What would you expect from a store bold enough to call itself One of a Kind? Located in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square at Fisherman's Wharf you will find a store with a continually transforming showcase of the fine woodwork by San Francisco artisan Bruce Abbott and over fifty other local artists. The store features all sizes and styles of elegantly crafted jewelry boxes, humidors, rare wood bowls ‚ both decorative and functional, segmented and natural edge vases and hollow vessels and much more. Mostly highly figured local woods are used and lots of burlwood from maple, redwood, buckeye, walnut, poplar, and manzanita trees. Other One of a Kind specialties include coffee tables, intricately carved masks, clocks of all styles, hand and pocket mirrors, pens, letter openers, and a whole host of One of a Kind both animals and abstract carvings.
I'm Bruce Abbott, founder, owner, and manager of One of a Kind. I began working with wood when I was just fourteen years old. After college at George Washington University in D.C. I spent a few years as a professional tennis instructor and coach. Looking for a way to start a business of my own I remembered my first woodshop class and a simple bowl I had made. I decided to buy a small but stable wood lathe for a couple hundred dollars and try again to make another bowl. I was so thrilled with my new attempt that I went out and purchased a few different kinds of woods and began making simple salad bowls which I sold at the local flea market and even to some health food stores. The response was fairly good and I found myself very pleased making something functional and yet very beautiful. Uncovering the new grain patterns in each piece of wood was really a super visual high. My girlfriend and I were once walking around in San Francisco checking out the various stores when we came across hand carved wooden crochet hooks. They were really beautiful. I bought one and brought it home to my lathe to see if I could turn one. That I did. Then I carved a hook at one end with a small jewelers file. My girlfriend loved it and quickly took it home to show her mom. Her mom asked me to make her one and suddenly I was in business making crochet hooks. I took a few out to the flea market where I was selling roasted peanuts and the hooks sold out really fast. The next weekend I was there again with a larger batch of these hooks. Again they sold very well. I began to develop techniques to make finer and finer turnings on the top part of the hooks. In fact, as time went on, I developed a whole new technique for "intricate woodturning". The trick is to learn how to get inside of the skin of the wood, which gives one lots of control. I also had to learn how to carve my tools differently than the shapes used by regular wood turners. I also made tools out of smaller carving tools so I could make finer more detailed designs.
I opened my own store here in Ghirardelli Square and am still going strong
at this location. The store is...... BEYOND WORDS beautiful. The exclamations
as people walk through the front door of "Oh my God", "Whoa", "Oooh", "Look
at this"... and on and on many times during the day as people enter the
store is an ongoing phenomenon. There are many returning visitors to the
store from all over the world who come by to see what's been newly crafted
since their last visit. Most of the items in the store are truly One of
a Kind pieces and we are always coming up with new designs and pleasing
functional and decorative woodwork. Our prices are quite moderate compared
to most galleries offering similar fine woodcraft. Making it ourselves helps
keep the costs lower and I pride myself on providing artistically elegant
work at prices that not just the wealthy can afford.
So please, do yourself a favor when you come to San Francisco and visit One of a Kind. Looking forward to seeing you here soon!