Monday, October 31, 2011

a custom 'studio style' dining room

update 10/31 ... we're on the home stretch on this project now. we'll be delivering the sideboard and table today and the 8 chairs later in the week. coincidentally, we have another dining room coming up next. an oval table (52 x 86), 8 chairs and a corner cupboard ... click the photos to enlarge them ...
the 8 chairs before the arms and the finishing ..
here we have our 'arm adding process'. essentially, we use the mdf too keep the arm blanks parallel to the seat rails until we can do the joinery and the final shaping
the completed armchairs ...

10/16 ... on our website you can see a type of furniture we refer to as our 'studio style', which could also be thought of as a 'signature' or 'default' style ... the kind of stuff we have made for 25 years for many clients and for our own home. it design nidea originated with a client who spent some time in germany and commissioned us to build a custom desk for her like the furniture she saw when she lived there. i later came to understand that what she was describing to me was actually furniture in the biedermeier style. that was in 1986, before one of the definitive books on the style was published about 1992 and, believe it or not, before the internet and google even. so we kind of made it up on our own. these pieces are direct descendants of that german and austrian idea from the mid 1800's. must have been in my german blood. click the photos to enlarge them.
the construction process for these designs requires first building the piece and then completely disassembling it for the painting and varnishing. the pieces above are for the sideboard that is part of this commission. it is identical to one in my own home except that the center detail will be part of an oval instead of the angled geometric one in the photo below.
loyal readers have probably seen this one before ...
here's how it goes ... in the early stages, all the details are left flat so they can be registered with each other and then the shadows and bevels are cut when the individual pieces are disassembled for painting and finishing ...
at this point, nothing is glued, though the web frames are screwed to the insides of the face pieces, and the piece is completely rigid.
we leave the lower rail element uncut at this time too ... and then the drawer faces and the central element are fitted tightly in the holes. the final fitting happens after the case is finished and glued up ...
dovetail time ...
pulls and more finish tomorrow ...

the palette for this project is natural cherry and curly hard maple, with ebony and black milk paint details
here will is reassembling the table base that he made a few weeks ago.
the top and leaves of the table have a curly maple and ebony inlay that we routed out and filled back in. ... here lorne has finished installing the ebony borders before fitting up the 1/8th" central curly maple veneers.
once the bottom of the top is finished, the base is assembled and installed, the table is flipped, and the top is final scraped, sanded, and finished on its base ... runners again from our friends at moin hardware.
tah daahhhhh ... with the leaves in, before the fnish. 10' x 42" wide
a quick finish sample/palette study for the clients
we will be wrapping up the chairs and the sideboard this week ... delivery time soon ... more on all of it as we finish up ....
lots of pieces to keep track of ....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

tune up that bandsaw

we just finished a project for a local interior design firm that involved making 12 new feet for 2 big couches whose feet were not really in proportion to the rest of them, or to the room where they went ... the new feet are 7" in diameter, 7" high. we glued up some blocks from8/4 and made a sample and a template for the duplicator and had at it. before will could start turning them, i cut them to length and round for him. will had recently tuned up the bandsaw, adjusted the guides, etc. etc., but i didn't realize what a good job he had done until i cut the blanks ... square ... straight ... cut after cut, through 7 " of maple ... click the photos to enlarge them ..
in response to the comment below, i am posting a link to the bandsaw blades we use. THE most important part of the tune up is a new blade from doall. we've tried many brands i won't name, but these are, in our opinion, THE best. i have to go to the shop to find the exact info ... next is to adjust your guides close to the teeth and square your fence to the table and the blade ... fussy stuff but worth the effort. see the last photos below.
this is how they lined up across the top of a stack 3 high ... barely a 32nd difference across the tops.
the chips flew during the rough out stage ...
and made quite a pile ...

first coat of stain ... after distressing we used a second coat of english brown mahogany lockwood water stain. then a coat of oil/poly, then gel stain on the lathe spinning on low speed. the final coat of satin poly was brushed on with the feet on the lathe, and then they were transferred to the finish room to dry where you see them below.
all in, all done ... they will be installed to the couch frames with 2 - 8" timberlock screws per foot
in the photo above, you can see a stack of 9 - .1" veneers cut sequentially and sanded after from one piece of 8/4 walnut. and 4 - 10.5" wide curly hard maple slices also from one board.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a clock case repair

we fixed another clock this week. there was a handwritten note pasted inside the case that said it was "old in 1854 when _________ gave it to my grandfather." i'm waiting to hear from the british clockmaker, who is repairing the works as to his best guess on the date and geographic origin. it's american, with a cherry case with mahogany details, and appears, with the exception of the lock, pretty original. like the last one we fixed in the spring, the weight had fallen and taken the floor with it ... all better now. click the photos to enlarge them ...
we started with the easy stuff, some missing moldings here and there. a brainstorm i had was to do the first couple coats of dye and shellac before gluing them in, which simplified the blending of the finish later on.
this was the most troublesome aspect of this project. it's the front right leg, and it had been nailed through the glue block in several directions. it twisted off easily in my hand, the nails, not so easily. eventually, i worked them out through the hole and repaired the surrounding area and drilled a new, slightly larger hole. i had to make a stacked jig to keep the little foot vertical while i drilled the new hole for the new tenon, which was simple once i worked through the concept phase of it.
viola ...
new bottom from recycled chestnut ...
out the door ... pics with the works when they arrive later this week i think ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

fall in vermont

it wouldn't be fall in vermont without a few foliage pics from yours truly. the season started off kind of slow and brown, but the colors have come on like always now. i've been sort of chained to the table saw lately, but tuesday i did go for a ride up to whiting to look at some lumber. i stuck my camera out the window a couple of times as i was driving ( i wasn't texting) and got kind of lucky a couple of those times. at the bottom i threw in a few of sam's new belt buckles, in case you are not into leaves ... all foliage pictures, route 30 north, dorset to whiting .... click the photos to enlarge them ...

largemouth bass tourney, 'derby champ'
'fish in montana'

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a commercial reception desk

along with the 14' fumed, fsc, quartered, figured eucalyptus table, we've been working on a painted reception desk for a client in boston. it's a crispy commercial project designed by the worldwirde architectural firm, gensler. the granite is from johnson granite and marble of proctor b=vermont. loyal readers may recall that they also did the granite for the large conference tables we made last year. click the photos to enlarge them ...
cad plan view and granite layout ..
no overhangs, everything flush and fitted ... though it looks easy, now that it's done, there were a number of interesting and exacting challenges to solve along the way ... timing was one, and we had to order the granite and the glass before we even started building the piece. the glass will actually not arrive until about a week after we deliver it this friday. fortunately, there is a commercial glazier working on site and he will install the glass when it arrives, saving us the trip.
the glass is mitered and 'back painted' and will cover the low protruding, overhanging counter face, the short return, and the far end, and is bordered by 1/4" satin stainless edge pieces. not having the glass on hand, we cut mitered 1/4" mdf panels on the cnc to the exact sizes of the glass we ordered and hopefully, our tape measures are the same. there is not much room for error and few places for adjustment now that everything else is finished.
we made a slick jig for sanding the stainless steel edges and sent them on edge through our wide belt sander. probably not a recommended application, but it was the only way we could come up with, and it worked perfectly ... the flat pieces were no problem and we sent them through with the exhaust off and used an old 80 grit belt. there were virtually no sparks or heat build up, and i would say it was a valid technique for surfacing them to create the 'industrial' look required.
the miters were cut to rough length and adjusted and fitted using a 45/45/90 jig on the edge sander.
we framed the piece with timber strand, a stable flat stud material becoming more popular in high end housing projects around here. it's not cheap, but it is flat, straight, square and stable. except for the weight, it's a pleasure to use.
we also created a flip down 'door' for the electricians, which i am sure they will approve of ...
and a sturdy 8/4 ash and steel frame to support the +/- 600 pounds of granite counters.
the blue line denotes the largest piece that had to fit in the freight elevator .. 44 x 42 x 80".
the granite was cut from one large slab so the grain matches over the entire counter surface.
lastly there is a little box of drawers that supports the frame end and ties everything together. below you can see the steps in the simple assembly. looks easy now that it's done.
the corner piece will be set first over the wiring feed and the L shaped 'glass' piece is attached from the inside of the desk.
here trevor is installing the screws to secure the two main pieces together.
the granite frame is next. it sits temporarily on two angle iron pieces, and then is securely bolted to the stud framing with 4" 'timberlock' hex head lags.
the drawer box is slid in to complete the base assembly and the removable panel on the inside back wall is installed last.
the first piece of granite is slid into the corner, and the rest are added to complete the puzzle.
and while we were at it, we put some cardboard on the top of the eucalyptus table frame and took a quick snapshot ... all in, all done .. onto the truck for boston tomorrow.
crazy wood that eucalyptus ...