Mid Century Style Plywood Cabinet

This compact cabinet was the fits alongside the Wall Shelves and Coffee Table I delivered back in March. Made from birch ply with elm handles the cabinet features a main cupboard and single drawer. The solid elm top is shaped to match the coffee table and ‘floats’ on a recessed piece of 6mm plywood to create a nice shadow line. Off cuts from the top where used to make the simple handles that add to the clean mid century style.

Compact mid century styled cabinet

Compact mid century styled cabinet

Floating top on 6mm ply

Floating top on 6mm ply

Single piece elm cabinet top

Single piece elm cabinet top

Mid Century Wall Shelves & Coffee Table

I like it when I client gives me a challenging brief that requires some lateral thought. On paper this was a simple set of shelves with a mid century modern feel to display personal items and house a small flatscreen tv. The challenge was to make a 4 x 2 meter run of shelves in sections that could be easily transportable and simple to install with minimal wall fixings. Oh and it had to float off the wall to avoid cutouts in the uprights for the skirting board and keep a clean vertical line.

Thankfully the client’s design broke down into two main sections - the ‘bookcase’ on the far left and then ‘tv shelves’ on the far right. The section in between is bridged by a series of individual shelves that tie the whole thing together. Each section is comprised of 18mm birch ply components which are either permanently glued together or use ‘knock down’ fittings to join them. The ‘tv shelves’ are made from character elm boards to bring a richer hue to the piece and are profiled with a curve shape. A small coffee table completes the commission with a birch ply base and elm top in a simple mid century style.

Mid century wall shelves.jpg
Birch ply and elm coffee table in mid century style.

Birch ply and elm coffee table in mid century style.

Sketchup model of the shelves with ‘sketchy’ render.

Sketchup model of the shelves with ‘sketchy’ render.

Laying out on the floor was the only way to test the assembly…

Laying out on the floor was the only way to test the assembly…

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.

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.

Let there be light...

Following on from the earlier prototype I've recently finished another wood veneer lamp. This one is in ash with elm framework and lovely burr elm base. The lamp shade is much taller at 700mm which works really well with the veneer grain running vertically. The ash is a lighter blond coloured wood and lets through more light due to the more open grain. Overall this lamp stands at 900mm tall which is perfect for a feature lamp in a living room or hallway. 

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

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.

Tea Caddies

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.

Oak Sink Stand

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...

Oak sink stand

Below are two media benches made for the same client back in 2006 - one of my first commissions as a new future maker...

TV Table
Small TV Table