Made some revisions to my older smASH dining chair design. I changed the seat, the stance, the proportions, the height, width and depth, the angles, the finish and the backrest. The joinery, the ash and the basic shape/form have remained relatively the same.
I am very happy with the results. It is much more comfortable, more flowing, simpler to make, and has a stronger sense of continuity.
Taking an old design and refining it is an amazing exercise. It is so much easier to just start over with something new but by working with an older design it forces you to work on things you might not normally confront. The main thing I learned from this experience is that sometimes the initial idea that you have when designing can be the very thing that limits you. With smASH 1.0 the seat was the main focus and it informed the whole design. I neglected form, proportions, stance and many other things. With smASH 2.0, I completely got rid of the original seat which allowed me to focus on the chair as a whole instead of individual ideas put together.
There is still lots of room for improvement and that is a great thing. In a year, smASH 2.0 will seem drastically different to me and that is an amazing thing. We are constantly evolving. Our tastes are always changing. Our eyes getting sharper. Our minds getting deeper. I look forward to finding more flaws in myself and improving them. I look forward to learning more about myself through the amazing process of design and creating.
made from White Ash, completed with soap finish.
This chair was originally inspired by the great Sam Maloof. I was very drawn to the way in which he attached his seats to his legs. This kind of joinery is very strong and it allows the legs to be free of stretchers giving it a very clean profile and aesthetic. The tapered seat is made from ash veneer pressed using a vacuum bag and an open faced form. The seat is a mirror image of itself and therefore requires two pressings of the same form to complete it. I attached blocks in all four corners of the seat, where the two veneers meet, to allow for enough meat for the legs to join to the seat. The back rest utilizes the same form as the seat maintaining a consistency of shape and lines throughout. I wanted to keep the legs as simple as possible and employ as many straight lines as I could. I used a pure soap finish on this chair. It is simply pure soap flakes and hot water mixed together. I did 5 coats with sanding in between and a final buff with a very fine abrasive pad.
Here are some photos of the process. Check it out.
My great grandfather built my cottage. Other than this fact, I don't know much more about him. I imagine that he was a simpler man. A more resourceful man. A man that need not rely on the ease of power tools and the effortlessness that they provide. I imagine that he could build anything with his hands... actually though.
Being a modern day builder, I find it very important to strike a balance between traditional and contemporary approaches. Not only is this important in terms of preservation, but sometimes it really is better to do things the old fashioned way.
I recently took the opportunity to use my great grandfather's saw to cut a log into slices for a project I'm working on for a client. I could have easily cut this log into slices using a chain saw, but this saw actually cuts straighter and has much more control. Also, I wanted to pay homage to the traditional way of cutting wood.
Check out the video below: