The process for making these tables was very different to the Cedar side tables, which were unique, and for which I was commissioned to both design and make. These restaurant tables were designed by Cox Rayner and Deka Design was to make them.
With a total of 27 tables I needed to set up a mini-production run, and some jigs were made to assist with certain processes such as the cutting of the specific edge detail.
The design was a solid timber rim with a recycled leather insert on top of an MDF structure. The base was to be powdercoated.
The timber was chosen by Cox Rayner, a beautiful American black walnut, nice to work with and the relative evenness of the colour and grain makes it easy to select the pieces which make a whole. The most challenging part of the process was the adhering of the recycled leather to the MDF substrate. Great care had to be taken so that it would line up perfectly before the glue dried in place.
Here are a few photos of the process.
Restaurant tables for One One One Eagle Street
Here’s a short video of the making process on Vimeo – Making of…
The simple straight design allows for the timber grain to be the focus.The small table houses two of the client’s precious tiles and the larger table has the other four tiles. I made four complementing tiles using the client’s Huon pine to accompany the tiles in the larger table. The tiles are installed in drawers and the tops are glass.
I had a deadline to work towards for these two Cedar side tables. Nora wanted to include them in our ON THE EDGE exhibition which is opening on 10 June, so with the drawings done and materials ready, I got to work. I worked on these in between other projects for a two months. I decided to use the client’s white cedar for the main structure, with a leg detail in blackbean, and huon pine for the tiles. The design is simple without unnecessary detail in the form, as I want the timbers to be the focus of the design.
Project: Cedar – Display tables, credenza and bookcase
Project start: March 2012
Brief: Custom design and make two side tables to display valuable collected tiles, a credenza and a cabinet for book storage, using the client’s own timber. The brief is very open with respect to the design, I have some free reign to design what I think will suit the material and the function.
I started by collected the timber material from the client’s storage, timbers include Huon pine, white cedar, silky oak, blackbean and Queensland maple. Some of these timbers have been in storage for up to 20 years so we need to assess them for suitability.
An initial inspction of the materials showed that I may be able to use white cedar for the display tables, the maple and cedar for the credenza and the pine for some parts of the bookcase. But closer inspection of the Huon pine showed that it has some discolouration from ageing so it may be that it will only be used for internal structure.
The craft of furniture making is about understanding process. From identification and selection of materials, to development of concepts, design and making, each step is performed with thought about how it relates within the process. In the purest forms of craft, the choice of material will affect form, which in turn will direct aesthetics, ergonomics, function and use. A craftsman will work first with the material and maintain a process that is not in conflict with its properties. To me it seems that design sometimes takes another approach – it is liable to maintain integrity of form at the expense of appropriate material selection resulting in an impractical, overdesigned product.
Although a traditional craftsman’s process most often begins at the material, commercial reality mean that budget or aesthetics is often my starting point. So in order to find the best balance between cost, functionality and aesthetics, I find the most suitable relationship between material and process to assist in defining the making process. I am interested in how the two important producers of our material culture – craft and design – can be joined to work towards the best sustain-able outcomes.
I have chosen a current project of making a series of furniture for a client to document my process of furniture making. This project is the designing and making of two side tables, a credenza and a bookcase from the client’s own timber. This page will be updated regularly with progress.