Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I'm also working with more colour in my wall art as I feel it brings out the beauty of the woods I use. I've been trying to work within a theme as much as possible.. for at least a few of my pieces. This makes the work more exciting to look at as opposed to a few random pieces of art assembled together. Since I am considered an emerging artist at this time, I'm still developing my style and voice. I can also get away with more experimentation. The exhibitions also allow me to meet many interesting people, artists who follow their passion. The talk is not of careers and money, but instead the love of creating art and objects of beauty and the pure enjoyment derived from this.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
When I create sculptural work I usually start with a sketch and move on to creating the sculpture directly from the sketch. I don't bother with maquettes or mock ups since at least for me, the sculpture is not too far removed from a sketch. The proportions are not critical as with studio furniture, they need to instead work to represent the intended vision. Once I flesh out a design for a sculpture through a series of sketches, the fun begins. How to turn a sketch into a 3-D object. How to sculpt an object out of wood to represent an image without going overboard; without inserting too many elements into the design. The saying "less is more" often applies to sculptural work. How to create this sculptural work with minimal elements, only enough to put the image or vision forward. I often alternate between creating studio furniture and other forms of wood art, this keeps the monotony to a minimum and allows me to express myself with minimal structure and technical details... a very liberating feeling!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The cherry is slowly becoming darker, which contrasts well with the cabinet. At this time I am installing the unobtrusive small latch for the right hand door. This will keep the door closed against the small door stop I had previously installed. The contrasting maple interior and ambrosia exterior of the cabinet is a nice touch, something I had never done before. The pale maple interior helps to naturally light the interior. The different interior and exterior woods also remove any monotony which might occur with too much of the same wood.
The interior of the cabinet harmonizes with the top and bottom panels leaving the exterior doors, side panels and back to flaunt the wild and colorful ambrosia graphics. With the doors open, the book-matched ambrosia back panels come to life with the surrounding maple. The cherry drawer fronts harmonize with the stand although the darkening of the cherry will occur at different rates but eventually fairly well match. Next I continue to apply finish with much lighter coats with scraping and polishing afterwards. Some shots of the fairly complete cabinet to the left and above. You can see larger, more detailed images by double-clicking any of these smaller photos. On another note, the crisp fall weather is in the air.. they're calling for some frost overnight. It was hot here only a few days ago.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Transferring the upper spacing to the lower stretchers of the stand involves the use of large squares. The squares are used to confirm that all the lower components of the stand are perfectly perpendicular to each other. Once I have the top of the stand clamped I can begin to mark and measure the lower stretchers. The lower rails, on the other hand, are effectively the same length as the upper rails so this is not an issue. Once the components are cut I mark out the dowel holes and transfer these markings to the legs.
The criticality of all the dimensions for the stand are important since this particular design needs to be exactly the same in width and depth as the actual cabinet. Therefore, the leg dimensions need to be subtracted from the rail lengths. This is another step where some clamping pressure is necessary to reproduce the final tensioned assembly. In these photos, I have the components laid out, then the stand is clamped using fairly lightweight clamps to eliminate the introduction of any unnecessary tension in the stand while it is being clamped. I had earlier assembled and glued the sides of the cabinet stand first to minimize the craziness of clamping many components simultaneously. Those of you that have done this can relate. The cabinet stand is now complete and ready for finishing. I have confirmed the dimensions are correct and it is so nice when this works out well. The cherry is a light pink color now but while slowly become darker as the days go by, aging to that beautiful cherry color we are familiar with. This provides a great contrast to the lighter cabinet above.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The mortises are offset from the top of the legs some distance to maintain sufficient solid wood between the end of the tenon and the top of the leg. To offset the resulting, shorter tenon I offset the bottom of the tenon a smaller distance to the bottom of the apron rails. This allows for a wider tenon than if I had made the tenon symmetrical. I typically rough cut the tenons slightly larger than the mortise and then trim them to fit tightly into its mating mortise. Measuring and marking cannot be stressed enough for this operation, the final dimensions of the stand need to be exactly the same as the bottom of the cabinet in my design. The tenons of two adjoining apron rails meet in each of the legs at a right angle. To accommodate this within the mortise housing I saw a 45 degree angle out of each of the tenon ends. The result is two of the rails meeting at 90 degrees within the mortise housing.
The markings for these cuts can be seen in the top photo. In the bottom photo, I test fit all the tenons and mortises and can now proceed to the next phase of creating the bottom stretchers for the cabinet stand. I also have not cut the legs down to their final length quite yet, I will also be doing this next once I decide on a final height for the cabinet.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Rather than this, I have decided on narrower top apron rails and move some support to the bottom of the stand in the form of stretchers instead. The aesthetics of this are more pleasing to me, very much like dividing the load at the top and bottom of the cabinet stand.The leg dimensions remain the same, instead I divide the original upper rails into two components per rail and use the narrower component at the bottom of the stand. The strength and integrity of the cabinet stand should be maintained with this design along with more pleasing aesthetics, and more subtle, smaller components.
The leg blanks are cut to exhibit a rift-sawn pattern. This ensure that each face of each leg displays straight grain instead of a cathedral type grain pattern. I carefully marked out a large cherry plank to be able to accomplish this. The inner core of the plank will be used for the top and bottom rails. Since the plank was thicker than 8/4, I am therfore able to cut the rail pieces on edge therefore ensuring a quarter-sawn appearance. This ensure straight, consistent grain throughout. In the photos, I outline the grain pattern I will be using. Next, I will continue to prepare the stand components down to their final dimensions and then mark and cut the joinery for the stand. I should have the stand assembled within the next two to three days.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Afterwards, I fitted the remaining pull to the right-hand door of the cabinet. To get away from absolute symmetry and to make more of the door graphics visible when looking down, I located the door pull slightly lower than center. After installing this door pull, I feel I have succeeded in this effect. A single door pull confirms that it is the right-hand door that needs to be opened first, as the door lip orientation demands this. Having a single door pull also creates a cleaner cabinet front and evokes uniqueness, mystery and a non-conforming design, since the large majority of cabinets in existence have two pulls. Next, I continue scraping the interior to a point where I can begin applying finish. As well, I need to create an edge treatment at the front of the tops and bottom of the cabinet. I had purposely left this until now in case I needed to perform any trimming of the front of the top and bottom. The edge treatment will be a small chamfer which is continuous with the sides of the cabinet. Any trimming is better determined with the doors in place.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Creating the tenon is meticulous work and I used a small, fine saw to delineate the tenon from the actual pull area. Once this is done, I use a skew rabbet block plane and some small chisels to shape the sides of the tenon. The important part of this sequence is to accurately mark the mortise to fit the tenon. A mistake here could ruin the drawer front or involve a re-design of the pulls to correct the error. The tenons of the drawer pulls fit tightly into the mortise and then glued in. I also take some time to orient the drawer pull graphics and orientation to match each other.
After completing and installing the three drawers pulls I proceeded to the right hand door of the cabinet. This door pull is similar to the drawer pulls to maintain harmony in the design. This design involves one pull on this door to distinguish this door as the one to open first. I've always liked the idea of having a single pull on the cabinet front, it just looks like a clean, minimalist design. This door pull is also slightly offset towards the bottom of the door to minimize any impact it might have on the door graphics as more of the door graphics are now visible above the door pull.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
The drawer bottoms fit into the grooves in the sides and drawer front. The drawer bottom is accurately fitted so the grain orientation is from front to back. This allows the drawer bottom to remain tight in the grooves and instead any movement is directed towards the back of the drawer bottom. The thickness of the drawer bottoms is another consideration. I wanted to maintain strength in the bottom but at the same time make the bottoms fit into the narrow grooves. This is accomplished by rabbeting the drawer bottoms to fit the grooves while the rest of the drawer bottom remains thicker, in this case a little over 1/8 inch thicker. The rabbets are also created while maintaining a small reveal in the two sides and the drawer front. This can be seen in the above photo. The drawer bottoms are now strong, fit tightly, are replaceable, and are pinned to the back of the drawer. The drawer bottoms are loosely pinned to the drawer backs to allow for wood movement.
Next I will continue to fine tune the fit of the drawers into their respective drawer compartments and then I will create and fit the drawer pulls.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I created rabbets in each of the drawer sides as well as the fronts of each drawer. The back of the drawer has an opening which allows me to slide a custom fit drawer bottom in and pin it to the drawer back. This is a time-proven technique which allows me to replace the drawer bottom if necessary at some point in the future. It also allows for wood movement as the drawer bottom grain orientation is front to back and such is not placing any undue stress on the drawer itself.
The fitting procedure is a bit time-consuming as this is part of the process and a necessary one. I have a couple of the drawer dimensions ever so slightly oversize to allow me to tune the fit to the compartment. Better slightly oversized than undersized. I handplane the sides down to fit the compartment and lightly trim the top and bottom as well. One of the drawers to the right has a lower lip which also needs to be tune to the bottom drawer top, to create a minimal gap yet provide an allowance for wood movement. The drawer bottoms, which I have yet to create, will have rabbeted sides to fit the drawer grooves. This allows me to maintain a thicker drawer bottom yet rabbeted to fir the sides and front of the drawer. I'll continue on with this procedure and begin to give thought to the drawer pulls.
Monday, August 1, 2011
In this case I went a step further by creating a test joint using similar components as the actual drawers. I do this for a couple of reasons. One is to determine the best dovetail placement and spacing and secondly to prepare the two marking gauges and the divider I use to mark and create the dovetails. The dovetails are of the half-blind type, referring to the fact that the tails are hidden or set back in the pins. This type of dovetail hides the joint from the drawer front face and is more elegant than through dovetails.
Creating dovetails is an enjoyable process and a few precision tools are involved: different sizes of chisels, a fine dovetail saw, marking tools, a small block plane, etc. In one case, a drawer has a small lip overhanging the drawer divider so there is more of a challenge with this particular one.
There is little to no margin for error as the joints need to be perfectly fit. The pin marking need to be offset from the bottom by the width of the overhang or lip. I make most of the adjustments of the dovetail joints within the hidden part of the joint.In the photo you can see one complete drawer, a smaller test drawer and the components of another drawer being prepared.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The drawer compartments are pegged to the cabinet interior which ensures they will move with temperature and humidity variations. Since the cabinet sides, top and bottom panels are veneered they will hardly be any wood movement with these panels. The drawer compartments however are of solid wood and it is expected they move with the seasons. My approach is to simply peg them into the cabinet, attached at single points. This technique has worked well for me in the past, essentially separating the interior compartments from the exterior carcase.The top drawer on the right hand side will have a lower lip to overhang the drawer divider. The drawer fronts will be of cherry and dovetailed to the sides.
I just want to mention that the drawer openings need to be perfectly, or close to perfectly accurate in height and width. As well, these drawer openings need to be completely rectangular to be able to have the drawers fit well. I take extra time to ensure these parameters are met.
Monday, July 18, 2011
In the upper photo I am creating a rabbet on the left hand door. I use a skew rabbet plane for this and it works very well in this application. There is a fence on this type of block plane which allows me to set the depth of the rabbet. I began by marking the center at which both doors meet and using that point as the center of the rabbet and lip joint. I typically work one door, mount it and then measure the opposite door. This process is repeated a few times to get everything just right.
The photo at the left shows the completed joint after some final tuning to allow for a small amount of door movement. I can't stress enough to plan before making any cuts, especially when creating knife hinges and fitting doors. Mistakes are all to easy to make and extremely difficult to undo. Not that I've ever made any, ha...
Next I develop a design for the interior compartments and drawers. I have had a design in mind and I'm going to pursue this. Once the compartments are laid out I can begin to plan the drawers. I'll be cutting up some maple for this part in the next day.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Once I have this particular measurement marked out on the cabinet top and bottom for both doors I can use the hinge itself to mark the opposite, parallel side of the mortise. A short time later and the mortises are completed in the top and bottom panels. The next critical test is dry fitting the door panels and knife hinges into the cabinet. This part is successful. I have left a little extra in each door panel where they meet in the center to allow me to fit them so the rabbeted ledges will meet correctly.
I'm also very happy with the choice of graphics in the ambrosia maple veneers I have chosen. I need to perform some final fitting of the mortises, very small adjustments in the hinge placement withing the mortise itself. I had purposely left the length of the cabinet mortises a fraction of an inch short so I can dial in the placement of the doors. The very small reveal at the top and bottom of the doors needs to be perfectly parallel with the respective cabinet top and bottom panels. Once I have this done I will begin the cabinet glue up process.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Once the hinges mortises have been created on the doors, the hinge markings are transferred from the doors to the cabinet to maintain accuracy.I do this with the use of a spacer. The spacer allows me to maintain the same reveal of the door from the cabinet sides. Creating the hinge mortises with hand tools is somewhat of a pleasant task although it can take a while. Care needs to be exercised with grain orientation as the grain is reversed depending on which corner of the cabinet is being mortised. I use both chisel bevel down and back down orientation to remove waste from the hinge.
The outline of the hinge and its offset from the edge of the cabinet and doors is fairly important, I usually mark this with a sharp knife, then with a wide chisel define the mortise using these fine knife markings. Once this is accomplished, removing material from the recess is fairly foolproof. I remove wood from the hinge recess in stages, exercising care not to go too deep in one pass of the chisel. To the left, a photo of the completed knife hinge mortise on a door, one of four to be completed.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The front doors need to be fit accurately as the knife hinges I am using do not allow much of a tolerance in the gap between the top, bottom and door. I am liberal with the use of blue tape to hold the doors together. This also gives me the opportunity to confirm that the grain orientation and the graphics of the doors are in harmony with the rest of the cabinet. The veneered top and bottom panels provided me the opportunity to make them thicker and in my opinion this adds to the aesthetic of the cabinet in a positive way. I feel good about this design and the proportions...the ratio of height to width I have chosen. I did work with limitations however... namely the available widths of the veneers I had resawn. I can now proceed with marking the knife hinge mortises and then begin the hinge installation process.
I've been away from this cabinet build for a while and hope to catch up quickly now. I've been working on a new endeavor http://www.woodskills.com/ and this has been somewhat time consuming but very enjoyable to me.
Monday, March 21, 2011
dy·nam·ic - Characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress.
As my wood art or studio furniture is being handcrafted, sometimes the design I originally envisioned can be improved at different stages, or the original design can remain as is. Having this flexibility provides a continuous excitement for the wood artist or studio furniture maker along with the benefit of improvising on the original design after seeing the wood art at various intermediary stages. An excellent example is the hall table design in my previous posts. I had chosen to invert the base of the table for both aesthetic and technical reasons. Not to say the original design of the maquette would not have worked, inverting it just simplifies a design dilemma for me and introduces a new aesthetic to the piece. After creating the maquette, I realize I needed to have a fairly stable, strong sub-base to be able to support the V-shaped arch, whereas inverting the base utilizes the points of the arches as legs. Often, we become fixated on a particular design and don't bother seeking out alternatives which often stare us right in the face.
Case in point, I have been creating a new design for a smaller wood object, and as part of my philosophy I strive to use as many materials in my possession as possible, without continuously sourcing new material for the components. Working with material at hand sometimes limits what I can do, but on the other hand challenges me to work within certain constraints, in this case certain materials. So here I have an instance of what I like to call "dynamic design", sometimes the beauty of a design is also in its simplicity. Simplicity is one of the tenets of the minimalism philosophy. I have to admit that I am a fan of "minimalism", and have read one book on the subject so far. You tend to gain a different perspective on design after being exposed to the philosophy of minimalism.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
To the left the second cabinet with new top and bottom panels temporarily installed for fitting of the back panel. The back panel fit this second cabinet without any need for taking a shaving off here or there. I'll need to work on the surfaces of the top and bottom panels a little more now since the fitting is successful in both cases... to plane and scrape them to a reasonable state. Once I have done this, I'll begin to work on fitting the doors and installing knife hinges.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Once the substrates are prepared and accurately measured, I spend a little time reviewing my choice of ambrosia veneers for the fronts of the doors. I place them in different orientations to confirm my original choice is correct, and if not change it around. This part is actually fun and I also managed to get a second opinion from someone else. Afterwards, some trimming of all the veneers to slightly overlap the substrates and off to the vacuum veneer press. A few hours later the first of the door panels is ready, aside from the next phase of trimming. At the very least I can begin to visualize how part of the cabinet will look like once completed. I'm confident I have the aesthetics right for each of the cabinets. I can safely say that a veneered cabinet can easily take twice the amount of work to create, in this case these cabinets are sort of hybrids, some solid panels, some veneered panels. You can see some of the tight curl exhibited in the front panels. It's kind of unusual to find figured wood with both interesting graphics and colours as well as other elements such as tight curl. The highly figured woods became veneers and in my small way I make very efficient use of some rare and not so rare woods by using them sparingly throughout the cabinet.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Once the veneering for each of the side panels was complete, I applied vertical ambrosia maple caps to the sides of each of the panels. They are a little fatter than the intended size and this is intentional to allow for trimming in both thickness and depth afterwards. I also orient the grain of each of these caps to follow the grain of the ambrosia and soft maple veneer, this makes life so much easier since any reversed grain issues are eliminated. After a little hand planing to bring the cap surfaces down to the level of the veneer, I scraped the complete surface of the front and back of these side panels. The ambrosia maple surfaces look seamless now and this is the ultimate goal. You can see the pink hues I was referring to earlier in this panel at the left. You can also see the layers and components which comprise these side panels; the substrate, veneers, bake-in, caps. The remaining operation for the side panels is to trim them in length, but I have yet to come to a decision on the exact length so they will remain a little long for a while. Next I am preparing the tops and bottoms for each of the cabinets.