Manuel Gonzalez saw something special in a piece of wood that other shops didn’t see.
Manuel and Lisa Gonzalez were commissioned to do a special table because of a show that they did earlier, The Big Flea and Antiques Market in northern Virginia.
“We met the client and her mom the year before at the same show and she fell in love with another table that we had,” Manuel Gonzalez said. “This year they stopped in our booth again and saw our first Rio Table and she said ‘this is it.’ We sat down with her in our shop a couple of days later and we came up with a concept that she loved and moved forward with the Rio Table.”
Their shop, Made Anew LLC, is in Calverton, Virginia, not far from Washington. Making a special table started with getting a special slab.
“We were able to acquire these slabs after they had been passed through several other woodworkers who saw too much work to deal with them,” Gonzalez. “Some of the slabs’ defects were not ideal for them, but I knew I could do something amazing with the wood.”
The wood is maple, but not just any maple. It has curly, ambrosia, birds eye, spalted maple, and burl features.
“Needless to say, (this was) not very common at all, quite rare,” Gonzalez said. “We sat with this wood for a couple of years before we were inspired to do our very first Rio Table.”
“We found some inspiration on the internet with a similar idea and saw that some people filled the gaps with a solid color or they added rocks or things inside. We respectfully do not like that so, after our love for water, we decided to use the slab that had holes and we ran with the idea to create a canyon with a river running through it.
“And the first Rio Table was born. From then we are perfecting our craft with new ideas using great wood but with imperfections. We tint epoxy to create the Rio effect, which allows us to mimic the flow and depth of water by varying different tones of the tint throughout the pour.”
All 11 slabs that the shop had have now been commissioned for projects. They delivered a Rio bar top recently, and this was one of the most difficult projects that they have done because it was an L-shaped one-piece bar top with a continuous Rio flow through the entire piece.
Some of the challenges were to design the continuous flow of “water,” the total weight and shape of the project and joining the slabs seamlessly at the corner.
Some of the things Gonzalez believes his shop does well:
- We build a relationship with our clients. Every piece we build is custom to fit their particular style, needs, dimension, and budget. We don’t manufacture high volume, so we are able to focus on what works best for each client.
- We produce very high-quality products using unconventional materials. We love salvaging wood and metal to turn them into high-end design pieces. We push ourselves to not be comfortable in what we have done before in order to create unique pieces for each of our clients.
- We find the way of quality, structure, and style. We want every piece that comes out of our shop to be heirloom quality that will last for generations.
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