Coffee table. Walnut with Curly Cherry drawer front.
Walnut Coffee table With Curly Cherry drawer front.
Friday, November 13, 2015

Adaptable Custom Furniture Design - From Dining Table to Server to Coffee Table

This coffee table is my latest addition to the Fountain Brook Collection. Shown here, 60" long x 30" wide, with a drawer that is designed to preserve the clean lines by using the entire apron for the drawer front.

I applied a mid-stain to the Walnut to offset the rich tones of the Curly Cherry. The design can be adapted to any size to fit your personal living space, and the drawer is an optional feature. Let's talk about which woods you like and how I can help you adapt the design to work in your home.

The Fountain Brook dining table was the first piece in the collection and, with its curved end slats and upward sweeping stretchers, it is certainly the most complex. The server came next and, because it usually stands against a wall, I thought it a good idea to remove the end slats, keeping the focus on the front view and the upward curve of the stretchers. The coffee table, being so close to the ground, concentrates on the beautiful grain of the wood and the curve of the legs. These adaptations of the design help keep these pieces dramatic but affordable.

Walnut Coffe Table With Curly Cherry Drawer Front
Fountainbrook Dining Table - Original Design
Fountainbrook Server - An Elegant Yet Simpler Design
Walnut Dining Chairs
Walnut Dining Chairs With Bubinga Slats From The Fountain Brook Collection
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dining Chairs - Simplicity and Complexity

My Fountainbrook Dining Chairs have the appearance of simplicity and clean lines. However, they are in fact a cocktail of curves and angles, which render them particularly tricky to construct. For instance, the slats, made from bent laminates to fit your back, meet the curve of the upper rail with a compound angle. Every other component of the chair curves and moves to give flow to the finished design.

Once construction is completed and the finish applied, the chairs are buffed and waxed to bring out the beauty of the grain and the natural luster of the wood. My clients choose the fabric for the seats, so each set of chairs has it's own unique flair.

No set of chairs is ever quite the same and it is exciting to see how each new set will turn out.

Walnut Dining Chairs with Bubinga
Fountainbrook Dining Chair Backs in Clamps
Walnut Dining Chair Legs
Walnut Dining Chair Leg Fronts
Walnut Dining Chairs
Walnut Dining Chair Backs Completed
Display Case. Cherry, Curly Maple, Curly Cherry, wenge.
Cherry Display Case
Monday, September 21, 2015

Open Studio Weekend October 3rd and 4th

Please stop by my workshop during the first weekend of October for the Vermont Open Studio Weekend.

This display case was finished recently and can be viewed, along with a half completed set of dining chairs, which I will be working on over the weekend. We can discuss the various processes that go into the construction of these chairs and any other woodworking questions that are on your mind.

My wife, Laura, has promised to make some tasty refreshments, so it will be worth the trip for those alone.

I hope lots of you can make it. See you in the workshop. John.

Chair Rail Mortises
Chair Components
Chair Uprights Roughed Out
Dining table with turned legs.
Walnut dining table with turned legs and apron drawer.
Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bold Turned Legs Give a Fresh Look

Four unusually wide Walnut planks, left over from a previous project, proved to be the perfect size for this table top. The D-ends are complimented by the curve of the apron below. The apron also curves upwards to make room for armchairs with especially high arms. Most armchairs would not require this extra room.

The drawer in the apron adds a nice functional feature to the design. Note how the grain runs continuously along the apron and through the drawer front.

These turned legs, with their bold proportions, give the table its unique character.

Display Cabinet. Cherry, curly Maple and Wenge.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cherry Display Cabinet

I've just completed this display case to hold my client's collection of glassware. There are four adjustable Cherry shelves (not shown) and a beautiful book-matched Curly Maple back. The side panels are also book-matched with Curly Cherry. To accentuate the gentle curves, I have inlayed bent Wenge half-round beads along the curve of the rail above the door and along the curve of the lower apron. The lower bead runs all around the base.

In the past, I have made similar cabinets with glass shelves and lighting. Do you have a beautful collection of pottery, glassware or anything else precious you would like to display and share with your family and friends? Lets talk about it!

Dimensions of this piece: 37" wide x 14" deep x 64" high.

Woods, dimensions and layout can all be customized to suit.

Cherry, Maple and Wenge Display Case
Detail of bent Wenge line along crown molding
Cherry, Maple and Wenge Display Case
A curved Wenge line accentuates the crown molding and curved doors
Cherry Display Case with Maple and Wenge details
Wenge line along the curved base, legs and side panels
Dining table. Apron bending jig.
Bending jig for laminated table apron.
Monday, June 8, 2015

Making a Curved Table Apron

Success in furniture making is normally a result of good planning and preparation. Many aspects of the craft are accomplished with the help of well-made jigs. Sometimes the jig can take longer to constuct than the part it is designed to help you make. This was the case with two bent laminated aprons I recently made for the ends of a Walnut dining table. Once the jig was completed and the materials prepared, the creation of the apron was not too difficult. Accurately fitting it to the table is, however, a tricky process, but that's another story.

The following video shows you the jig and how to bend the apron:

Let's talk about designing something beautiful for YOUR home.

Danish Modern Dining Table
Danish Modern Dining Table Refinished
Monday, April 27, 2015

A New Face On An Old Family Friend

Once in a while my clients find themselves in possession of a piece of inherited furniture steeped in family memories. More often than not, these pieces are in need of some TLC to bring them back to their former glory. Last week, I stripped, repaired and refinished this 1960's modern style Danish draw-leaf table. It was imported to the US by MM Moreddi Co. based in Long Beach, Caliifornia. They were the first importers to ship Scandinavian furniture to America beginning in the 1950's. My client tells me this table was bought by her parents in the 1960's.

Custom Handcrafted Wenge Door For Sideboard
Walnut Sideboard With decorative Bowed Doors
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Making A Bowed Door

Following in the footsteps of the Walnut Drop-Leaf Tables, recently completed, I am now making a matching Walnut Sideboard with two bowed doors and four drawers - all with Quilted Makore panels, Wenge stringing, quartersawn Walnut crossbanding and ebonized Walnut cock beads. Take a look at the video made by my wife, Laura, to see how I crafted the bowed doors:

Tagged under: custom sideboard

Handcrafted Custom Birdseye Maple Dining Table
Birdseye Maple Dining Table with Wenge Stretcher, Detail and Inlay
Monday, February 23, 2015

Birdseye Maple Table Goes to Local Home

A neighbor of ours dropped by to talk about a design for a custom dining room table. He loves bird's eye and curly Maple, then he saw a board of Wenge leaning against a wall of the shop and asked if it could be incorporated into the design. Here's the result. I think the contrast in color and grain is spectacular.

Vermont Made Maple Table Top
Close Up of the Birdseye Maple top
Custom Walnut Drop-Leaf Sofa table
Walnut Drop-Leaf Sofa Table With Inlay and Cross Banding
Friday, January 30, 2015

Walnut Drop-Leaf Sofa Tables Completed

In my last blog I showed a short video to illustrate the steam bending process. I was bending Wenge lines that would be inlaid around radiused corners in the leaves of this pair of finished tables shown here. The Walnut has a mid stain, which brings out the richness and pattern in the grain. The tables will be shipped to a beautiful house on the coast of Maine.

Handmade Vermont Furniture - Walnut Drop Leaf Sofa tables
Walnut Drop Leaf Sofa Tables - Matching Pair
Custom Handmade Walnut Drop-Leaf Table
Walnut Extending Sofa Table With Inlay And Cross Banding
Handcrafted Walnut Table - Stretcher Close Up
Walnut Drop Leaf Sofa table - Stretcher and Leg
Custom Steam Bending Contraption
Hand Made Steam Machine
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Steam Bending Wood For Inlay

I am having a great time in the shop utilizing the time tested technique of steam bending wood for two custom Walnut drop-leaf sofa tables. I needed to inlay Wenge stringing, or lines, around the edges of the table tops, which include tightly radiused corners. It is necessary to steam the Wenge lines to make them flexible enough to bend around the corners without breaking. So I made a bending former, which exactly matches the shape the line will hold when layed into the table top. I then steamed the lines inside my home made contraption: a hot plate, a kettle and various bits of PVC tubing (see photo). The Wenge lines were steamed for about 40 minutes. The steam softens the lignin in the wood which allows the vessels to slide over each other. Once I took the line out of the steamer, I clamped it against the jig, then left it cool, after which it helld the curves.

Please watch the video my wife, Laura, took of me steaming and bending the Wenge lines:

In a couple of weeks I will show you how the tables are coming along and you will see the final tranformation once the tables are finished.

Hand Made Jig
Hand Made Jig With Clamped Wenge Line
Custom Made Walnut Table With Inlay And Banding
Walnut Table, Wenge Inlay Line and Quarter-Sawn Walnut Crossbanding
Vermont Custom Furniture Inlayed Table Top In Walnut
Quarter Sawn Crossbanding Finishes Off The Table Top Detail