Commissions by Mike Childs

Woodworking Oakland 1976 - 1980

When I arrived in Oakland, all I had were my hand tools. Having sold all my big, heavy equipment before I moved, I had no money to buy anything, so I borrowed tools and shop space, and went to work. The first project was remodeling a house in Berkeley. The jobs included sealing a skylight 3 stories up, refinishing a floor, building a cabinet/enclosure with custom shutter in a kitchen, hot tarring a roof, and more. The second project was building a hand cart for a sidewalk flower vendor, including steel bands on wooden wheels. A variety of jobs followed: covering walls and ceiling with redwood, wine racks, custom traveling cases for color consultants, an oak mantle with hand carved calligraphy, a tiled Roman tub bathroom complete with plumbing, electrical, floor and walls, a salad bar shaped like a boat, moldings and glass for the deckhouse of the largest wooden boat built in the Bay Area in recent history. To qualify for a position that was opening up at Laney, I received a certificate to teach woodworking at community colleges


Defiance Windows A


A Roman tub for a large man with a bad back. It was an outdoor space that had been roofed over. My partner and I did the rest: floor, plumbing, walls, and ceiling. I designed and built the tub using plywood covered with epoxy and Spanish tiles. I also tiled the walls and ceiling above and surrounding the tub.

The windows for the deckhouse of this 70' fishing boat were difficult to make. The strips above and below them, inside and outside, were 28' laminations of three layers of mahogany, requiring roughly 1500 screws.

The cabinet was custom made for the kitchen to create storage and to hide a water heater. The linoleum floor was pulled up, sanded and refinished. New linoleum was laid. Salvaged weathered wood laid in a herring-bone pattern formed one wall. I worked on that house for 3 months.




This job was so large that I farmed it out to five other woodworkers. It's the complete furnishings for a hobby shop in Danville, CA. I designed it with fir and pine plywood, with hardware, sliding glass hardware and locks from a well known supplier to ensure it met commercial standards.


"Salad Bar" built for the Via Veneto, a restaurant in Oakland, out of recycled wood, plywood, and plastic laminate.


The job also included laminate covered fixtures for the bathrooms


A new deck and windshield for a older powerboat. Lots of tricky angles and curves

Case Standing Complete

Two identical travel cases for color consultants, stackable for negotiating airports, with felt covered trays secured with wing nuts to keep the swatches from moving,

Case Showing Folded Leg

detachable legs that fit under the bottom drawer and either recessed pulls or flush handles in order to fit into the snug,

Case Stacked Opened

custom, fiberglassed boxes.

Marin - 1980 to Present

We moved to Marin County in 1980 where I ran workshops on true love and friendship. A few years later, I dissolved the organization. Instead of wearing ashes and a sackcloth, I became a peddlar, then a rep for a wholesale auto parts distributor. A year later, I started my own company which I ran for 23 years, during which time I learned to tell stories and developed materials for the screenplays I later wrote.

In 1993, I re-entered woodworking when I bought a wooden 1907 tugboat that needed a lot of work. I lived onboard with my two sons until we moved back on land and I started an art career in 1997. I had to choose between a woman-art career, or a boat. I sold the boat in 2000.


"Catalina", built in Oakland in 1907, one of the oldest boats on the Bay. 50' long, it was big and heavy and beautiful. I replaced the planks in the


stern (back), some side planks, the entire canopy, the forward cabin, eliminated the rust spots, got the head (toilet)


to work, the holding tanks, the sinks, fresh water pump, hot water heater, battery charger, etc.

The art market dropped so I went into being a handyman/carpentry/woodworker. My first job was a houseboat roof repair and a space for a 12' cabinet. One job led to another.

Sandi's Credenza Full View

Sandis Left Drawer

Sandis Bed

Sandi's cabinet had to fit inside a gap where the tiles ended and be perfectly flush with the window sill. The drawers had to be as large as possible. The right hand area had to be exactly 12" high to accommodate her vacuum, the other side, her hi-fi. And, by the way could we make a sliding bed under the top for a guest bed? This meant making it out of a hardwood, solid cherry instead of redwood. And how about hand made pulls instead of the usual knobs? More problems: the floor was curved and I had to build it in her living room because it was a houseboat with ramps, docks and water surrounding it; it also had to be light enough to be picked up and dropped into the slot. It turned out to be a perfect fit. One rap of the mallet (rubber hammer), and it lined up prefectly. The customer still wasn't happy.