My new business cards have arrived just in time for the Glasgow Contemporary Art Show this weekend. It's not often I get to put my graphic designer hat back on and indulge in a bit of paper geeking! Ended up going for the plain satin stock rather than the deluxe triple laminate board with coloured centre... Maybe next time.
I've finally finished the lamp that I've been prototyping over the last few weeks. The cherry veneer gives a lovely warm glow to the lamp and contrasts nicely with the ash frame. As a pro-type I've used a piece of sycamore burr for the base - I needed a light coloured base to match the frame. In production I'd probably use elm for the frame and base with maybe cherry or ash veneer for the lampshade. I prefer to limit my choice of timber to one or two species to give a strong contrast.
I've got a few design tweaks to make regarding the lampshade frame but otherwise I'm quite happy with how its finished. It certainly looks very nice in our hallway!
So remember those veneer rings I made in the last post - thats them underneath all the clothes pegs. Who needs a whole load of fancy clamps (me usually) when a bag full of clothes pegs does the same thing.
As you can see the lampshade is progressing - the shade frame is made from ash to match the hoops with some cherry veneer as the actual shade. Just the base left to assemble and then the lamp holder to be wired up. I'll probably get that done tomorrow so if the power goes off in Dalkeith you'll know I've got it wrong...
January - back to work after taking a few weeks off. Ugh. To cheer myself up I'm prototyping a new design for a table lamp.
So what's with all these clamps and complicated formers? I'm laminating multiple strips of veneer together to create thin wooden loops. They're only 3mm thick but made from 5 plies of veneer so are really light, strong and surprisingly rigid. The hoops will then be used to form the top and bottom rings on a veneer lampshade using some thin (0.6mm thick) elm veneer.
Well that's the theory. I'll post more once I've figured out the next stage...
It's always nice to finish up for Christmas after delivering your last commission of the year. I installed this TV Cabinet with integrated TV Lift yesterday and was extremely pleased (and relieved) it all worked perfectly the first time!
The cabinet is made from the client's own oak and features a pair of book-matched doors. The contrasting colour of the heartwood and sapwood have been used to give visual impact to the straight grain wood. An inset finger pull completes the doors and matches other pieces made previously.
Although the design is in a more traditional style to my natural edge work, there were plenty of challenges to keep me on my toes. The cabinet houses a 46" tv and is about 1300mm in length - making wide doors requires skill to ensure that there is no movement or warping when glued up and installed. I used quarter sawn oak for the door frames and lid as it is the most stable cut of wood to use.
A great end to a difficult year.
The After the Storm exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh gets underway this weekend (3-4 December) with a special Makers' Market. As well as creating the main pieces of furniture for the exhibition using wood from trees blown down at the Botanics when Cyclone Andrea hit the gardens in 2012, myself and several other makers have been busy making a selection of small products from the same timber.
It's been an enjoyable challenge to come up with creative designs on a smaller scale and I've produced a new range of boxes with a natural edge using birch and maple with burr elm handles. I've also made some limited edition clocks and sets of coasters made from oak, maple, elm and holm oak. Myself and other makers will be at the exhibition this weekend to talk about the project and give people the chance to take home their own piece of Botanics.
The After the Storm Maker's Market is open from 11am-3pm, Sat 3 & Sun 4 December.
The wood shavings have been flying in the workshop while I’ve been getting everything ready for a number of exhibitions and markets. This busy period takes place after quite a long spell of radio silence - I lost my Mum in early 2014 and my Dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly late last year. As a result, furniture making has taken a bit of a back seat.
It’s been a difficult time, but stepping back from work has helped me to rediscover what I loved about designing and making in the first place. I’m enjoying my work and trying out some new styles and methods. I hope you’ll be able to come along to one of the forthcoming events to catch up or see what I’ve been working on.
SFMA Annual Exhibition – Rooms for Improvement
Until Sunday 6 November, (10am-4.45pm [3.45pm 1-6 November]), John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
The Scottish Furniture Makers Association’s annual exhibition at the Botanics in Edinburgh is already underway with a new approach this year – work by 26 SFMA members is being shown in four different room sets, so you can get an idea of how the pieces work in situ. I’ve got an elm side table and tea caddy on display and outside you can see a great display of autumn colour.
Peebles Wood Market
Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 October (10.30am-4.30pm), Peebles Community Centre.
This weekend event is a highlight of the Tweed Valley Forest Festival, and the market hosts a number of makers showcasing small products and furniture. I’ll have lots of things for sale including some lovely beech chopping boards with ‘ribbon’ inlays. Outdoors on nearby Tweed Green you can see chainsaw artists, traditional woodworking and a mobile sawmill in action.
The Crafters Art & Design Fair
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 November (10am-5pm), Border Union Showground, Kelso.
This annual event keeps growing in popularity, showcasing quality art and crafts from the south of Scotland.
After the Storm Exhibition
Saturday 3 December – Friday 26 May (10am-3.45pm), John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
A special exhibition of fine furniture made of timber from trees blown down at the Botanics when Cyclone Andrea hit in 2012. The show explores the restorative impact of storms as well as the trauma they can cause to the natural and human environment. I’ll be exhibiting an asymmetrical writing desk made of oak, sycamore and cedar from the wind-blown trees. I'll be posting more on this in the coming weeks.
I've got a new design of Chopping Boards ready for the Peebles Wood Market this weekend. Made from Beech, each board has a ribbon of contrasting woods running through it - Sycamore and Walnut or Sycamore, Walnut and Elm. An inset handle has been routed into each end which also serves to highlight the different woods. The boards are all finished with a clear mineral oil which is food safe and really gives a lovely smooth finish and rich colour to the wood.
Beech is the perfect wood to use for Chopping Boards, it is close grained, doesn't easily splinter and stands up well to knife cuts etc. That's why it has been used for Butchers Blocks for hundreds of years. Also Beech is reputed to be mildly antiseptic which is another bonus.
I've only got seven of these stunning boards available at the moment in various sizes - so if you know someone you'd appreciate the perfect board you'd best get chopping...
It's nearly time for the Glasgow Contemporary Arts Fair GCAF 2016 (22nd-24th April) again and I've been busy getting new pieces ready. Just finished is this burr elm and walnut side table that features an amazing single piece waney edge top. It's one of three slabs of burr elm I rescued from the firewood pile and squirrelled away nearly 10 years ago. The grain really has to be seen to fully appreciate it - they're like flower petals or Pak Choi or something...
This table features a crisp and elegant frame with curved legs and rails complete with a floating table top. Details include traditional wedged tenons on the bottom of the legs and pegged tenons at the top.
I'm exploring a new direction at the moment taking influences from Mid Century Modern furniture and adding the sculptural organic elements of waney edge wood. I've always been a fan of Mid Century design but wanted to do something more than just replicate existing designs.
Named after a huge oak tree that came from the riverside area near Jedburgh rugby club, this chest of drawers has been quite a challenge to make. Following on from the conjoined ash console table I made last year I wanted to explore using thick waney edge veneers to add an organic edge to my work. Oak is a mid toned, open grained wood so to contrast I chose burr sycamore which has a lighter colour and smooth close grained feel.
The design is inspired by the clean lines of Mid Century pieces which I've given a woody twist by using character grade oak. Through dovetails were used in the cabinet construction with mitred corners added to the front edge to give a cleaner line. The sycamore veneers were consecutively cut from the same board with the top, middle and bottom drawers having one set and the second and forth drawer having another. Applied to the drawer fronts they provide the organic edge that I was looking for and also a sense of depth. To complete the piece, cedar panelling has been used at the back which gives off a subtle aroma whenever the drawers are opened.
This piece has been something of an emotional struggle to finish. I started it last September as an exhibition piece for the Peebles Woodmarket. Sadly my father passed away at the beginning of October last year and all work ground to a halt for several months... Slowly everything has got back on track but I couldn't face finishing this piece. It sat, half made, in the workshop gathering dust. However, bit by bit, I began to work on it again until it was finally finished last month. Its been a tough struggle but I'm glad is finished - I'm sure my Dad would be proud. Whether or not he'd like the design is another story...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just delivered this bespoke oak settle to my client. Lovely mix of clean and rustic oak which came from their own farm. The settle has curved back slats which give a more relaxed seating position than a traditional 18th Century settle. The cupboard underneath gives amble storage for all their shoes with the inset curved handles adding a nice detail.
I made a set of three tea caddy's for the Glasgow Contemporary Arts Fair last weekend. Designed with a nod to the orient the caddy's feature dovetail joinery and tapered sides. The lid is made from old growth Oregon douglas fir, reclaimed from a whisky wash back, with a sycamore handle. Oak, ash and elm were used for the boxes to give a set using my favourite native woods.
Just delivered a sink stand made to fit in a small alcove in shower room. Just about managed to squeeze the bowl and the tap inside the table frame. It's made from oak and the design features double reverse tapered legs which match several older pieces I made when I was just starting out. Nearly ten years ago...
Below are two media benches made for the same client back in 2006 - one of my first commissions as a new future maker...
Spent a couple of days last week processing windblown trees at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. They blew down in the storm in 2012 and included some ancient oak and chestnut trees that were over 250 years old. The plan is to turn the wood into furniture and woodworks for an exhibition to be held at the Botanics in 2017. I'm looking forward to seeing what my fellow Scottish Furniture Makers Association members make from this beautiful wood.
Keith Threadgall from Real Wood Studios getting carried away - think he's going to need a bigger axe.
It took a while but I finally got the banjo stand finished. It's made from oak with some nice merrino wool felt as protective cushing. There's also a nifty latch, that locks in place using magnets, to hold the neck in place.
Don't know the difference between a band saw and a rip saw? Come and find out at the Newbattle Abbey Workshop Open Day. Myself and Tom will be on hand to answer all your woodworking queries, show you some works in progress and give you a chance to browse our portfolios and display of finished small pieces.
Friday 27th, 1pm - 5pm and Saturday 28th, 10am - 1pm (Unit 16 Only)