Thursday, November 29, 2012

some of our 'transitional' side chairs

we've been making these 'transitonal', biedermeier inspired, side and arm chairs now for about 15 years,  even after making literally, hundreds of them, they are still a challenge, start to finish.  curves, compound angles, compound angled leg tops, angled mortises and tenons, you name it.  they are, i must admit though, extremely comfortable, and work in both traditional and contemporary settings depending on the wood and finish choices.  click the photos to enlarge them.
they look easy, at first glance, when they are finished.  they're not.
these eight bubinga and lacewood chairs will be leaving for england from westport connecticutt december 6th.  they will accompany an expanding bubinga pedestal dining table we made about 10 years ago.
12/11/12 .. this just in.  a photo of the chairs with the bubinga table we made a while back.  the clients are moving themselves and their furniture back to england this week ...
 by now, we've got most of the parts that can be cut on the cnc, programmed into the cnc.  folks have commented that we would get more legs on the planks if we bandsawed them individually, which we used to do.  yeah, it can be done, but i did enough of them to know that after you saw (and sand them for a few hours), getting the mortises in the right places after you cut them isn't worth the savings in wood.  wood's cheap compared to shop time.
 there are a lot of cool visuals as these chairs are in the works
here trevor is cutting them on the cnc, adding the mortises in all the right places as he goes.
and here they are with the cherry tables we finished recently.  the tables are made from a pair of 10 foot bookmatched cherry boards and can be assembled into one 10 foot table for large gatherings.

the arm chair version from a previous set

Monday, November 26, 2012

custom sideboards and buffets

we have made quite a few different sideboards and buffets in the last 25 years, and the form is one of our favorites.  there are 27 sideboards on our regular website, but since we are working with some clients on a new designs, i felt compelled to organize some of my favorites here.  the curly maple one above is one   actually, i like the challenge of the sideboard/buffet form, and there's not one shown here that we didn't enjoy designing and building.  the sideboard directly below is from my own home and we have made several variations on that one using our 'studio style' cherry and black design theme.  click the photos to enlarge them.
 60" wide x 20 " deep by 34" high.  natural cherry and black milk paint.  1987
 a variation on our sideboard circa 1988.  72" long x 20" deep by 34" high
this one and the one below are similar in design with figured cherry panels and quartersawn cherry edge details.  one with an edge inlay, one without.  one with black details; one all cherry and one with curly maple details and crotch mahogany veneers.  same drawing, different results .. 'take and object; do something to it; do something else to it'.
 ditto here with black painted legs and 'burl and bar' edge inlay.
mahogany and curly maple; crotch mahogany veneer panels ...
a fancy and complex variation on the theme above in cherry and maple burl 
with subtly curved doors and drawer faces ...

the black walnut bar/sideboard above was a fun project.  mirrors, lights, glass, 
repeating details ... all fun. there is a pretty long blog post on that one here.
not exactly a sideboard, but sort of the same idea

and here's a stylish one that accompanied a table with similar design ... we worked the details over carefully with the client and while we we stuck for a label, included it in the realm of 'art deco' though it is strictly 'diane and dan deco'.  an extremely fun project from the early 90's.
here's the table that it went with.  lots and lots of details on that one.  often, the table and sideboard are designed to complement one another and make the room seem to be totally custom.
this custom bubinga sideboard was made from the 6 feet we cut off the end of a 20' bubinga plank that we used to make a 14' x 48" wide table that went to princeton, new jersey, next door to the governor's mansion
  i've got a better photo somewhere .. +/- 2002.  dawn of the digital photo age
this figured cherry sideboard had a table with it
as did this cherry and maple burl sideboard from +/- 2003.  this sideboard was made from virtually the same drawing as the first, curly maple sideboard in this post.  'take a design, do something to it'
this country style sideboard was one of the first sideboards i made back in the very early 80's...
 and this one, from the early 90's, was an engineering challenge with it's suspended box and turned supporting columns with brass feet, and curly maple veneered doors.  the inside was almost completely drawers on runners that pulled out to store not only silverware and dining room stuff, but also music cds, at the time a semi precious commodity.  times change ... another 'diane and dan deco' project ...
this is not really a sideboard, but it's a cool piece.  it was designed to go against a curved wall, (the 'front' in this photos), but we made the drawers go both ways and they had pulls on the other side too, so it can also be placed at some time in the future, against a straight wall.  multitasking ... and on and on ...
this one is from last spring.  it's 9' long and had to go through the window when it got to new jersey .. oops!  but it made it ... it now has a stone top and you can see the details of its construction in this blog post.

i'll add a few more as time permits and update our progress on the upcoming sideboard below once we get it under way in early december ... all for now ..
    12/2 ... a few more sideboards
 studio style again with cherry and black and ebony and burl details.  the pulls are blackened brass, custom cast for us by horton brasses in pensylvania.
and this piece, while technically not a sideboard per se, has certain sideboard buffet qualities to it.  storage, interest, detail.  'fun with walnut'  ...  blog post here
 a little mahogany 'arts and crafts' thing here ... hardware from stickley.  design by dan and mary
 something tall with a little paint ... this one we designed with the client who wanted a top set of shelves, but also wanted it to be 'light' and wanted it to store a lot of stuff too.  in the foreground are some of our windsor chairs from the mid 80's when we used to make a lot of them ...

 my first sideboard.  1973.   before i even had a house to put it in.  i made it from a book entitled 'fine furniture you can make yourself' and i believe it was by someone named christoforo, but i can't seem to find it at the moment.  it's around here somewhere ... anyway, you can see what happens to a linseed oil finish on pine over the course of almost 40 years.  it gets pretty dark.
 close up

Friday, November 23, 2012

and now, a couple more claro walnut tables

table to miami
table to brooklyn

ok, the top one arrived in florida on tuesday, just in time for turkey day.  the curly one above has been hanging around the shop since may, waiting for the client's home remodel to be finished.  that one will leave for brooklyn on tuesday.  it was first pictured in this post  back on may 28th and now soon it will be on its way.  click the photos to enlarge them.

the top table started with this monster slab, about 11' long and 3+ inches thick.  we learned a few tricks on this one.  it was a heavy one ....
one trick we learned was to build a really substantial and well made cart with serious casters.  once we slid it off the workbench and stood it up on the cart. it was a piece of cake to get it out the shop door, on a ramp into the back of the truck, and into steve's shop for the matte finish that the client requested.

the client selected our 'trapedzoid' base, and sam cut the parts and welded them up in our metal shop.
later, after polishing, the base was blackened with our normal blackening patina and sealed with a low lustre lacquer.
there were a couple cracks we had to butterfly and one or two random small defects that we just left 'as is'.

there was one sort of large (+/- 3/8ths") bolt in the slab that we drilled a bit and pounded a bit until it was below the surface enough to fill it so it looked like some of the other knots in the area.  pretty good in the end.
the welded steel base was a combination of 1.5 x 3" tubing and 2/5 x 1/4" angle iron.  rigid and strong and handsome with the thick slab ... 
i got a wonderful email from the client wednesday and i think i'll use his comment as our new business motto .... 'better than i expected' ... can you ask for more than that?