Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Robotic Furniture

This article introduces the Roombot, a robot that assembles itself into different pieces of furniture -- Transformers-style. The inventors describe it as the "future of furniture." Why am I not worried?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Libby Schrum in the New York Times

I’m happy to report that friend-of-Furnitude Libby Schrum got a great feature on her bench 'Siblings' in the Home and Garden section of today's New York Times.  Nice ink, Libby!  See my post on her work here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Craftsy Post on Spoonmaking

Here’s my new Craftsy post about my first foray into making a wooden spoon. I’m not sure it was wise to write a post about my first effort but I tried to illustrate my learning process. Spoonmaking seems to be huge right now. Here's a link to the #spoonmaking tag on Instagram. Crazy! I'll do a post on spoonmakers soon. I love that people are making all kinds of stuff. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jeff Miller Chairmaking Class

Jeff Miller, one of the great furniture makers working today, is teaching a class in Nashville soon for the Cumberland Furniture Guild. If you are in the area, there are still a couple places left in the class. Click here to register. The class will be on August 9 in Spring Hill, Tn.

Jeff is as good a designer as he is a maker, so I’m happy to be able to take the class from him myself. I'm eager to hear his thoughts on approaching chair design. Here is Jeff’s website. And here is a post I wrote about him back in 2008. His arch table is still one of my favorites.

Here is a video about Jeff from the Highland Woodworker. Enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Woodworking in Space

In the future, when we colonize Mars, will we bring with us every possible thing we could ever need or will we make stuff we need? 

I should probably read up on the force of gravity on Mars, because gravity is why we make most furniture. We need something to hold us and our stuff off the ground. (OK, a short Google search later, and I found that gravity on Mars is only 38 percent of the gravity on Earth. For comparison’s sake, the Moon’s gravity is 83.3 percent LESS than Earth’s.*) So instead of making furniture to hold us up, we might need to make furniture to hold us down. We might store things on the underside of shelves so they won’t wander off.

"Lignin or lignen is a complex polymer of aromatic alcohols known as monolignols." -- Wikipedia

It’s possible that we will be able to mine Mars for materials (we’re good at figuring out how to make that happen). But there are no trees on Mars. NASA (or, more likely, SpaceX), should create some kind of polymer extrusion machine. You’d feed in raw elements like carbon and oxygen and whatever else makes up lignin, and then extrude it into various shapes. We could carry up hand tools to shape and join this wood-like substance into furniture and shelves and other stuff. We could also re-purpose some of the original stuff we brought with us, forming a Mars maker movement. 

All of this leads to one bold but logical conclusion:  woodworkers should be the first people on Mars.

* Update: An alert reader (I'm surprised I have any readers, much less alert ones!) schooled me on the gravity percentages above. Turns out the moon's gravity isn't 83% of Earth's but 83% LESS than Earth's. So I took out my Buzz Aldrin sight gag... Got to get your science right.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Craftsy Posts about a Jig for Miters and Bevels

Here are parts one and two of my Craftsy article describing how to make this new miter/bevel jig and how I use it to make boxes.

Not too shabby. This isn't even glued up yet:

The jig in all its simple glory:

I sometimes post in-progress shots on my new account at Instagram. Check me out there:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Furniture I Love: Chairs by Alan Daigre and Matthew Teague

One of the great things about belonging to a woodworking guild (shameless plug for the Cumberland Furniture Guild) is that you get to meet amazing woodworkers who live nearby. That’s especially true for Matthew Teague and Alan Daigre. Both are great woodworkers in their own right, and they’ve been collaborating for the last few years on making incredible chairs. Check out this chaise made by Alan Daigre. I saw it from a distance once and could have sworn it was green velvet.

It’s kind of shocking how comfortable these chairs are. You’d swear you were sitting on upholstery. Be sure to check out the page that lists the galleries and shows where their work is available so you could try one out yourself. This one is a collaboration between Alan and Matthew.

Here's one of Alan’s signature rockers.

Alan’s Facebook page is here. Matthew has also started Spring House Press, a new publishing venture for the maker movement. He’s got some very cool titles out and more coming soon. Enjoy!

All photos by Dan Feather