welcome to my blog

designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
This blog is a record of my life in my studio.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Modernist entertainment center

Here is a picture of a recent commission - a small entertainment center to hold a flat screen TV, a cable box, and a couple of stereo components. I had a little fun turning one of the photos black & white, making it look a lot like one of those modernist catalog photos from the 1950's. Originally, my clients and I had decided to bevel the top all the way around. But when it came time to make the final cuts to the slab, the natural edge was so close to the bevel we had planned, we decided we couldn't cut it off.

The bump on the top is a large, felt-bottomed "coaster" I made for the 42" TV that will go on top of the table. The owners were looking for something they could use as an entertainment center in their small condo, then re-purpose once they move into a larger home. The coaster will protect the top so there's no damage from the TV's plastic stand.

This piece took two months to make.  It features several "firsts" for me: my first shop-made pivot hinges, first hand-planed (rather than sanded) surfaces, first invisible magnetic doors, first book-matched doors, first blind dowel & lap joined case, first carved handles, and first 100% solid wood black walnut construction, from a naturally-felled old-growth black walnut.

This was my first "fine furniture" commission, and I look forward to the chance to design & build similar pieces in the future.

The legs get wider at their bases, while the bevel on the top and the doors lend an upward-sweeping shape

the doors move on invisible brass pivot hinges I made myself
book-matching can lead to some amazing figure in wood. I retro-fit a 3hp motor to my band saw before sawing these panels

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Pedestal Stand for the Sera 15 gallon Biotope

my pedestal: 36" tall
front view
The Sera Biotope 60 is a 15 gallon "micro" aquarium-in-a-box, perfect for people needing just a little bit of fish tank in their lives. With its sleek shape and dark gray molded, vented canopy, the Biotope cuts a handsome figure. But the pedestal usually sold alongside the Biotope 60 doesn't live up to the job.  Short and squat, with not a lot of storage space, it could look, and serve the needs of cramped apartment dwellers, a little better.

This project represents my ongoing development in re-thinking common furniture challenges to create a new, more economical designs, while improving on quality and style at the same time. In this case, I achieved the same wholesale price point as the factory stand, but improved on it in many ways: