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Posts Tagged ‘fine furniture’

 Look, I have to show you this… I’ve got butterflies!

They just flew in …  just this minute!

This is mid project… a blanket box being made by a lovely man named Andrew Poder who makes terribly intricate and clever boxes and cabinets and other daring furniture pieces.

His finished pieces are very special http://www.boxmaker.co.uk/ 

I feel quite spoiled.. like I should get everything I ask for!!! Maybe I should put fluffy bunnies on the bottom of every post I do???

This fluffy bunny was brought to you by  http://myths-made-real.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/freak-week-35-angora-rabbits.html

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One log…

     

One heart…

lets-join-it-together-with-some-lovely-little-butterfly-joints-like-Andrew-from-Wabi-Sabi-does and it will be all right….

OK, that was a dreadful wasn’t it??? I know (huge groan) look at me singing about wood joints like a fool!

Whenever I see these Wabi Sabi tables with that delicate little butterfly bridging the gap I wonder why I don’t see that clever joint more often… I have always thought it was beautiful and skillful way to address this natural tendency for centre boards to split…

I love that they’re not about decoration…  they’re not frivolous, they do a job. They neatly tie the two sides of a board (or even two separate pieces of wood) and lock the two joined parts together.

Very clever, very neat  and very pretty.

You could (as I do) take the view that instead of detracting from a board, the split or heartcrack, which might otherwise be seen as a defect or something that reduces the yield of the board, actually creates an opportunity and naturally enhances the board (and that’s not just me putting a positive slant on something as I am want to do from time to time) maintains uniqueness… keeps it’s wild, natural, living tree-ness… you know?

So are you a sympathetic, skilled and creative woodworker… are you tempted to have a go?

If you saw some of the boards out in the yard you might be tempted… it’s not just the size that’s so attractive it’s the wild grain patterns and figuring you get to keep if you could use a whole, intact board.

If you do do butterfly joints I really want to see them… please send me some pictures. I’d like to have a whole library of butterfly joints!  It’s one of my favourite things ever in furniture making… and in floormaking… I’ve seen incredible floors with huge boards stabilised with buttlerfly joints… all sizes too.. of butterflies I mean.

Here’s another Wab Sabi pic that shows exactly that kind of knots, grain swirls, brown streak, flecking  and figuring that might have to be excluded (polite timber-speak for chuck it in the firewood) in a typical project, but with the butterfly it gets to stay. Wood like this has unique features built in!

It must be the best joint every surely?

None of that hiding round corners like a dovetail.. the butterfly is brazen! it’s a proper ‘in your face, not pretending to be anything but, look at me I’m a joint…  kind of a joint. My old tutors would probably start waxing lyrical about honesty and truth in design etc… but that’s architects for you.

I love ‘brazen’…

I know other woodworkers must utilise these joints but it is definitely not commonplace… I wish it were.

American architect turned furniture maker/teacher George Nakashima used to incorporate just this kind of joint into his work. He developed a working philosophy that integrated traditional methods of woodworking from Europe, Japan, India and America.

Nakashima is a woodworking folk hero and his sensibilities and devotion to craft have influenced and opened doors for lots of creative designer/makers to view the use of wood differently. Always nice to have a bit of philospohy to work to innit?

I mean look.. this is what I’m talking about! Humongous wide boards in long lengths but with heartcrack… somebody butterfly joint it for goodness sake..!

Otherwise those tantalisingly wide boards will get ripped down (I know that is woodwork language for cutting something through the width but… so harsh) into ‘use-able’ dimensions like 27 x 100mm (1″ x 4″) or something… we don’t want that do we??

So next time you meet over a table… or sit at a table… or make a table… or choose a table for your living room…  or dance on a table in a bar… consider the butterfly effect… we love those butterflies.

Get in touch with bespoke designer/makers Andrew & Kumiko Juniper to see their diverse and extraordinary range of solid wood furniture  http://www.wabisabidesign.co.uk/index.html

George Nakashima, folk hero and furniture maker http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/

Thinking of Google Image Searching  butterlfy joints? Already done it…  http://bit.ly/Je1CgO OMG!!!  After this an intact and clear piece of wood is just so passe darling

Repair a split using ‘Dutchman’ butterfly joints – it makes me want to go home and split my dining table in two just to have someone mend it!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMcXwmoOExI&feature=related   Andrew.. are you free???

Cool video of someone fitting what I call a butterfly joint in a round  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWrkqj_lyuo

More AMAZING japanese joinery work and what a piece of wood! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THbyIHsCVEs&feature=related

Nice article about George Nakashima http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/page.asp?p=624

If a butterfly joint flapped it’s wings in the amazon… the theory of chaos via our friends at wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

You don’t really read all the way down here to the bottom do you? Aren’t you lovely!

I was going to just leave a little note about heartcrack but now I think I’ll put in a picture of a fluffy bunny just for you!

This fluffy bunny was brought to you by http://bunny-love-girl.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/very-fluffy-bunny.html !!

Heartcrack:

The reason for the cracking in those centre boards?  which pretty much always crack up the middle (at least for the lower part of the tree) seems to be linked to the release of tension in the drying out of the butt end.

Common sense points to so many reasons why this would be right… base of the tree is most likely wetter, most likely bears the most load/takes the most strain,  dries out faster than than the rest of the log because of the exposed endgrain… I could go on, but I won’t.  It’s only a crack afterall…  good old mother nature.

Come and hug a log that used to be a tree http://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

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I know that if I’m not talking about wood I’m talking about food… (don’t worry everybody I’ve spotted the pattern)…  it’s not that food is my only frame of reference but…  

Anyway, the only reason I even mention it is this…

I mean.. what does that remind you of ??? and if you don’t say rhubarb and custard, raspberry ripple ice-cream or fruit-salad chews then, frankly, you’re just not being honest with yourself!

Now, try again… relax… empty your mind. Now what do you see???

               

Feeling hungry yet?! No? I know…  that’s just me.

Joking aside… it is wierd looking stuff isn’t it?

It’s Plane… or London Plane… or Lacewood as it’s often referred to. This stuff is fresh sawn so very saturated and raw, not at all the creamy white  colour it will be when it’s dry (hang on you wood worker people.. I’ll get to that in a  bit).

These are the same tree species that you see in those incredible avenues of giant trees on the outskirts of French villages in the Tour de France (go Cav!)… or on the very hungry Raymond Blanc’s TV series…  or famously lining the Canal du Midi and soon to be felled – supposedly…  poor Canal du Midi.

So there you are.. these boules of Plane have been sticked and, unlike most other hardwoods, after a short air drying period we are going to vacuum kiln this timber straight away.

It would be possible to air dry in the yard over a long period but it is highly likely we would end up with stick marks across the boards. With this species, as with Sycamore and other sensitive stimbers we really need to maintian the integrity of the colour by not keeping it in stick for very long because the pale cream and the extraordinary grain are the desirable qualities in this timber. The vacuum kiln should give us this. 

So the kilning should be happening any day now… and then after 2-3 weeks it will be ready for use. This is lightening speed for timber (as I write we have thunder and lightening!) and the result will be lots of sparkling new Lacewood for everybody to help themselves to…

And it really is lacey and very delicately grained… the pictures do give a hint of that in amongst that raspberry ripple…  imagine if it stayed this colour… that would be wild!

I can’t wait to see something in the fine furniture vein made of Lacewood… I know I do nag you all but one of you superstar wood workers must have pictures?

Plane tree avenue heaven http://bit.ly/IRF7wR

Plane trees also have this amazing bark that changes colour and keeps shedding so you get can gather it up and take it home… I would go to France solely to do this is…  if I didn’t have to work http://bit.ly/IjV1iy

I’m a massive TDF fan and not only because of the amazing helicopter footage of France you get to see…  if you’re not sure where to go on holiday the Tour de France will help you decide   http://www.letour.fr/us/index.html  (if you’re Graham it helps you decide not to go to France)

Food! The very hungry Frenchman  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01bqwlm 

If you haven’t seen ‘Adam’s Rib’ with Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn (real life husband and wife) then the title of this post means nothing to you… but if you’re interested, it is a great film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041090/

Don’t talk to Tom about the Canal du Midi   http://www.canal-du-midi.org/fr/liens/offices_du_tourisme.aspx

Anyone who wants to see the Plane boules (or any other timber) is welcome to visit anytime http://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk/contact_us.html  or get in touch and ask us anything you want to know…  

G-unit have measured all those boards especially so you can demand to know what stock we have and get a sensible answer without having to trek all the waydown here on the off-chance… so for more information over the phone 01730 816941 or fax 01730816875 or email sales@englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

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Peter was busy sorting his Sycamore last week… he didn’t complain about it at all(!)… and whilst sorting for ripple he came across these few boards which were a nice surprise and will hopefully go to a good home

     (more…)

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of Life, the Universe and Everything …

is blatantly not 42…  it is Oak. (more…)

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Now tell me that doesn’t look edible to you..?? Well it’s not a Burr Oak souffle more’s the pity…  we’d be sorted for lunch! (more…)

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It’s all about the wood.

It’s why we do what we do. It’s all we do.

Our work  is to produce beautiful timber. It’s the kind of work that hasn’t changed in over 30 years… and the same can probably be said for our methods but that is a good thing!

We’re all working with a knowledge that has been passed down through the company since the sawmill was started on this site in the 1940’s (wanna see some pictures? … give me a few days… I know I put them somewhere round here) .

So I thought it might be interesting to try to capture some of the ‘how’ of what we do.

The guys seemed quite into that, so one day Graham and Grant went to work with a camera and this is what they gave me.

How we put a log into ‘stick’

I think it’s a nice place to start because it’s the near beginning of  life-in-the-yard if you’re a piece of wood…   ready?

Hang on it’s a roller coaster ride!

So, the log Graham and Grant are working on here is a 46mm thick (will be 41mm stock), prime Oak cut through & through (T&T). It’s one of a mixed parcel of Sweet Chestnut, Oak & Pippy Oak that were cut in the first week of January this year.

First of all the freshly cut, tightly banded log gets retrieved from the yard and brought to a good flat working space with the loadall. The back of Peter’s kiln dried shed is a favourite spot… out of the weather and within earshot of Cliff and the Shadows ! (more…)

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