Maple Table

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This build was an interesting one. Perhaps more interesting than the curvilinear contours, and undulating edge, was procuring the materials. Multiple types of maple from multiple places seemed to be this projects theme. I salvaged the crisp white top planks from a cabinetry waste bin near to the UVa Architecture School. The next pieces, two hyperbolic triangles (or something like that) came from Huston & Co scrap bins in Kennebunk. The owner of that shop and the man who handed me this wood, was the previous owner of my childhood home. He also worked as the main carpenter of the kitchen cabinets. In respect to the Huston’s, they had to be incorporated. The legs were salvaged from Portsmouth, near to where I worked in my first architecture firm as an intern, last winter. Oddly enough, they trusted me to build them cabinets for their office… Well, uh, It stood.

Happy mothers day, Mom.

Handmade Board Rack

Working with wood is tedious. I rarely finish a project sooner than expected, but the end results are rewarding as long as the craftsman is persistent. Working out of my driveway, and with very few home power tools at hand, this one falls into the labor of love category rather uncontested. About two weeks ago, almost unexplainably, I wandered across three gorgeous pieces of stock white oak in the Portsmouth makerpace free bin. At first, I thought, these beams measuring over 37 inches long could be joined by a thick dowel and sculpted into a nice coat rack. Finding a matching base would be tricky which is part of the reason I paired these up to create a surfboard + wetsuit rack. And well, you know, I enjoy an eco friendly, challenging surf design project as much as the next surfer.

The white oak matched well enough with some rock hard maple collected from my old friends in Virginia. A dense, 8.5″ x 2″ board of solid maple rests partially on the ground while supporting the structure laterally. A couple curved triangles salvaged from Huston and Co. (local cabinetry pros) provided a more stable foot base. What once was an experimental shape turned practical by the solid oak and exquisite dowel supported joints. Two bronze or faux bronze, I don’t know, hooks were attached at both shoulders for wax combs, fin tools, and leashes to dangle. Fun build all in all. Only question is wether or not it’s tiny house material…

Walnut Picture Frame

 

I recently heard a short story about value. It goes something like this. A well known artist sketches a quick diagram on a napkin. It took very little time and resources, only a pen and a delicate material most wouldn’t even consider paper. The artist proceeds to offer their piece for sale and she finds an interested client. Naively, the client expects to obtain it for a minimal cost. The artist, however, refuses. This drawing didn’t take two minutes they claimed, it took all of my life to reach this level of proficiency. For that reason alone, she justified a high price tag.

While not for sale, this finished frame gained some interest in value. Were one to be attached, I wouldn’t know what to ask. First, to make this frame, I hand selected two salvaged pieces of black walnut from a scrap bin, planed and cut them down to matching dimensions, then began designing their final “L” shape. Precise table saw cuts helped them achieve a near perfect geometry. Next, I trimmed the corners diagonally with a miter saw, prepping the joints for bonds via glue and nails. I ended up with a sound rectangle on my second attempt (Four clamps providing force in eight directions can get dicey). Copious amounts of work went into sanding the structure, polishing, and devising a plan for a glass inlay. I ended up resting the glass with a bit of gorilla glue in the four corners. That way it stays in place with zero shifting, but most of the pressure is offered from the thick cardboard backing instead, held in place at eight critical points. This also serves as the photo backing. 

The photograph tells a unique story too. A slow exposure of a 40m waterfall, pouring into a small lagoon, labeled “Grand Staircase – Escalante” taken March 2018. Some may relate to not so small journey required for photography. Slow shutter knowledge, nd filters, and raw post processing are just a few of the hurdles I overcame to get the shot, in addition to years of composition with my Fuji x100s. Throw in the fact that my girlfriend and I traveled to Southern Utah for this location, which is actually the middle of nowhere, but happens to reside near Escalante and hiked in several miles to be greeted with freezing cold waterfall spray on an already brisk spring morning.

My point is that considerable effort, time, and creativity went in to crafting this piece from the outer bones, to the photograph, and everything in between. One could claim this only took me a few days work in May or this frame’s fruition is the culmination of an intense charrette in which all of my worldly design skills were tapped into — photography, woodworking, conceptual ability…

 

Wood: free

Labor: 10 Hours

Expertise: 2-3 years

Glass : $2 from Goodwill

White Matte Window: $2.75

11x 17 Photograph: $15.65 

Rough Cost of my project: 2-3 years and $19.38

(Cost of Tripod, Camera, and Adventuring were offset)

Tree to Table

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Once destined for dining, this table now resides as my desk. It was handcrafted using free walnut and oak off cuts that I salvaged myself. It’s true, I claimed all this wood for the cost of driving 3.2 miles and loading it in the bed of my Cherokee. In other words it was a free table top, lest I add the dozens of hours joining, planing, sanding, re-sanding, and coating towards the final tally. It was a labor of love, what else can I say.

Where did I find beautiful hardwoods for free? Gaston & Wyatt Cabinetry in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thank you for offering free hardwoods to architecture students and filling my fall semester with all the walnut I could ask for.

For those that care:

40″ x 26″ x 1 1/2″  Standing Height 37″ 
Pattern (Left to center): Black Walnut, Red Oak, White Oak, Red Oak (Quartersawn)      

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Legs purchased from Etsy.com