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Man Over Board

Self-taught craftsman Michael Moody transforms wood into innovative artisan furnishings.

By John Roark| Photography by Carl Schultz

At a young age, woodworking provided a welcome distraction—and a safe refuge—for Michael Moody. “Because I was the youngest of three boys, I was always the one who got picked on,” he recalls. “I found ways to exclude myself from my brothers and do things they didn’t like to do. Building was part of that.”

A metalworker by trade, Moody’s grandfather would retrieve oak beams used for transporting steel at his job site. Perched on a step stool in the family’s woodshed, young Michael watched the rough, salvaged wood be transformed into wondrous objects. “My grandpa would take these old beat-up planks, plane and sand them down, and make amazing things with them,” Moody says. “He encouraged me to build, explore and create. What I learned from him has always been with me.”

Moody’s creativity was rekindled when his wife, Constance Bradley, was shopping online for furniture to outfit her expanding Scottsdale acupuncture practice. “Michael told me he could build anything I needed and make it better than what I could find anywhere else,” Bradley recalls.

Michael Moody at his workshop, amid lumber he will transform into custom furniture.

The Copper State desk represents a bird’s-eye view of the desert reimagined as functional art. Spalted maple with glass accented by copper bow tie inlays. 30″H by 60″L by 30″W.

The craftsman set to work designing and constructing a live-edge desk of solid Mediterranean olive wood, as well as a waiting room coffee table, side tables and shelving for treatment rooms. He supplemented his existing knowledge, skills and natural engineering talent through Google and YouTube searches. “I had no idea how much goes into making a table,” he confesses. “I thought you slapped it together relatively easily and then you were done. Woodworking is like chess. You have to be thinking many steps ahead to achieve the desired result.”

The finished pieces quickly captured the attention of Bradley’s patients, many of whom asked where they came from. As orders began flooding in, Michael Madley Furniture Design (“Madley” is a portmanteau of the couple’s last names) was founded and has quickly developed a discerning word-of-mouth clientele that appreciates Moody’s unique designs and precise craftsmanship.

The craftsman set to work designing and constructing a live-edge desk of solid Mediterranean olive wood, as well as a waiting room coffee table, side tables and shelving for treatment rooms. He supplemented his existing knowledge, skills and natural engineering talent through Google and YouTube searches. “I had no idea how much goes into making a table,” he confesses. “I thought you slapped it together relatively easily and then you were done. Woodworking is like chess. You have to be thinking many steps ahead to achieve the desired result.”

The finished pieces quickly captured the attention of Bradley’s patients, many of whom asked where they came from. As orders began flooding in, Michael Madley Furniture Design (“Madley” is a portmanteau of the couple’s last names) was founded and has quickly developed a discerning word-of-mouth clientele that appreciates Moody’s unique designs and precise craftsmanship.

Made of rare ginkgo wood and supported by a brass plate leg, the midcentury modern-inspired Dragon Tree dining table measures 30″H by 84″W by 42″D.

This waterfall table/bench combines live-edge Indian rosewood and brushed copper hairpin legs. 28″H by 66”W by 18″D.

“Michael is a modest, gifted young man with a rare eye for detail,” says Valley rug retailer David Adler, who commissioned Moody to build a dining room table for his own home. The piece, made from a single slab of solid red oak, was a collaboration between the two men, explains Adler. “I was very specific about what I wanted, and Michael invited my input,” he says. “I had the same dining table for more than 30 years and never gave it a thought. Every day I look at what Michael created and I appreciate it.”

While he specializes in tables, Moody welcomes every new opportunity, from cabinets and desks to countertops and paneling. His furniture integrates copper, brass and glass and, oftentimes, woods that have been salvaged right here in the Valley. “Ash and eucalyptus are probably the two biggest trees that grow here,” he says, “and they’re perfect for the large pieces I like to build. We’ve also got acacia, mesquite, Indian rose wood, pine and olive. You never know what you’re going to get until you slice the wood and expose it. Each is stunning in its own way.”

After only one year in business, Moody has projects on the books that will keep him busy for many months to come. “It doesn’t feel like work,” he says. “I love putting things together. For me, the process is like muddy water becoming clear. At first the lumber is raw and dirty and kind of ugly. From all the chaos comes beauty.”

Created for Valley rug retailer David Adler, the Leid dining table’s solid red oak slab crowns a black powder-coated steel base. 30″H by 96″W by 42″D.

Supply and Demand

Initially, procuring quality lumber and finding a custom metalsmith presented Moody’s biggest obstacles. “I didn’t know where to find choice wood slabs here in the Valley, or where I could have the metal components made,” he says. After trying different avenues—including outsourcing his metalwork to Poland—he came across the ideal solution.

Located in a dusty industrial patch on the outskirts of Sky Harbor International Airport, a small family-owned compound includes Wine Glass Bar Sawmill, which is co-owned by cousins Rex Condi and LeVor Smith. Rex’s son, Mike Condie, owns and operates the adjacent metal shop, Conrex Inc., which specializes in welding, design, plasma cutting and custom fabrication.

Moody now does most of his work in a large rented shed in the compound. “It was a gold mine to find this place,” he says. “When I am looking for lumber, I walk out my door and find almost anything I need. And having Mike right there to make my table bases is awesome. He can create anything I throw at him.”

Mike Condie (left) and Moody review sketches for an upcoming collaboration.

Rex Condie (left) and Moody inspect a freshly milled Indian rosewood log.

Log On

When a tree falls in the Valley, Rex Condie and LaVor Smith hear about it. They are frequently the first to be called by arborists to salvage the lumber before it is relegated to the dump or a landfill.

“Trees come down in storms, are victims of disease or need to be removed for other reasons,” says Smith. “This is valuable wood that can be milled, dried and live on as something else.”

In 2019, the mill, which can accommodate logs up to 16 feet in length and 3 feet in diameter and, was awarded platinum certification by the City of Phoenix Green Business Leader program, which recognizes and promotes businesses that operate in a more environmentally responsible manner through sustainable actions.

“We’ve been told by arborists that as many as 30 trees come down every day in the Valley,” says Condie. “We wish we could save them all.”

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