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A Word on Wood + Sustainability

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The idea behind Ruphus is to make fine objects that last, but also to replace cheap, throw away items – to behave responsible. And while we're not stuck on titles we firmly believe in doing our part to ensure that our processes + our wood is sustainable.

All our bamboo is Leed-certified sustainable. Some of our walnut is locally sourced, urban salvaged wood. The plywood we use for the podpad is called Appleply, made locally (in Eugene, OR) and is NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde). We dismantle houses and re-use what we can, repurposing 100 year old fir beams into cabinets, furniture and trim for new projects. Not all of our wood is currently considered sustainable, but we are always looking into more options and hope to find sources for all of our products. 

 

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The Word is Out

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We've slowly been appearing in blogs, magazines + various publications over the past few months + wanted to say thanks for the all the good words + feedback. Keep in mind we've only had Ruphus rolling for 5 months now + even though we've been working on the products for years it takes time to get back to everyone.

We are super excited about all the ideas + have been working diligently to incorporate a few new things into the mix. Over the course of the spring and summer we will be putting together a few pieces that should catch some eyes.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to drop a line + let us know what is working for you. What do you foresee in your future that requires a good wood solution? Does a Podpad in a custom size figure into your plans? What about some desktop organization?

Here are a few of our fav links + reviews in case you missed 'em. 

wiredtreehugger, werd, + Coolhunting

 

What they are saying...

Podpad is almost as thin as Kelly Ripa.
— the SpareFoot Blog
All I have to say is wow. The Slim Wood Rack/Fender is the reason we like good design and wood. It goes to show that when you understand materials such as Ruphus design does, you can craft just about anything.
— lumberjac.com
...the purposefully-designed rear-wheel fenders are too clever and practical to gloss over.
— coolhunting.com
[the Podpad is] the Murphy bed of desks.
— supercompressor.com

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NEW RELEASE - the Piggyback Dockit

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With the holidays just around the corner we're excited to announce a special edition new release just in time. The brand new Piggyback Dockit is a natural extension of our popular Dockit iPhone stand but it lives ON your iMac, Cinema Display or monitor. This all-bamboo piece houses + charges your iPhone 4 or 5 + neatly keeps your headphones inline tidying up your desktop like nothing else.

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A limited number will be available for sale this weekend at one of Portland's best holiday events, Gifted from Portland Made. Come swing by ADX Friday night or Saturday + see the entirety of our line as well as the new Piggyback Dockit. Celebrate + shop locally!

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What's In a Name?

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In 2011, I (Matt) decided to take some product design classes at the University of Oregon to get a fresh look at how modern products are made. I had been designing and building houses and additions and was frustrated with the building industry’s general avoidance of technology and automation. Houses in this country are primarily still built the way they were 100 years ago; stick by stick, cut on site, in a slow and sometimes dangerous, outdoor environment. It can be an inefficient and often inaccurate process, as computer-drawn designs are then rendered on paper and re-interpreted on a job site. PreFab housing had been a passion of mine for years, but I knew I wouldn't be able to jump in until I had a better understanding of the technologies available.

So back to school I went, to learn about manufacturing processes and the new materials, combined with the powerful design technologies already out there. I learned about metals and plastics, injection molding, lost wax cast molding, rapid prototyping, among many others.

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Through those courses, I was inspired to purchase a CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) router to begin the quest to automate my shop so I could produce more precise and efficient projects. The design freedom it afforded me sent me in a frenzy, designing and fabricating products I could have only dreamed about before. I was finally able to create a design and quickly generate that exact form, and then repeat it with precision at whatever quantities I desired. Within no time I had product ideas and prototypes strewn about my shop. And a new company was born; Ruphus was on the map with a small product line. And I will continue to add to the line with products that help make people's lives easier, and add a little beauty and joy.

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I will also take this knowledge and bring it back to the Design/Build side of the company, Raphael Design. I am currently working on two, separate house designs which are planned to be factory-built, here in Portland, and then transported as modules to their sites. It's exciting to be able to take this new-found manufacturing experience from the microcosm of a product line to the application of a full-scale building. 

In fact, Ruphus, the name, came about as I was designing a tiny folding house, 12 of which could fit in a cargo container and be shipped off to serve as temporary housing during a disaster relief effort. This is architecture as product; more furniture than custom house. And as a product, it needed a name. So Raphael House was shortened to RaphHaus and eventually to the more playful, Ruphus. 

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Podpad

We were fortunate enough to be part of a fantastic local auction recently for WaterWatch. One of our popular Podpads was in the mix + generated quite a fierce bidding war. Good to be on the right side of things, especially during the holiday season. Hope you can find a way to contribute to your community as well.

On the Podpad front, we have top secret changes in the works + a few hints pictured here. One is the obvious visible change (graphic) on the front. We're really excited about the possibilities here, look for more details + formats coming soon.

The second change is directed at rockin' another sense with help from our good friends at Case of Bass. It's all here in the shop + we'll be releasing it soon. In the meantime, stay warm + Happy Holidays.

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Custom Orders!

Bring the beauty and function of a Ruphus product into your life at any scale. We collaborate with teams and businesses to provide unforgettable custom crafted gifts, prizes, client fare and more. Simply let us know which piece of our line catches your eye and what we can do to make it fit your needs. 

A perfect example is the Dockit - along with a whimsical lesson from the world of outdoor sports Ruphus can place your logo on our bamboo iPhone dock. That logo can be engraved or laser cut, or we can create a custom image that integrates with the cord design. Similarly, our PodPad is a stunning custom piece with personal photos, artwork or nearly any design custom cut into or printed directly on the wood itself.

Let us know how we can help put some wow in your business and we’ll happily oblige.

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Metrofiets

We’ve had the good fortune to connect with the great folks over at Metrofiets, the local manufacturer of incredible cargo bikes. We do all their wood components, and help customize their options.

Along with a steady supply of standard cargo boxes, including the classy logo work carved into the side and back, we have created a clever bench option that stows away onboard when not in use. 

We’ve made custom boxes for an ice cream delivery guy in Miami, and a cupcake maker in Canada, and even one for a pug! Currently we are dreaming up a few more, like a picnic set with table and seating for 6 and room for the cooler, grill and the umbrella. Or maybe a pedal-powered photo booth. Stay tuned.

 

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Euro Famous

Days after our debut at the Oregon Handmade Bike Show the good folks from the Dutch Cyclists Union (where else!) got in touch about our designs. They had a handful of great questions for us + proceeded to give us a thumbs up on their online magazine Vogelvrije Fietser. The article with images is called Slim: spatbord met beugelslot - great read.

Needless to say we're excited about the European exposure + look forward to a research trip across the pond soon. More from Sweden as well as slightly Euro Hong Kong out now too.

 

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NEW WEBSITE


With the birth of Ruphus we've been working diligently on our goods + getting everything in the shop humming along smoothly. The downside was an online presence to match that we hadn't quite gotten to yet. 

Well, we're happy to announce that we finally have a new site live + ready for your perusal; www.ruphus.net has everything you need from us including our line of goods, a wee bit of history, images + contact info.  

We'll obviously be expanding over time in terms of the material presented working into videos soon + even sporting more graphics + behind the scenes sketching + prototyping. If you'd like to be on our list of friends we reach out to from time to time then drop a line + let us know.

In the meantime, enjoy + make nice.

 

Matt + Heath

 

 

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Woodsman

Heirloom quality, that you can ride.

With our latest wood bike, the Woodsman, we have created wood and steel beauty designed to be your go-to urban bike. Every wood bike needs steel for the connection to the components, and most try to hide that steel behind intricate joinery. We decided to show it off and make it distinct from the wood part. The wood can then be left to do what it does best on a bike, absorb vibrations.

By laminating 11 layers of canadian maple with a two-part marine-grade epoxy (similar to skateboard manufacturing), we are able to create complex geometries with out joinery and with the grain always running the same direction as the "tubes." By varying the width and number of laminates, and by including layers of carbon fiber in the lay-ups, we can vary the amount of stiffness and spring for each bike.

We've designed it to be fun to ride and simple to maintain. A 2-speed, automatic-shifting hub and a coaster break eliminate the need for any cables and frees you up to dart in and out of traffic. An integrated walnut fender keeps you dry elegantly, and a matching glove box stows your wallet, phone and keys. 

The Woodman is a working prototype, and we are riding and testing it and working on variations. It is not yet available to the public, but we hope it will be soon. Please contact us if you like to be kept aware of our progress.

Take a look at the gallery to see our previous wood bike examples.

 

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Design Week PDX

Ever wish you could score a super fly, one-of-a-kind boom box? Well, now you have a friend in the bass business - Case of Base. And to a certain extent, Ruphus too. For Design Week Portland we put together this masterpiece with a nod to the man himself, DaVinci.

Mona is a fully functional phone based radio/speaker system in the style of boomboxes of the heyday of the early 80's. And she's a pannier as well! We were excited to put this together for an auction that Ezra at Case of Bass put together at Hellion Gallery. In his words,

We are giving 20 local designers, artists and craftspeople a kit containing all of the necessary components to build a stereo system.  These folks will then build a custom designed case for these parts.  All cases will be auctioned off the night of October 11th with profits going to the Children’s Cancer Association and the Doug Flutie Jr foundation for Austism in the memory of Bob Saff.

 

Great stuff all around + fantastic to see all the creativity put into the designs. Proud to be working with the likes of John Jay (WK), Spacecraft PDX, QuraterTwenty + all the other fine folks involved.

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Campus Mini Velo + the bike evolution

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It's all about the bike. In the summer of 2011 Matt Raphael + Heath Korvola met in Portland, OR while building a bike. Part of a small team assembled for a single summer through the University of Oregon's Product Design program, the two like minds worked together on the Mini Velo project. The result, as you can see, is one unique cycle specimen - a true team collaboration. It went on to win the student competition at the Oregon Manifest and an IDEA Student Gold Medal. It has been featured in numerous media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Cool Hunting, Treehugger, Core 77 + many more.

“The U of O came in with a naïve, fresh, creative approach. They weren’t locked in to a traditional version of a bike. There were more beautiful bikes out there, but theirs was fresh – the future.” Tinker Hatfield, legendary Nike design guru.

The bike-design passion took hold, and soon, visions of wooden bikes became prototypes; some working, some flexible, and some downright dangerous. But each was a stepping stone to the next innovation. We worked with Bamboo plywood, trying to create a relatively easy-to-reproduce frame out of sheet goods. 

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Cutting two, matching halves, and clam-shelling them together to form the hollow, monocoque frame, we had created a simple process which eliminated the intricate joinery typical with a wooden bike. 

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Through trial and error, we tested geometries, materials, glues and fabrication methods. Often we were our own crash-test dummies. But give up, we did not. And when we realized that we were no longer able to rely on the glue-ups and short grain direction of the bamboo plywood, that led us to the latest version, the Woodsman - a bentwood bike. We wrapped up the prototype in September and exhibited it at the Oregon Handmade Bike Show, to great reviews and a second place in the People's Choice. We will continue to refine it and hope to have it available to the public soon.

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The Shop

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The 3000 sq. ft. daylight space in SE Portland right off Hawthorne is where we make everything. Matt has had the operation up + running for more than a decade + last year added a large bed CAMmaster CNC. Here we've bent metal the old fashioned way, roughed up a handful of bamboo bike prototypes, laid out entire cabinet systems + very nearly solved the problems of the world. Sometimes the space is a photo studio, sometimes it's a party. Stop in—you never know what you might find.

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Oregon Handmade Bike Show

After years of contemplation + effort we unveiled the current line, including The Woodsman wooden bike frame, at last weekend's OBCA Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show here in PDX. And what fun that was meeting so many bike minded folks + hearing about your ideas + the excitement for what Ruphus has to offer.

2013 Oregon Handmade Bike Show @ Sandbox Studio

2013 Oregon Handmade Bike Show @ Sandbox Studio

Thanks to all of you we were voted second place in the People's Choice right behind the extremely deserving Ahearne Cycles + slightly ahead of the very cool Winter Bicycles. Wait until you see the trophy it's going to be sweet (we made the first place one...). If you missed the show you can see more online thanks to bikerumorbikeportland + the Oregonian.

Thanks to everyone that stopped by our booth at the show, shared ideas + encouraged us on this trajectory. Special thanks to Julie for the smooth words + Dave Levy of Ti Cycles for the initial nudge to join the Oregon Handmade Bike Show (+ all the help along the way). 

 

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Welcome to Ruphus

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It's starting. Now. The Ruphus line has to come together + we're unleashing our first line of goods for public enjoyment. A new take on bringing the warmth of wood into our modern lives.

For starters, we'll be offering two bike rack/fender combos, a beautiful desk called the Podpad, a bamboo iPhone dock, two versions of our Veer stool + an unbelievable wood bike frame called The Woodsman.

Thanks to all our friends + family who have put up + helped out with this ongoing process. Same to all our collaborators who have inspired + assisted.

Much more to come, we're slowly building our line up to keep up with our imaginations. 

WORK. PLAY. RIDE.

Ruphus

 

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Umpqua Bank

We’ve been getting all sorts of random, awesome projects as the word is getting out about our router.

A recent project to come through the shop was for an Umpqua Bank in Napa Valley. The clients approached us with a pile of empty wine boxes engraved with the logos of various California wineries. The project was to build the narrative of the bank using letters cut from these wine boxes. The trick was to pick through the logos, find similar color palates, and carefully place the logos within the letters to show their recycled nature while not distracting the reader.

We cut them up and finished them and had a pair of happy clients at our doorstep.

 

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Portland Youth Philharmonic

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We were thrilled to be asked by local artist Suzy Root for help with her submission for the Portland Youth Philharmonic Painted Violin Project. Suzy came up with a design and we created a digital file, painstakingly dismantled the violin, and then carefully routed the design. We set the CNC to its slowest feed rate and crossed our fingers. Looks great, but I wouldn’t suggest tightening those strings too much.

Find out more about the Portland Youth Philharmonic.


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