Sourcing & Using Our First Monterey Cypress Slabs

Sourcing & Using Our First Monterey Cypress Slabs

After moving to Santa Cruz from Hawai‘i, it took us a few good months to lock into our space here in Watsonville. So we took advantage of the “idle” time between shopping for commercial leases to be as ready for a move-in as we could be. That meant finding machines and tools across the SF Bay Area to fill out our new shop-to-be. We also kept an eye out for interesting local wood to work with. Craigslist is a treasure trove for all of these, yet you certainly need the eye and patience to sift through it all.

One day, Raja came across a post about Monterey Cypress slabs at West Cliff, Santa Cruz. While it was clear that we would need to muscle around the options, we knew we might come across something interesting! We set up a visit, and when the time came, we hopped in the truck and drove on down to West Cliff.

The slabs had a huge range in size and shape! Long, short, wide, narrow, curvy, slanting. They were packed in tightly on their sides, leaning up against each wall of the room. Though blanketed with a little dirt, the slabs were all kiln dried and ready to work with. Some showed significant termite damage, while others maintained full pristine surfaces. They were milled very consistently, at over 2 inches thick, allowing us to focus on the shape and length of the boards to make our choice. So, shifting a few here and there, we knew we’d found at least two we could take back then and there. Later, we came back for two more with one of our first local clients in Santa Cruz.

Cypress wood slabs are leaned up against a long wall, stacked on their sides, in Santa Cruz, California.

As we chatted with the groundskeeper, we learned that the original trees were actually grown on the property, at the Shrine of St. Joseph! A number of these native Monterey Cypress trees had to be removed for safety reasons. Local company Jackel Enterprises milled the wood. They actually have a blog on the project! According to the plan shared in that blog, they milled the large logs into slab material, stickered & banded each tree into a boule, air dried these for about half a year, then kiln dried the slabs. You can see some of that wood used throughout the property’s café, Shrine Coffee - it was beautifully designed and built. (On a side note, the café has top notch reviews. So if you are passing through West Cliff, it is definitely worth the visit.)

Raja Badr-El-Din of JOHI evaluates a long monterey cypress slab (grown in Santa Cruz) in the studio workshop.

We were very glad to invest in the pieces we found. Each one was quickly allocated to a client, save for one! We wanted to live with this one for a while, and turned it into our showroom cash wrap. Almost everyone who walked in the door admired its live edge, grain characteristics, and gorgeous color. Truth be told, we hadn’t even fully finished it yet. The joints weren’t yet glued, and we hadn’t epoxy sealed, finish sanded, or oiled the wood!

So here we are, about one year later. We decided to complete this live edge waterfall table in preparation for a new home, available for one of you! At almost 53” long (4’-5”) and 27.5” wide (2’-3.5”), it has plenty of tabletop space. We’ve comfortably laid out a work desk setup - with two speakers, laptop, lamp, and accessories. With a final height of 37.5” you can easily use it as a standing desk, or snag a counter height stool (target a seat height of 24.5”H - 26”H). There is nothing sweeter than the ability to stand at your desk to relieve some of the pressure on your back. 

A waterfall style live edge desk is set up as an office work desk, complete with laptop, two speakers, a desk lamp, and potted plant. Located at the JOHI office, this desk is made of Santa Cruz grown Monterey Cypress.

The table has worked wonderfully as a live edge accent island as well! For events, you can serve drinks, pastries, desserts on this natural backdrop. We also love the idea of using this piece as a coffee bar! With this organic statement, make your coffee how you will - with a standard drip machine, your french press, or an espresso maker. And don’t tuck your coffee beans away! Display it on this statement piece in your kitchen or great room.

We are so excited to see how and where this double live edge waterfall table gets used in its next life. With a little creative thought, it can spruce up a variety of spaces!

Whether local to the Santa Cruz - Monterey Bay Area, or close by in the San Francisco Bay Area, we always invite you in by appointment to see our limited, in stock pieces like this. Sometimes, whether near or far, it’s more convenient to plan a FaceTime. All in all, we are always here to help.

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