When you see the works of Andrew Lavey, you’d think he’s been in the woodworking field for decades. His work is simple and elegant, illustrating extreme proficiency in an understated way. He’s already conquered numerous complex projects for Black Hound Design Company, ranging from mid-century modern wood restaurant booths, to a gorgeous and ornate walnut bedroom set, to custom hotel furniture, to decorative wood chevron panels for a home.
So you’d be surprised to learn that his position at Black Hound Design Company is his first “real” foray into career woodworking. In fact, Lavey took a quite circuitous path to becoming a craftsmen.
Lavey’s interest in woodworking was first ignited in his Rancho Cucamonga high school shop class, where he proudly built a simple table clock. He learned the woodshop basics: woodworking tools, tables saws, routers, shop safety and even dabbled in CNC machines using those archaic design programs from the 90’s that we all remember with fondness.
While that was his first “formal” experience with woodworking, in retrospect, Lavey was built to build. He remembers that as he was growing up, he was always tinkering (a common theme amongst the Black Hound Boys). He loved to draw and create. He recalls receiving a K’NEX Big Ball Factory Set one year for Christmas. He ended up building the entire thing in just one day, and took over the whole tv room with his new creation.
Throughout high school, he kept up his woodworking interests as he slowly accumulated old tools. He also became the friendly neighborhood maker of bike ramps, and much to the delight of the nearby kids- built a luge out of a skateboard.
Flash forward a few years. A summer trip to Europe. A few years of college. A move to Denver.
Lavey’s now working nights at Ocean Prime in Denver. This leaves him with full days to tinker and build more and more things. “Somewhere in there,” he said, “I switched from working sunny days out in my garage to becoming more serious about woodworking.” He then found us, Black Hound Design Company.
Lavey has since proven time and time again to be one helluva craftsmen, but also- an all-around go getter, proverbial handyman, and our trusted Install Manager.
His favorite design aesthetic is mid-century modern because “it’s a balance of high quality materials with sleek, simple lines, he says. “I’m drawn to simple designs that are pleasing to the eye.”
When thinking about Denver design, Lavey is interested in the balance of cold industrial with a modern welcoming feel that you get from design elements like barnwood accents. “I’m also drawn to the sustainability of using beetle kill pine, mixed in with the functional side,” he says.
He views woodworking as a mix of both artistry and technical ability. “You can create functional pieces with skill," he notes, “but to take it to the next step of having beautiful, functional furniture pieces is where real artistry comes in.”
His piece of advice to novice woodworkers: “Know the importance of fine sharp pencil. It’s the first step. If you throw down a pencil line that’s a sixteenth of an inch wide, then you’re starting with a blurry line that can snowball from there,” he says. “Oh, and they’re cheap.”