An engineer by education, designer by disposition and an adventurer at heart, Ad Sachan finds life exciting when he is getting to build things better. Coming by way of socially and environmentally conscious businesses, Ad is the instigator behind Treeline Woodworks, a custom furniture manufacturer based in Los Angeles. On a typical day, you can find him downing endless cups of coffee doing anything from designing the next piece, to locating the next source of lumber, to exploring newer markets.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Special Powers: Never met a dog he couldn’t be friends with.
Interesting Fact: Has cycled across the nation 3 times.
Favorite Band: Hank Williams + Jimmie Rodgers.
Meet Monte Martella, creator of Martellas, a collection of made-to-order, custom art flags painted on uniquely crafted wine barrels. They paint everything from state flags, to country flags, and more. “Some of the coolest designs we have made are family crests.”
Hometown: Livermore, California
Special Powers: Connecting with teenagers.
Interesting Fact: Monte has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is also a Special Education Teacher.
Favorite Band: Metaillica
Designer Meets Factory
Maker’s Row: How did you meet your manufacturer or designer?
Martellas: It was difficult to find someone that could make my product, and when I searched on Maker’s Row for wood product manufacturers I found and called Ad. I was shocked when he said he could build my product. I ended up flying down to LA to meet with him. He took me on a tour of his place,we grabbed lunch, and we got to walk through the process of making the Wine Barrel American Flag.
Treeline Woodworks: I got a phone call from Monte, I don’t even think we emailed beforehand. He asked me if I could make his flags, and I said something along the lines of “I don’t see why not.” I started sourcing his wine barrels right away and gave him a call when I had them. His persistence and prompt communication put me at ease because you never really know with starting brands. Him flying out to see our operation was the icing on the cake. I always recommend doing that at the beginning of a new partnership.
Maker’s Row: What materials do you use?
Martellas: Wine barrel staves, wine barrel rings, and lots of paint.
Treeline Woodworks: We specialize in reclaiming and working with salvaged woods. We do metal work as well and we use specifically US steel.
Maker’s Row: How do you find your materials?
Martellas: I call local wineries and purchase used wine barrels from them.
Treeline Woodworks: I reclaim lumber from all over the US. Any thing from old barns, factories, homes, public parks or just fences being taken down. It started with me driving a pickup truck around Los Angeles and scouting out construction sites. The more I did that, the more we got connected with contractors and they would give us a heads up on the next location. The more we did that, the more they realized we were serious and would start bringing the lumber to us. Right now, our network of contractors is nationwide.
Maker’s Row: What tools, machinery, and processes do you use?
Martellas: I lay out the design of the staves that would best fit the image the customer is requesting. I then outline what the customer wants on the design. That can be simply taping off lines, or require me to sketch on it. I then paint the image onto the staves. To connect the stave,on the back, I run two metal strips down the back and screw them into the staves. The metal strips are the rings from the wine barrel.
Treeline Woodworks: My business partner, John Mahroukian, always says, “I believe in machinery.” The right tools make it all happen. People will never be completely out of the picture, especially in woodworking. I mean, in a way, all machines were first handmade. We have a fair share of them here at Treeline and it’s good to have a completely different set of tools with 20 feet of each other that allows us to say yes (more often than not) to a new request.
Typically a new project starts with me and the client sitting down and clarifying all aspects of the project, figuring out the non-negotiables in the design, dimensions and final look. Once we establish that, I pick the material that will best fit the project and have a quick meeting with my shop leads and letting them do what they love. With each set of new eyes, the design get refined and construction better. At the end of it all, we have a perfectly good thing and a happy client.
Maker’s Row: Why did you choose to use Maker’s Row?
Martellas: I chose Maker’s Row because it’s extremely difficult to find manufactures to work with. I searched and searched. I never got a call back, or factories simply did not want to make my product. Maker’s narrowed down my search, and I saw the Treeline Woodworks was close to home, so I called. It has been working for us ever since. I would like to keep the product US made for the sake of our country, and if I can contribute to the economy in a positive way, it just makes sense to do so.
Maker’s Row: What do you love about Maker’s Row?
Martellas: I love how it brought all the manufacturers to one page and at your finger tips. The site is very user friendly, and it did not make me feel threatened by any manufacturer.
Treeline Woodworks: Maker’s Row is doing a great job of making manufacturers look sexy. It’s not a glorious job most of the time but makers are the backbone of any brand, new or established. I was excited to finally see a platform with a bit of finesse that made manufacturers a bit more relatable and approachable to designers and brands.
Maker’s Row: What are you working on next?
Martellas: We are working on figuring out cost effective ways to create any wine barrel flag we have.
Treeline Woodworks: So much that I need to slow down. We always come up with a lot of great ideas, but every so often we need to calm each other down and finish the ones that came to us a little earlier.
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