Cedar project brief

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.


Timber for Cedar Project



The process of making

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.