by Kelsey Keith
The title "woodworker" might be a misnomer for the talented Michael Moran, working out of Charleston, South Carolina.
Not only does he scout felled trees—with the help of area historical foundations and the City Parks Department—he mills the wood upstate, custom designs each piece, then constructs the finished product without the use of hardware, stains or harmful finishes. Moran crafts even the largest sideboard or dining table by himself, greatly minimizing people who touch the wood on its journey from ground to home. It's the antithesis of factory-produced merchandise, thoroughly modern and organic in design.
Most of Moran's work in the past four years has been devoted to commissions (kitchen installation pictured above right), though one can find about twenty ready-made pieces in his shop in the historic Upper King Street district of Charleston. Black walnut has been extremely popular, as well as rough-hewn slabs of Peruvian walnut and cherry, as seen in the coffee table with hand-turned legs at top left.
Up next, he's readying two enormous chunks of tulip poplar from the estate at Monticello and a 2,000 year-old live oak tree trunk from a plantation outside of Charleston.