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  • Writer's pictureNick

Raw Matter Pt1

Welcome back!

House keeping: Thanks for following along and subscribing, it means a lot! This week is a quick look at some of the raw materials we use and how we choose them. This is part of a three part mini series on materials and integration into design. Enjoy!

This week we will focus on wood. In the gallery below was the selection of rough Sapele lumber for a table top, they broke open the new pallet just for us! And I would love to do some work with that purple heart lumber too, just look at it 😃! You can see some of the results of the steps that we take to bring the rough wood from the lumber mill state and process it down to smooth and finished, all by hand here in the woodshop. We'll take time in another series to talk about how.

What are we selecting? For hardwoods, I take my time to sort through as much of the pallet as necessary to find a few key factors in each piece:

  1. Width. ~ I'll take a minute during the estimate to figure out how many board feet I will need for the project (By calculating the surface area of each plank against how many feet of frame or shelf I am making, kids listen to your math teacher!). I'll think about what I need to cut, and how many cuts I can get from each piece.

  2. Straightness. ~ Straight wood is easier to process and makes less waste, saving time and materials.

  3. Twist. ~ How flat is it? The flatter the plank is also makes it easier to process with less waste.

  4. Rough or damaged. ~ Deep roughness or damage may have to be cut out or milled off, again taking up time and making unnecessary waste. Deep knots or splits can also cause failures later on if not treated properly.

  5. Appearance. ~ Finally, I look at the grain if each plank or between two similar planks and look for select patterns or flows of grain that I find particularly beautiful, complimentary, or unique... subjective I know, but I haven't been disappointed yet!

Being responsible is part of how I give back. Using what I need and being careful with my own and my client's resources ensures sustainability and cultivates respect and responsible craftsmanship. Waste like this is easily avoided by an extra few minutes applying attention to the details.

Next week we will talk about a few other exotic materials and later on, exploring designs for mixing materials!

Enjoy and thank you so much! See you next week!


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