Board Yet?

I bought wood!

2I thought this day wood never come. Though the design isn’t final final, I’m close enough that I know about how much wood I need and I always buy a little extra anyway since I’m bound to make mistakes (and I’m never positive that I’ve calculated it correctly in the first place).

After talking with Dakota Hardwoods and Austin Fine Lumber, I decided on the Sapele Mahogany at Fine. The prices and sources are comparable, and I just like the people at Fine. They genuinely like their customers and are a good example of the network we build as we make things making the world better. They are particular about what they share with people outside their company, as I learned last spring when I almost interned with them. Knowing this about them and wanting to respect it, I thought I might seem creepy and ill-intentioned if I took a bunch of photos while I was in their warehouse, so all I have here is the wood loaded up into my car: better than the tree-shaped air fresheners in New York taxis.

I bought approximately twenty board feet of 6/4″ and approximately twenty board feet of 8/4″ (a board foot is the width in inches x the length in feet x the thickness in inches / 12, or the width in inches x the length in inches x the thickness in inches / 144). I spent some time over the weekend with the boards all laid out figuring which pieces would get made out of which boards. These decisions are made by balancing the most economic approach of using the wood (for the most part) with the most beautiful approach, based on the figure of the wood. I picked certain parts of the boards for certain pieces of the chair and tried to figure out how to cut the boards up with as little waste as possible. You don’t want to wind up with a bunch of gorgeous, 6-inch chunks of wood at the end of a project. That doesn’t do anyone any good.

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I also spent several frustrating hours cutting up pieces of chipboard into life-sized template pieces (I thought this would help me make my final aesthetic decisions) only to find that they somehow weren’t the right size when I got to the shop and compared them to my mock-up. While this was incredibly annoying, they were close enough that I was able to put them on the boards to help visualize the way the pieces will be laid out and cut. I also experimented with a few different shapes for the armrests. I plan to go over those with Mark and Igor this week.

I took measurements of the mock-up and noted them on my scale drawings and went home to draw a full-scale chair based on combining the two systems of information (you’d think they should be the same at this point, right? I know, me too). I’ll use this drawing to make the final templates and then get to milling! For now, my kitchen island remains covered in paper scraps and drawing tools.

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