Archive for Industrial Storm

Ellipse II Table – The Story Behind Its Creation

Posted in Artisanal, FSC, Furniture Making, Woodworking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by johnwiggers

In 2002 I began to experiment with ideas on how to bend wood across complex three dimensional planes. In the course of doing this I inadvertently created a tapered elliptical cone shape that, at first glance, looked ideal for a dining table base.

After building a prototype of the cone my next challenge was making the top. After heeding advice to “keep it simple” I settled on a pure elliptical oval shape with bookmatched grain and flat edge apron. A 1″ high stainless steel plinth was added to the underside of the base. The resulting table was finished in Tobacco Mahogany, and named the Ellipse Dining Table.

Although the resulting table looked OK, there was something about it that was just plain missing. What bothered me most was the finish – which was a basic chocolate/mocha/expresso brown. At the time this was a safe finish to use, because just about every professional in the interior design industry was using it in one form or another since it “went with everything”.

One could probably credit Holly Hunt and Christian Liaigre with first introducing this look to the high end of the market in the 1990s. By the early 2000s, however, the finish was everywhere and I soon realized that to be the main problem. Namely, because of the finish this table was looking like everything else out there – even the cheap dross knock-offs that were now beginning to flood the market by the containerload from offshore.

By 2006 I decided to refine the design with some subtle changes. I began by using a wood called Nero Chaquiro, which is a lesser known species that comes from an FSC certified forest in Brazil. In addition to being certified as sustainably harvested the use of this wood also helps support an indigenous community living along the banks of the Amazon River by providing a tangible incentive for the peoples living there to manage their surrounding forest responsibly.

The main structure of the table was crafted out of FSC certified ply, which was also NAUF and CARB2 compliant due to the fact that there were no added urea formaldehydes in the glues and binders. To minimize the heaviness of the top the grain pattern was changed to sunburst and the edge profile became a deep undercut bevel. The stainless steel plinth was removed in lieu of a small convex inlay of Narra being added as a subtle detail. The resulting table was finished in a low-VOC water based urethane, and renamed the Ellipse II Table.

Taken together these changes created a more sculptural look to the design, and the response from the design community was tremendously positive. Our ability to custom tailor this design to meet the requirements of each individual client has since resulted in the Ellipse II Table becoming one of our most popular offerings today.

In October 2008 a custom commission of this table for interior designer Wendy Blount was even published in an issue of Metropolitan Home magazine.

Thanks to the positive response this article received, the table photo was subsequently republished in the book “Glamour: Making it Modern” by Michael Lassell.

Sustainable, Environmental, Eco Lifestyles, Healthy, All Natural, Home and Garden, Interior Design, Eco Friendly, Green Furniture, Green Furnishings, Green Designs, FSC Certified, Reclaimed Materials. Organic, LEED compliant, NAUF. CARB2, Bamboo, Natural Fibers. Non-Toxic, low-VOC, Non VOC, Natural Finishes.

Custom Furniture Sample Sale – Aquaria Consoles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by johnwiggers

In 2009 Kevin Wiggers designed a prototype console out of dark Chocolate Maple and gave it a high gloss Macassar Ebony top.

Given how well the design of this console was received several additional consoles were made, with subsequent versions being fitted with a single dovetailed drawer in one end.

We currently have several variations of these Aquaria Consoles available at discounted pricing under our Sample Sale.

The initial prototype measures 42-3/4″ long x 10-3/4″ deep x 29-3/8″ high, and is numbered 2009-#005. It has a List price of $2975.00, and is currently on display at the following showroom:

Industrial Storm
1106 Queen Street W.
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1H9


Contact: Gary Flaherty

Subsequent versions of the Aquaria Console each measure 42-1/2″ long by 10-1/2″ deep by 29-1/2″ high. The high gloss figured wood tops on these pieces appear to float over their respective bases since they rest on concealed cross ribs that are set between the long curving aprons.

The aprons are attached to the curved legs by means of mortise and tenon construction. A single drawer extends from one end on Blumotion linear ball bearing slides. The drawer boxes themselves are made of dovetailed solid maple.

The console above is shown with a solid Walnut base that has been stained Dark Chocolate. The top is figured Crotch Walnut which has been center butt matched, and stained to complement the base. This console is numbered 2010-#017.

The legs and aprons on the console above are made out of solid natural Bubinga. The figured wood top is rotary cut Bubinga, which is sometimes called Kevazingo. This console is numbered 2010-#015.

The apron and legs on the console above have been made out of Curly Maple that has been stained a medium Chestnut colour. The figured wood top comes from a rare sampling of Curly Birds Eye Maple that has been stained Chestnut to match. This console is numbered 2010-#018.

The console above has legs and apron made out of natural solid walnut, with a natural Crotch Walnut top. It is numbered 2010-#016.

The latter consoles (with drawer) each carry a List price of $3295.00.

Please inquire about special discounts available during our Sample Sale.

Interview with Howard Green on BNN

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

A few weeks ago a producer from Business News Network (BNN) called asking me to participate in an interview entitled “The Business of Craftmanship”.

The focus of the segment was to discover how people can turn the craft of making things into an actual business, and in addition to me discussing the craft of fine furniture making there were also interviews with custom guitar maker William “Grit” Laskin, and shoemaker-to-the-stars John Fluevog.

The interview took place last Tuesday at a gallery in Toronto called Industrial Storm, and it would be an understatement to say that I was incredibly nervous going in.

Thankfully the show’s host Howard Green was incredibly professional and easy going, and his friendly, relaxed demeanor worked wonders setting me at ease before the interview began.

Howard’s interview with me can be seen at the following link:

Meanwhile Howard’s interview with William “Grit” Laskin is here, and the interview with John Fluevog is here.

Live Edge Dining Table

Posted in Artisanal, Furniture Making, Woodworking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by johnwiggers

Recently we were commissioned to make a live edge dining table for a custom residence in Muskoka, north of Toronto.

For those of you who do not know what it means, “live edge” is a style of furniture that was inspired by the late George Nakashima in the 1940s as an extension of the Arts and Crafts movement. The term is derived from the incorporation of the natural edge of a wood slab into the design of a piece of furniture.

For this particular project our client was looking for a dining table that would seat 14 people, and measure approximately 144″ long by 44″ wide. Black Walnut was the original wood of choice, but it soon became apparent that available walnut slabs were far from suitable for a table of this size.

As can be seen in the following images, walnut is notorious for having interior voids and rot – especially in older trees. In addition it is rare to find reasonably clean slabs in excess of 132″ in length. Therefore, walnut was deemed to be unsuitable for this particular project.

After a great deal of effort a magnificent slab of African Bubinga was finally procured.

Based on the width of the slab and the concentration of growth rings it is estimated that the tree yielding this slab was roughly 2 meters in diameter and over 300 years of age before it fell.

The live edge slab arrives in our shop.

The rough surface of the bark is still on the edge.

An air drill with nylon wheel was most effective for cleaning the edge.

Cutting the slab to length. This was a very challenging task, considering that this piece of lumber weighed almost 700 lbs and needed to be counterbalanced at the opposite end for stability.

The sanded top ready for finishing looked like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

Sanding the sealer coats and thoroughly inspecting the surface before final finish.

Applying the precatalyzed lacquer finish as a protective coat.

The steel legs arrive from the platers.

The unwrapped legs showing antique bronze finish. Given the extreme weight of the top we decided to fabricate the legs out of 1/2″ x 4″ cold rolled steel. Welded corner gussets were added for additional stability. Given the asymmetrical taper of the wood top the legs were made in proportional widths to maintain a visual balance.

Recessed holes in underside of legs to receive acrylic feet.

Inserting the acrylic feet.

Antique bronze legs ready for mounting.

The finished wood top, ready to receive legs.

Mounting the legs to the underside of the wood top.

The finished table.

Detail of live edge.

Another view of table.

Corner detail of wood top.

Channel Cocktail Table

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by johnwiggers

In tandem with designing the Levee Cocktail Table described in an earlier post, Kevin also sketched out a series of ideas that would ultimately manifest as the Channel Cocktail Table.

The Channel Cocktail Table measures 54″ long x 21″ wide x 16″ overall height. The main body of the table is crafted from a rare sampling of quartered English Oak veneer, which was sourced from my core stash of vintage woods.

The tempered glass top was set on offsets of satin stainless steel which were meticulously inlaid into the concave curve of the pedstal top.

This table was displayed in the Studio North area of the 2010 Interior Design Show (IDS10), which was also the first exhibition of Kevin‘s work.

It is numbered 2009-#002

Levee Cocktail Table

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by johnwiggers

In 2009 Kevin was entering the second year of the Industrial Woodworking program at Conestoga College. Since he was now familiar with the basics of woodworking and fine furniture making, he was now challenged with the task of designing and making a marketable piece of furniture.

The easiest thing to do, I told him, would be to simply design and make something cool in the hope that maybe it would sell. The more practical approach would be to research the market first to find opportunities in the things that were missing and in need of being made. With this in mind Kevin met with Gary Flaherty and Hanson Tan of the Industrial Storm showroom in Toronto for ideas on what types of furniture he should be considering for his portfolio.

Kevin came out of that meeting with ambitions of designing some interesting custom cocktail tables, and the Levee Table became one of his very first creations.

The initial prototype was the version shown here, which measures 54″ long x 21″ deep x 16″ high. The tapered wedges were made of bleached Zebrawood, resting on a satin black lacquer plinth. The tempered glass top was set on offsets of rubber and satin aluminum.

This table was numbered 2009-#001.

Portage Cocktail Table

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by johnwiggers

The Portage Cocktail Table is the third of three custom cocktail tables that Kevin designed in the summer of 2009. This particular piece ended up as a variation of the Channel Cocktail Table design, also with an added drawer for storage.

Measuring 54″ long x 21″ wide x 16″ oah the Portage Cocktail Table is crafted from a rare sampling of East Indian Laurel, which was sourced from my core stash of rare and vintage woods. The main body was set on a satin black lacquer plinth, with stainless steel offsets carefully inlaid into the top of the pedestal to support a tempered glass top.

Inset into the side of the table is a drawer for storage, with the drawer box itself being crafted out of dovetailed solid maple.

This Portage Cocktail Table is numbered 2009-#003, and is currently on display at the Industrial Storm showroom in Toronto.

A custom variation of the Portage Cocktail Table design is shown above (numbered 2010-#028), custom made as a pedestal base for a dining table. In this case the 3/4″ thick glass top was supplied by others.

More information on this table can be found at the following link.