Nothing beats a big old chunk of wood. Fine joinery and glue-ups are great, but I'll take a solid slab any day. Sometimes, it's nice to be in awe of craftsmanship. But sometimes, it's nice to just be in awe of nature.
At its core, a chair is simply a seat with a back. And while they often have legs and arms and complex joinery for strength, sometimes, a little physics can accomplish the same thing.
For the last couple of years, we had two ugly rocking chairs on our patio that I never really liked. They were a little awkward to get into, the fabric was hideous, and they took up way too much space when they were reclined. So, when my wife asked me to build an outdoor sofa for our patio, I didn’t have any hesitation to say “yes”!
To figure out what style of seating we wanted, I searched “outdoor sofa” on Pinterest to get some inspiration and figure out a basic design. Once that was decided, I tasked my wife with finding the outdoor sofa cushions. I wanted to find the cushions first and then build the couch based on the
Editor's Note: This project is an excerpt from the new book The Art and Craft of Wood: A Practical Guide to Harvesting, Choosing, Reclaiming, Preparing, Crafting, and Building with Raw Wood by Silas J Kyler and David Hildren. The book is available now at your favorite local bookstore, Powell's, or Amazon. Thanks to Quarry Books for sharing this project with us.
Building furniture is what first drew me to woodworking. The first coffee table I ever made was for my mom. It was a surprise gift, and I worked tirelessly, hour upon hour, to create something I was proud of. I remember the unveiling well, and the joy it gave her was well worth all the hard work.
The projects to this point have been small and technically much easier than building a piece of fine furniture. Going from making a serving tray or lamp to a coffee table may feel like a big step, and in many ways it is, but practicing with small projects gives you all the skills you need to approach a simple piece of furniture. Remember: with a good dose of patience, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful furniture.
I had a particular set of mesquite slabs in mind when envisioning this coffee table. The tree came from my neighbor’s front yard. When it was removed, they simply asked the crew to leave the trunk behind for me to gather. As I was giving this tree a new life, I could step outside my shop, look across the alley, and see where it lived and died. I could also see where the logs sat and seasoned for two years, driving my wife crazy.
Here's the problem many intermediate-level woodworkers face: you want to take on a big project, a truly ambitious one. Say, a dining table that will be the centerpiece of your home and can fit eight to ten people. And you do the research, figure out some techniques, and they're a little bit of a stretch and you'll be trying them for the first time in the middle of a big project. And then you start shopping for the wood, realize how much it's going to cost, and all of a sudden, that next-level project doesn't seem like the best place to test out some new joinery.
It’s time for some quality design inspiration ideas. Whether you’re looking for interior design, furniture ideas, or architectural inspiration here are three uniquely incredible spaces to get your creative juices flowing…
First of all, I LOVE good libraries. Los Angeles has a fantastic and relatively unknown one that I keep on the DL and use as my part-time workspace. But I’ve always dreamt of the joy I’d have building a tiny one like this tiny library built in upstate New York by Jason Koxvold and titled the “Hemmelig Rom” or “secret room” in Norwegian. A building like this goes
It's always satisfying to burn your initials or insignia (or whatever you choose as your calling card) on a newly completed woodworking project, but why not take that a step further with some high voltage to create a unique fractal design? Perfect for a coffee table, end table, or even as stand-alone art...
Kitchen stools have that lovely versatile quality of providing extra surface space, seating, and (if they're suitably hip) stylish ambiance to any man's kitchen. And these gorgeous, black walnut and cherry stools do just the trick with their modern yet rustic sensibility. Inspired by the work of French woodworker, Boris Beaulant, Instructables user woodumakeit adapted the design to be more easily created in a typical American's woodshop.
What started as a backyard space-saving idea became a beautiful and versatile piece of furniture that's sure to inspire other convertible furniture ideas. Instructables.com user jordi D started with a couple of similar design ideas he'd seen online and then adapted them to fit his own specific aesthetic.
One of the most distinctive features on a piece of furniture are the drawer pulls. Try something different with a leather pull to really make an impression.
I recently lost a beloved church pew to several years of rot and water damage. Totally my fault, I didn't seal it properly. But, that's ok! It gives me a reason to build something new! On top of that, I thought I'd challenge myself.
I'm super stoked by this design. It's simple, looks good, and can be built by someone (unfortunately like me at the moment) who doesn't have access to a full woodshop but still has a hankering to design some of the furniture around me....
Artist and designer Josh Rhodes came up with this quick and easy project: a warm and rustic piece of furniture, made in a single afternoon for less than $30 in easy-to-find materials. Done, done, and done!
Ah....the 4x8' sheet of birch plywood. A timeless DIY material, strong, dimensionally stable, and full of crisp lines and repeated grain patterns. It's great for everything from workshop jigs to cabinet carcasses to casework to... a full sized dining table?
I love a full-on, hardcore woodworking project: milling the wood from rough lumber to glass-smooth surfaces, careful design and proportions, and sturdy, hand-cut joinery to keep everything in place for many decades to come.
But that's a big commitment, requires a lot of knowhow and tools, and a can take several weeks of nights and weekends to finish. So, I'm equally a fan of any project that produces great results with solid materials but uses some more "woodworking light" techniques.
There are a couple reasons many bachelor pads still look like a college dorm and most of those reasons fit in a wallet. It's hard to find quality furniture options that are cheap enough for a starting out budget, but here are some good mid-century modern options for your consideration. And what's more, they're all under $200.
A Second Chance for Secondhand: A Guide to Giving Used Furniture a Complete Makeover (with Help from Valspar)
Buying used furniture is a bit of an art. It takes a practiced eye to know what's well-built, has good lines, or simply isn't worth your time and money. But it feels pretty awesome to find a diamond in the rough and turn it into a polished gem.
This month we got inspired by Ace Hardware's 31 Days of Color and decided to bring you our Total Newbie's Getting-Started Guide to Fixing Up Old Furniture. We'll tell you what to look for in a used piece, how to spot something with great potential, and even walk you through the basics of a furniture makeover (including help choosing the right color).
The Aeron, named after the Celtic god of war combined with aeronautics and aeration, is perhaps the most ubiquitous office chair ever produced. Initially created as a breakthrough in ergonomic design by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumph for Herman Mailer, the Aeron was so successful that its image was quickly co-opted by the dotcom bubble and associated with 90's web startup corporate excess. Even before its initial unveiling in 1994, the Aeron chair had already been acquired the Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection. Why?
Sometimes a craftsman has to branch out from the ordinary for a bit of fun. This Latvian woodworker built a massive cabinet in the shape of a beetle, and it's on the one of the most beautiful pieces you'll ever see.