Thursday, June 30, 2011


David Upfill-Brown applying finsih to chair legs
For me, one of the best things about being here (the Studio Fellowship at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship) is taking inspiration from all of the incredible work produced by the faculty, staff, fellows and students. I was particularly inspired over the last month watching David Upfill-Brown produce 5 exquisite chairs.

Although I wasn't here when he went through the design process for this chair, just watching him take rough cherry boards and turn them into beautiful chairs has been a rare treat.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More work on the membrane box

Box sides--veneer glued to an MDF coreI've had two weeks of various experiments trying to figure out the best way to configure the lid and membrane on my current project. At this point I'm getting tired of mucking around with it and I'm going to build the box and figure out the top later.

So next week I'll be focused on getting the box together. I've already glued up the veneer and core for the sides of the box and now need to figure out the bottom and the frame for the membrane on top.

One idea I've had is to just stretch the membrane in a frame and then build some sort of kinetic element that sits in a top tray. Maybe if could be triggered by sound or proximity to create movement under the membrane as someone approaches the box??? If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, please post a comment--I'd love to hear from you!

Grid used in a failed kinetic experiment for the boxThis grid was used in one of the mock-ups that I didn't like. I like the grid, but the movement element for the box just didn't work out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Under the hood

Several dozen bamboo skewers installed in the lid matrixHere is peek under the membrane of my current box project. The idea is that items put in the tray of the box will telegraph through the membrane. As an experiment, I cut and mounted a hundred or so bamboo skewers between two pieces of MDF drilled to accept them. I found a nut that fit on them perfectly. It even cut threads as I screwed them on using a nut driver.

The mock-up of the top is working and I'm pleased with how the rubber dye worked on the latex top. It has a very organic look to it--kind of like frog's skin or some sort of granite.

I have a couple of other ideas and I'm hoping to get one of them sorted out tomorrow. I'll post that one when it's done.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First fellowship project

Top membrane (dyed latex)It's day 11 of my fellowship and I've starting working on a small box. The lid of the box will have a flexible membrane that will distort to telegraph small items left in the top tray of the box. I've just applied dye to the latex membrane and I'm pleased with how it's come out.

I'm still working on the dimensions of the box and I'll need to cut down the lid as it's much too thick and this point. Another thing still to determine is the outside treatment of the box.

In addition to working on my first project, I've been making lots of small things for my bench--a shooting board, bench hook, and shelf for the back of the bench. In the evenings, I've been resurecting an old handsaw that I picked up at a garage sale for $3. It's a Disston D-23 from sometime after 1928 and before 1955.