Stetson Stories: Shop Visit with William Graeber
Photography by Eric Granado
The furniture we use every day tends to be one of the most overlooked commodities in today’s society. Our friend, William Graeber has set out to change that idea and share what woodworking is to him: a rare and forgotten art.
“As a lifelong artist, woodworking was another outlet of creative expression for me, mixing form and design to create functional pieces.”
It started in woodshop class at his middle school. William became surrounded by power tools, saw dust and all things woodworking; but it wasn’t until he was 19 when he started building furniture. When he was 23, he was designing, building, and repairing furniture for residential and commercial clients around the Central Oklahoma area.
More than 20 years after opening his first shop, William is proud to be Oklahoma’s only full line supplier of handcrafted custom furniture and I mean custom. He sits down with every client and gets an idea of what they’re looking for. Some clients give him free reign over a project.
“I design and engineer all my furniture to withstand two drunk teenagers dancing on it.”
As you enter his shop, there’s a sign that says, “Please allow 6-8 week delivery on all orders”. Behind the shop sits an airplane wing that a client donated to him to be converted into a table. Right when you walk in, there’s an area to the left with an overhead light, and two studio lights. His Nikon D800E is covered in years of saw dust. There’s a method to all this madness.
“We aren’t a large factory pumping out hundreds of pieces, we’re a group a craftsman, that love what we do, and we take great pride in the fact that each piece we build is built with our own hands.”
His furniture has been featured by media outlets like HGTV and House Beautiful. He built and installed every cabinet, table and desk at Cure nail salon in El Paso, Texas. Yet, with so many projects on-deck, he still takes pride in his craft.
As you scroll through his website and social media, there’s multiple videos showcasing his craft. There’s one video in particular that caught my eye. He shows his process of taking a knot out of a table top. He chisels out the knot and disposes of the remaining dead wood. He then proceeds to take a piece of paper over the empty space and color over it. He shapes a piece of wood and glues it into the empty area and sands it down. It’s the small details he captures that shows exactly what happens during the construction process.
“To me, furniture design and construction are still art forms. I take great pride in carrying on the wonderful traditions of putting pencil to paper, sketching ideas, engineering parts, and putting together one of a kind pieces the world has never seen.”
“We source our materials close to home, most from the Oklahoma / Texas region, to help support our local economy.”
William loves giving back to the community. His website has tips on how to treat your furniture. Want to inquire about a dining table but don’t know where to start? He has a guide for that, too. Visit here.