Friday, October 16, 2009

a coffee table, but not really a table just for coffee.

This table is not new. I completed it over a year ago. I was just scrolling through some older posts and realized that I had neglected to post it. This table has an interesting story. One day in the school shop, I found some cherry scraps (the word "scrap" might be the most used word on this blog). I had never worked with it before, so I just started making drawer fronts with it and some poplar (cherry smells really good when you cut it). Then I realized I wanted to tackled round corners using an approach I had seen reserved only for pedestal table columns. Then I made some panels, and knew that I wanted cone shaped legs and cherry inlays.
This was the table that hooked me. A good friend of mine gave me the book "The Alchemist" about a year ago as well. I like parts of it, and I don't like other parts of it. In the book, the author talks about the first time an individual encounters his or her calling, and makes something that feels perfect to them. From then on, they try to recapture that feeling, often without any luck. The pieces I have built since this table have been in pursuit of that feeling. I gave this table to my Granny because she has selflessly opened door after door for me.

new projects with old materials, and the birds that like 'em

As mentioned in an earlier post (although blogs don't work chronologically, so you're seeing the newest posts first, so I can't really say previously, or maybe I could), I was given some pieces and parts of furniture from antique dealer in downtown Enterprise that sustained smoke damage from a nearby fire. The headboard bench and the drawer table are the first few pieces to be created from that lot. The bench features a finished (and slightly damaged) headboard, some reworked stair treads, some salvaged oak posts, and some salvaged pine from an old barn. When I walked into the barn to take these photographs, a small wren was sitting on it- no lie.
The table utilizes some random wood slabs that were ripped (cut lengthwise on the table saw) and then glued into new panels. The drawer serves multiple purposes, functioning as storage and as the apron (stabilizing) device. No, the drawer doesn't slide forwards and backwards.
The next piece underwent a reincarnation of sorts as well. This once "Staff Women" door was reformatted into a hefty yet comfortable bench. I really like to sit on it. Perhaps that wren would as well, only there is no wren access into the dairy barn. One rip of twelve inches was made, and all that material serves as the legs. A second rip of 1" was made to remove the side of the door with the latch. A dado trench was made and then the skinny rip was inlaid into the top of the bench. Earlier plans included a door latch push button ejector seat device, but we all decided a wren wouldn't need such a thing as that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

touchin' base

Its been pretty busy lately, and there has been a some neglect on this end as far as cyber posting responsibilities. So here are a few recent thought projections to serve as an appetizer for some quickly-to-be-posted-in-the-near-future-work.
In order of appearance: State Trooper chicken, Early Bird catches the coffee, Laughing Crow, Bird dialing a telephone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

blockhead dining table

"Charlie Brown, you're such a blockhead!" That is one of my favorite lines from the Charlie Brown Halloween special. The Great Pumpkin didn't show up when everyone thought it should have. For some reason, the Brazilian cherry square inlays in this table said the word blockhead. But not in a derogatory way, just in a blockhead kinda way.
This dining/breakfast table is 34" wide, 31 1/2" tall, and 5' long. The top features poplar with reused poplar (green stripe) from old posts, as well as reused oak posts for legs, which are lengthened with poplar.

Friday, September 11, 2009

scarecrow's flip flops

One afternoon last fall, I suddenly had an urge to pursue octogons. I remember listening to the Fleet Foxes song "Drops in the River" as I was standing at the miter saw working out the configuration. Then I started noticing the nice pattern that was occurring- the length of the short dimension on any member of the octogon is equal to the long dimension of the previous member. A few people in the shop were snickering and didn't think it would work..but it did.
This sideboard, or buffet as some may call it, is 38"tall, 60"long, and 20"deep. It is constructed of birch, Pennsylvania cherry, pine, poplar, and oak. The doors are louvered and feature textured glass. My good friend Jeremy Hester (Hester Stained Glass Studio) helped me with the glass work for the doors. The back of the piece is constructed entirely of scraps from the throw away bin.
This piece was a pleasure to make and was a learning process from start to finish.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Paintings on metal

Bottom__ "Hufflegrumpf" enamel and latex on steel. 10 wide by 30" tall. This character just looks like the word hufflegrumpf. This painting was done entirely with a random orbit palm sander except for the red circles.
Middle__ "Sawdust" this is a portrait I did of my cat, Sawdust. It is part of a series of drawings done on rusted tin panels. Sawdust has since run away. I think he is on the beach in Florida somewhere. 20" by 20"
Top__ "Bird in a hat" Enamel, latex, and pastel on steel. 8" wide by 14" tall

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blind Am, orbital sanders, fractions, and a play on words

Top__ this piece is titled "Blind Am and his washtub." Long ago, there was a blind, mentally handicapped black man named Am who lived on County Road 719. His house is still there, but he isn't. Am had very few skills given his physical and mental conditions, but he was quite mobile and industrious. He would drag around an old washtub with him and ask neighbors if they needed any clothes washing done. When he got tired, he would flip his washtub upside down and sit on it- wherever that may be that he felt like sitting.
2nd__ this piece has always eluded a title, and I have no idea why. I painted this piece entirely with a DeWalt random orbit sander.
3rd__ After getting heavy into furniture construction, I found myself always thinking in fractions due to the fact that I was reading a tape measure so much. I suppose I was reading more numerical fractions than words at that point.
4th__ "Power Plant." A picture of a plant with a green lightnin' bolt through it.

photography interjection

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

land tortoise table

There is a place in the ground along a fenceline next to a dirt road between a field and a pond in southern Alabama. It is a hole about the size of a soccer ball. Not many people know about this hole, but it is clear that many burrowing animals do know about it. Years ago, my Granddaddy Martin and I drove by it and he told me about the "land tor-toyse" (vernacular pronunciation, also referred to as a large turtle) that lived there at the time. Many years have passed, but the hole remains. Sometimes an armadillo may use it, sometimes a land tortoise, sometimes the vacancy sign is up. I have always looked at that hole with unyielding imagination since it is always unclear who, if anyone, may be using it. So here is a table dedicated to the fun that a simple hole in the groung can bring.
A second source of inspiration came about as I was building this table (which is usual for the furniture I construct.) My Granny has a cat that is absolutely solid black, except for one white toe on its back left foot. The legs of this table were all originally one cylinder constructed of poplar, with one dark green section. I subsequently cut into quarters to give four rounded legs. As you can see in the top photo, this table has three pale colored legs and one with a green streak. So here's a table also dedicated to a fleeting black cat with one white toe.
35" tall, 36" wide, 22" deep.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Late July developments

Top-- inspired by the Cat in the Hat and his ode to the moss covered, three handled family gredunza, this credenza features some fun construction done in the shop during heavy rains. This piece features doors constructed of reformatted raised panel doors and scrap plywood. The case is constructed of poplar and some oak resawn from some old posts. 66" long, 35" tall, and 24" deep. Best of all, it can be utilized in a variety of roles, or wear a lot of hats like old Suess's feline. It's official name is the "Edo meets Alabama" credenza. The name was inspired by the Japanese Edo period and by the presence of the funky, make it happen style doors.
Middle-- "Old Friends" rustic dining table. This table is constructed entirely of reused old timbers, most of which have been resawn. The poplar, oak, and hickory used in this table all came from posts that were used as stickers in lumber stacks at an old mill in Troy, Alabama. Overall dimensions are 60" long, 34" wide, 31" tall. By the way, that is a separate trunk under it in the photo.
bottom-- "Thompson-Boling bench." Hopefully I'm not infringing on some trademarked name or something with this name, which was inspired by a recent concert trip to the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. I couldn't help but notice how the light from the foyer area of the area flowed into the actual concert arena through the various entry portals. Of course, the colors here are an inverse of light flowing into a dark area. Make sense? Thought so.
Dimensions-- 18" tall, 66" long, 19" deep.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

45 knots

This wardrobe is constructed of Brazilian cherry, reclaimed poplar, oak, and a tad bit of mahogany. This piece features two hanging compartments and one drawer. 56" wide, 68"tall, and 27" deep.
This set of photographs was taken next to the dairy barn on my grandparent's farm. That site is home to decades of very early mornings, long days, and a lot of hard work. In rainy conditions, as the holstein cows walked up to the holding area, they would all have muddy legs and hooves. I like the way that the legs on this piece appear similarly earthy and muddy as compared to rest of the light colored body of this piece of furniture.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Galaxie porch swing

Old jallopies have better places to spend there latter days than junkyards.... like front porches!
This porch swing is made from an old Ford Galaxie- which in my opinion was a really slick car. Two great places to sit- the hood of a car and the front porch- are now united!

crop circle coffee table

Recipe for this table: slice up old mahogany coffee table with a deteriorated finish, mix and match some unused cedar and rough pine. Build some drawer box legs from dismantled pallets. Throw in some brave attempts to make straight lines and circles freehand with a router, and, viola, a coffee table inspired by crop circles.

4ft by 4ft by 15 inches tall

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

palindrome chest

Here's a piece of furniture completed a few months ago. The word palindrome describes a word or sequence of numbers that can be read the same forwards as it can backwards.
This piece was constructed almost entirely out of reused materials. The doors consist of panels from old interior doors and pine boards used as interior panelling from an old house. The handles are poplar spindles attached to hinges, which provide an interesting opening and closing action.
The wood used for the case is Brazilian cherry, which was given to me by a nice gentleman in Troy, AL. Upon recently buying his farm, he found thousands of board feet of this cherry in a barn, and donated all of it to various people and charitable groups. The rest of the case is made of plywood scraps patchworked together.
dimensions: 66" by 48"

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mod shelves

overall dimensions: 78" wide, 50" tall, 19" deep
This piece is constructed entirely of laminated plywood and scrap wood. After gathering wood from the scrap bins for a week or so, all pieces were milled down to a constant dimension and glued up to form solid sheets.
The bottom section features a drawer whose face rotates on a horizontal axis, allowing it to double as the drawer pull as well.