When a well-known world traveler and former cultural attaché for the United States needed a fine wooden custom cabinet to house her collection of priceless antiquities, with the resources to buy from any fine furniture maker in the world, she chose Wolfkill Woodwork in The Acreage.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our first anniversary in business, than to be chosen to design and build this one-of-a-kind piece that contains 400 board feet of sustainable African Sapele Mahogany and weighs about 850 pounds,” craftsman Robert Wolfkill said.
The solid African Mahogany antiquities cabinet was designed and built in Wolfkill’s Acreage shop over the course of nine recent weeks. He estimates he spent about 600 hours on the piece.
Kim Green, the Miami Beach buyer, was thrilled with the result.
“I asked someone I trust for a recommendation, and I am so glad they told me about Robert Wolfkill. I like so much that he took my ideas and made them better,” Green said. “The craftsmanship and attention to detail are superb. He is very special; he took the time to listen, and he designed a piece that seems to give off a warm cultural vibration. The work is alive, not synthetic.”
Wolfkill is a third-generation carpenter and furniture builder. However, until he retired after 22 years in law enforcement, he worked with wood only part time. In recent years, he has fully immersed himself in furniture building, including spending considerable time alongside some of the world’s best furniture craftsmen.
Wolfkill’s wife Jessica could not be prouder. “He attended the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, where he was able to train with some of the best craftsmen in the business, which was a lifelong dream of his,” she explained.
Reed Hansuld, lead instructor at the center, remembers Wolfkill for his keen eye for detail. “His passion for producing work to the finest quality possible is evident from the moment you first meet him,” Hansuld said of Wolfkill. “He’s great at listening and a dream to work with for any client looking for a custom piece.”
Green, owner of Wolfkill’s most recent masterpiece, agreed.
“Not only is Robert an artist, he’s such a good listener. He designed the piece to fit my exact room and notice how the camber of the top of the shelf follows the unusual angle of the ceiling,” she explained. “This was a big deal for me, and I really wanted to keep track of progress. Robert was so responsive by posting almost daily pictures online where I could review progress over the course of its nine weeks of construction. At one point, I was reviewing the joinery while in Tonga.”
Wolfkill said that the project was a challenge, but one he enjoyed.
“It wasn’t easy. This was a custom piece designed to accent her ceiling, which is a 75-degree pitch,’ he said. “The timber is select quarter sawn and was a special order from the mill. A four-foot bridge appears to float in midair with integrated 16-color LED lighting. A matching live-edge curator’s bench with exposed maple wedges accentuates the main piece.”
Wolfkill’s first year in business was so successful, he was fully booked with clients arriving via word of mouth. His pieces last year ranged from fine jewelry boxes and hardwood Adirondack chairs to elaborate electronic fireplace pieces.
The massive custom antiquities cabinet weighed in at 850 pounds and was milled with great care to tolerances as small as 1/100th of an inch.
“When I am working with wood, it’s almost as if time stops for me,” Wolfkill said. “It’s the only thing I have ever done where I am so fully and mindfully engaged that everything else disappears for hours at a time. It’s just me and the wood. I get lost in the process.”
After a successful first anniversary in the business, what’s next for Wolfkill?
“My professional goal is simple,” he said. “Each subsequent piece must be better and more cherished than my last. I always tell my clients that I want their new piece to be the most beautiful object in their home.”
For more information, visit Wolfkill Woodwork at www.wolfkillwoodwork.com.