Around two years ago, I found a really sweet piece of walnut. It was someones off-cut, clear as day, being weirdly thin and not quite rectilinear. The lighter edge will tell you that this piece has a splash of outer layer wood contrasting the dark heartwood grain. I was able to sketch a fin on this gold piece of scrap, create a diagonal cut, and insert my own walnut and oak endgrain checker pattern. The 21 1/2 squares are blocked by thin maple stringers, clamped between the walnut. Great project, but only time will tell if this fin ever sees time in the ocean. For now its a cool show piece.
There’s plenty of weird people in the Pacific Northwest. There’s the wonderfully weird, the extremely strange and the ‘it’s kinda hard to tell’ type. Luckily, there are plenty of designers that drive their art and architecture from our inspiring skyscrapers, in all of their lush green glory. It’s true, the PNW is truly an inspiring place and for now I find something about rain to be relaxing (I hope I still say that in the spring).
I built this live edge coffee table the week before I left. With taller legs I suppose it could become an dining table also. Lots of interesting swirls, curls, and undulating lines reminded me of a river delta, while the funky bowed shape was totally an unforeseen organic play that I couldn’t erase even if I tried. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow…
Around a year ago I made a coffee table top that just never seemed to form legs. My wood skills at that point in time weren’t quite up to motivating myself for such as task, thus they, and my plank, sat on my architecture studio desk for an entire semester, then my home basement, and even survived a move. Somewhere in this hardwoods’ journey from central Virginia to Southern Maine, it lost its orthogonal form. The bandsaw turned a rectangle into a stubby walnut fish shape plank too out of touch with scale to create anything useful. It was a beautiful accident.
This summer I created a rectangular base with tapered maple legs, walnut crossing points, and a mahogany skirt. Some parts I shaped at Chewonki. Holding the final iteration in my basement, looking for a top,I remembered the fish. They fit together perfectly.
If you’re into reading about purveyors of personal propulsion devices (aka watermen), then you’ll know what these are. Come hell or high water? Avocado Coast proudly presents the Baked Potato hand plane lineup for body surfing. It’s a sport, I swear, just look up Mark Cunningham. These are on sale at Aquaholics Surf Shop in Kennebunk, Maine and although not quite selling like southern hot cakes, I did see a young grom try it on today while in the shop. It was rewarding to say the least. Artwork and shaping both done by myself. Wood lay up is Cedar x Maple stringer.
For those outside of the rather exclusive sustainable surf community, wooden surfboards have been gaining in popularity all over the world, as a re-evolution or reversal on the toxic crap that floods the surfing industry, then the consumer, and then our oceans.
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.
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…