It hasn’t been only fun and games. The studio has been buzzing with activity too. Delivered this boardroom table in mid June. Made from solid quarter-cut Walnut and brass. Each of the pieces used for the top was tapered, each to a unique set of dimensions. The linear nature of the quartered Walnut is made less linear by the tapered shape. At the edges the grain runs out completely. The compound angle of the legs was tricky, especially because there is no skirt - the legs connect directly with the top.
12:00 am • 25 January 2014 • 3 notes
Floating washers in tinfoil boats. What’s the best shape and size for a boat? The record was 26 washers….and then it sunk.
Is balloon propulsion a viable option for the future? Maybe not, but the more air you blow into the balloon, the faster and farther the straw flies down the string.
12:00 am • 23 January 2014
The legs have undergone their final shaping and are now glued in their pairs and glued to the table top. The brass stretchers have also been glued, pinned and screwed to the bottom of the table top. The system is extremely sturdy. When the pairs of legs are glued together using the Walnut stretcher, pairs of Walnut wedges are forced into the slots cut into the tenon ends. Once the glue has dried, the wedges will be trimmed and each through tenon will be carved to its final shape.
12:00 am • 22 January 2014
Leslie Williamson has a new book coming out this spring. In it she describes European masters of midcentury design through her exceptional photographs. She started the process months ago on Kickstarter. Looking forward to this one.
12:00 am • 21 January 2014 • 18 notes
The Walnut boardroom table is almost ready to have the legs attached. The brass stretchers must be located and then the holes in which they articulate must be drilled accurately. A special jig is built for the drill press to get the angle just right. The brass stretchers are trimmed slightly and then glued and pinned in place.
12:00 am • 20 January 2014 • 2 notes
Catapults are a winner! I prepped some material in the studio so we could make 4 catapults. Each group of 3 boys had to screw the pieces together with drivers and drills. Once they were assembled, we used bungee cords as a spring. The shorter the cord, the greater the spring. We had to consider angles, elasticity, and release.
12:00 am • 19 January 2014
At the end of May I was preparing the legs for a Walnut boardroom table. The through mortise and tenons that connect each pair of legs are cut and snug - challenging with the compound angles. Lying above the leg pair is one of 2 brass stretchers already bent to the desired angles. In the second photo the tenons are in the mortises, but the slots have yet to be cut in the tenon ends to receive the wedges. The final shot shows one leg sitting in the sled used to create the taper.
12:00 am • 18 January 2014 • 1 note
Paper bridges. How can you best use a single sheet of paper to support a weight across a span? Fold it? Double or triple it up? Make it corrugated? Give it corners? Try it at home.
12:00 am • 17 January 2014
I was asked to be part of IIDEX Woodshop this past fall. In partnership with the City of Toronto and Ideacious.com, 15 local woodworkers were asked to create a production prototype using wood from the Ash trees being killed in the city by the Emerald Ash Borer. In the next 5 years we will lose over 200 000 trees to the borer. These prototypes will bring a second life to fallen trees that would otherwise go to landfill.
My piece is called Bent. It is built using 10 of the same ‘bents’ that inter-connect using saddle joints. A ‘bent’ is a section of a timber framed barn. Each section or ‘bent’ is assembled on the ground and then raised and connected to the next bent. In the case of this stool, each bent was assembled and then 5 sections slide into the other 5 at a right angle to each other, as seen in the first photo.
The result is a very strong stool made up of an easily produced multiple that uses a strict economy of material. The design is simple and minimalist but provokes interest in its assembly and execution.
12:00 am • 16 January 2014 • 8 notes
In this Lab we built Arvind Gupta inspired propellers. We used 2 sizes of straws, tape and a deep breath. Joyous!
12:00 am • 15 January 2014
Richard Olsen's HANDMADE HOUSES Journal
Some time ago I introduced you to Richard Olsen’s book Handmade Houses. He is working on a new book as a follow-up. If you like these kinds of homes, as I do, you really should check out his blog. An excellent resource for information about Big Sur builders from the 20’s to the present and the current local woodworking scene. An excellent writer and photographer. Enjoy.
12:00 am • 13 January 2014
Building kites from garbage bags. A huge success - lots of fun and able to get outside!
12:00 am • 11 January 2014 • 1 note
Starting in April of last year, I taught an 8-week course called Design Lab 1 to a group of 12 8-year-old boys at Royal St. George’s College. We explored form, function, structure, design and building for an hour each week. Our first unit was about flight. In the first class we built different kinds of paper airplanes, discussed how and why they worked or didn’t work, built Popsicle stick throwing stars and tested our accuracy throwing them. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.
12:00 am • 9 January 2014
Happy New Year!! All the best to everyone for 2014.
It’s been way too long since I added to this blog. Life is busy and there are lots of excuses, but I am going to do my best to keep this up to date better. Here I am in the studio, scraping a round solid Walnut table top that was delivered before the holidays. There is something magical about cutting the surface with a scraper rather than abrading it with sandpaper. The fine curls that accumulate really show the material that is coming off. It’s not just dust. So satisfying. Even the purple colour that stains one’s hands from the Walnut wood is satisfying.
Going to make a number of posts in an effort to get this blog up to date. Please get in touch with any questions you might have or great ideas you would like to share.
12:47 pm • 7 January 2014 • 1 note
Just finished this Walnut side table. The top is an off-cut from a massive slab used for a desk a couple years ago - rich tone and beautiful grain. The base is also from Walnut off-cuts lying around the studio. The 3-legged base is sculpted and quite light, contrasting the monolithic top . The central joint where the three stretchers meet is pinned with little brass tenons.
9:54 am • 14 February 2013 • 1 note