Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maybe I could build that....

I think that in the near future, we will have to have a "Meet the Bloggers" post where we try to add some personality and familiarity to us, as we push along this exciting business. For now, I will say that I (Kevin) have the ability to see many things as parts, and not necessarily as whole objects. I don't usually look at a design or product without trying to figure out what it is made up of, and how those parts fit together. It probably stems from a little bit of arrogance, thinking that somehow I am equally as good of a craftsman as the person who originally made it. That is of course wrong, and I am nowhere as good as the original craftsman. But it doesn't keep me from trying. You may have seen a couple of things that Whitney and I have tried to make for our little boy, (Crib, Dresser, Chair, etc). I must give credit where credit is due. I did not design all of these things. I saw things that were very well designed and tried my best to recreate the looks. As many people know, that is where the fun begins, because projects evolve as they progress. The latest, (fun and frustrating) project was to recreate a bassinet for future "chitlin's."

As you can see in the post below, The bassinet is really four parts.

A welded steel base
A bent wood form
A bent wire frame with handles, and
A fabric insert.

First, I had to build the form, to bend the 10 layers of veneer (Sheets of thin wood) over.

*Here you can see the form, an elaborate rounded box, hollow, with supporting wood throughout. I covered it with a blanket to try to eliminate imperfections.

Next, after painstakingly gluing all 10 sheets of wood, (8 sheets of inexpensive, sandwiched between two real nice pieces of Walnut), the fun part starts. The wooden form, and the flat sandwich of veneer sheets, are all placed in a large vacuum bag, which is hooked up to a large vacuum pump. (Found at a local wood working shop where you pay by the hour to use their equipment).

*Below is the bag pulled tight, with paper over everything to keep the glue squeeze-out from ruining the bag.

*The bag sits overnight, allowing the glue to dry.
*In the morning, (after lots of prayers and finger crossing....) the bag is removed and the 10 flat sheets have now been bent over the form. First time success is awesome, and very cost effective. Veneer is not cheap.

process is not without a small casualty. I guess that hundreds of pounds of pressure is too much for MDF and some thin sheet wood. The form is busted, (but just the bottom)

*The bent Plywood is trimmed and cut to size, as my helper looks on.

* The welding process begins.  I had never welded before, so the whole thing was a great learning experience.

Bending, heating, and cutting metal is much more approachable than you think. Don't let it intimidate you... Oh, and get real good help, like I did. Thanks Greg.

WIth the base finished, the wood is dry fit on top. Pretty good. A mock-up of how to bend the handles is below the base.

*Things are starting to shape up

* Handles bent and fitted, base mounted to wood. Everything is lining up nicely.

Next is the part that makes or breaks the project. The fabric. I actually have as much or more sewing experience as I do wood working. It was also a task, but a fun one. I think that we are there. 

*Thanks for following along. This will eventually be put to use somewhere, and has been a great experience to learn some new things. We will continue to do document as best we can, as we create our own home, other peoples spaces, and whatever else comes our way.

All the best,

Match Interiors


  1. AMAZING! I guess having all the equipment/shop to do this totally helps. It is just awesome. I love the lines of it, beautiful piece. You can totally sell this.

  2. loved this post. although I must say, I look at a desk with four straight pieces and think, "I can totally do that". I would NEVER look at that and think the same thing.

    looks great kevin, thanks for showing us how its done!

  3. This was a bit over my head, but fascinating.

    Looks amazing.

  4. You forgot the part about smashing your thumb, busting your knuckle on the grinding wheel, and burning a couple holes in your clothes from the welding sparks! Nice work!! Wow.