Seven years ago, without any experience at all but with a little bit of curiosity, and quite possibly an intrinsic need to create, Josh Utsey taught himself how to weld. From there he was hooked. After metal, came wood. On a trip with his parents to the mountains of North Carolina, Utsey was introduced to a man who sold barnwood. He was drawn to the strength, durability, and age of the wood and knew he wanted to make furniture with it. Meshing his metalworking skills with a new interest in woodworking, he began to design and build some of the most intriguing pieces of furniture – the intrigue stemming from the blending of beautiful live edge, antique cuts of wood with modern aesthetic and overall simplicity in construction. Utseys tabletops, made from all kinds of species of hand selected wood including poplar, cedar, antique hemlock, barnwood, walnut, oak, cherry and others are planed and joined with biscuits to create a seamless top. Utsey then finishes the tops with hours upon hours of sanding, starting with coarse paper and transitioning to a finer grit until the wood is smooth to touch. He then applies the protecting finish. According to Utsey, All finishes are simple so if something were to happen my customers can fix it. I use lots of water based polycrylic. Once the top is finished Utsey attaches them to a variety of legs from beautiful, crystal clear, totally unique and modern acrylic legs to perfectly welded and executed powder coated and stainless steel legs. These combinations of live edge wood tops and modern legs (or the vice versa as Utsey is known to do quartered red cedar legs meshed with a steel top) give the piece of furniture an amazing dichotomy – natural and industrial, traditional and modern.
Just as Utsey transitioned his curiosity from metal to wood, he now has added a new realm of design to his business: lighting. His brass lights are completely custom, well made, and quite original. Each light Utsey makes begins with a CAD drawing that includes all the dimensions, threads, screws, etc and then each part is machined. He even makes the globe adaptors to create individual stylized lighting. His lights, although a relatively new trade, are interesting and sure to catch on just like his tables.
For the moment, Utsey is content with wood, metal, and lighting but you never know what the future holds for this self-taught creator. For now, according to Utsey, Im definitely enjoying what Im doing.For more information or to purchase a custom piece of furniture visit www.joshutseydesign.com.