Keith A. Miller of K&A Log Furniture in Aberdeen utilizes ancient log construction techniques and a logger's love for forestry to build furnishings that accentuate the natural beauty of the wood.
A Pennsylvania native who spent several years in the logging trade, Miller started K&A in Wisconsin, then moved to Aberdeen fifteen years ago with his wife and kids. He harvests most of the wood he uses from upper Minnesota, as well as the Black Hills, through sustainable harvesting methods.
As a furniture maker and builder, he combines an in-depth knowledge of heritage techniques like tenon-and-mortise joinery with an inventiveness born of necessity. "Log furniture is a growing trade, so there's a lot of tools that you have to make until they become commercially available," says Miller . "I have a ton of tools that I've just sort of made up to make work for an application that I need. Some of them, we can actually make a commercial version and get them produced but for some of them it's just easier to take a couple cheap things that you can find somewhere and just make them work."
Miller makes everything from furniture to log railings, cabins and custom installations for businesses and homes.
SDPB caught up with him at his new shop, presently under construction, to observe his process and hear his take on wood as art.