The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Designs in Wood (52) - The Kerf I-Phone Case

In writing this blog, I've discovered that there are very few things in the world that can't be made in wood...and made better.

Case in point...the wooden cell phone case.

The Kerf quartersawn cherry.

"KERF, founded in 2013 by Ben Saks, is rooted in a passion for craft and an exacting attention to fine details. Ben, a designer passionate about precision, fine craftsmanship, and natural materials was unsatisfied with existing wood iPhone cases. While working at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture, he spent an evening in the wood shop and created the first KERF case.  Over the course of six months, the KERF design was revised, tested, and revised again.    
"Kerf" is the thickness of material removed from a saw blade, usually measured in 1/1000 of an inch. This standard wood working term is important to KERF’s philosophy, as it represents the precision needed to make our cases. KERF Cases use a patent-pending technology to hold your phone inside the case using only friction. This leaves no part of the front of your phone obscured, no snapping your phone into a case, and no parts to assemble. Just press your phone in, or press it out. It's that simple.
Made from 100% wood, by their nature every case is unique."

And perhaps the greatest thing about this design - is where the wood comes from.

"Our story starts in the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania, carpeted in a mixed deciduous forest. KERF wood products are designed, machined, finished, and shipped from Pittsburgh, PA. Once the center of American steel production, Pittsburgh has transformed into a technology-centered city nestled in an urban forest. Our forest is comprised of Oak, Maple, Walnut,Cherry, Ash, Sycamore, and many other species of  hardwood trees. Every piece of wood has a story. A piece of reclaimed flooring, or beautiful burl wood from a locally harvested tree which was damaged in a storm. 
KERF wood is sourced locally and sustainably. Most of our wood comes from our friend Jason Boone at Urban Tree. Jason works with Tree Pittsburgh to reclaim sick and damaged street trees and local trees. Jason and his team of arborists safely fells, and mills trees which would otherwise end up as mulch.
What will be the story behind your iPhone case?"
Right here in Pennsylvania, wood from the streets of Pittsburgh ends up in cell phone cases going all over the world. Great idea, great design, great story.

Now, if they could make a sycamore case for a Samsung Note...

Beautiful sycamore.

If you're an I-Phone user, or know someone who is, why not Go Wood, and replace that silly piece of plastic that everyone else carries? Check out their many great woody options at their website, Kerf Collections...

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