Canadian Woodworking

Beautiful furniture and Brian Boggs

Author: Rob Brown
Brian Boggs

A few days ago, I was surfing around the internet looking at pieces of furniture, as I often do.

You see a lot of wild and crazy things; credenzas that extend out to 20′ long dining tables, chairs that might have taken a year to make but look uncomfortable to sit on and live edge epoxy things, but I was pleasantly surprised by a piece that immediately caught my eye made by Jim Reed, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

It stuck out from the other pieces not only because it was beautiful, but also because it had simple lines and grain. It was essentially a rectangular box held up by a slightly curvy base finished off with a simple top. With its harmonious proportions, curves and intriguing details like brass hardware and negative space between the case and base, I really liked it.

On one hand, I don’t think it pushed the limits of what studio furniture can be, nor did it test the capabilities of the material we all know and love. I saw it as more of a simple and honest piece that was carefully designed and built.

Zebrawood is always a gorgeous wood if it’s quarter cut. In fact, if it’s not quarter cut I find it busy and unpleasing, bordering on repulsive. It brings a unique mix of simplicity and energy to a piece, especially if it’s used in the design carefully. It pairs well with so many species, as there are a wide variety of brown tones in it. I’ve always thought walnut a perfect match for zebrawood, and this piece proves that point.

You can see more of Jim’s work on his website,

Have you used zebrawood in a project before? Send me a photo or two of the finished piece and let me know what it was about zebrawood that made you use it. Also, if you’ve come across any simple, subtle yet stunning furniture please send me a link to the piece.

Zebrawood Credenza
Jim Reed made this credenza I stumbled upon on Instagram.

Zebrawood Credenza

A Foot to Stand On
The walnut frame includes pleasing curves and a nice mitre joint.

A Foot to Stand On

Quarter Cut Zebrawood
While zebrawood can be wild looking if it’s flat cut, it’s usually quarter cut and looks great.

Quarter Cut Zebrawood

Nice Brass Hardware
Who doesn’t love a nicely installed knife hinge?

Nice Brass Hardware

Mark Salusbury sent me an article from Craftsmanship Quarterly on famed American chairmaker Brian Boggs the other day. It was a look into one of the greatest chairmakers of our time. Not only is it great to read about how Boggs got into woodworking and start a business, but also have a chance to see some photos and videos of his workshop in North Carolina. I especially liked the video of him using a shop-made lever system that needs only one person to bend a thick rail. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention. This was certainly a case of him needing a better solution to bending these strong rails, but not wanting to dedicate three employees to doing it. Check out the article here.

Master Chair Maker
Brian Boggs in his well-equipped North Carolina workshop.

Brian Boggs
Last modified: January 12, 2023

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.


  1. I met Brian while he was student at Berea College. He and my youngest brother were taking a chair making class and I was allowed to sit in for a couple days while I was in town. He showed an ability to work with, not against wood then. I later stopped in his Berea shop a few times, wishing I had the cash to purchase a chair. Nice work. I thoroughly enjoyed the article.

  2. I agree that the joinery and overall design of that credenza are quite elegant and simple but the zebrawood, even quarter cut, is just too busy and detracts from the appealingly simple features.

  3. I can understand that, Joe. Sometimes there’s a fine line between simple and busy, and zebrawood definitely walks that line! It has a lot of colour variation, but the very straight grain is pleasing to my eye.

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