If the thought of slapping a plastic case on your Pixel 3 XL doesn’t exactly appeal, you’ll be happy to know that there are other options. KerfCase makes beautiful and protective cases made from sustainable wood with no seams or interlocking parts; KerfCases are stylish and slim, and they don’t hamper wireless charging or the Pixel’s active edge feature.
KerfCase is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and each case that they sell is designed, machined, finished, and shipped from there. Through a partnership with Urban Tree, another Pittsburgh company, KerfCase is able to use reclaimed local hardwood in many of their designs. KerfCase also has a network of specialty growers around the United States, who provide them “with beautiful, local wood that does not rob the planet of oxygen and shade. [Their] exotic hardwood collection is not sourced from countries that exploit their natural resources or deal in endangered species.”
KerfCase makes form-fitting wood cases for iPhones from the SE on, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S10 series, and the Google Pixel series 2 and 3 smartphones. The wood varieties available are quite extensive — everything from the more common walnut and cherry to the more exotic bocote and figured sapele. You can also opt for the custom engraving of text or images on your wooden case.
We believe in hometown manufacturing, and we do not outsource or import products or services from overseas. Production of a single case involves over 30 separate production steps, involving several specialty CNC machines and skilled hand work, resulting in a finished product that is unlike any other. It might be harder, and more expensive, than working with prefab parts from abroad, but it is important to us that the work we sell is done honestly, with our own hands.
One of the first things I appreciated when opening my package was that everything inside was either recyclable or reusable. The KerfCase Google Pixel 3 XL Wood Case comes inside a reusable cloth bag protected by layers of recyclable cardboard. There’s also a certificate of authenticity signed by Ben, Jesse, and Phil. Information about KerfCases lifetime repair and replacement warranty is on the certificate. On the back of the certificate, there’s a 15% coupon code included for you to use on your next order.
The wraparound wood KerfCase is thin and light with an interior almost completely lined in Ultrasuede. The case I received measures ~6.5″ long by 3.35″ wide by 0.45″ thick, and it weighs 0.7 ounces.
The wood on the back of the case is, of course, the star of the show. While the more exotic woods might have a fancier grain, even a simple hardwood like walnut looks gorgeous when it’s being showcased like this.
To install your phone in the KerfCase, you’ll slide it in button-side first and then you’ll press the other side in evenly. There’s no feeling of forcing anything, and the phone will be seated securely. To remove your phone from the case, you’ll press your thumb on the fingerprint sensor while supporting the edges of the case with your fingers. You’ll be able to gently and evenly remove the case from the phone.
We might as well do a quick walk-around starting with the left side, which is just plain, smooth wood.
The wood case comes up over the sides of the screen just a bit, so it does offer face-down screen protection.
On the right side of the case, there are moveable wooden covers over the power, volume up, and volume down buttons.
Perfectly sized cutouts on the back expose the fingerprint scanner and the camera lens cluster.
I like that the opening for the sync & charge port is wide enough to accept just about any aftermarket Type-C cable, but most importantly — there is no problem using a wireless charger.
Speaking of wireless charging, KerfCase also makes a simple yet elegant wireless charging block in matching wood which starts at $39 …
… and there is also a matching luxurious wireless charging pad which starts at $99; either would make a gorgeous addition to your desk or bedside table.
I appreciate that once you’ve inserted the Pixel 3 XL in the KerfCase, it’s held securely and protected by the Ultrasuede lining the interior. I have to admit that in a (typical) moment of klutziness, I accidentally knocked my phone off of the bathroom counter; I was pleased to see that both the phone and the case survived without a scratch. The KerfCase is a lot tougher than it looks.
Each KerfCase is a custom work of art. We keep a small inventory of our most popular cases, but most of our products are made to order and ship within five business days. This helps keep our footprint small, and drastically reduces waste. One of our favorite services is showing customers our raw wood stock and letting them choose the exact piece that becomes their case. We believe it’s critical to do our own customer service rather than exporting it, so you can contact us directly if you’d like us to make something special for you!
KerfCase makes an excellent product that they stand behind with a generous lifetime warranty. If your case becomes worn or damaged through regular use, they offer free restoration or replacement. If you abuse your case or it suffers a really bad drop, KerfCase will offer you a one-time 50% discount on another case with a similar style and wood species, or they’ll give you 25% off any other case in their collection. That seems more than fair.
I was ready for something different when I tried the KerfCase, and I love the way their wood case looks on my Pixel 3 XL. The KerfCase is warm, touchable, organic, and special; if you’re ready for something unique, you ought to check them out.
KerfCase wood cases for the Google Pixel 3 XL start at $79, and they are available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Each case is unique and perfectly sized for your particular phone model; Made with responsibly sourced woods; Made in Pittsburgh; Excellent warranty; Case offers face-down screen protection; Phone is held tightly inside the case, and it will not shake out; Case is a single piece with no seams or interlocking parts
What Needs Improvement: Nothing