A life-long Michigan resident born in Detroit, Randall Torno began his college studies in the field of art, but changed his focus to engineering, completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan.
Randall has always combined his artistic talents with a strong sense of design. Following his ten-year tenure at Ford Motor Company as a wood model maker and process engineer, he was employed at International Engineering Solutions where he designed industrial equipment for over thirty years before his retirement in 2013. His artistic abilities span many media and forms including ceramics, painting, drawing and glass, studying at the Corning Museum of Art and the glass studio of the Toledo Museum of Art.
During his free time, Randall has always focused his energies on major projects, first building award winning airplanes and next, award winning wooden boats. For the past ten years, he has researched historical as well as contemporary boat building techniques and styles, attending boat shows across the country. He has built several types and styles of boats ranging from an English birding kayak, canoes and kayaks, to unique scale model display canoes, to a reproduction Gentleman’s Runabout!
During the past three years, Torno has focused his energies creating bespoke custom wooden furniture, ukuleles, a violin and his newest adventure is with toys! His new grandson shifted his thoughts to objects that would be enjoyed by children of all ages.
Torno’s passion for art and wooden is clear and strong. The launch of Torno Woodworks with his recent bodies of work, present the opportunity to offer more wooden works of art for sale in the national marketplace.
>> Learn more about Randall Torno here in the August issue of the Ann Arbor Observer.
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Randall Torno has been designing and creating furniture since his high school years. While using wood as a building material for boats, he discovered a parallel fascination with functional objects for the home. Subsequently, during his years as a wood model maker (journeyman) with Ford Motor Company, his interest and expertise in wooden objects increased.
Torno Woodworks has recently received several commissions for custom furniture, tables made from locally sourced walnut trees. These tables will grace the living rooms of a modernist design home. The unique qualities of walnut spurred his interest in exploring techniques such as live edge and specialized joinery (box joint) that he utilizes during the fabrication process.
As always, design is paramount in this process.
Hand crafted unique wooden toys are the newest component of the offerings of Torno Woodworks. From helicopters to biplanes, from cars to seaplanes, from giraffes to rabbits, from dinosaurs to dolphins, Randall’s artistic and engineering skills have again merged as a result of his now 18 month old grandson.
A visit this summer brought play into the fore of his vision and influenced him to focus his energies on antique and contemporary toys created again of local and exotic wood with an orange juice and beeswax finish rendering them child friendly!
Michigan designer-builder, Randall Torno, presents a unique line of custom-built lightweight canoes utilizing exotic and locally sourced wood, hand selected for color and grain. Torno Boatworks canoes are handcrafted works of art, utilizing a unique design that incorporates functional flowing lines from bow to stern. Premium western red cedar strips are individually hand fitted and subsequently encapsulated in fiberglass and epoxy, creating a lightweight and strong hull. Finishing trim wood is selected to compliment the cedar hull. Multiple coats of marine varnish are applied to protect the wood and give an impressive gloss finish. Watch video below to see Randall's past works.
Watch our promotional video which was produced by Sophia Dai, Kyle Cai, Kitty Crowley and Christine Peplow, students in the Fall 2016 "Designing Persuasive Communications" course in the Ross School of Business and the School of Communications at the University of Michigan