I had to forego my blogging entries about the progress of these library shelves as I became too involved in the sanding, glue-ups, sanding again, staining and finishing to have any time left over to write about it. Now with the shelving units installed, I can look back at our documentation and retrace the process from where we left off in the last blog. The last entry showed the oak sized for the various components of the shelves. Next Mark laid out the dadoes for the units. The glue-ups were complex especially in clamping up all the components without losing square. The largest unit proved to be a very challenging glue-up. But ultimately the mitered joints came together and shelves pulled up in the dadoes. The cabinets were then given a beveled edge treatment as a finishing touch. A leveler system was also installed to compensate for the uneven floors. Several of the lower cabinets were going to have doors with a walnut burl veneer. Much time was spent by Mark and our client coming up with the best veneer matches for these doors. For such a large project, the finishing had to be done in stages with finished cabinets moving next to unfinished cabinets waiting to be stained and then lacquer finished. The client finally has his boxes of books off the floor and into his new shelves with his art pieces showcased.
From the raw material in the rough of the first photo, the rift-sawn oak boards have now been milled to a little over one inch and paired with other boards to make a good grain match in approximate 15-inch widths. After the clamping and gluing, Mark has stroke-sanded each panel and stacked them as shown in the photo. The next step will be to put them through a wide belt sander to insure a consistent thickness. After this sanding, Mark will code each board for their potential future use in the various units of the bookcase structure.
This photo shows the elm and pecan wood from trees that were cut down during the construction of the new Seton Hospital/University of Texas Medical School as the wood has been meticulously stacked in a kiln to be dried for several weeks. Landers’ Studio was contracted by Seton (and their sub-contractor J.E. Dunn) to act as a consultant on drying the wood and advising on the best means to ultimately utilize and showcase this wood in the new building. Mark has been working on rough milling the wood and stacking it properly in the kiln at the same time as working on the Oak Library project mentioned earlier. Possible suggested usages for the wood has been for use in a lobby reception desk and also as elements of a wall design and liturgical furniture in the Seton chapel.
Acquiring the wood in this picture was the first step in our next project. A client came to us wanting oak library shelving units for his new home. He had a custom built-in library in his prior home that they had to leave behind with the family’s move. So he wanted to be sure their next custom library shelves were moveable and able to expand or contract to fit a space should the family have to move again.
The pictured carts of wood represent 450 board feet of rift-sawn white oak that will be stained to match a library table in that room. The wood is currently being milled to a little over an inch thick and glued into 15+ inch panels.
And so begins the process of turning the raw wood into a custom piece of furniture…..stay tuned as the project continues......
We label ourselves as “Landers’ Studio, fine custom furniture design and specialty millwork.” And sometimes it is the specialty millwork that brings us the most unusual projects. One time, a woman came to us with a broken wooden heel on a very expensive pair of Italian high heels. No common shoe repair shop had the capacity to recreate a new wooden heel to match her coveted shoes. So we restrained ourselves from saying, “Well, shoe repair is not really what we do……” and realized we were her only alternative. She walked away a very happy customer.
Similarly, we had a client with a Rolls Royce with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. The dashboard was a beautiful Carpathian Elm burl veneer. The client, of course, wanted the steering on the left-hand side for the States, but he did not want to lose the burl dashboard. We were able to locate a matching veneer and create a new dashboard, finishing it with the appropriate amount of sun-fade to match the rest of the car’s existing woodwork.
We like to think with Mark’s creativity, woodworking skills, and the tools at his disposal that there is very little he cannot do if he sets his mind to it. We will often tell a client with a challenging project, “We can do that!” When the client walks away, we may look at each other and say, “Now how are we going to do that??”
So we were unfazed when a client drove up in his 1928 Ford Traveler wanting to explore the possibility of making a whole new wooden box for the “Woody”. Mark and the client are now looking at various wood combinations to decide on the best visual effect and long-term resilience. We have never done this before….but WE CAN DO THAT!