Sitting Comfortably - Car Seat Armchair mk2

Back in 2015 I made a pair of TopGear inspired carseat armchairs for a client. Well just last week I delivered an updated version of the design. This time for a beloved seat from a Volvo 940, the chair features a laminated one piece armrest / rear leg. This gives a nice swept feel to the piece and a a sense of momentum.

Made from scottish elm with oak used for design details and pinstripes. Through wedged tenons have been used extensively to give a very strong frame with a decorative element. The arm and legs have been profiled on the router with a Queen Ann cutter to give a gentle radius to the edge. This gives a real tactile feel to the piece that adds to the overall comfort.

Dining or Kitchen Bench

I finished this handsome Dining Bench just in time for this years Scottish Furniture Makers Association Annual Exhibition. A stunning matched pair of elm boards make the seat with walnut dovetail keys tying the pair together. A hand planed curved edge gives a multi-faceted edge to the the seat. This treatment is also applied to the bench frame which softens the profile and encourages you to touch the tactile edge.

Found an old map...

I was browsing in an antique shop in Edinburgh and stumbled upon an old map of Dalkeith. Looking more closely I saw that it had the army camp that forms Newbattle Abbey Business Park in full detail. The woods and grounds are littered with old foundations and bits of drainage etc which obviously once formed part of the camp. This map proved what I’d always thought - the camp was obviously much bigger than it is now.

1945 map showing full camp layout

1945 map showing full camp layout

Camp layout now showing buildings that no longer stand. Some of those left are empty shells…

Camp layout now showing buildings that no longer stand. Some of those left are empty shells…

Reclaimed Teak Sink Stand

The first project of 2018 completed and delivered yesterday - a sink stand made from the client's own reclaimed teak and mahogany. The brief called for a simple chunky design with angled legs with a single shelf for towels etc.  

The reclaimed teak looked quite tatty and tired when I picked it up but after scraping and sanding off the old varnish and dirt the lovely rich grain was uncovered. Teak is one of the most oily tropical hardwoods there is and unsurprisingly all the machinery that came into contact with it was coated in an oily residue in no time. It actually machined very well unlike the mahogany -which has a reversing grain. Fortunately the drum sander was ideal for smoothing off the rough surfaces and is a life saver with difficult timber like this. In order to get the thickness required for the tops and shelf I laminated two layers of boards together in the bagpress to give a finished thickness of 54mm. 

Finished with a penetrating oil (Osmo Extra Thin) the grain really came alive and the contrast between the chocolate brown teak and rich red mahogany worked really well. This was the first time I've used tropical hardwoods for a whole project and it was interesting to learn a few new techniques. Not sure I'd be keen to do more work in tropical timber as I prefer native species but I have to admit that the grain and tones of the wood do look pretty cool.

Homegrown walnut tables

This commission for set of tables came from a chance encounter with an old friend at Glasgow Queens Street station over 2 years ago. My friend had a neighbour with a walnut tree in their back garden that was due to come down as it had grown too big. Details were exchanged and over the following years I helped arrange for the tree to be felled, planked and carefully dried. The owners were very keen to have something made from it as a memento of the tree that their children had grown up with. Although quite a young tree (in tree years) I felt sure that we would get some usable timber from it. As it turned out the risk was worth taking and the end result was a set of unique tables featuring a homegrown walnut table top(s) and Scottish elm frames. Although not the rich chocolate brown of mature walnut the timber has a lovely woody quality to it and the perfect provenance - from back garden to living room.

The design brief was to create a set of tables that could be used as a main dining table and pair of side tables which could be placed at either end of the main table for family get togethers.

Tea Caddies - new batch

Another small batch of tea caddies ready for the Aberdeen Arts Fair. This set have walnut lids with a burr elm handle. There are three different boxes - one each in olived ash, pippy oak and elm. Great fun to make and even better to keep your tea bags in... or anything else you fancy really.

Handmade Tea Caddies L to R: Pippy Oak, Olive Ash and Elm all with Walnut lids and burr elm handles.

The dovetail tails roughed out on the bandsaw.

The dovetail tails roughed out on the bandsaw.

The finished tails cut nice and neat.

The finished tails cut nice and neat.

Conjoined ash console table

It's been a busy month out and about at the Edinburgh Festival this August. I also managed to do a bit of woodwork on the side getting ready for the Aberdeen Arts Fair. First piece ready for the fair is this oriental inspired console table with drawers and a floating table top. The piece features a unique piece of Ash that is actually two separate tree limbs that have grown together - inosculation. The drawer fronts also have a slice of the same board used to give a natural edge relief to them. The grain pattern and voids are really striking and are definitely a one-off.

Fused ash board
dovetail drawer with natural edge

Potfest 2015

Sunny day out at Potfest 2015 at Hutton-in-the-Forest. Exhibitors from all over the world and some beautiful ceramic work on display. Couldn't afford to buy any of the larger pieces but did pick up a lovely coffee mug to add to my collection.

Porsche 928 Car Seat Armchairs

My take on a Top Gear style car seat armchair - a pair of recycled Porsche 928 leather seats married to elm chair frames. The design features a low slung relaxed seating position with a curved armrest and raked back leg. I really like the contrast between the distressed leather of the seat and the smooth woody grain of the elm. The colours of the leather and wood compliment each other nicely too.

Car seats are surprisingly heavy with most of the weight towards the back, so the frame was designed with this in mind. To hold everything together I used a variety of wood joints: sliding dovetails, mortice & tenon and open slot mortises - all strong joints that work extremely well in chair construction. 

A big thanks to the guys at Ecosse Classic Cars, for their help in prepping the chairs.