Friday, November 21, 2014

a live edge claro walnut table

here we go .. claro walnut table number .. hmmm .. looks like number 31 counting from the slide show.  this one took some back and forth to get the right slab, but in the end, the clients got a real beauty. 
it is the third slab we have used from log #41. the one above is 41 #2 and the one below, #3, we used for this table back in april.  we used 41 #4 for the bed headboard in the previous post .. 
click the photos to enlarge them.
these three log mates had incredibly similar grain, not unexpected, considering they are separated by only 3" and a couple of saw kerfs.  sam made the steel 'nakashima style' base above, and trevor, jim and i did the shaping, sanding, and scraping necessary to go from the raw slab to the finished table.
jim took this shot of trevor 'working on the table' and me with my drawknife and best tin tin hair impression.  you've likely seen these posts before so i'll just add a few process photos and then tell you that the table had to go into an elevator (it just fit, standing on end) and on up to the fourth floor of a new jersey apartment building ...we had to send a piece of cardboard to the clients so they could check that it would actually go into the elevator, which wasn't the biggest one.
the slab was +/- 48 x 102, and the elevator door was 42 x 84 .. we had inches to spare ...
close up of the (really heavy), nicely welded steel base.  fortunately, sam designed it to be knocked down into three pieces for shipping, the two verticals and the 1.75" solid steel bar that connected them ..
before
after .. not bad for a night time cell phone picture

Saturday, November 15, 2014

a claro walnut slab headboard bed

we finished this fun project yesterday for a client in northern vermont ... the headboard is 
a +/- 48 x 100" slab of claro walnut.  the design is based on the bed below
 that we made a few years ago for a client in florida.
we started, as usual with a cad drawing and a mockup .. click the photos to enlarge them ..
the client accepted the concept and we were on our way ..
in this photo, we've got the plywood box for the platform and the ventilated ply tops cut. 
in the end, we cover the ply boxes with dark stained walnut and edge the plywood with the same material ... in this photo we are locating the boxes prior to drilling holes in the slab for the carriage bolts that secure the boxes to the slab.
the boxes were cut from continuous pieces of claro so that the mitered grain of the boxes matched as it went around the corners.  they looked really slick ..
we added our custom cast patinated brass diamond pulls to the drawers and we were good to go.
the slab will be hung on the wall at the clients home using the same system of 'french cleats' that we used on the first bed .. here's a link to that blog post where you can see how that works ..
photographing projects like these is always a challenge due to their size, but with a little photoshopping to remove the background clutter, you can get an acceptable 'record' image.  
not quite like the recent photo in the times of a new york city bed.  that one has a new york city price on it too.our version is a bit less in price.  neither of these are original ideas.  i had a client/friend visit the shop yesterday, and his parents had an (according to him) identical bed, only with a glued up rather than one piece headboard.  he remembered them having it in the 60s at least, maybe earlier. 
recylce, reuse ...
for more images of our claro walnut and other furniture please 
see the slide shows in the previous blog post ..

note below from the client enclosed with the final payment ...
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

30 live edge tables

well, here's something i've been meaning to do for a while ... organize my claro walnut pieces into a slideshow. so, at this link you can see about 30 different tables, about 10 coffee tables, and a few other assorted desks, sideboards, headboards and a bench or two.  i've been working with this wood since 2008.  with most of the photos, there are links to blog posts about the projects with verbal descriptions and more in process photos.
 click any photo to start the slideshow ... click through them at about one per second if you like.
the links are in blue in the upper right hand corner

there are also two other relevant blog posts from march of 2013
and

you can see other public albums at this link by clicking the 'more' button at the top of the album page.
seriously, there are thousands of pictures from our 6 years of blogging there.










Wednesday, November 5, 2014

sketchbooks, the essential tool

i've got a couple projects going on, and one of them is going to go on for a lot longer.  the 'cleaning the cellar in the shop' project i should be able to finish up in another 10 or 12 hours of effort, but the 'digitizing the sketchbooks project' will likely go on for another couple years.  so far i have scanned and saved the highlights to this album from three fairly recent ones. 
 you can scroll through the slideshow at this link.
this is maybe a third of it ...
i've been sketching sporadically since 1980 when i bought betty edwards' book 'drawing on the right side of the brain' to learn how to communicate with my clients.  while cleaning the cellar last sunday, i found a fresh box of sketchbooks, likely packed when we moved to dorset from arlington in 1996 containing some drawings from 1988.  the one above is sam's, and he would have been 5 and a half in january 88, the date of one of will's first drawings i found below in the same sketchbook.  will would have been 3 and a half then.  fun ...




i wish i could draw like that now .. i have written on this subject before, and i think it's an important one.  the hand often is a link to the subconscious.  we sometimes don't know what we will draw until we start, and every sketch is not a winner.  some are though, and it is hard to come up with them if you sit down with the intent to 'come up with something new'.  set that pen or pencil free .. see where it goes ..
click the photos to enlarge them ..



this series of sketches and photos below are just a few highlights from the slideshow



'trout desk'



'duck bed'




sometimes new ideas come from existing pieces.  the sideboard and mirror combo are from 1987.  the sketches below from a proposal for a client are from 1988.  


 i leave you with a couple more from sam from 1988 ..
yeah, real fun ...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

a round cherry table with a leaf

all finished now ... above, without the leaf
 with the 12" leaf .. the whole story below ...
ok, this is starting to be one of our more popular round or oval table designs.  i think we have done four or five versions of it now.  below is the most recent, back in june, in curly maple.  trevor is making one in cherry now and you can see it step by step below.  
click the pictures to enlarge them ...
curly maple, no leaves, june 2014
laying out the parts with patterns made from the cad drawing above.
the parts and pieces.  trevor glues the aprons up in two halves and bevels them before attaching them to halves of the table top with screws and table clips ..
cutting the 12/4 cherry on the bandsaw .. he then miters the four pieces with a jig on the table saw and assembles them with clamps and dominoes.  i need to photograph that tomorrow if he still has it ..
here are parts from one of the previous tables.  there are cross grain dowels involved to give the lags that come up through the propeller base some purchase when the lags are tightened.  in the end, there are two dominoes on each flat face of the mitered parts.
there are also 3/4" splines added to the short grain in the top of the curved pieces to reinforce them.
we also screw the sub top of the base into those splines to reduce the risk of splitting the short grain.
here's the jig trevor uses to miter the four base pieces ...
'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' .. shop art ..
the equalized runners, (from moin hardware), for the leaf are attached to a subtop and the table halves
the parts are in the finish room now and i will post more pictures when the table is finished.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

a custom walnut king size bed ..

ok .. this was a challenging one .. a client we had done some tables for earlier this year sent us a picture asking if we could do a bed similar for them in walnut, in a king size ...  we adjusted the dimensions and details to suit her specs.  click the photos to enlarge them ..
to get started, trevor made a full size elevation below of the headboard with the xs and the footboard

next, he laid out the post mortises and the bolt holes and mortises for the headboard and footboard.
he drilled out the larger mortises first on the drill press and squared them up with the hollow chisel mortiser.  tenons on the table saw with dado blades and the fence.
he captured the nuts for the bed bolts using the moritser and a shop made jig for drilling the bolt holes




coming together here .. next, he tapered the posts on the cnc, which was a 
super safe way to do it compared to a table saw and jig, which i have always hated.
there were LOTS of pieces and LOTS of places they all had to fit.
count em' ! on the headboard alone there are four center intersections on not a 45 degree angle, 32 corners where things have to fit 5 vertical rails, mortises for the top and bottoms of the frames, two with curves.  after that, the footboard was a walk in the park.
all done in the upstairs of the metal shop .. waiting for an 'on site' picture soon.
fun, and very challenging, project