Danny Rogers | Letting the wood speak

Danny Roger with a sample of his collection.

Danny Rogers has always had an eye for unique woodcarvings and has been eager to learn the processes of experienced wood carvers. A couple of years ago, he visited a home décor shop in San Diego and a wall hanging featuring a mirror enveloped in a natural wood border caught his eye. Around that same time, his grandfather passed away leaving behind a plethora of woodworking tools.

“I’m an aesthetic learner, hands on. Each piece of wood is different, unique. I can never find an identical match to it, which really allows the creativity to run wild.”
– Danny Rogers

“Before my grandpa passed away, he painted, made sculptures, taught music in the Bay Area. One of his favorite passions was woodworking, but he never made money off of it,” Rogers says.

“He had 20 to 30 different sets of woodworking tools and about $5,000 of expensive wood that was shipped from all over the world, including large redwood logs. He was kind of a hoarder; his garage was a craziness of sawdust and paintings, sketches. My grandpa was more of a Michelangelo, taking a raw block of wood and chipping away at it until the true figure came out. He was truly talented.”

Rogers inherited a “naval ship, huge machine” of a table saw, a sanding wheel/belt combination that his grandfather created and a woodcarving table with two vice grips perfect for workers to use to carve and whittle away at current projects.

“People make fun of me about my table saw because it’s a tank. When I turn it on, the whole house shakes,” Rogers says.

He took some 20-year-old scrap wood that his grandpa had stashed away, some aspen and pine bark that he found outside of his house, painted wood, a mirror that he found in a Truckee thrift store and composite material to create his own wooden wall hanging inspired by the one he saw in San Diego.

It took him about two to three hours to cut the pieces, then two to three hours the next day to glue them.

Rogers likes to use local wood that’s easily accessible to create rustic-looking pieces. He stains it to bring out the color, flare, texture and layers. In one piece, he shows how the stain brought out tiger stripes, and another that took on a camouflaged look. The end results have become handmade, one-of-a-kind wall mirrors and rustic floating-shelf coat racks that he originally started making for friends and family. He has carried deconstructed pieces in his carry-on bag on a plane and assembled a project once he arrived at his friend’s house.

After his first few floating-shelf coat racks and hanging mirrors encased in natural wood, he started to become more elaborate. He sought out more tongue-and-groove, recycled pieces that would hold a mirror in place better.

In the 10 to 12 pieces he has recently made, he began focusing on depth by adding more bark into the border of the mirror to create a natural, organic look.

“I’m an aesthetic learner, hands on. Each piece of wood is different, unique. I can never find an identical match to it, which really allows the creativity to run wild,” he says. “There’s a lot more forgiveness with wood than in painting or drawing. Wood is malleable. I can make mistakes, but still make it work.” Rogers products can best be described as recycled, local wood art that brings the outdoor Tahoe element into it — although Rogers will say that he thinks of his pieces as coat hangers with more flare. In creating any project, he says his grandpa is always in the back of his mind.

“Every time I find a new piece of wood, I think about what my grandpa would’ve done with it,” he says. “I just want it to be used and enjoyed. If a whole house is designed with this kind of décor, I’d be happy. I like making one-of-a-kind things.” | d-rodge.com