Mrs. Bowen took all of the love out of the English language for us in 7th grade.
RAIL YARD STUDIOS | SHOW YOUR WORK
Mr. Womack didn’t teach art, he gave it a stage.
Tucked away in a corner of the campus in a small building, the arts deserved a better and more prominent venue. Over the course of his career, he installed the arts as a central piece of the curriculum and the campus.
Ours is an art. It is comprised of many different disciplines like math, history and science, but art draws on each of the disciplines in unique ways. Our efforts manifest in the form of furniture crafted like the Knuckle Desk (pictured here) crafted from century old rail.
People tell us they love the history of what we do. That they love the craftsmanship and the designs.
We enjoy giving our work a stage.
RAIL YARD STUDIOS | SCIENCE
Mr. Novak was infamous for blowing things up and starting fires as our Introduction to Science teacher. In all fairness, we students were responsible, but he was the common denominator.
To his credit, Mr. Novak gave us the opportunity to experiment, and in exchange, we lent ever more credence to his legend. He taught us to never stick our nose over a beaker when using smell to identify its contents – always wave a hand over it toward your face to pull the smell in.
As we selected the finishes for our products, those words came back and we took advantage of measurable qualities like VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) to determine the most eco-friendly stains and finishes.
At Rail Yard Studios, we go to great lengths to be sure we don’t set any fires or blow anything up, and just to be safe, we wear our ventilators to protect us from the fumes.
Lesson learned, Mr. Novak.
RAIL YARD STUDIOS | HISTORY
Coach Tommy Owen was a legend on the football field, but his day gig was teaching history, and that’s what put Rail Yard Studios in motion.
If only steel could speak, oh the stories it would tell. Much of it has carried livestock, building materials and even loved ones and munitions during wartime. We know where it began its life and where it ended and we do our best to help it tell its own story.
We scour our stock for the rail for the best looking and most interesting brands because those speak to us of when and where the rail was manufactured – in the Carnegie Steel Mills of Pennsylvania or the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company in Birmingham, Alabama. They even tell us the month and year of manufacture. After that, it’s often difficult to say exactly where the could have been other than it’s last point of service which we faithfully document and record on each piece we use.
At the end of the day, we don’t make history, we just make something of it.
RAIL YARD STUDIOS | GEOMETRY
Coach Regen taught geometry and that’s about as close as math gets to art. In fact, we draw on those deeply ingrained and well-learned lesson on complementary angles and how to calculate the distance of the third side of a triangle pretty much every single day at Rail Yard Studios.
Crossties start out at 150 pounds, but a few well-placed perpendicular cuts will knock them down into more manageable pieces. Carefully considered angles shave even more weight, as we shape the sections into the recognizable form of a leg.
The raw edge on a crosstie timber is never square, straight, perpendicular or any other geometry-worthy term implying consistency – unless they’ve added inconsistent or undulating as an official definitive term since we were in school.
Nature just doesn’t age in a straight line, so we wind up having to put one on it. We plane surface flat where we can - places like the undersides of the timber, which won’t be seen. It gives us an edge we makes for a neat and secure assembly.
There’s a decided art in achieving a straight line, and it only sounds simple to define it as the shortest distance between two point.
Stacks of raw untreated cross ties waiting to become furniture at Rail Yard Studios. Follow along this week to see how this becomes furniture like this:
Graffiti Switchpoint Desk | Rail Yard Studios
Call it art, or call it vandalism, graffiti adds color to the world we live in. Whether it’s a commuter train pulling into the subway stop in Manhattan or boxcar rambling across the plains or Kansas, the multicolor spray-painted murals roll along as an integral part of the railroad.
Our most progressive desk, the Switchpoint seemed a natural candidate for adding some urban style. With angled legs made from salvaged century-old steel rails combined with rescued and eco-friendly crossties, the Switchpoint calls to mind the sleek raked back designs of a locomotive at speed.
The desktop is entire hand painted and one of a kind. The rail is certified century old steel still bearing the brands that identify its month and year of manufacture. We finished it off with a date nail to individually number and catalog the piece as a one of a kind heirloom. A certificate supplied to its owner, testifies to the authenticity of the materials and is guaranteed by our signature.
Pull the tracks up and make them a table - that was the general idea in our most popular design, the Sleepers Coffee Table. We did this one up as an experiment to see if we could pull off the two-tone stain effect. We think we did.
Believe it or not, you can still own this one. Check it out on our website or give us a call at 615-309-0038.
So we had an idea for our first time at ICFF in New York May 17-20…how about a graffiti top for some of our tables. So we got a well-credentialled graffiti artist and asked him to give us a hand. We’ll have some completed shots in a couple of days before we ship this one off to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in a couple of weeks and check it out in person!
We’re really proud of this one. It’s our Scrapyard Tabench (yeah, we made that up). It takes its name from the fact that it works well as a table or as a bench.
The timber is a rescued oak crosstie - never treated with creosote, it is finished with an eco-friendly light stain to bring out the grain.
A loosely formed pile of used spikes diverted from the scrapyard run forms the base and gives a subtle hint of complexity in an otherwise simple design.
It’s available now, but probably not for long. If this one grabs your attention, reach out to us quickly.