Here are some side projects - personal things I built when I had a need or wanted to learn new techniques.
I needed a lamp for my apartment, for not much time or money.
I wanted an uplighter. I drew one on the wall, erasing and re-drawing until the heights and width felt right.
I had a pipe cutter and a soldering torch, so I used copper plumbing pipe, and brass tubing (from a hobby store) that precisely fit the cord. I made a jig so the width and drilling on the crossbars would be consistent. With a little borrowed time in a friend’s shop, I made the base from MDF; everything in it is a friction fit.
Done. My friends liked it, so eventually I ran off a batch of four more.
When’s the last time you saw a high-end porch swing?
That’s the question my friend and colleague Gregg Draudt and I asked ourselves when we were invited to create a piece for a show at Boston’s Society of Arts and Crafts.
We wanted to keep the comfort of classic swings, but for our aesthetic we turned to mid-century furniture and New England’s nautical heritage. The aluminum armatures began as straight T extrusions, which a boat builder bent into concave and convex curves. The cables were made to order by a supplier to racing yachts. (The fasteners came from office-supply and plumbing-supply stores!)
The wood, called Fishtail Oak, reveals lovely characteristics on every facet and radius. We carefully arranged the bevels and placement for optimum comfort.
A throwback to the days of hard-wired telephones.
It used to be that the house had one phone, and it was on a special table or niche in the hallway. Here's my version of that table.
In a night class at Mass. College of Art, I cut, drilled, and polished the glass. And sandblasted the top in two passes: a light one for the world map, and a deeper one for the latitude and longitude lines (so they'd show through the map).
The lower shelf is sized for a set of telephone books (Yellow Pages and White Pages). Slide them in till they stop against the back leg, and their four corners touch the circumference of the circle. The frame is plumber’s pipe, with an applied patina. Rubber test-tube stoppers serve at the bottom as feet and at the top as pads for the glass.
All photos by Dean Powell Photography.