Melding The Tech With The Craft

Nobody told me how much technology is involved in creating a final beautiful piece of furniture. I though you cut up some wood, glued and nailed it together and hey presto – a functional table is in use. The rise of pallet furniture ideas and designs has also given people the idea that making furniture is easy. Those that have actually tried to use a hammer and crowbar to pry some flimsy pieces of wood lengths off of a pallet frame will know, this is most definitely not the case.

To create a truly beautiful, and long lasting, furniture element requires engineering, maths and computer design knowledge. You need to conceive the design, transfer that picture in your head to a 3D computer model and work out if it will still be standing after you and your closest friends load it with wine bottles and burgers on a Friday night. You need to figure out in cubic meters (yes that is a thing) how much wood that design will use and you need to cost it so that your bookkeeper stops raising their eyebrows at the marginal (read negative) profit margins you achieve. Once the rough cuts of wood arrive, you assess for cracks and where needed, fill in the knots and holes with resin (which requires a science degree to perfect) in order to ensure absolute strength and integrity of each length of wood used. Only then does the manufacturing process begin.

Mostly though you need time. Time to work out that organic material is constantly changing and flexing, suprising you with unexpected twists and turns so that construction becomes likes a puzzle.  You must consider where expansion is likely to happen, allow for differences in patterns between corresponding grains and evaluate how each individual plank will best complement the one next to it. You need time for the glue to hold, for the clamps to do their work. You need time to achieve perfect symmetry, to know where to reinforce the weak points; where to highlight the beauty of the finish and how to disguise the flaws.


We could all learn a few lessons from this it seems.