PORTLAND, OR - High-tech woodworking takes on another dimension as custom woodworkers try to keep pace with the demand for protective wood cases for iPads, iPhones and other smart digital devices.
Each release of phones and tablet computers finds cases slimming, headphone jacks relocated, and charging points moved left or right.
For custom woodworkers serving this market, that means retooling the offerings as frequently as Apple and other electronics firms do.
Eighteen-employee woodworking firm Grove llc, Portland, OR launched its two latest releases to match Apple's immensely popular iPad2. The hand-crafted bamboo case joined Grove's line of iPhone4 cases.
Technical demands on producing the products, some made with limited edition artists engravings, are significant. A hardback version for the iPad4 must integrate to Apple's leather Smart cover, which activates the iPad when it is opened. it must also provide unimpeded access to the iPad2's camera lens. A simpler engraved bamboo cover iPad skin, 1/32-inch thick, adheres to the back of the iPad with removable 3M self-adhesive glue face, centering precisely at the high point of the devices' back, protecting it from abrasion.
|Grove llc, Portland, OR offers limited edition cases for iPads and iPhones, precision cut on two Haas CNC routers. The short-run customized woodworking firm uses Mastercam X5 software and General Woodworking Machinery sander.
The hardback cases for iPads and iPhones are machined
| Grove's Rizzo and friend at the Haas CNC.
in Grove’s Portland shop on Haas CNCs from blocks of bamboo, and hand finished in amber or natural with natural oils and waxes. While providing protection, the cases must maintain the devices' slim profiles, especially for the iPad2.
Grove says one recent limited-run wood case product launch sold out in 10 minutes. iPad2 cases sell for $79, and feature a speaker grill cut into the bamboo along with other ports.
Many other woodworkers have smart phone wood cases. just two examples: Miniot, in Holland, sells oak, cherry and mahogany iWood cases. Root Cases, Driggs, ID, offers iPhone cases in zebrawood, bamboo, wenge, and walnut.
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