This week between projects we have taken a few hours each day to work with Tony Schonhardt of HEW making the front door handle for a Shanghai architecture office. We are using two beautiful pieces of reclaimed chestnut for each side with the exterior piece being chosen for the character of a large crack in the wood. This crack is rare in the it is the result of what in Japan is known as 入り皮 (i ri ka wa). This is where the tree has begun to form bark but then has more growth rings around that bark as it continues to grow larger. This detail is expressed with a traditional bowtie inlay that one often sees in large tabletops for use in keeping them from spreading with the expansion/contraction of the wood over time. In this case the bowtie (or butterfly as they refer to it in Japan) joint becomes a main structural support in the exterior piece and we have chosen to make it out of brass rather than the common hardwoods that are typically used in this joinery. The brass design is harder and more time consuming to fashion but holds the piece together nicely and should serve to patina beautifully over time with the handle and its use. As people grab or push the handle to enter the office they will be greeted with an excellent example of materials that age beautifully, and the oil from their very hands will do the work of polishing the piece.