Blog: Furniture

Butcher Block Island

After helping build this client’s kitchen with Juniper Joinery, she wanted an island to add a little more work space. Because the kitchen was too small to accommodate a full-sized island, I came up with this option. The top measures 33″ x 22″ and is small enough to pick up and slide out of the way when needed.

I designed the counter top to be a butcher block so the customer could use this space as a cutting board for preparing meals. A butcher block top is a great choice for cutting on, since the end grain of the wood doesn’t dull a knife as quickly as cutting across the grain.

I also added in a couple of shelves for storing dishes, and as a special bonus, I added a drawer with hand-cut dovetails for the joinery. And I always give my clients green options when it comes to the finish on my furniture. This piece uses a combination of Osmo oil for the base, shelves and drawer, with food-safe tung oil for the butcher block top.

 

 

Asian Inspired Plant Stand

Last winter I designed and built a custom plant stand for a customer in Calgary, Alberta. The request was for a piece of furniture inspired by a Japanese garden gate that could hold a number of plants and be a decorative addition to their living room.

I was excited to take on the challenge of creating a unique piece that would be both eye pleasing and functional. The end supports are made of circles, each cut from four pieces of wood glued together. And to add another element of interest, the shelves are cut as horizontal arcs that are offset at each level of the stand.

Originally designed it without the corner braces, but the shelves were not stable enough to hold the weight of the plants. The frame was racking from side to side, and I had to adjust the design to add small corner braces at each level.

The customer was super happy with the finished piece, and she was able to display her plants – out of reach of her new puppy!

Blacksmithing 101

Recently I signed up for a blacksmithing course. I have been interested in metal working for a while now and this turned out to be the perfect opportunity to dive into this craft. I took the class in the fully equipped studio at KSA (Kootenay School of the Arts) in Nelson, BC.

The first thing I noticed and was surprised by was how easy it is to shape metal when it’s hot. I have watched movies in the past showing blacksmiths doing their thing, and I always thought they were wailing on the metal to get it to move. Not so. Once the metal is up to temperature, it’s really easy to shape it and move it. You only have about 15 seconds to work the metal until it has to go back into the forge, but you can achieve a lot with a few well-aimed hammer blows.

I am excited to explore more into the world of metal working, as I think this would be a great added skill to what I already do. From forged drawer pulls to metal brackets for my timber frames, I think this art form could add a lot of visual impact to the woodworking!

Kitchen Sideboard Finished

It’s like magic to me the transformation that occurs when a tree is honoured by creating a piece of lasting beauty from its wood.

I prefer to use solid wood for furniture rather than veneered plywood. Solid wood has a richer feeling and a harmonic essence. It is a joy to work with the grain of each individual piece of wood, responding to its structure and at the same time coaxing it into a certain form. Continue reading Kitchen Sideboard Finished

Kitchen Sideboard Top

To create the flat top of the kitchen sideboard, I found and cut long pieces of the raw black walnut and assembled them so that the grain of each piece compliments each other.

Once the walnut is oiled, it will really show all the colour variations in the grain. Along with dark brown and a medium colour, purple also streaks through the wood, and this is accentuated once the wood is finished. I will also be putting a very light coloured inlay into the top of the sideboard with maple wood. Continue reading Kitchen Sideboard Top

Sideboard Assembled

Once the individual pieces of the sideboard are cut, they get assembled, glued, and clamped. The wine rack style was adapted from an antique sideboard I saw in a photo, and the customer requested that I leave room on either side of the wine rack for storing her large mixer and food processor.

The next step is to create the top for the sideboard, and I am excited to work with the beautiful grain of the black walnut and give it some special detailing that will make it pop. Continue reading Sideboard Assembled

Plans for Kitchen Sideboard

I will be taking the black walnut boards from the last blog post and building this kitchen sideboard with them. It always feels a bit like magic to me every time I start with pieces of raw wood and begin crafting them into a totally new creation. Furniture making is both exciting and challenging, because the work is so delicate and intricate.

Keep watching my blog over the next few weeks to see this sideboard begin to take shape. Continue reading Plans for Kitchen Sideboard