Introducing the Vessel

Introducing the Vessel

Vessel Walnut Cherry Maple rows


The Vessel, our latest wood creation.  Available in walnut, cherry, and maple.

Summer is for Sketching

Summers at Kerf include lots of barbecue, balsawood airplanes, and music festivals.  Fall comes with new phones, and as a phone case company, that means we’re hard at work through the holidays making our signature cases for the latest offerings from Apple and Google.  So during the summer months, we like to take time to relax, and brainstorm, and find inspiration for new things to make.

iPad Pro Skin Production
Plus, when we're finishing a batch of iPad skins, we can watch Arrested Development.

As a full-service wood shop with an arsenal of CNC machines, there aren’t too many practical limits on what we can create.  We don’t see ourselves as only a phone case company, but our main creative constraint is that whatever we make must be true to the Kerf brand: natural materials, crafted by hand with smart application of technology, and expertly designed.

Today, we are pleased to show you the first fruit of our summertime brainstorming.  It’s called the Vessel.

Wood Vessel Pencil Case
Looks great in pairs!

We’re Branching Out.

We’ve been working with wood veneer for a while, making iPad skins and structural elements of our cases from it.  A few months ago, we began playing around with scoring veneer and folding it into geometric patterns, with promising results.

I’ve always been fascinated with the bending properties of wood,” says Ben Saks, KerfCase founder and lead designer.   “From steam bending in furniture to building complex balsa wood airplanes, I have used wood in many surprising ways.”


Balsawood airplane
Ben's model airplane enthusiasm served as a direct inspiration for the Vessel.

Earlier this summer, we teamed up with Pittsburgh restaurant Superior Motors on a creative new take on presenting the end-of-meal check.  Superior Motors is hyperfocused on sourcing their food from local sources, most of it from the farm down the street, and they took a similar approach to sourcing the materials they needed to run their restaurant.  During our discussions, we centered on a container concept made from folded wood, and ultimately the Vessel was born.

At Superior Motors, you pay for your meal in style.

By folding the patterned wood around on itself over a rigid skeleton, we fashioned a beautiful and sturdy container that can be used to accent a variety of spaces.  

“I had been testing fabric backed veneer for the past few years and came up with a unique way to create hidden seams when rolling and folding the laminate,” Saks says, on the design process.  "The breakthrough came with parametric modeling in Fusion 360, which allowed us to design a rib and monocoque system. The system is scalable, and intuitive to assemble in production.”

Vessel pencil case wood candle holder planter
Imagine a candle in the one on the left!

A Vessel for Every Occasion

Most of us don’t need to present bills to satisfied diners on a regular basis, but the Vessel works wonderfully out of the box as a pencil holder.  We discovered by accident that with the addition of a glass insert, you can easily turn the Vessel into a votive holder or a small planter.  We’re sure that our creative customers will find even more clever uses for the Vessel, and we’re looking forward to hearing about all of them!'

Today, the Vessel goes on sale.  You can purchase it here, and we are happy to answer any questions you have.

Vessel wood votive candle holder pencil case succulent planter
After the portraits, we told the Vessels to do a crazy pose.

We’re extremely excited to finally be showing you what we’ve been hard at work on this year, and we can’t wait for you to show it off!  Choose from dark walnut, shimmering cherry, or curly maple.  Larger sizes will be available soon.  Let us know what you think!