A Cut Above Design


Born in Boston, raised in Indonesia and Weston, educated traveling the world and at Macalester College, wood, in all its various forms, has always been one of Stephen’s passions. Taught basic carpentry skills by his father there never seemed to be a lack of projects for a dexterous youth at their small camp in the Catskill Mountains. From building woodsheds and out buildings to a myriad of small repairs, there was always wood to bend, fix, manipulate….

In his late 20’s, the opportunity to sail on a wooden 140 foot brigantine tall ship for a year along Australia’s east coast only added to the mystery of wood for Steve. Lying in his berth at night, the ship came alive with sound - the creaking and moaning of wood, bending and flexing, never breaking. Aloft in the rigging, with giant wooden block’s and tackle holding the ship on a constant course the passion was cemented and, who knew, would lead to Natick and it’s wonderful and passionate arts community.

After leaving the corporate world in 2001 and starting a carpentry business, Steve began collecting scraps of wood left over from various projects and using them to create intricate presentation platters. That was the first step towards A Cut Above. Soon he began designing more and more cutting boards, each one increasing in creativity and complexity. Most of his boards now incorporate numerous exotic species (Buginga, Wenge, and Sapele to name a few,) along with “repurposed” scraps. From there his passion for woodworking spread to the rest of the family and it is not uncommon to find Laurie and Steve, along with their children David and Rachel, all making sawdust and laughing in their basement shop as the line of products created increases – items such as pens, bowls, puzzle and bottle stoppers have become best sellers at the Natick Farmer’s market and elsewhere.

In addition to the market above, A Cut Above’s products can be found at The Clever Hand Gallery in Wellesley. A quick search on the calendar of his website will reveal numerous shows in the Metro West area throughout the year and, in addition, for the first time, he has been accepted as an artist in the upcoming Paradise City Arts Festival this March 22nd-24th in Marlborough.

Stephen can be reached at anytime through his website: A-Cut-Above-Design.com or at Stroutsabout@gmail.com. He would also welcome you to visit his workspace and do some private browsing at your convenience.