Around the shop + Update

It has been a busy few weeks at the shop.  I have had quite a few orders for plant stands to keep me busy.  I am putting the oil + varnish finish on them now, so all other work stops.  Cant have any dust to contaminate the beautiful deep grain finish.  I will have a few images of them to share when they are finished.  Thanks to all who have ordered.  The e-commerce portion of the site is coming soon and will make this easier.

I have also been working on this prototype stool that is very exciting.  This one is solid American Black Cherry and created specifically for my workbench since I need a place to sit when I am using hand tools.  It would be easy to adapt to counter or even bar height.  When it is finished I will talk a little more about the design specifics.

Here you can see a groove going through the top rail and the signature "horns" on the end.  These may look familiar from my logo.  The groove is there to accept the danish cord weave that will create the seat.  I think this is going to be super comfortable. 

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In the picture below you can see how the  joints get fared together and the corners get rounded over to give it a really organic feel.

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Here is the model I create for form and composition.  I talked about this here.  Even with a full CAD plan and 3-d model there is a fair bit of freestyling that happens.  For now, I have eliminated the handles on the ends -  I think it ends up creating a much simpler and stronger form. 

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And of course Cali is super stoked to see it come alive.

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Next update this weekend.  A few more things in store...Stay tuned and thanks for checking in.

Contact

I've had a fair few people contact me in the last few days for plant stands and tables. Thank you all for the inquiries. I have touched base with everyone so be sure to check your spam folders, just in case. 

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Lots of exciting things happening in the shop. Updates to follow this crazy storm. 

Drawing + Design

A friend asked me recently how I draw up a plan for my furniture. Just like in landscape architecture and construction, a well vetted plan can help identify early pitfalls. 

I always start with a few simple sketches for form and proportion.  I'm always doodling and I think it's important to capture these off the cuff ideas. You just can't draw enough.

 
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Once an idea starts getting firmed up I will draw it in AutoCad. This allows me to get inside, see the critical dimensions and really plan out the individual parts.  It is super nerdy, but I get a kick out of the precision. 

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 At this point I also create a 3-D model in SketchUp. With a model I can anticipate how different parts will interact visually, verify massing and see how parts move - like doors and drawers.  I often go between the Cad plan and model making several revisions to each. 

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These plans end up living in the shop.  They collect notes on dimensions, ideas and more doodles.

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After all of that I build full size prototypes, but that's another topic. 

Design + Build

Side Table

 Note: Amazing quality Eames Dowel base by www.modernconscience.com      

Note: Amazing quality Eames Dowel base by www.modernconscience.com      

You know the old modernism joke about minimalism being a way to get people to spend more for less?  Simplicity can be pretty difficult to achieve. So, what goes into a side table?  Lots.  Here is a quick break down of this little table.


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3-5 boards are edge glued to make one large panel that will be both of the visible sides and the top.  These boards also get mortise and tenon joints for strength and alignment.

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The panel is necessary to get the signature grain wrapping along all three visible sides.  This also requires hand selecting the best possible lumber.  It is cut down into the top and both sides.  Each of these pieces gets a miter cut along each of their four sides.  The bottom is glued into a panel and mitered, separately.

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Additionally, the top, both sides, and bottom all get mortise and tenon joints to increase the strength of this joint.


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The exposed miters are extremely fragile.  The front and back of the case receives a chamfer to square off this edge.  This prevents breakage and adds to the overall consistency of the table.

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This is the finished back.  It is critical to complete the overall look.  I sometimes think this is the hardest piece to make.  It gets a pretty simple rabbet, but nailing the dimensions can take some time.  The top, sides, and bottom miters are so fragile before they are glued together that it can be difficult to get exact dimensions for the back.  A little patience goes a long way here.

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That ends up being; 2 panel glue ups; 16 miters; 22 mortise and tenon joints; 4 rabbets; four grooves and 8 chamfers.  Not counting the drawer, which is a whole project unto itself, the case is complication simplified.

 

Welcome to Alibi Woodworks

Where we are now

Wow.  So, its February already.  It has been a whirlwind around here.  First, let me welcome you to Alibi Woodworks.  This site has been in the making (in my head) for some time, now.  Start small, go slow.  As Dieter Rams says "less, but better."  That pretty much sums up what Alibi is all about.  Right now, this is a gallery of furniture created and a blog of ideas, processes and creation.  

This all started with an idea. A kind of question.  Why not just make it?  I guess you're not supposed to make things anymore.  When I was growing up, I remember watching my father make his own tools to finish a job at hand. Making things has always seemed natural to me. But, there is this disconnect between the time when everyone made something and now. A loss of craft. We could lament that, for sure. Instead - let's be that change.  Now, I don't mean we should all be Luddites and scorn modern convenience.  Maybe we should just think a little more about where things come from.  Take craft beer. I love craft beer and living in San Diego I am at the epicenter of the movement. That whole thing started because someone asked, why not just make it?  A little passion and a little creativity and things get started.


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Whats next

Here's to 2014.  There are lots of really exciting projects coming up; an ultra groovy mid century / modern desk; our little side table is getting some friends...with a few more drawers; and a dresser so good looking you will want to take your clothes off just to put them in it.

Table bases by modernconscience.com.  Amazing reproductions of Eames Dowel Chair bases.

If you see something on the site you that you want to order, just contact me.  I'm currently working to find the best shipping methods before rolling out the whole e-commerce portion of the site.  I am also using this time to create some real interesting prototypes. 

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This is Cali.  She loves hand crafted furniture almost as much as sleeping.  Almost.