It's finally Autumn! I'm fairly busy in the shop, working time is 2 weeks prior to ship.
It's finally Autumn! I'm fairly busy in the shop, working time is 2 weeks prior to ship.
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About

Isaac sitting

Isaac Hurst

Modern Ethic LLC is Modern Danish style plywood furniture made by Isaac Hurst, working out of a shop in the county outside of Bellingham, WA.

My story:
Just out of college I made my first furniture piece, it was a garage sale coffee table which I cut in two and then re-glued at a new angle.  I was proud of it then, even if it wasn’t very functional.  I found other used cabinets and objects that I could refinish as well.  During the time I was working as a graphic designer for a large national company and needed the outlet that furniture provided as a way to use my physical energy.  I made a bunch of pieces out of upcycled items that were interesting and different but nothing of very high quality.

Next I took a job doing CNC programming for an even bigger global aerospace company.  Through doing this I began to understand the power of a reliable programmable tool like a CNC in a manufacturing environment.  I moved from programming to engineering and spent five years designing airline furniture from a CAD workstation.  Part of the design process was walking downstairs and talking to the people building the pieces I had designed.  Having the feedback loop was invaluable toward training me to design in a way that made things buildable. 

I knew I needed to get out of the big company.  Since leaving college I had spent the last 11 years working in a cubicle and I wanted a shot working for a small company, a place where my contributions would be felt more directly.  I found an architecture company which specialized in northwest modern eco-friendly design.  It seemed like a good fit, and it was.  I enjoyed three years working for them doing CAD modeling and drafting for custom homes.  I enjoyed the work but I was always drawing furniture on my spare time. I began to build Modern Ethic on the side during the evening and weekends. 

CNC in workThe biggest hurdle was the expensive tool I needed, a CNC machine.  They are 15-50K new and at the time I really wasn’t aware of the used options that might be available.  I began to read forums online about building one.  After reviewing other people’s designs I began to feel that it was something I could do. 

It took about 6 months of work to get a rough functioning machine entirely of my own design. Building a maple cut chair I ordered the parts from all over the world. Most of the steel I got locally and welded myself. The final challenge was designing and wiring the computer box and spindle control. 

With the machine working I began designing my first product, my Maple Cut Chair.  The prototypes were for my house, and when the design was mature enough I began to offer it to others. The company has grown from that point and now I make a variety of interior items.


My personality:

I am an enthusiast for doing.  I want to make it, I want to build it, I want a say in how everything looks and is.  My first inclination is to design a tool or machine before buying one. I have made nearly every piece of furniture that I own.  I love mental thought challenges and solving hard design problems. 
I am a slow thinker.  I don't like to be rushed or play speed games.  I try to make a cup of coffee last as long as possible.  I like hard problems and having enough time to consider all the possible solutions.

Modern Ethic LLC

I did my first year as a sole proprietorship but recently I’ve incorporated Modern Ethic into an LLC as it has become my full time job.  I work alone in my shop and build everything you see offered. I also offer my work on the Etsy marketplace here. 

Eco-Friendly

I make my products from plywood made here in the Northwest.   I finish everything with the lowest VOC finishes I can source. I try to source external parts like inserts and screws and dowels from American companies who manufacture their products here.  I ship in all paper based packaging to reduce the use of plastics and foam.
You can read more details here.

Enjoying making

I like being involved in the process.  Making and doing everything. I take pride in the work that I do and the products that I make. I don't ship something unless I'm happy with it.  I test everything on myself and when it's cool enough I make it available to you.  Check out what I'm making now in the shop. 

Short Documentary
My friend Keith came out to my shop and shot a short film where I spend some time sharing about what led me to building furniture and about the collection of beliefs I have about ethical woodworking. This is the full version, the short two minute recap is on my front page.