Author Archives: Robert Apodaca

CAFAM Desk Debut

Tomorrow night the entry desk that the L.A. Box Collective built for the Craft and Folk Art Museum debuts to the public for the first time! It has been over a year in the making but has finally made it from its initial concept sketches to reality. But you didn’t think we’d spoil the surprise, did you? You’ll have to go to the opening to see it in its final form!

Join us at CAFAM for the opening reception for “Social Fabric and Scratching the Surface: Contemporary Wood Sculpture” and also check out the debut of the desk. The opening goes from 6-9pm and admission is $12 (or free if you are a museum member.) If you’d like to see the desk any other time for free just pay a visit to the CAFAM Museum Shop which also happens to be selling some smaller BoxCo pieces.

Desk Progress

It has been a busy summer for all of the BoxCo members but  some time has been made for progress on the new CAFAM front desk. Here’s a quick sneak peek as it sits in Cliff Spencer Furniture’s shop awaiting its top!

CAFAM – the before

Out with the old (desk) and in with the new…

Craft and Folk Art Museum

It’s quite rare indeed that the L.A. BoxCo gets to pool their talents and resources to produce a singular piece, together as a group. We’ve fortunately come across that opportunity with a new design for the entry desk of the Craft and Folk Art Museum across from LACMA on Wilshire. This tiny gem on Museum Row shows some really delightful exhibitions and is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’ve never been there.

Andrew Riiska taking some measurements.

The old desk is currently being demolished with all of its hardware to be repurposed for the future project. The new desk will be a perfect fit for the museum which promotes excellent design and craft, not to mention it will be made locally with sustainable methods.

So check back here to see the desk progress!


Robert Apodaca’s Dunnage Pieces and Process

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Our dunnage score contained a mix of red and white oak. The horizontal part of the organizer is white oak while the feet and upright are red oak. The shallow bowl is first carved with a CNC router. It is … Continue reading

Details Magazine

Congratulations to Andy Riiska, whose Inky and Pac Man tables are in the February issue of DETAILS magazine!

-Robert Apodaca


Happy New Year! As we’ve finished off this holiday season I believe there’s no more appropriate time to talk about leftovers. And I’m not talking about turkey or even stuffing. I believe part of being a good designer is creating with an efficient use of materials. Sure all of us BoxCo members save any scraps in the event that they’ll be perfect for that little piece or detail someday down the road, but I’m talking about some even smaller leftovers: sawdust.

The great thing about working with hard woods is that all your sawdust is natural, meaning there are no preservative chemicals or adhesives in it. That means it’s great for the garden! I’ve recently begun composting with a great little machine from a company called NatureMill.

In addition to food scraps, good compost needs the proper proportion of “brown” material such as leaves and dead plants, or in this case saw dust. (Of which we’ve all got plenty on hand!) With this machine the process happens indoors and with only a lightly earthly aroma when you open the lid to put new scraps in. OK, well, maybe it occasionally smells like dirty socks when you open it, but living in a small apartment doesn’t afford the luxury of a yard. Nor a place for gardening, so for now the compost is given away to some lucky friends!

-Robert Apodaca

A Lofty Approach to Design

Thanks to Lisa Boone and Mary MacVean at the LA Times for the nice mention of the current BoxCo show at Fifth Floor!

So Happy Together

The BoxCo Debut Exhibition has moved from AltBuild and now resides at Fifth Floor in Chinatown.  The reception will be Saturday, June 12th, from 6-9pm.  We hope to see you there!  Also, you can check out some more images of all the pieces here.

BoxCo Installation at Fifth Floor

-Robert Apodaca

BoxCo at Heath LA’s Kristen Wicklund Opening

Last night BoxCo met up at Heath LA‘s  Kristen Wicklund opening.  It was a pleasure to meet amongst her lovely work.

All that could make it.

Beautiful evening to be outside.

Future BoxCo legacy member.

-Robert Apodaca


For me, the holiday season also includes my birthday which I just celebrated yesterday.  This time of year often gets me thinking about my family and how I got where I am, and also how lucky I am to do what I do.  I just finished visiting with my sister, niece and nephew and spending Christmas up at about 5,000 feet  in Payson, Arizona where my parents have lived since retiring 5 years ago.

My mother grew up in München, Germany and her father was a master carpenter.  She remembers fondly the toys that he used to make for she and her sister, but of course these were brought to them on Christmas Eve, not by him, but magically by Christkindl.  However, before Christmas, early in December they had to make it through a visit from Saint Nicklaus who is much less benign than his doughy American counterpart.  If you were a naughty child in Bavaria, he and his servant, Knecht Ruprecht, would steal you away in a sack!  So, my mom and her sister would wait for them in anguish (mostly my mom since she was the naughty one) as their heavy footsteps slowly ascended the stairs with their chains and possible child abducting attaché!  They’d then have to sing a song or recite a poem to make up for their misdeeds and if they were lucky they’d receive some candy, a cookie, or an apple.

My father grew up in New Mexico and it was said of his father that he could make or fix anything.  It is now established that with these two Grandfathers in my lineage I’m in pretty good shape to be building things.  My parents’ property is covered with an assortment logs and interesting rocks my dad has collected, which he says someday he’ll make into lamps and tables and benches. But what with all the golfing to be done these days the projects never seem to get finished! At least he has got his own priorities straight, and he too sees the value in saving these things from the landfill. He is also part of the Firewise committee so he is diligent about clearing the vicinity of flammable trees, which leaves me with more manzanita branches that he brings me than I know what to do with.  One of these days I’ll have to haul back some larger bits of his collection to make some of these projects for him.

I’m thankful for my family and the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to inherit a love for making things and working with my hands.  I hope everyone else has had an opportunity to reflect on fond memories this Holiday Season and wish everyone a very happy and productive New Year!  And so begins my 33rd.

-Robert Apodaca