator get a nice even black on his steel projects?  We have settled on the Presto Black Gel after wire-wheeling the whole thing; sand-blasting the metal actually seems to inhibit the reaction, which surprised me.  Here are photos of two sample pieces before the trials (top image is wire-wheeled and sand-blasted, the second is just wire-wheeled):

The goal is to blend in the weld with the rest of the steel, which has a lot of beautiful texture.  To be honest if it were up to me I would leave the bases outside in the rain for a few weeks and let it rust, then clear coat it.  But the trend these days is for steel fixtures with that blackened, gun metal look.

Our trials have been inconclusive over the past week so we will keep trying today in advance of putting the stools together for the Crucible's art show at the Open House this Saturday.  Here are the same pieces after our patina trials:

I hereby propose a worldwide "rust appreciation" movement WHEREBY we proclaim that rust is beautiful and WHEREBY we realize rust never sleeps and WHEREBY we don't want our fabricators using gross chemical treatments in an attempt to vainly inhibit rust, which is beautiful and never sleeps.

Thank you for reading and we hope to see you at the Crucible on Saturday checking out our stools--

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

full scale study model!

Today we mocked up in full scale the next Just Fine project, a triangular coffee table custom designed for two clients in Denver CO. The finished product will have a powder coated metal base with a hardwood top - with the grain oriented towards the long side of the triangle. This one we did in plywood with no mechanical fasteners (half lap joints pinned with dowels) to try and refine the design and add to the list of projects made out of less than 1 sheet of ply. The study model, when complete, will be for sale cheap! Inquire if interested, and feedback is appreciated.