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March 09, 2017

Meet Brian Christopher, Who Hiked the Appalachian Trail Then Taught Himself How to Make Furniture

We spent the afternoon talking shop (not sorry) with a local woodworker

Since we share a common appreciation for clean design, natural materials, and days on the trail, we asked self-taught furniture maker Brian Christopher if we could hang out in his studio as he knocked out a few projects (and politely answered our questions). He shares his story in the video below.

When we first arrived at Brian's South Philly space, he was still in the process of unpacking his stuff. Just days before we stopped by, he had loaded up a truck full of woodworking machinery and partially finished furniture and made the drive from Hoboken, New Jersey to his new spot overlooking the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball stadium. “I still have to recalibrate all my equipment, which I’m not really looking forward to,” he explained as he pulled a white oak beam out of his stock of unmilled lumber.

Brian finishes the details on a new set of stools, wearing our Ridgerunner Button Down

Our Sutter's Mill Tool Bag with storage for all of Brian's necessities - chisels and coffee

The move marks the first of many changes: When we first connected with Brian years ago, he was just getting started in the woodworking business, honing his craft by making wooden spoons by hand. After an unexpected layoff from his office gig and one of those now-or-never moments, he decided to switch career paths — and tackle his first-ever piece of furniture, a kitchen table.

He’s now a full-fledged, entirely self-taught furniture maker with dozens of custom projects under his belt and plans to develop his own signature line of stools, tables, and cabinets in the very near future. Brian’s newly named business, bicyclette furniture, will feature simple, utilitarian designs much like the Lawson bicycle that inspired the name.

Brian sands a sliding door cabinet while wearing our Ridgerunner Button Down

Another Brian Christopher hallmark is an apparent respect for the materials he uses — he frequently opts to leave in tactile defects and wild, interesting knots to add character. His finish of choice is wood varnish, which leaves the wood more or less in its natural state and tends to bring out the grain. Brian attributes this respect for the material to years spent exploring the woods, including a post-college thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Taking a moment in our Tacony Hemp Sock and Dominion Twill Pant

The finishing touches, in our lightweight Ridgerunner Button Down and Dominion Twill Pant

To learn more about Brian and shop his handmade furniture, visit his website, bicyclettefurniture.com.

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