Ajax Oakford

Sometimes collaborations can’t go forward unless one party is a mind reader. And you know, that’s usually a downer comment, like, “I’m no mind reader! You need to work with me on this.” But in this case, Praise be to Ajax, for he reads our minds, and the collaborations just keep rolling on.

Ajax learned woodworking from his family in Maine and from his dad, a carpenter and boat builder up in Mendocino. Back in the 70s, his dad was responsible for the light shows at Santana and Dead shows and such. To a young Ajax pup, working outside, and working with his hands, always seemed a favorable alternative to being stuck inside at school.

Coming up, his best friend was working with Bill Coperthwaite, founder of the Yurt Foundation, contributing author to the original Shelter book (page 149), and profiled builder in Home Work (pages 28-29). They would drag Ajax along on projects and experiment with building by sight, without using a carpenter’s square or measurements of any kind, just for the joy of building. Since then, of course, Ajax has picked up all kinds of mad, regular skills, but he’s also retained that sense of joy in figuring out a building problem and improvising in beautiful and genius ways. He built a good portion of the shop with us, including the hallowed dressing hall, and he’s built all kinds of projects for us since. He’s also become somewhat of a regular burrito eater around the shop.

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