Archive for East Indian Rosewood

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 16) – Final Photography

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2011 by johnwiggers

After the installation was complete JLT was generous enough to allow access to his office for a day of professional photography. The resulting high resolution images are versatile enough to use not only in blogs, emails and websites but also printed media such as magazines and books.

As you can see from the full room images, the completed office looks magnificent.

The walnut on the Herman Miller sofa in the foreground nicely complements the East Indian Rosewood used on the other furniture pieces.

The desk is the focal point of the room, although the mass of the 108″ long top is visually lighted through the use of a deep undercut bevel and the inlay of over 250 pieces of mother-of-pearl around the perimeter.

The drawer pedestal on the desk has 2 box drawers over file drawer.

My favorite detail is the one which is barely seen – namely the point on the back side of the desk where the undercut bevel transitions into a vertical plane.

A total of 3 grommets were inlaid into the tops of the desk and credenza, with great care being taken to align the grains of the wood to make the grommets looks as unobtrusive as possible.

I love the sweep of this curve…

The credenza was custom fitted into the corner, with the curved edge of the top ending exactly at the edge of the window.

A single key enables all drawers to be locked at one time.

At first glance this looks like an architectural wood panel set into the wall.

The panels are actually doors, which conceal audio/video components above…

….and a safe down below.

The A/V components are mounted into a custom pull-out rack system, to allow for ease of installation and maintenance.

The Scotch Bar.

Showing the detail of the faux ivory inlays as they frame the satin nickel pull.

The split shells on the Scotch Bar pivot open to reveal a function interior, which provides a granite mixing surface as well as ample storage for beverages, glasses, ice bucket and accessories.

The corner detail of the Scotch Bar.

The motorized television cabinet, as viewed from the back.

The wedge shaped cabinet has 2 doors for access to storage. These doors also provide access to the lift mechanism for service and maintenance.

The motorized television cabinet, as viewed from the front.

The television raised; shown facing the sofa.

The television rotated 90 degrees so that JLT has the option to watch while sitting at his desk.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this office is how all of the electronics and lighting that has been integrated into this space can be easily controlled using little more than the touch screen of an IPad.

Hopefully these features will be properly demonstrated in an upcoming video.

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 9) – The Finishing Process

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2011 by johnwiggers

When it comes to wood finishing the most critical part of the process is sanding and preparation. Doing this properly requires a great deal of care and patience, but seeing the end results makes the added effort totally worthwhile.

At various stages in the previous posts it was apparent that a great deal of sanding work was already being done during the actual woodwork.

The desk top in particular required considerable filing and sanding while fitting the mother-of-pearl.

Since East Indian Rosewood is a naturally oily wood, it is necessary to wet and brush the pores to remove excess build ups. Once the wood has thoroughly dried the fine sanding work can begin.

Starting with 120 grit sandpaper, the sanding progresses through ever finer stages until a 240 is used to remove marks left by the coarser papers.

After the sanding work is done multiple coats of protective finish can be applied. In his book “Sam Maloof – Woodworker” the late Sam Maloof provided a detailed recipe for his unique finish that combines tung oil, linseed oil and shredded bee’s wax. (Be forewarned that it will take a great deal of trial, error and experimentation to find the appropriate ratios between the oils and the wax. Everyone will have to find their own balance that works best for them.)

320 grit sandpaper is used between coats to progressively smooth the finish.

This is a view of the finished desk top.

A detail view of the desk top showing mother-of-pearl inlays.

This is the main exterior shell of the pop-up cabinet.

Check out the faux ivory inlays on the split shell of the Scotch Bar. These inlays literally “pop” in contrast with the Rosewood.

A detail view of the dovetailed drawer boxes.

This is the credenza top, showing one of the inlaid custom wood grommets we made. I challenged Kevin to find a piece of Rosewood that would match up with the pattern of the top, and then to cut it in such a way that it would align as closely as possible with the existing grain. As you can see: he nailed it (figuratively).

The base of the Scotch Bar will take a little longer to complete, since multiple applications of vinegar and iron solution are needed to sufficiently darken the wood. This mixture is one of the traditional ways of ebonizing wood, and time must be allowed for the wood to progressively darken.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – (Part 10) – The Renovation Nears Completion

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 5) – Let the Furniture Making Begin!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by johnwiggers

Yesterday’s post assessed the furniture designs for JLT’s office from a Feng shui perspective. Today’s post will focus on some of the actual furniture pieces being made.

These photos show the credenza that will be built into the corner behind the desk. The pedestal base will hold 2 banks of drawers, with each bank being 2 box over file. The file size on the left will be standard, with the files on the right being legal. All drawers will run on self closing Blumotion slides.

The credenza top is shaped to the actual contour of the wall, thanks to a template that was made during site measurements. Note the clipped corner that will accomodate the existing bridge piece in the wall corner on site.

The grain pattern of the top has a radiating pattern that runs perpendicular to the contour of the edge.

The focal point of JLT’s office will be the desk top, which is a modified kidney shape that will be cantilevered off the wall on the right side. In these images Heath and Kevin carefully sand and fit over 250 pieces of mother-of-pearl inlay into the face of the East Indian Rosewood top. This is nerve wracking and labour intensive work, with zero margin for error.

After completing the mother-of-pearl inlay the top was flipped over to add an apron with an undercut bevel edge to the underside. In the image below Kevin is putting the finishing touches on the transition piece where the undercut bevel twists back to a vertical plane.

Since the desk top is going to be cantilevered off the end pedestal it is necessary to ensure that the support colum at the other end is strong enough to hold the top securely in place.

To achieve this we over-engineered the support column by making it out of stack laminated Russian birch ply, with four embedded channels to receive steel rods than can be bolted into the concrete floor as required. When the desk is fully assembled these support mechanisms will be completely hidden.

Now the desk nears completion – at least from a woodworking standpoint. Soon the sanding and finishing work will begin.

An end view of the desk, showing the cylindrical support column and the sweeping bevel edge.

The drawer pedestal on the desk is reinforced for bolting to the wall on site. Interior raceways have been provided to access electrical, telephone and data cable boxes, with all wiring to be completely hidden after the desk is fully assembled. The recessed plinth base will be clad in satin stainless steel.

A detail view of the top showing the mother-of-pearl inlay.

A close-up view of the bevel transition.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 6) – The Scotch Bar

Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 3) – The Renovation Begins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by johnwiggers

In my previous post I described the initial site meeting with JLT to discuss the parameters of the furniture designs for his office.

Shortly after this meeting took place the actual renovation work began.

In the photo above you can see the aluminum studs in place for the extended wall section going in. The big screen television will back onto this wall.

JLT and I both agreed that the desk and credenza should be set into the far back corner of the space – between the windows. There is a funky piece of wall angle bridging that corner which seems to be hiding a conduit of some kind. This will be integrated into the final design so that it all but disappears from view.

At the opposite end of the space a private washroom (with shower) is being installed. To achieve this the concrete floors had to be cut to allow for the necessary plumbing to be brought in. To the right of this photo you can see a small niche space that has been created to house a built-in cabinet for storage. In addition to general storage this cabinet will also be the “brain centre” that holds all the electronics for audio, video and lighting control systems.

By this stage the overall dimension of the room were mostly determined, which made it possible to clarify the approximate size, location and shape of the desk, credenza, storage cabinet and motorized television cabinet. The inclusion of a Scotch Bar was not yet a certainty, since a suitable location for it had yet to be determined.

As the details of the furniture designs were being clarified, JLT worked with his interior designer to finalize the selection of carpet and wallpaper for the office. Based on these samples we narrowed our range of wood finish options to Chestnut Ribbon Sapele, Macassar Ebony, Madagascar Rosewood, Ipe and East Indian Rosewood.

Although JLT really liked the Chestnut Ribbon Sapele sample we showed him, I cautioned against it because of how the Chestnut stain would likely “bleed” into any inlays such as mother-of-pearl we might use. Macassar Ebony was deemed to be too dark, and the flitch sizes too small, to work successfully on large surfaces such as a desk top.

Madagascar Rosewood was rejected because the colour and grain texture simply didn’t work.

The Ipe looked magnificent, but I was concerned about a random “splotch” that appeared in the actual test samples we made. While this discolouration may have been a natural element of the wood itself, it would end up looking ugly if it appeared unexpectedly on the top of the desk. Therefore, I decided to err on the side of caution by insisting that we not use that species.

Of all the woods under consideration the East Indian Rosewood looked best of all. In its raw state it almost seemed too purple in colour, but once a finish was applied to the test panels a depth and richness appeared that worked perfectly with the carpet and wallpaper samples.

JLT concurred with this assessment, so based on his approval we decided to go with this for the furniture.

The design of the furniture was now starting to gel, and in my mind’s eye I could actually see what the finished office was going to look like.

We were now at the defining moment of the design of this space, and it is here that someone like JLT actually becomes a dream client for a studio furniture maker such as myself. Although he was always very clear on what he liked and disliked, JLT always managed to curb his veto power enough so it didn’t smother the creative process. In fact, it would be appropriate to say that he actually participates in the creative process enough so that collectively the ideas end up manifesting in a manner that was not only effortless but almost intuitive in some cases.

Although this last part is difficult to articulate, hopefully I can illustrate it better in the next post. That post will evaluate the resulting furniture designs and office layout from the standpoint of Feng Shui , which is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetic that is growing in popularity in North America and around the world.

Feng shui is ultimately about flow and balance, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the final design of the office melded almost perfectly with those principles – especially since very little conscious effort was made to do so.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 4) – Applying Feng Shui to the Design.