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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Craftsy Post: Shaker Woodworking

Here is my take on some of the characteristics that define the Shaker style:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Craftsy Post: Achieve Worry-Free Furniture Glue-Ups Every Time With These Helpful Tips

Have a look at this other Craftsy post on how to successfully glue up furniture without making yourself crazy:

Craftsy Post: Making a Tage Frid-Style Three-Legged Stool

Have a look at my recent post on the Craftsy woodworking blog.

Thanks to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum for permission to use the photo of Frid's three-legged stool.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Furniture I Love: Libby Schrum Design

I found Libby Schrum’s amazing furniture as I was checking out the website for the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. (I’ve never been there, but I’d love to go.) I was struck by the variety of Libby’s work and how well it is made. Her furniture is full of ideas that are fully expressed and perfectly executed. Check out her Cork Chair. The curves give it great movement, and I love the milk paint finish.

Siblings is a fun take on a standard bench. Again, great idea, great execution.

Libby studied at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship and earned a Masters at the Rhode Island School of Design. She received the 2010 John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship, which is given to individuals “who represent a great new talent and demonstrate dedication to the craft of furniture making.” That describes her perfectly.

I appreciate Libby for helping me out on an article I wrote for the Craftsy blog on furniture glue-ups. I’m sure the glue-up for her walnut coffee table, called Theme and Variation, must have been a doozy!  

Check out her website at Photos by Jim Dugan

I’m introducing a new feature here at Furnitude. I’ll do my best at the end of each post to include links or buttons to each furniture maker’s social media sites. I want to make it easy to follow them and share their work. Please help me spread the word about great furniture makers by liking, twittering, instagraming and pinteresting their work.

Libby Schrum: