Highland Woodworks

Highland Woodworks


Jon, this is gorgeous work.

I have several friends who do beautiful woodwork. This is as fine as any.

Hand-made, small scale furniture design and construction using locally sourced, sustainable materials. I have the space now to begin building projects on commission, so if you've been thinking about a piece of furniture or cabinetry that you just can't find anywhere else, let's talk.

I have access to black cherry and maple that I harvested and milled myself in Sullivan County on the property of Frost Valley YMCA where our kids went to summer camp. It's been air-drying in the woods for almost 3 years and much of it is ready to work. There are slabs as thick as 3 inches. I can guarantee that you won't find more environmentally friendly wood than this without cutting it in your own backyard.

Operating as usual

Photos from Highland Woodworks's post 08/09/2021

New York percussionist/drummer Bill Hayes is free to call this by another name, but I’ll start with “Lyptus percussion hutch”. He’ll be able to slide dividers in and out for organization, display, & storage of cymbals and a host of other things that can be shaken, banged on, or otherwise coaxed into a musical existence. Can’t wait to rub the oil in, bringing the wood colors to life.

(Lyptus is a hybrid of two different eucalyptus species that grows very quickly -- 15 years to harvest -- and has many of the same properties as mahogany, along with the durability and hardness of oak. It's a terrifically sustainable alternative to other species that we shouldn't be chopping down, especially in South America.)

Photos from Highland Woodworks's post 06/25/2021

Frost Valley Sugar Maple writing desk.

Photos from Highland Woodworks's post 02/05/2021

Lyptus monitor stands all done! I'm getting a request to have a tilting top, so that will be incorporated into the final design. Since everyone has their own taste, I'm leaving the vibration absorption method up to you. I'm using sorbothane feet under my Kali monitors, but you can use a simple foam pad or even nothing if your monitors have their own feet.


Adjustable height Lyptus speaker stands in their pre-assembly condition. The studio is about to get prettier.

Adjustable height Lyptus speaker stands in their pre-assembly condition. The studio is about to get prettier.


More Frost Valley Black Cherry out into the world. Custom recording studio platform with control tablet stand.


First passes with the new block plane.

With about 5 minutes of setup this Stanley Sweetheart is ready to go. It's good A2 steel, well honed right out of the box.


There’s almost nothing more satisfying than having a glue-up become square immediately. It means all of your cuts were good up to this point. The bathroom vanity is coming together. Whitewashed Frost Valley Cherry on the outside.


The inspiration, and then the ex*****on, for a client’s custom kitchen counter extender. Counter height, adjustable feet and shelf. Room for a stool at the end. Frost Valley Maple top.


Frost Valley sugar maple glued up for a kitchen cabinet/island. Eventually it will be 36"X25". 1" thick, mostly quarter-sawn.


Carpentry housecall in Ridgewood, Queens, from Washington Heights. 37 miles round-trip. It was kind of cool to have the Brooklyn Bridge pretty much to myself. (Assistant Carpentry by Butch. Bike by Brompton.)


This house call brought to you by Brompton. Assistant Carpentry by Butch.


The Frost Valley Black Cherry bathroom door is finally done! Outside is natural cherry and walnut tenon pegs, with a hand-rubbed oil finish. (It will darken with age.) Inside is white-washed and finished with a water-based urethane. (The bathroom is black, white and shades of grey.)

(Credit to Greene & Greene for the design inspiration.)


As a pianist I take these kinds of tools REALLY seriously. This is the Greene & Greene “cloud lift” pattern being rough cut before final shaping with the template.


The Frost Valley black cherry sliding door is coming along. The outside will be a natural hand-rubbed oil finish, the inside will be whitewashed to blend with the black and white bathroom.

[11/21/19]   ‘Tis the season! We’re trying the reindeer in oak for a change.


Door-making scraps about to become pizza peels!


New project: Catskills Cherry sliding bathroom door. It’s massive! I’m definitely pushing my jointer and planer to their limits. It’s based on the classic Greene & Greene “Cloudlift” motif, and will include traditional slightly proud ebony-pegged mortise and tenon joints on the corners. Outside finished with natural oil, inside pickled white to blend with the white subway tile theme inside.


The Frost Valley maple desk in its new home, a writing studio in Washington Heights. It’s always bittersweet saying goodbye to an object you’ve spent so much time with, but knowing it’s going to a new life I never could have imagined is worth it.


First coat of oil on the Catskills maple desktop, and the future of syrup.

I'm not sure if there will be enough definition to see it, but when you wipe on the first coat of oil the three dimensional nature of well-prepped wood really becomes clear. Trees have interesting lives, and they respond by growing in a variety of directions, adding each seasonal layer in response to weather, water, wind, sunlight, the stresses of gravity and the impact of the environment (good and bad). This maple tree, being about average in size, would have produced about a quart of syrup each year of its adult life. (Frost Valley YMCA didn't tap this one, however.) As light enters the pores of the wood it reflects the growth direction and variety of textures inside the wood.

Sugar maples are gradually changing their habitat, moving a bit north and west slowly, with impacts we can't know for certain. Shorter winters and earlier springs will eventually make make syrup even more of a luxury than it is now. Under the most extreme climate change models, we won't have much maple syrup to speak of in about 80 years unless we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions pretty significantly.

(Enjoy the sound of the ice cream truck outside the window!)

At work . . . 08/15/2019

At work . . .


Catskills Maple desktop

FInal flattening of the Catskills Maple desktop.


The boards are all surfaced and ready to joint and glue up. The large dark streak has shown more as I’ve smoothed the surface. (Frost Valley sugar maple desk)


I use a lot of tools in a project, but this little 5 inch block plane is the best one, all day. #lienielsen


A new Frost Valley sugar maple desktop begins to reveal itself....


Photos from Highland Woodworks's post


One of my best memories of my Mom (many of you know her as Skip) is of her in the garage with this exact Shopsmith band saw and a bunch of 2x4’s, creating these wooden reindeer in the fall. (She learned to do this as a piece-worker for one of my Dad’s colleagues at Auburn University, Tom Miller, who created the design and was a masterful woodworker and furniture maker).

Now in NYC I get to continue this tradition. Here’s the first step (once the lumber is cut into blocks.) Later I’ll post how they’re finished using the Japanese “shou sugi ban” (“burnt cedar board”) technique.

(Many thanks to my family for having the patience to allow a woodshop in a Manhattan apartment.)


Reindeer season is here again. Soon they will have many friends.

Mini pizza peels to celebrate the Broadway opening. 03/11/2017

Cherry shelves in place-- gotta have a coffee station in a Broadway dressing room.


Curly maple and cherry pizza peel in process.


Cherry catch-all tray, curved through-inlay.

A Bronx Tale opening night gifts 12/03/2016

Mini pizza peels to celebrate the Broadway opening.

Mini pizza peels to celebrate the Broadway opening.


Catskills sugar maple serving board. My first attempt at a full-thickness curved inlay.


The big red barn!


The big red barn where the lumber piles are stored.

Furniture and casework 06/18/2016

Furniture and casework

Videos (show all)

First passes with the new block plane.
As a pianist I take these kinds of tools REALLY seriously. This is the Greene & Greene “cloud lift” pattern being rough ...
First coat of oil on the Catskills maple desktop, and the future of syrup.
Catskills Maple desktop
One of my best memories of my Mom (many of you know her as Skip) is of her in the garage with this exact Shopsmith band ...
Flattening the maple tabletop by hand using the big Stanley #7 jointer plane. If only it actually went this fast.



Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY
Other Carpenters in New York (show all)
NYC Custom Cabinetry NYC Custom Cabinetry
1831 Starr St
New York, 11385

We specialize in custom jobs and small-line furniture production, using the highest quality materials and accessories from well-known manufacturers.

Mason Woodworks Mason Woodworks
34 34th Street
New York, 11232

We craft high quality, custom cabinetry that endures. Built to your specifications and delivered on time, hassle free. We bring your vision to life.

Caayu Natural Stone Caayu Natural Stone
New York, 11206

Kitchen and Bathroom Countertop Professionals

Chase Building Contractor. Chase Building Contractor.
New York

Chase Building Construction Your local family owned builders. Building trust and project all over New York. Specialize in interior and exterior construction work. Commercial or residential.

B&G Designs B&G Designs
New York, 11417

Cherry Custom Made Cabinets Cherry Custom Made Cabinets
New York, 11378

Architectural woodworking shop located in Maspeth, NY

New York, 11211

Experienced carpenter and landscaper. This page will showcase previous work as well as serve as a platform to garner new business and secure contracts.

JQ Carpentry JQ Carpentry
New York

We are a New York based company with over 20 years of experience. From electrical to plumbing, Flooring to Tiling, we do it all!

Exquisite Stone & Tile Inc. Exquisite Stone & Tile Inc.
New York, 11370

President Chris Sarafelntin. Residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial projects in NYC-metro area and Nassau/Suffolk. Licensed and insured.

Brooklyn Builders home improvement Brooklyn Builders home improvement
New York, 11223

Brooklyn Builders is a construction company serving all five boroughs.

OPI Construction OPI Construction
New York, 10007

Cabinet Plant Cabinet Plant
276 New Dorp Ln
New York, 10306

Cabinet Plant is a full service Architectural Millwork and Construction Company.