This is how things usually start out in my shop. Perhaps surprisingly to some, my drawings rarely get much further. Instead I prefer to work off of mock-ups or even directly with the wood. For more complex cabinetry with intricate joinery or other details I will draft some scale drawings to address certain technical issues.This is a project that has been sketched for about three years, waiting for the right moment. Thanks to the interest of a friend and client in Vancover, I am able to actually develop this concept. Here is the full account of the creation of this piece...
I really have no idea why (Muse...what are you up to now?) but almost as soon as I got this curly cherry veneer - some of the first sliced veneer I have ever bought (from A&M Wood) - the idea came to use it for a curved screen. It really was some of the most pristine wood I have seen; it came as 10 slices of a cherry log about 10-12" wide and 10' long with a gentle but crisp curl from one end to the other and across the entire width; and all without a blemish anywhere.
Perhaps it was because it was right around the time I was working on some other, completely unrelated screens - but there was something about it that said "surfaces" I guess. And so here I am finally putting the idea into motion, and it feels very good.
(see also, the drawing above for the actual begining of the process...well okay, not the real begining...for that you would have to meet my muse and my jealous nature fiercly gaurds against that...)
A few simple layout tools: ruler, shop-made compass, flexible drawing edge and of course a quick mock-up of the basic concept and the "footprint" that it will make. Here I am laying out the most crucial element, the stage from which all else will follow: the master template for building the form that all of the panels will be made on.
Using the template created in the design stage I saw and template route all of the curved gussets that are all screwed and glued on the base as shown in image 1 above. Then a series of ribs are pinned over the gussets to form the whole shape.
Here the ribs are all pinned in place and the shape is complete. All that remains is to have a layer of 1/8" doorskin (plywood) glued over the ribs and the form is complete.
Fresh out of the vacuum press. The 1/8" doorskin has just been glued on. Now I am ready to start making the panels. Note the vaccum pump on the floor to the left of the table.