Thursday, September 25, 2008


When your designs push the limits of your technical abilities, sometimes problems emerge: pyramids implode, arches fall down, bridges collapse. In the rarified world of hand-made furniture, problems are fortunately less catastrophic. I made a swoopy, wing-like top for part of Catherine's Buffet, and one day Catherine called to say it had started to come apart -- water damage, she thought -- and luckily no one had been injured in the process.

It turned out the construction I had originally used was unstable -- no reflection on the maker -- so I'm building her a new top. I am changing techniques, though: I made a form in the shape of swoopy part, and laid up a stack of purpleheart veneers, each glued to each, on top. Then I stuck the whole thing in a vacuum bag; there it is, in the photo. When it's dry and I've cleaned it up a bit, I'll glue on the fancy face veneers (Karelian birch burl).

It's going to work fine this time. Promise.

Bedroom Set

We’re working on a bedroom set this month, which includes two nightstands, a large headboard with storage, and a ten-foot-long by seven-foot-high, built-in dresser (actually, I’m not sure you can call something that big a dresser -- maybe an extremely large dresser, an ELD).

All the pieces have an Asian presence, which adds to a feel of serenity appropriate for the bedroom. The work is framed in ebonized Honduras mahogany with panels veneered with quatersawn African mahogany. The regular, straight grain of the veneer has almost an hypnotic quality, making it a good choice for the room where we hope to sleep.

The frame pieces are subtly curved in cross section, and joined with a three-way miter at the corners. You can see a close up of the joint. All the miters have loose tenons in them.

These are not flashy pieces, but I like them: nice design, nice details, nice materials. Just right for the boudoire.