Milling Things (Over)

Esherick chair with wild diagonal

I’ve looked through my sketch models with both Mark and Igor and I still have work to do and decisions to make.

Notes from Mark: Can the taper of the seat also somehow translate to the front and/or back elevations of the chair? (He cites an exercise Igor does where he translates an elevation into a new plan). How can I further refine what we’ve deemed to be called “The Offset” design in the details of the armrest and the joinery? And can we push this form even further, perhaps by looking at the work of Wharton Esherick, who has some crazy diagonals and triangles in his chairs? There is a possible extreme version taking shape.


Another Esherick triangular beauty

Notes from Igor: Does the backrest have an alliance? Right now it’s neither “of” the seat/armrests/rockers nor of the side frames. Can it be its own entity? How does this get formally expressed? The back of the seat needs sculpting on the opposite underside. Can the profile of the back of the seat inform the profile of the backrest? Igor suggests laminating the backrest vertically, which sounds pretty out there to me, but I appreciate his point.

So, this weekend will be spent considering all these questions through drawings and working on the full-scale seat/backrest mock-up. I’m just using two by fours for this. So far I’ve milled the framing lumber to make sure I’m working with square boards. 

Steps to square your boards:

1. Cut boards oversized on the miter saw.

2. Run a face over the jointer. The jointer has spinning blades that totally flatten the face.

3. Run the opposite face through the planer. Once you have one flat face, it will register to the flat bottom the the planer. The planer works somewhat like the jointer, but the spinning teeth are on the top.

4. Run an edge over the jointer. Now that you have two parallel, flat faces, you can register one flat face to the side of the jointer and know you will be cutting the edge at a true right angle

5. Trim the other edge on the table saw. Again, the edge you just flattened will register to the fence of the table saw, so you know you now have a square board.

We’ll revisit this process with the hardwood once the piece itself is getting made. It’s hard to do anything without a jointer, planer, and table saw.

One of my peers in the design department is doing a project on objects of ritual and he plans to make them out of wood. I told him this is the perfect material to use since these first steps are the same with pretty much any project. They are the familiar ritual before entering into the unknown of a new project. They warm up your hands and put you in the mindset of making.


miter saw




spinning  jointer blades




table saw


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