Subscribe to San Francisco Magazine

Mod Lux Feeds

Now Playing

How It's SFMade: Google Map Marquetry

Marquetry, the art of inlaid wooden veneers, isn't lost in the Bay. It's SFMade Week, people.

If America is driven by a consumer culture, then San Francisco is driven by a smart consumer culture. You know: local, sustainable, savvy. That also describes SFMade, a non-profit organization of over 400 city manufacturers that’s the next coolest thing to a guild. Through Sunday they celebrate SFMade Week with special tours and events, and we observe with daily profiles of need-to-know SFMade brands.

Woodcut Maps: That map tattoo of your hometown you were thinking about getting? Instead how about something beautiful and long-lasting you can put on your wall— or your table, or even your phone. On Woodcut Maps’ website, you frame any special spot in the world, just as if you were taking a photo or selecting it on Google maps, and their software renders the design into laser-friendly CAD files. Then you pick from a selection of locally-sourced hardwood veneers. Next preview your design instantly online (this is a San Francisco company we’re talking about). And a few weeks later, after some lasercutting in Bayview and final assembly in the Mission, a hand-crafted wood-inlay map of your chosen design arrives at your door. Definitely less painful than getting inked.

Ramp It Up: Woodcut Maps will be at the SFMade Ramp It Up Party tonight, an event where pretty much everything (from Magnolia Beer to Kika’s Treats desserts) will be SFMade. They’ll be bringing wood miniatures of Lake Merritt, Alcatraz, and Angel Island.

Not to Scale: Woodcut Maps has made over 1,000 projects, no two the same. “We love that every map is like this collaboration between us and the customer,” says co-founder Catherine Herdlick. “They’re the designer, we just breathe life into [their designs]. Sometimes we know the stories behind them and sometimes we just make them up— maybe they got married there, or went to college there, you know?”

World Domination: Their largest project to date? A 15-foot bar-top custom map created for a brewery in Michigan. “We’ve been working on expanding from our initial offering to make some ‘designer maps,’ and we launched our Whole Earth collection on Earth Day, with one map based on the famous Robinson Projection, and another based on Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map," says Herdlick. "They’re a really good contrast.” They’ve also created a world domination map board you can really play on.


Monday: The vibrator with flash storage.

Tuedsay: The iPad case used by President Obama.

Thursday: Messenger bag capital of the world.

Friday: Bi-Rite for you pet.

Have feedback? Email us at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Caleb Pershan on Twitter @calaesthetic