Bespoke Woodworker Braxton Alexander On Blending Form & Function
Braxton Alexander got his professional start at an architectural woodturning shop in Southern Maine, before embarking on his own. From his studio in Accord, he creates custom tables, chairs, desks, shelving units, and cabinetry which can be found throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond. Inspired by designers like George Nakashima, Pierre Chapo, Pierre Jeanneret, and Wharton Esherick, Alexander’s style blends notes of mid-century modern, Scandinavian and traditional Japanese design. We caught up with Braxton to understand his influence, his search for the soul in wood, and how the Hudson Valley influences his work.
What inspired you to start woodworking?
I took a couple of woodshop classes in high school and was immediately in love. After a semester of college, I decided to drop out and begin working at a wood-turning shop. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to have so much fun! Here we are almost 17 years later still having a blast.
What do you look for in a client collaborator?
It’s nice to collaborate with someone that has an open imagination along with a strong vision of a concept they’ve been dreaming up. Those two things can tend to contradict each other sometimes, but I feel that design needs equal parts direction and flexibility.
What is your favorite part of the process?
Applying the finish is the big reveal when the wood finally shows you its soul. It never gets old.
Do you have a particular piece or design that is your favorite?
Among my signature pieces are my X series. My X side table has two perpendicular X’s which represents the two Xs in my name. Since designing that I’ve expanded the collection a bit and am now partial to the XXX table.
How do your clients find you?
Referrals and social media have been the most effective in finding my business.
Rumor has it you drive around in a firetruck– but of course, not any old firetruck. Tell us about that.
My work is heavily influenced by Japanese design, and I’ve also done quite a bit of work using the Shou-Sugi ban technique as a wood finish. Typically done with cedar siding, it is the act of charring and sealing the wood. This protects it from bugs and weather while also preventing rot. Something about a retired Japanese Firetruck spoke deeply to me in relation to the charred wood. Seemed kismet.
What brought you to the Hudson Valley?
My wife went to SUNY New Paltz and showed me this area when we first started dating. After spending weekends here for years we got married at Mohonk Mountain House in 2015. I think it was then that we knew we belonged here. Hiking Minnewaska and the Mohonk Preserve are how we like to spend our free time.
How has living + working in the Hudson Valley influenced your work?
Living and working here (compared to the city) has given me so much more time and space to be creative. I’ve also connected with friends & collaborators on a much deeper level than I think I ever could have elsewhere.
What’s next for you?
Braxton Alexander: Well, I’ve been working out of a converted 2-car garage for the last four years, and I am about to expand my studio by 500%. I’m really looking forward to having more studio space which will allow me to hire one or two folks to learn + help + grow with my business.
Exciting! Wishing you all the best with your business expansion, and thank you, Braxton.
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Braxton Alexander & Co.
New York’s Hudson Valley
Braxton is available for commissions ranging from custom tables, chairs, desks, shelving units and cabinetry.
To discuss your project email or call: [email protected] | 207-590-4526
All photos courtesy of Braxton Alexander.