Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Arts and Crafts" Study

I put the "Arts and Crafts" in the title above in quotes as this will not be a strict reproduction or copy of any particular A&C design, but rather a design arrived at by assimilating details from historic designers ( C.R.Ashbee, Greene and Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright ) that we like, as well as input from the client as to how he will use and work in the room and what exact stuff will go where. We spent quite a bit of time discussing and designing, but returned to the maxim that 'Form follows function, space, stuff we like, and the architecture of the rest of the house'. That said, the project consists of a 12 foot long, eight and a half foot high bookcase, and a 12 foot desk opposite it, in front of the windows. The starting point details are adapted from pieces I did earlier in the Ashbee Style. The drawer hardware is adapted from a photo in the Greene and Greene book by Randall Makinson. This study is in the same house as the potrack in the 'Metal and Wood Potrack' post below and the 'Arts and Crafts Mantle' above.... click the pictures to enlarge ...
When we finished this project, the clients posted a very much appreciated testimonial as a comment on the 'Open Studio' blog entry above. here's a cut and paste of it ...

Stephen Rubino said...
Best design collaboration and execution of detail ever experienced. Thanks Dan,Will, Jeremy and rest of staff. We'll be back!

Steve & Helen Rubino
Margate, Nj "
May 28, 2008 1:54 AM

All done except we left the center counter out for this assembly because we didn't want to risk scratching it and we know if fits, plus the ceiling fan was in the way. The louver for the ac return is on, the unercounter drawer is hung and it's ready to roll .... Next tuesday ...

close up of the louver

Close up of the drawer case with the finish on it and the Greene and Greene style drawer pulls

The whole 140" of it

The bookcase is now in the finishing room 5/8/08

The Greene and Greene style drawer faces are on the desk

Looking like it's going to be a pretty big one ...

Early stages of the lower bookcase construction, desk upside down behind it

Some of the vertical inlaid stiles of the bookcase and desk .. cherry and walnut

The desk almost ready for finishing

Upside down showing the understructure

Last desk drawing, to which we made some additional changes while we were building

The drawing for the bookcase

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Greene & Greene Style Sideboard Construction Details

I'm a member of a Yahoo Newsgroup, fans of the work of the architects Charles and Henry Greene. Two of the recent posts were requests for information regarding construction of a sideboard similar to one I am currently working on. For more information on that project scroll down to the post below. The first request was regarding the details of the post and panel ends of the sideboard and the second was regarding the fabrication of Greene & Greene style drawer pulls. In the pictures and drawings below, you can find relatively detailed information regarding both processes. Click the pictures to enlarge ... The exquisite figured cherry, all from the same log is from Irion Lumber in Wellsboro, PA ... 200 board foot minimum, but shipped right to your door ... Ask for Myron .... Tell him Dan sent you ....

Leaving for Greenwich Tuesday AM 5/6/08

Close up of the shop made hinges and pulls
Making the hinges ...

My son Sam made the hinges by cutting down some 2 x 2 blank hinges that we bought from SSS Steel Supply and welding on the shaped long leaves. He then heated them in the gas forge and chased the detail line around the outside edges while they were hot. We then heated and finished them with a linseed oil and beeswax coating, and lastly, created the 1/8" offset by bending the long leaf cold to acommodate the stepping face frame, one of our signature construction details.

Hinges in the gas forge prior to finishing

Cold bending the 1/8" offset.
Clamp is tightened to offset the long leaf on a 45 degree angle.

Waiting for the hardware ... Pulls are done .. hinges will be finished very soon ...

CAD elevation of the the front and end of the cabinet

Detail of the layout for rabbeting and mortising legs of the cabinet

Detail of the end post and panel joinery

Top view showing end panel attachment to case after gluing up
The front frame is glued to the case first
Drawer Pulls

Side view of the pulls installed

Elevation, plan view and back side of the pulls .. 4/19/2012 ... i see this post has made it to the otp of my 'most popular' list ... i am adding a link here to a blog post i wrote shortly after this one that more thoroughly explains the steps to make these pulls ...

The sketch above shows the production process using a router table and curved fence. For safety, we tend to start with wider stock (6-8") and rip off a pull at a time and then the pulls are all from the same piece of wood. If you need more detailed instructions, email me, as I have written out very detailed instructions for my employees.

May 8th After several requests for the details, they are now in a post above dated May 6th .....

A Greene and Greene Style Sideboard

We're finishing up a copy of a sideboard we first made (for the same client) back in late 2003. It is inspired by the designs of Greene & Greene, two turn of the last century architects in California. They were inspired by nature and oriental design and created many beautiful homes in the Pasadena, California area. The most famous one being the Gamble House, which I visited before I designed the furniture for the client's original dining room. The piece we're working on will, after mellowing from it's current newness , look pretty much like the original, except since it will be going in a larger room, we added a little extra detail to the end panels and the wood we are using has some very interesting figure.
I belong to a Yahoo Greene & Greene newsgroup and one of the members has requested that I publish instructions for making the drawer pulls on the piece shown here, which I will do in a seperate post for anyone that's interested. They are distinctive, really nice to use and a little tricky to figure out if you haven't made them before.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Article I Wrote in Fine Woodworking in 1980

I recently received a request for a copy of an out of print article I wrote for Fine Woodworking in 1980. It took a minute, but I scared up a copy of it reprinted in 'Fine Woodworking Techniques 4' published by Taunton Press in 1982. Fine Woodworking, I would credit with getting a lot of us started on the trail of woodworking for a living. At the time it first came out, I was working as a carpenter and there was one guy about 20 miles away who was rumored to make furniture for people. Now there are 4 people like myself, within two miles of my shop, who have employees and make furniture or cabinets for a living. Quite a change.
Above is the link that started the discussion and below I have posted a scan of the book page. If you want a printable pdf, let me know and I'll email you one. This project looks trickier then I remember it and, if I wanted to make one now, I'm not totally sure I could figure it out easily without the article. Good luck if you're making one. Comment below please and click to enlarge the pictures.

It took me almost as long to find one of the boxes
as it did to find the article ...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Custom CNC Work

We're doing a custom CNC project for Greg Spiggle of Fletcher Cameron Design in Connecticutt. He found me through the recent article in Woodshop News (archives 1/08). I wasn't sure what the design was really about when we were making the first samples, but now that we've cut the first full panel and stood it up in the window, I get it .... Every hole is a different design and as you move past it, they all change ... It has a real Moroccan thing going for me .... Plus the light coming through it is filtered in a very pleasing way .... Click to enlarge ...

The full panel in the window

Close up of about 40 of the 8 bazillion holes
Extreme close up showing the quality of the cut, right off the machine

Friday, April 4, 2008

Crotch Mahogany Veneered Console Table

Ok ... This was a bit of interesting fussiness. It looks really simple now that it's done, as most elegant things do, but there's a bit more to it than meets the eye. The concept is uncomplicated. Arrange three veneered panels with matching veneers on both side into a mitered upside down "U" and presto ... a console table. Here's the actual deal ... Click photos to enlarge ...

Concept is shown above ... rotate flip, cut to size and match up keeping in mind that the patten has to match both inside and out.

Looks easy, right?
Here's what the stack of flitches of veneer ($50. bills), looked like out of the box. The beautiful crotch mahogany consecutive flitches came from Ben Barrett of Berkshire Veneer Company in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
What they REALLY looked like, as in WRINKLY LIKE CRAZY !
After spraying with 'flattening solution', (10% alcohol,10% glycerine and 80% water),
changing the paper between the veneers every day for a week, and increasing the weight everyday until the stack is in the veneer bag under pressure for the last day or so, they were ready to press onto the core stock in our veneer bag. You can see more on flattening veneers at this website.
Just miter the 16" wide slabs so they match perfectly, (90 degrees please), figure out how to index and clamp them, and then, glue them up. Piece of cake. Like I said, it will look really simple, (and elegant) when it's done .... next week sometime .....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Metal and Wood Potrack

Below is another collaborative project between the wood shop and the metal shop. We first made concept drawings and talked our way through the design for this potrack with the client over the course of a month or two. We first cut a small wood (mdf) prototype (4" x 68" x 18") to hang in the actual living space. We made it taller (8"), made it shorter (61"), and then built the steel. Essentially it's an 1/8" x 8" box that has been painted in green and black, which will be hung from Arts and Crafts Style brackets and covered with a stained cherry Rennie Mackintosh inspired 'cover'. Glued up the wood today and we'll sand and start the finishing of the wood tomorrow. It's also loosely inspired by an Arts and Crafts hanging table lantern I made for another client. Here's where we are as of today. The hooks are made and painted, same as the metal box. Click the photos to enlarge ...

It actually just looks like it's hanging up in this photo. We took a picture looking down on it, cut it out and inverted it 180 degrees. I'll have a photo of it hanging in the space from it's custom brackets soon I hope ....

The original drawing

The glued up cover slipped off for finishing

The hanging lamp we used as a sort of inspiration

Cutting the 'cover' panels on the cnc

Gluing up the cherry 'cover'.

The real steel frame and a cut mdf sample cover hung in the finish room to determine the hanging height. Love the whole concept ... !