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  • Writer's pictureNick

Raw Matter Pt2

House keeping: Welcome back for part two of the mini series. I am so grateful for your time here! This week we're looking at a few rather different or even exotic materials that we work with. Next week we will take a look at integrating those different materials into your design.

Last week in Pt1 we looked over wood and lumber selection. This week is a little different!

I come from a long past in the automotive industry where I was exposed to automotive and aerospace materials, such as carbon fiber, in all of it's beautiful different weaves and patterns and a status as one of the most highly performing materials known to man. I've used metals, like titanium or inconel that resists melting even at paper thin configurations.

A few examples of carbon fiber weave:

Stainless and other metals:

In my experiences so far as a craftsman I have begun to curate some other interesting materials as well like glass, hospital grade antimicrobial surfaces, designer cements, rubbers, and acrylics.

Good design is only realized with good materials. A highly subjective statement to make, but nonetheless... quality materials usually find themselves being handled by people who understand their value. Craftsmen that can respect the nature of their project; be it art, or artful engineering, avant garde or critical utilitarian function, emotional or logical pursuits alike.

These materials all bring their unique challenges in the shop, and at the design table. Which we'll talk about next week.

What am I, exploring right now? Meganite and acrylics, and other materials such as carbon fiber, unique blends of materials, and of course glass. Meganite is brand of acrylic that offers a pretty elaborate mix of visual textures and colors. Some that look like marble, some that glow translucent when you backlight them (Backlit countertops anyone!?), and some have unique colors in them. I'm looking forward to working with it. It comes in sheets and works very similarly to plywood, making it relatively versatile on paper, and on the tools.

Stone is of course a revered material, and for good reason, what about it's cousin cement? Aluminum and of course the almighty stainless steel have made their marks in the furniture and home design atmosphere too. Who would have thought a carpenter would deal with so many choices of materials? So I kind of threw the badge "carpenter" out anyways... I work with more materials and designs than wood and carpentry alone.

Don't forget veneers! Veneers are a great way to get the texture of something more exotic or boutique, but with less strain on construction or hard to use materials. Plus they are supremely diverse and dynamic. Here is a quick look at some samples:

Think about these exotic materials, do you appreciate weight or ease, and how often they may overlap? Do you prefer the warmth of the organic nature of wood or maybe the extra clean pure acrylic surface? What about any one of these accenting and supporting another? Strips of carbon fiber inlayed in between wooden plies? Acrylic bracketry to highlight the texture of a hard maple chair? Bold monoliths of stone or organic facias of burled and bourbon colored wood.

Next week, we will explore the comingling of materials from the traditional to the exotic and seeing if the two can be creatively mixed.

Thanks so much and have a great week!


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