I've experienced woodwork done by Dan at Better Than New twice in the last two years. One project was for a product display for my small and humble (yet powerfully magnificent! YES!!) knitting business in Phoenix, and the other project was a personal dining table in my home.
"But doesn't her profile say she always eats out?" you may be thinking ... Yes that's true. My dining table is rarely used, but man, does it look swell!
My rad dining table came by way of a Craigslist ad with a virtually impossible-to-see photo. Just enough details were in the photo to convey good lines and inspire an in-person visit. The previous owner clearly loved her dining set and didn't really want to let it go. She'd been oiling it regularly and had to part ways with it due to lack of space in her apartment. It was a nice designed, pleasingly affordable, well-maintained Danish-style wood table with an extension leaf and six matching chairs.
The tabletop wasn't in particularly bad shape, but it was apparent that the extension leaf hadn't always been in place on the table because the color was slightly incongruous. So off it went to Dan's shop! Since it's no collectors item, we only had the top redone. He made sure to do what it took to even out the light and dark spots to make the tabletop match the legs, without, as he put it, diminishing the brightness of the wood and dulling it out. The tabletop came out nice and clean. When advising what approach might best be taken with the piece, he made remarks about the importance of letting the wood's character show. Dude respects his wood!
The product display piece was something that we needed in order to show off more knitted products at our Bewilderknits booth. The nature of our business takes us to art walks and farmers markets and limits our display to what fits in a 10x10' tent. We had a couple of folding tables draped with hand-sewn green tablecloths made out of sturdy upholstery fabric. Our hand-knitted accessories were laid out on the table for people to touch and try on, but we needed more space. Plus, we needed to inject some textural variety and break it up visually. Kind of like how a terrific picture can be enhanced with a frame. With all the finished products we had, we recognized the need for displaying at varying heights. A long shelf piece felt essential for us to build structure and avoid the potentiality of emanating a "pile-of-laundry" vibe.
We're picky and insist that the character of our products extend out into the displays we use. Our little portable booth is like a store that needs to have a cohesive look and flow. We lean towards an earthy, natural, woodsy aesthetic. Dan has a way of seeing whatever you're doing with your style and he "just gets it," so he can help you coordinate. He knew just where to go to find a solution for us, and put together a wood plank shelf with a natural slab of two-toned wood. There are no rough edges to catch on the yarn in our knitting, but it has the raw-edge bark look. Instead of being merely a display shelf, the design enhances the tactility of everything in the booth. Plus the legs are removable for simplified transporting. Form plus function!"