Rustixs is a woodworking company located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is more of an “artisan commission-based company,” according to owner Gayle Christopher who is self-employed and works out of her home and garage. The company was established in the early 2000s. Christopher makes a variety of items from recycled wood and other items, such as beds, chests, birdhouses, and other unique crafts. For more information on Rustixs, visit www.rustixs.com.
Q&A with Gayle Christopher:
What kinds of items do you make?
Most of my items come from recycled or found wood. It starts with something that’s part of something else, such as timbers from an old barn. It really depends on what the client wants, so the wood I choose is based on the specific item I’m making. I get stuff from others, like twigs, branches, and logs that are collected from power companies that trim trees near their power lines. I use everything from pallet wood to peeled wood. I make chests, beds, chairs, just about everything.
How much do your pieces of furniture cost?
Most of the beds I make are about $1,500. I make 4 x 8 dining tables that go for similar prices. A chest can be about $300 to $400. I do it all by hand so it gives it a different look compared to the cookie-cutter type manufactured furniture that you can buy from a store. I know there’s cheaper stuff out here, but it looks cheaper. I even make heirloom furniture pieces that can be passed down from parents to kids. This is why it is much more unique.
What are the most popular kinds of furniture that you make?
Most response from clients is for beds made out of peeled wood. A lot of people also like chests made out of barn timbers.
Briefly describe how you make a piece of log furniture.
It really depends on the project. Chests can take about a month of working every day on them. It takes aabout a month to make bed with peeled wood, but peeled wood has to be dried for several months before you can use it. The tools I use include table saws, sanders, hand drills, and a pocket knife for peeled wood, I will use power tools when necessary as well.
What specific kinds of wood do you use?
I use pallet wood, and you never know what you’re going to get with this kind of wood. It could be Canadian pine, red oak, maple, or something else. I use some cedar and have used beech wood.
What’s the craziest custom request you’ve had for furniture?
Somebody wanted me to build them a rolling plant stand. After I gave them the price, I never heard from them again. I told them to look at Wal-Mart.
What kinds of furniture do you enjoy making most?
I like making cabinets and chests because there are a little easier to build. When you are working with peeled wood, it requires a lot more finesse.
How did you get into woodworking?
I started doing woodworking after graduating from college. I had no money but needed furniture. So I started finding stuff along the road that needed a rocker or seat replaced. I like the look of rustic furniture. I started building my own things, and then people started asking me to build things for them. Need was the mother of invention for me.