CoPilot Studios

Design - Innovate - Create

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Bespoke, handmade glasses made by me exclusively out of beautiful and carefully curated pieces of solid hardwood.  Every one-of-a-kind pair is custom designed and built from start to finish exclusively for you. Either send me an email to jm@copilotstudios.ca or click on the "BUY NOW" below to get in the queue to be one of Vancouver's first with the ultimate in tailor-made accessories! 

To begin the design phase a deposit* of $400 will be required.  We start off by holding a face to face meeting and discuss you, your personality and aesthetic preferences. I will ask you to use a few words to describe yourself (ie: Bookish, Adventurous, Confident, etc.) and the type of image you wish to portray (ie: Elegant, Bold, Refined, Ostentatious, etc.).  We will discuss the materials I have available and I will take this information as well as a few pictures of you (and possibly some measurements) to use as an underlay to draw on your photo three potential design directions.    

* Deposit is non-refundable once the design process starts after the introductory meeting

Some samples of the woods I have on-hand including Kingwood (top), Curupau aka Patagonian Rosewood (upper right) Arbutus (bottom left), Maple Burl (bottom center), and Yew (bottom right).

A second meeting will be conducted in person or online to review the designs and get feedback.  I will make one revision based on this feedback and once approved it will be used as the design direction to be built.  From here, starting at $700 depending on materials chosen and any special requests, I will give a final price and estimated timeline to make the desired frames.

Some rough tests for different hinge options

I will source and assemble any extra materials required by the design and get to work in the shop building your personalized pair of frames, keeping you updated on the process as I go complete with photos as progress is made. 

**Special note** as some people may have allergic reactions to some woods or finishes, I will be able to give you a small pendant made out of the chosen material and finish combination to wear for at least two weeks prior to beginning construction to ensure the chosen combination works for you.

Kingwood pendant to test for allergic reaction

Once I get the frame roughed out, I will need to have another face-to-face to do an initial fit test.  From here I will refine the design and fit.  One final fitting will be required to guarantee comfort and aesthetics prior to the fine detail finishing.

February of 2011: I found myself with my old, mangled pair of titanium glasses that had been run over in the middle of a busy street, a beautiful piece of sustainably-sourced Kingwood I'd been saving for over a decade waiting for a project worthy of its beauty, and an idea.

Being a professional Industrial Designer and someone who has a history of modifying almost everything I own, I had a general concept of what I wanted to do and how I'd do it. The hinges from the mangled glasses were salvageable and it turned out that, with it's fine grain and incredible strength & hardness, I'd found the ideal wood for glasses. I used Photoshop to sketch-out an idea of what I wanted to make and for the next week and a half in the evenings after work I used JDi Design's workshop and fabricated my first pair of handmade wood frames.

This first pair of glasses has fared remarkably well considering how hard I have been on them.  I've taken them rock climbing, mountaineering, motorbiking, downhill mountainbiking, used them moving, on construction sites and in the workshop.  I am very hard on them, and I have admittedly broke them a couple times. The Kingwood itself has been exceptionally resilient. Once, while moving, a box fell off a high shelf a hit me in the face. Surprisingly the titanium hinges bent and the wood was unharmed!

I learned lessons about epoxy. The Natural oils in the wood make it resistant to epoxy, and after years of daily wear I encountered issues with the bonding. Whenever possible I will rely on mechanical fasteners, but there are also steps I can take to ensure a better bond if epoxy is ever required.

The important lesson for me is that I actually enjoy doing this.  I actually want to make the best pair of frames for you that I can. I have no interest in hacking something together that doesn't meet my own obsessive threshold for quality or meet your expectations for fit and style.

Now repaired, here's a photo of when my epoxy joint failed

+ What if I'm not in the Vancouver area?

We can figure something out! If you have an old pair of frames that fit well and you're not using at the moment, you could send them to me and I can base the dimensions from them. Otherwise, we can base measurements from your current frames, or we can use carefully placed rulers to measure from photos of your face

+ Do these frames come with lenses?

No, they do not. You can take them to your Optician to fit your prescription lenses into them. The frames will open up and a qualified Optician can easily fit the lenses. If you'd like I could recommend where to go to get them fitted correctly.

+ How long does it take?

Short Answer: Anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months or more depending on design & material choices

Long Answer: Once it's your turn, there'll be an interview where we cover materials and design direction. I'll need photos of you to start the design. After the interview there could be up to 2-3weeks of design revisions, where I will make some renderings and send them back to you, and get feedback. Depending on the design choices, I may need time to source new materials to meet your requirements.

The building process alone takes a minimum of 20 hours of shop time, and most likely more.

+ What if, at the end of the process, I don't like them?

The payment structure is such that, outside of the non-refundable design deposit, you can choose not to accept the final product. If this is the case you will not be responsible for the final payment. If the frames do not meet your expectation, we can hopefully work amicably to satisfy your concerns.

+ What happens if they break?

These frames are customized art for your face; I do not recommend using them for high strain activities. I do not sell in volume and cannot be held responsible for accidental damage. If there is an issue due to materials or workmanship, LET ME KNOW! I will make every reasonable effort to rectify the situation. Even if you do accidentally break them, contact me and I'll assess what I can do to repair or remedy the problem.

+ What payment options are there?

There are many ways to pay.

  • Cash always works.
  • I can accept Credit Cards in person through Square Register.
  • Email Interac transfers.
  • Are you a Bitcoin junky? I am considering accepting Bitcoins as well, but am still investigating that option.
  • I do NOT accept cheques or money orders

+ $1000 or more, Are you nuts?

No. No part of the process is automated. I personally, not some underpaid laborer in Bangladesh, will spend many, many hours carefully designing and fabricating (By Hand) each pair from scratch exclusively for you. We're talking a minimum of 30 hours total from start to finish. I'm not going to get rich doing this; this is what it costs to make while enabling me to afford to live a semi-normal life. If that's more than you want to pay, ok

+ Is there a waitlist?

NO! At the moment I am ready to take on new orders. If you're interested, contact me or check out the new store to start the process!

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