Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Year End Show

The year end show was a nice way to cap off the year and showcase all of the work we did and all that we learned.  It was held at the Kozai gallery in Vancouver.
Bruce's Sapele coffee table
Barb's boxwood, sycamore and kwila showcase cabinet
Daisuke's sycamore and maple coffee table
 Steve W posing like a proud papa beside his zebrano and walnut bedside table
Don's chair (top) of white oak and danish cord, Steve N's cherry coffee table and Junior's mahogany chair
Michael A's (tall skinny on left) Sycamore and Olive wall cabinet, my Walnut and Red Elm wall cabinet, my maple hall table middle and my parents looking at Hong's kwila, arbutus and maple stand and cabinets.  I'm sad I didn't get a better picture of this because it is one of the coolest pieces of the year.
Steve N's walnut and maple hall table and mirror
Michael A's Kwila and cord Super Leggere chair and Byron's Ash and Aformosia laptop desk
To follow up the last post, here are the little Wee-dar chairs and matching table made from white oak and danish cord
Jason's (left) chinese elm writing lap desk
Lord Godfrey's white oak bench (left) and Bruce's upholstered ash piano bench
Meredith's silver inlayed aformosia hall table
Daisuke's Shedua and Ebony wall cabinet
Michael O's Sapele box (top left), Barb's lacewood box (bottom left), Jacques' maple box (bottom right) and Byron's yellow cedar box (top right)
Don's chinese elm cabinet
 Steve W's (middle) kwila jewelery cabinet and Evan's (right) Arbutus jewelery cabinet
 The Hobsonian one, doing something Hobsonian to my Dad.
Crowd outside and the Daisuke and Jacques' U-Haul for the long trip to Totonto!
Three lovely ladies
We were lucky enough to share a table with Hong and his family.  We enjoyed a great dinner.
Six and one thirty-second lovely men

We're now enjoying the last week in the Creek before we hitch up our U-Haul for the drive home.  I think I'll gather my final thoughts on the year and make another post about that later.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two Weeks of Mayhem

With two weeks to go in the program I decided that the chairs were in good shape time-wise and decided to pursue the idea of a table to go with them.  This was part of the idea from the beginning but was left as an "if there's time" thing.  I wanted the table to look like it belonged with the chairs.  The obvious features of the chairs were the bow-tie shaped stretchers, the narrow and tapered legs as well as the flat curve on the front of the seat.  These three elements were my starting point for designing the table.  Above you can see the mock-up of this.  I scaled it based on the size of the chairs which left the legs at roughly 19" long.
The veneers you see above are what became the top and bottom of the table top.  I went with a veneer construction because I wanted a frame and panel look but Robert pointed out that the groove between the panel and the frame if I did it in solid wood would be a trap for crumbs, juice and all other nasty kid stuff.  This way I could have heavy applied edges, that looked like a frame while having the whole top flush.
Baltic birch substrate this time instead of lumber core.  In this application either would be fine but time said ply!  Baked in poplar edges going on.
Stock for the base all milled up.  The two planks of oak I had for the set was so gorgeous and made hunting for parts enjoyable and easy.  I didn't waste nearly like I did on my first two projects.  With wood, you definitely get what you pay for.  Thanks Goby!
Veneers edge joined.  This was at the time to be the underside of the table but once the top was done we all agreed that it was more interesting than the actual top so I flipped it over and promoted this to A-1.  I guess there is something to be said for taking care with grain graphics even if it is under the table or on the back of the cabinet.  You just never know!
The original top-side with the applied edges doweled and glued on.
Smiles denoting that we were happy to have our projects coming along well.
At the same time as the table was taking shape I couldn't let myself forget that the chairs weren't done.  Above is the shaping of the crest rails.  Holding them was the biggest challenge but finally this jig was the answer.
With two aprons joining the relatively thin leg at the same point I had to be creative with the mortises.  All four are haunched with the deeper tenons crossing over one above the other.
These are the tenons on the longer aprons, the side that has no stretcher.  They were given a little more beef than the others.
Band-sawn and shaped, the aprons also received the subtle curve, to mimic the chairs.  Perhaps one of my favourite parts about the shaping was that I actually used part of one of the curves from the full scale Vidar chair as my template.  It seemed fitting that the original curve he created be the starting point for the shaping of the table parts.
Photos from the open house.  The machine room once again became a pseudo-gallery.  Lots of people came through and enjoyed seeing the fruits of our labour.  We all patiently waited for the afternoon to pass so we could get back to work...

Five days to go until the year end show....
When I wrote out this to-do list my heart kind of sank and I had the feeling that I might not make it.  That's a lot of black ink.
The days became about getting the chairs done as machines were still required to do some of the joinery for the back splats.  The bottom tenon shoulders were cut on the table saw while the top ones had to be done by hand for a variety of reasons.  Fitting these four (two on each) pieces of wood was the most difficult task I ran into all year.  I  told Don it was my final exam.  At times I thought I was in way over my head and I panicked more than once.  In time however it became one of the most satisfying accomplishments of the year.  I learned a lot from those four little pieces of wood and they made me appreciate how far I had come in the last nine months.
Getting close, but as Evan said, seeming a little blocky.
That's better!  Shaped and finished!  I spent many hours obsessively shaping the four little suckers with my spokeshaves and files.  I wanted them to be as close to identical as possible.  In the end, I was very pleased.  The graphics worked out beautifully as well, notice the following curve?
As I mentioned, the days were for completing the chairs.  That meant that the table was left until night time.  I decided on this strategy because I knew that the focus would be a little better earlier in the day for the more difficult task of fitting the chair backs.  I also knew that I needed something to re-build my enthusiasm at the end of the day and the table work showed results much quicker.  Above you can see the final of three glue-ups for the table base.  Shaping all done, parts finished and waxed, the joints went together nicely and slowly but surely, the to-do list was getting erased one task at a time.  Very satisfying and motivating.

Also motivating was the fact that other people were frantically trying to get their stuff done too.  For the last two weeks the evenings and nights became alive with activity and Jacques Breau was here to guide us through the late hours.  Some nights there were as many as seven of us working our hearts out.  My routing became one of going in at 730, working until 530 as usual, then going home for dinner and Rya's bedtime, before going back to school some nights until 2-230.  Exhausting but fun.
With the table done (photo to come in next post), all hours became about the chairs which came together in the eleventh hour...litterally.
With the backs glued in I was pleased to know that I had made it in time.  Perhaps too tired to be proud I was at the very least relieved that my efforts paid off.  My biggest thanks went to Mylene who held our household together and blessed me with the support I needed to spend the 16-18 hours a day at the shop.  I wouldn't trade those last two weeks for anything but I also hope I have learned not to leave myself in such a pinch again.  I wish I believed that for even a second.

Next post: Year End Show pics and wrap-up