Tag Archives: woodworking

Skylight Bookcase

The colors, the curved shapes, and the recessed circular bookcase in the ceiling are all very attractive, but this is clearly a very small area, so small that it is impractical to reach the bookcase. It doesn’t even have a dedicated ladder, but rather a some portable metal thing is propped up and taken down every time a book is required. The ladder can’t be left in place, otherwise you lose access to half the desk. Also, this office is completely windowless save for the square skylight. It’s an interesting design, and it’s decorated well (even if its a bit too trendy by half.

Dutch Tool Chests

Christopher Schwarz is a big fan of tool chests. He’s such a big fan, he built a single chest, and then sold off all his tools that didn’t fit in the box and wrote a book about it. I certainly admire the discipline involved. He now makes all his furniture by hand using preindustrial tools. I only recently discovered him, but he’s apparently somewhat well known in the woodworking circles.

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Henry O. Studley’s Toolchest

I’ve looking at toolboxes recently, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Henry O. Studley’s toolchest. Built in the 1920s, and designed to hang on the wall, it is 40 inches square and 4.5 inches deep when open (39 x 20 x 9 closed). Made of mahogany, rosewood, walnut, ebony, and with ivory and mother of pearl accents, it features fitted slots for each tool, and multiple lifting trays to store even more tools. (See video below for a better idea on how the tools fit inside.)

The part of me that loves secret panels and unfolding compartments, but I can’t help but think that it’s a bit cumbersome. To get to some tools you have to move three panels just to reach them. It’s more “art” than “tool”, but that does not diminish craftsmanship or beauty of the piece.

DIY Electric Lifting Desk

“Loren” (no last name given) of Canada designed and built his own electric lift standing desk, with integrated computer. I do like this. He’s mostly managed to create a desk that I like, while at the same time doing some tricks that I normally think are cringeworthy.

It’s a corner desk, which I don’t tend to like because of they’re inflexible layout, but I do appreciate how they maximize of surface area that’s in reach. It has a glass top, which always seems a bit cold (both physically and aesthetically), to reveal an embedded computer. I’m kind of torn about the embedded computer. Part of me thinks that it’s a bit too gamery, yet I do like how it frees up floor space, and it does simplify the cable runs when raising and lower the desk. Even with all these touches that I don’t really like, the top does look nice. It’s the the legs that I can’t stand.

The legs are very amateurish. He’s using very thin (what half inch, if that?) single board trestle style legs. They’re absolutely horrible. They are literally two boards nailed together in the shape of a tee. The desk just doesn’t look stable. He’s added some simple boards for mounting some linear actuators, but the mechanisms are still exposed on the other three sides. The legs are really a disappointment.

The real find for the desk are the linear actuator arms. HARL-3616+ arms from SuperPowerJack. 18 inch extension and can lift 500 pounds on 36 volts. The real feature is that he could find them on eBay for $50 to $100. They don’t have limit switches though, but those are simple to wire up.

Still, an electric lifting standing desk for mere hundreds of dollars instead of several thousand is a huge win!

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Razy2’s Tab Table

Design group Razy2 (Paulina and Jacek Ryń)’s Tab table, features sliding panels on top that hide storage containers under the top.

I’ve become curious about desk and table tops that appear seamless, yet conceal storage and ports. it’s an interesting idea. If I was to do this, I’d hold the panels in place with rare earth magnets, but main problem is that if you put the panel in the middle of the top, then you have to have a way to pull the lid  off, which means either a handle, or a scoop to lift it out. Placing the lids around the edge allows the lids to be lifted off (assuming the lid overlaps the edge) eleminates this problem.

Of course, placing the storage along the side in little concealable drawers is also a solution.

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Brush Factory Kitchen Island

I have to say, I do not like this custom kitchen island/work table from Brush Factory. Made from Birch, Maple and Black Walnut, the contrasting colors between the legs and the upper part are interesting, but at the same time feels a bit haphazard. Coupled with the square boxes of exposed plywood, the whole thing feels a bit amateurish. Like Etsy amateurish. The single contrasting drawer is really the final nail in Etsy vibe.

Put a bird on it, and it’s done.

Gradient Shelf

Designed by The Brush Factory in Cincinnati, the Gradient Shelf for Brighton Exchange, is a 24 inches x 12 inches x 3 inches shelf made of American Black Walnut and Baltic Birch plywood. The sides are stained dark, but what really sets this shelf apart (and not so coincidently gives it its name) is the hand split-fountain screen printed color.

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Fibonacci Cabinet

Utopia Architecture out of Guangzhou, has designed what they’re calling the “Fibonacci Cabinet.” Made from bamboo, the “cabinet” is actually a set of individual drawer boxes that are stacked on a separate table. Of course, each size box is has dimensions of that are the sum of the dimensions of the two immediately smaller boxes.

Previously.

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Kai Table

Designed by Naoki Hirakoso and Takamitsu Kitahara, the Kai Table has multiple internal compartments, but with the twist that each of them takes the form of a hidden compartment as seen on other furniture.

I’ve always been a sucker for hidden compartments, and although the location of the compartments are quite obvious given the size of the piece, it still presses all the right buttons for me.

Mechanical Desks

While reading about secretary desks, I came across a related type I had never heard of before, the mechanical desk. A fad of the 1700s, these desks featured mechanisms that hid shelves and surfaces when not in use. It’s a real shame that these didn’t make a comeback when computers became widespread. Computer desks were dreadful. While hiding a 21 inch CRT that weight 150 pounds wouldn’t have been easy, the idea hiding materials when they are not needed appeals to me.

A modern interpretation of the mechanical desk is the Crescendo C2 from Stilvoll. I like how it looks like a drafting table, but expands to reveal bins. Of course, the role these bins play could have been solved with a traditional divided drawer. Still, this got me thinking.

I’ve considered getting a desktop computer, yet I don’t know what I would do with it. At work I love my MacPro and its three 24 inch LCDs, and part of me would love to have that setup at home, even if I don’t do much coding at home. If I ever took to telecommuting regularly, I’d need such a setup, including the Steelcase Leap chair, as even a 17 inch laptop just doesn’t quite cut it. Assuming I had desktop computer with multiple displays, I wouldn’t like having the monitors dominating the desk space. Yes, LCDs have a much smaller footprint than CRTs, but they still are visually imposing. Sometimes that’s what you want, but sometimes it’s not. A mechanical desk that could retract the screens would be great. Even better, if the desktop could expand. Perhaps a second pullout spring loaded leaf, kind of the like the Crescendo C2, but with a pushdown panel that has the screens mounted on swivel arms. Fold up the monitors and push them down into a little protected area behind the desk. Hide the tower and assorted wires in pedestal, and put file drawers in the other pedestal. (Personally, I prefer desks with legs rather than pedestals, but such a desk would look weird with big solid front on it.)

This is something I’m going to need to draw out.

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