Tuesday, September 29, 2009

David Rasmussen Design ... Bilt Furniture

I saw some interesting woodworking in the last couple of days. Some by David Rasmussen, who worked with us for four years and has been out on his own now for about four years. When David left, he went off to build handicap accessible treehouses with a national group called Forever Young Treehouses. After spending a few years traveling and working with them, he settled in Carbondale, Colorado. He just sent me a link to his recently launched website and I thought I'd share it. He's done some interesting furniture and sculpture work recently, and the treehouses he's worked on are definitely worth a look as an inspiration to reach a little higher ... Check out the treehouses here ...

I also saw some other interesting work by recent graduates of Brown University. Bilt Furniture is a four person design collaborative, some of whom I met at the Woodstock show. They are working with Charles Shackleton on a project at Brown, doing the recycled wood, contemporary furniture for the project, and were visiting with him and taking in the furniture show at Woodstock this past weekend. I really enjoyed talking with them. Their enthusiasm for their work was infectious and inspirational. I wish them the best of luck ...

Check out Bilt Furniture and David's work at the links above .

9/29 .. Woodstock Show Update

Show update 9 29
Show's over ... It was good to see the smiling faces. People were happy, but not throwing money around exactly. I met a few folks who qualified as 'potential clients'. My friend Charley Shackelton said, 'It's like fishing. You never know when you're going to catch the big one'...
Anyway, it's good to get out once in a while ... network a little and see what other people are up to. I had enough good conversations and met enough interesting people there to make it worth the (considerable) effort. So ... here are some pictures of the Guild's booth ...


It's that time of year again .... Time for the Vermont Wood Manufacturers fall fruniture show in Woodstock, Vermont ... I participated in the Guild of Vermont Furnituremakers booth last year and plan to have some stuff there again this year .... Come on by if you get a chance. There are about 40 exhibitors and there will be lots to see .... Click the pictures to enlarge them .... I plan to finish an indoor version of the steel sculpture pictured above ....

Two beautiful matched curly cherry boards

and offer this cherry and steel dining table for sale

I think my bench will be 'finiished'

If I have room, I'll take my redwood console

and the banjo that Will and I finished recently ...

Last years Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers booth

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drawing and Thinking...Thinking and Drawing

Clipping above from my bulletin board ... source unknown.... been there for a while

Having just spent the weekend at the Woodstock Furniture Show, talking to people about what I do and how I do it, the theme of drawing for work and for pleasure came up many times. This is a meaty subject for me. I have been drawing, both for my business and for pleasure now for almost 30 years. A long time. It is probably, one could say, my primary tool. the origin of all things ... and, a distinct and rewarding pleasure in my life. The process mystifies and engages me. At our recent Guild meeting Friday, two items from The Furniture Society ( of which the Guild is now a member) were passed around. The newsletter, Furniture Matters, and the conference catalog, State of the Craft were distributed. Both reminded me of why I belong to both organizations (community and ideas) and why I occasionally still do shows (to talk and think about what I do). A month or so ago I received permission from Ashley to post her essay below on drawing. She catches the essence of the drawing thing. Click it to read it ... Enjoy it ... Get out your pen and keep a sketchbook handy.

Ashley Ericksmoen is a designer, maker and educator in Oakland, California....

A good place to start ... 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'

A collection of my 'for pleasure' drawings I put together earlier this year

The post idea/visualization process

The completed project ... Railing Project

Coffee table with 'secret' compartments ... (unbuilt)

Detail exploration ... The Lutyens Style Desk

Early potential trestle designs for The Claro Walnut Slab Desk ...


Sketch over photo ... The Tansu Style Stairs
Concept for pizza oven removable/reusable arched roof form

Cockatoo Table early concept sketches

Recycled Chestnut 'Tub Table'

A John Cedarquist piece in a client's home ... How could this not have started from a drawing??? Get your pen .... Have at it ... More on this subject to follow ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Porch In My Finish Room ... A Full Size Mockup

9/24/09 The furniture made it to its porch in Boston this week ...

And what a grand porch it was ... I was thinking the coffee table might be tight, but instead, it couldn't have been any smaller for the sclae of the porch ... perfect!

I'm working with some friends/clients on furniture for their porch. It's a beautifu, spaciousl porch on a grand old home and we want to do it justice without filling it up so much that it feels crowded. I fooled around with a couple different layouts in my cad program and now that we have finished the chairs, we're working on a size and shape for the coffee table. Fortunately , the client had stopped by last week just as the table/desk shown in a recent post was leaving and happened to get a good view of it just before we loaded it up. She had seen the wood at Open Studio back in May and coincidentally I had the smallest of the three slabs still on hand. The porch is longer than my finish room, but I had enough room to layout and mockup the business part where most of the furniture will go in full size, including the slab for the coffee table. We set it up on some scrap plywood that was a little shorter than I would have designed it, but it turned out it that lower was perfect. Good for feet, can also double as a bench, emphasizes the horizontal length of the seating layout and does a good job of standing up to the overall space of the porch ... Looks like it'll work, and totally reinforces the concept of mocking things up in full size WHENEVER YOU CAN cause they always look different in person than they do on paper or in your mind's eye. No substitute for the real thing, the real size, AND the real height. Taping it out on the floor just won't do .... Check it out ... Click the pictures to enlarge them ...

The actual porch

First Layout

Final Layout

The chairs in the shop ... 4 fixed, two rockers ... The real cushions will be ready next week

Monday, September 21, 2009

Accidental Art ... While I Was Working II

You just never know what's coming next .... I picked this up outside the finish room last week, propped it up on top of the electric meter and gave it a name .... 'My Four Best Friends' ... it's actually a piece of plywood Trevor put down under some frames that he sprayed black before he put speaker cloth on them. We all liked it .... David Smith made a number of paintings by arranging steel scraps on paper and spray painting them ... I've seen some of them in person and they're very cool.

Later that week, while trying to get a 'natural' edge on a seat plank for a stool I'm fooling around with, some really fine shavings came of the process. You need a sharp slick and a consistent 'push' but the pine shavings curl up into amazing shapes ... Click the pictures to enlarge them and have at it yourself .. You might be able to get the same result with your largest chisel and judicious use of a mallet.

'How do it know?'

I've got these long pieces of curved ash I want to make into a sculpture of some sort ... the details are simmering ... waiting for that 'lightning bolt' to strike ...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Table for the Cockatoo Chairs


The table made it to its garden home in Boston

The garden was beautiful ... and everyone is happy ...

We finished the table for the cockatoo chairs yesterday ... It'll be off to Boston next week sometime with the porch furniture in the post of 9/16 ...

We first glued up two of the ends with 15 minute epoxy on the metal to wood connection. .. Click the pictures to enlrge them ...

Then we clamped the two ends together with the connectors ... Once we screwed in the short 'bridge ' pieces in the middle of the steel parts, the table became incredible rigid ... We added the small steel pads at the base of the legs as a design detail and to protect the end grain of the legs where they will sit on the stone patio ...

Update 9 7 ... waiting for approval of the finish samples ...

Last week we delivered the 'Cockatoo Chairs' to their new home in Boston, and a beauty of a home it is. An H.H. Richardson ( great bio of the architect on Wikipedia) shingle style design from the 1880s. Beautiful home, beautiful furnishings, beautiful artwork and gardens. The chairs have landed in a VERY special place for sure. They are residing in the recessed area in the lower right corner of the photo below, near the front door, overlooking the garden ... perfect spot ... Now for a table to go with them. We used, as a starting point, an Arts & Crafts style table that the client has been using there previously with other chairs ... We made a couple sketches and today we made a quick mockup of one end of the table to work out the more mysterious construction details. Legs are mahogany; the aprons are 3/8 x 1.5" steel with wood verticals. The top will be slats of mahogany in a mitered frame ... We're considering 3/8 x 1.5" metal 'pads' where the table sits on the stone terrace and perhaps some other small decorative metal details which we'll either mockup or discuss with the client ... More later .... Click the photos to enlarge them ...

1883 H. H. Richardson designed home with serious wisteria

Sketches ... The client selected the bottom one

Our two dimensional mockup 'elevation' exploring how the curved and straight steel elements will join to the wood legs. The curved pieces will have to be mitered once they enter the leg as they are nearly as wide as the leg is thick ... We'll do a test, but after fitting them up, we imagine that we'll epoxy them iside the leg using a West System product of some kind. We rolled the steel into acurve using our new Boss ring roller, an amazing piece of equipment.

The straight top pieces will also have to be mitered in the corners and then screwed into the end grain of the mahogany legs

The 'elevation' stretched out using photoshop.