Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The extraordinary science of the vacuum press

Much of my handmade furniture employs the use of exotic veneers to highlight cabinet sides, drawer fronts etc. In an earlier blog, I talked about how matched veneers can provide decorative opportunities not always available with solid wood alone. The system I use to lay my veneers down is called a vacuum press. It is a very simple device that consists of a large, heavy duty plastic bag measuring 4ft x 8ft with a flat platen inside and a venturi machine that sucks the air out of the bag. The work is placed in the bag, then the air is removed for as long as it takes for the glue to harden. It's that simple.

The part about this whole process that always leaves me amazed is the shear force that is applied through the use of a simple plastic bag. Atmospheric pressure, as I am sure you all remember, is 14 lbs per square inch, so, when you create a vacuum, that is the pressure you apply to a single square inch of surface. There are 144 square inches in a single square foot, so pressure applied to that square foot is approximately 2000 lbs or 1 ton! Therefore, the pressure over the whole 4ft x 8ft bag is a whopping 32 tons!!! No hydrolics, no clamps, no heavy weights, just Mother Earth helping us out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Pinnacle Collection

This Spring I would like to highlight some of the most popular custom handmade furniture I build in my workshop in Hinesburg, VT. Whether we work together to design a unique piece to act as the focal point of your living room, dining room, bedroom or office, or whether you desire a complete set, adapted from one of my JLCF lines of artisan furniture that I have developed over the years, my handmade furniture is always designed and crafted to your specific needs. These collections may range in price, but each piece of hand crafted furniture is made by me with the utmost care and attention to detail.

I would like to begin by sharing the most popular line of furniture I have designed, the Pinnacle Collection.

The Pinnacle Collection was duly named because I perceived it, at the time, as the most challenging line designed to date. I worked on it in Stowe, nestled under the Pinnacle peak. It started with a bedroom set — a curvaceous bed (pictured here), a tall 7-drawer chest, a long 8-drawer dresser and 2 bedside nightstands. The sweeping legs, exotic wood and detailing gave this classic, yet contemporary line a slightly Asian vibe. The book-matched, exotic curly Bubinga or Pomele Sapele drawer fronts with Wenge accents are the highlights of the collection.

Shortly after designing the bedroom furniture, I designed a desk in the same fashion. Today, it is my largest selling and most popular desk to date. Right now, I am working on other handmade office pieces, including a new bookcase, which features curly book-matched Cherry and Bird’s Eye Maple with Wenge detailing. More about this in an upcoming blog post.