Portfolio

Since I haven't gotten around yet to putting up a new website, I'm using this page to put up an online portfolio. This is a handful of the things I've worked on, and the ones I was happiest about. The website is coming, but one thing at a time...

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This clock was something I designed and built to show off what I could do for a potential client. The case is about two feet tall, made of mahogany, and includes my versions of design elements from John and Thomas Seymour. The doors and pedestal are inlaid with banding that I made in the shop. The glass has gold leaf and paint on the back, to frame the elements of the clock display. The design for the door was inspired by a secretary desk that's on display at the Peabody Essex museum in Salem, MA. That said, the door is only 6" wide, so the design had to be... modified... somewhat.

Interestingly enough, the display is made up of Soviet-era Numitron vacuum tubes. The tubes contain a series of lightbulb filaments that light up to display numbers.

The clock made a very good impression on the client, and he hired me to help design and build a case for a much larger clock. (That project is still in process, and when the necessary patents and trademarks etc on the design have been taken care of, I'll write more about it on the blog.)






The Chess Table was my final piece at North Bennet Street School. It's one of the highlights of my existing portfolio.

When the top is closed, the surface displays a 4-way match in walnut burl. I chose to incorporate the sapwood, because I like the color contrast.

When opened, it becomes a chess table. The surface is veneered in a marquetry chess board. It took me roughly 3 weeks to assemble the surface. Afterwards, I decided to inlay a thin purfling around the perimeter of the board, to help highlight it, and separate it from the rest of the surface.


There are a lot of other mirrored surfaces on the table. The surfaces around the column are veneered with walnut crotch, and they mirror around each edge. The base has a 4-way match. And the frame supporting the surface has 2-way book matching on the front and back.

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The English Oak slab table is one of my most popular pieces. Unfortunately, it's also not for sale. I built the table from a slab of oak that I bought at Hearne Hardwoods in PA, while I was on vacation with my girlfriend. Since then, the slab has become a table, and the girlfriend has become my wife.

The board was the pith board from the tree as it was cut. In layman's terms, it's the board taken from the exact center of the tree. The pith is the center of the trunk. It's also the least stable part of the lumber once it's been cut. When I bought the slab, it was split from one end to the other, and the two halves were barely connected to each other. A few years later, once I had a vision in my head of how I wanted the table to look, I separated the two halves completely, cleaned out all the fuzz and gunk that had grown in the split while the board was drying, and then rejoined the two halves with 3 butterfly joints. The gap in the middle is a focal point, but it's irregularity leads the eye back and forth to each end, around the bevels, and down each edge.

Because it's the center board of the tree, the grain has a lot going on. Towards the center, it looks rift-sawn... simple straight grain. On the way towards the edge, it looks more quartersawn, and the ray fleck that quarter sawn oak is prized for is on proud display. There are color variations from the pith to the heartwood, to the sapwood on the edge.

The way the base is joined together took a lot of head-scratching. The legs, top supports, and the stretcher are all joined together in a 3-direction lap joint that has more to do with a wooden knot-style puzzle than with traditional table joinery. But the base is dyed black, because I wanted to let the top hog all the attention.  I think it was the right decision.

I love this table. When it's cleared off, I can let my eyes run over it for half an hour, and not notice the time go by.

It's inspired several other tables, and I continue to make variations of this design today. 










The chippendale style chair is a standard North Bennet project. That said, I'm still happy about the way it turned out. 

Curly maple can be a challenge to work with in simple, flat planes. Working it into curves isn't much better. There's a little more room for improvisation, but that's about it.

Probably the most fun I had with this chair was in developing the finish process. I took my time with sample pieces, and figured out what I wanted to do ahead of time. But the process I came up with was not the norm at school, and everyone from students, to faculty, to the assistant director of the school came up to make sure I hadn't completely lost my mind.






I made this chest for Ariel in 2007 for her birthday. It's a variant on a design that I used for a class that I taught in 2007. The chest for the class was smaller, with three panels across the front. This one is a bit wider, because I wanted it to sit at the foot of the bed.

The carving started out as a way to cover a goof. I'd laid out the mortises for the lid cleats incorrectly, and as a result, they were evenly spaced, but all slightly to the left. That left a larger field on the right hand side. To make it look deliberate, I decided I should use the larger space for something, and went for extra credit with the heart and initials.

Then I went to mount the lid, and realized I'd carved them upside down.

 Rather than flip the lid and run the heavy bead profile again, I just made another lid. I measured everything correctly this time, but I decided to keep the carving. I also kept the girl... we got married on 10/10/10.





This is a 6-board cherry blanket chest that I built at school. I bought the wood as live edge slabs from a big-wood specialty place in western Massachusetts. The chest itself is four feet long, about 2 feet tall, and 18 inches from front to back.

The floor of the chest is aromatic cedar, and the lid is lined with cedar panels as well. There's a small till to one side, with a lid that doubles as a lid support.

The lid is inlaid with a medallion made of sand-shaded, bleached bird's eye maple.

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I'll add more to this page as time goes on.

Maybe by the time it's done I'll have gotten around to designing the website.

-JW