Saturday, 24 March 2012

'cant' console table

As regular readers will know i use this blog to show my current designs and new ones and this is the first new design i have made for a while now, so i will run through the design and explain my thinking behind it. The console table is based on the popular 'cant' sidetable principle of having a cantilever surface protrude through and into a wooden frame arrangement. I knew this design would be quite adaptable so i started to play around with varying proportions for a hall/console table. the below photo shows the first mockup which gave me a good starting point in terms of what functional size i was looking for.

The next stage after deciding on the size was to source some appropriate wood. And by chance i had acquired some reclaimed sapele which proved perfect for the job, well seasoned, dead straight and having worked with sapele before i knew it would be a good wood to make this design out of. So the process began of cutting the wood down and preparing it to be made into the frame work. As i had made the sidetable in the same way i was confident i could make a solid frame based on that design. So the gluing and constructing of the frame did not take too long at all. The problem i had was coming up with a new way of fixing the table top into the frame work as i had had mixed results with the sidetable method of fixing and knew i had to find a more workable solution and after much sketching and experimenting i came up with the idea of concealing nuts and bolts within the frame work which would in turn hold the acrylic top in place, the next series of photos show the plugs i used to cover the holes up in the back strut of the table. But since completing this table i think I can improve this fixing system even more by changing a few elements and hence improving the overall look of the piece and eliminating the plugs i had to use to cover the holes.

once the fixing holes had been drilled (16 in total) i could glue the last sections of the frame together and begin the tricky task of routing out the slot to except the acrylic top, its always a nerve wrecking time as one slip can ruin the piece of the wood and as this wood was reclaimed i did not have anymore. panic over i secured the top into the frame and could finally see the finished design which is always an interesting time, wondering of you have done right with proportions and construction, but i was pleased but knew where i could improve for next time. I then oiled the frame with traditional Danish oil which has brought out the grain of the wood quite well and darkened it which has then contrasted well with the black acrylic. I tested the strength of the cantilever construction by placing a 2kg weight on the edge of the table surface which proved that the table was strong enough for daily use. As you can hopefully remember the original idea for the ‘cant’ series was to give the framework a functional element by allowing the user to customise the piece by draping magazines over the frame or clipping lights to it hence freeing the table top for more storage etc. one thing I have learnt is that I will probably spend a bit more time looking into the design of frameworks for future projects and try to understand the forces that will be exerted on that frame and improve the design overall, but also looking at the amount of wood I use and the way I use it. so an interesting experimental project awaits.

This design will now be listed on to be bought and put on various portfolio sites and the process begins again as I have a new idea to take further and expand on which is always an intriguing time in the life of a new design.

Monday, 19 March 2012

good design hangs around

about time i put my thoughts and views down again on this blog and i wanted to start by rejoicing thefact that i ahve finally finished the 'cant' console table that took far too long to make, thats the trouble when you can not do something you love all day everyday, things take more time. photos will be up on here as soon as i can take them but for now you will have to believe me that the wood has come up beautifully (remember it was reclaimed sapele) and the new system i used to sercure the cantilever top to the frame works a treat. so this design will also be uploaded to my usual sites so that it can be bought and shown to a wider audience.

so thankfully my time can now be put towards my new project and making mockups of that before i decide on the final design, its always a fun part of the process seeing how far you can push an idea before you commit to the chosen wood, and i am hoping that this new design will lend itself to a line of furniture items just like the 'cant' series.

going slightly off track i saw a strange site the other day. i was walking down my local high street and saw one of those new volvo v40's, i have always been a fan of them and really like the new design style they have come up with but i was drawn to the inside of the car and while looking more closely i spotted the instrument pinacle. they were still the same round dials you get in any car but they had an lcd display inside each dial and then the hand that registers the speed followed around that on the perimeter, its hard to explain but google it and im sure youll find it, but i was shocked to see this design as it was very similar to an instrument design i came up with at university about 9 years ago. it was very pleasing to know that i had come up with a very similar idea all those years ago and see it on a very modern and stylish car all these years later. it proves that good design is timeless, it made my day.

anyway expect to see photos of the new console table on here very soon and some images of my new design in the mockup stage

Monday, 5 March 2012

good progress

It’s about time I posted another update about what has been happening and what I have done in my pursuit of producing some modern/minimalist furniture. I’m currently still making the console table based on the ‘cant’ side table series out of sapele. I have ordered the black acrylic top which will finish the piece so it’s just a case of finishing the wood, sanding and oiling it and then securing the top with a new system I have come up with which will hopefully provide a better cantilever solution. So that’s the main area of focus in trying to establish a collection of furniture that best shows off my design skills as well as my progression in making them and getting that quality and uniqueness. But as a lot of readers will know I don’t always concentrate on one project and I am now in the process of designing a new piece that has been in my sketchbooks for a while and having successfully found a piece of wood that will do it justice I can start making some mock-ups of the design and constructing it which for me is the best part.

  The wood I bought is called iroko, a wood I have not used before but the grain and straight ness appealed to me so I had to buy it, but I was worried when I read up about it on the internet and found out about the harmful effects of the dust it produces. Which I should have known about to be honest because all wood dust is dangerous but it certainly makes you think twice and realise that the simple (I call it simple) art of making furniture can be damaging to your health. (don’t tell my mum) so it is giving me a new found respect for the wood I buy and it will certainly make me use it differently now.

   But the problem comes in trying to find another piece of wood to compliment it (there’s a clue to the design) which I know will not be cheap and easy, maybe I should have pared down the first selection of wood but I have set myself a challenge and know the outcome will be worth it. So in my pursuit for a piece of wood I have discovered a new wood yard very local to me which I know will prove to a gold mine in the future and this just fuels my desire and creative ideas further, so I feel the summer months will be very experimental and hopefully profitable. 

  Apart from that, that’s all the making I am doing at the moment and so I continue to try and improve my photography skills to get some better shots of my designs for the various websites I am on.  I am still trying to find some local markets where I could sell my designs so if anyone knows of any that would be great but the slog continues promoting my designs but the passion is still there and that’s the important thing. When I see one piece of wood somewhere it does excite me (sounds weird) but that’s where the passion and creativity comes from, it’s very important.