Molina Restaurant Commision
February 25, 2014
I recently was commissioned to build two custom pieces for a new restaurant called "Molina" opening in Mill Valley next month. The Chef / Owner, Todd Shoberg, found my blocks online and got in touch with me to see if I could scale up the design and build a work table for his restaurant. I hadn't done it before but had considered the possibility so we decided to give it a shot.
First I built an 8-foot long by 25-inch deep work table for the back bar. This was going to be the only piece at first but the restaurant designer walked in while I was oiling the top and liked it so much that he canceled the plan to build a zinc-top bar and asked if I could do a 13-foot section in a week. In my head I was thinking "well..." but I heard myself saying "sure, no problem". So I drove back to the East Bay and began milling lumber immediately for the new piece. Weekend plans were canceled and I charged until 10pm every night that week to get it done.
Four days later I had a 13-foot-long, book-matched, end-grain walnut slab with 4 logo embossed brass plugs sitting on saw horses in my wood shop. I was tired but proud. I had to build two new jigs and develop a new clamping and joinery technique to make the piece possible. I have never seen an end-grain piece of this magnitude except for the beautiful, but thoroughly cracked, front door to the BDDW show room in Manhattan, which is subject to the severe weather fluctuations of NYC (polar vortex anyone?). But the glue joints are all solid and I have attached the slab to a sub-top in a way that will allow up to one-inch of movement in any direction. This seems very conservative considering the finish will lock in/out moisture and the humidity in Mill Valley is relatively stable throughout the year.
I look forward to visiting the restaurant frequently to check-in on how the end-grain slab is faring and, while there, enjoy some delicious Shoberg cuisine.