Intro & Background

Hello! I’m Joe Murphy. This is my site. I’m a woodworker in Madison, Wisconsin. I make custom furniture—tables, media cabinets, benches, desks, and more. I’ve been doing this in a one-man shop for about 17 years. Prior to woodworking, I was an engineer for a local manufacturing company. (I have a Mechanical Engineering degree from UW-Madison). It was during that time, in the wood shop of the company where I worked, that the woodworking bug bit me in a big way. In those early days I devoured all the James Krenov books, Japanese tool catalogs, and every woodworking book & magazine I could get my hands on. Wasn’t too long before I launched into this new career full time.

Casual profile photo of Joe Murphy

My work features clean lines influenced by Shaker, Scandinavian, and Japanese furniture traditions. I have a strong foundation in hand-tool work and to this day my work relies on those skills while also incorporating newer technologies such as the Festool Domino Joiner and the Shaper Origin. The overarching goal of my work—and I realize this may sound a bit hokey—is to create pieces that are like great companions: they make you smile, they make you think, they make you feel at ease, and they are just altogether enjoyable to be around! I don’t go for the latest fad or try to scream at you from across the room with my work. Pleasing proportions, subtle curves, surfaces that are meant to be touched and explored; my pieces are in it for the long haul!

Publications & Shows

My work has been featured in FineWoodworking magazine (cabinet, table, bench), Apartment Therapy, Brava Magazine, in a book on contemporary studio furniture makers, and elsewhere. I have exhibited at the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (winning the Wharton Esherick Museum prize for excellence in wood), the Architectural Digest MADE show in NYC, Madison’s own Art Fair on the Square, and most recently at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in a curated show of work by former students and fellows… Lastly, I quite enjoy the overlap of photography & woodworking. All of the photos you see on my site were taken by me. I post a lot of my photos and videos showing the creative process on my Instagram page. Look for the little icon below.

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