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OneOak pedestal table by Philip Koomen

posted on July 13, 2012

Master designer-maker Philip Koomen has played a significant part in the OneOak project: from guiding the sectioning of the tree after its felling, bringing partners and contacts to the project, advising on milling, grading the boards, and helping in the promotion and general steering of the project. Read more about Philip Koomen’s involvement in the OneOak Project.

In one of the last of a series of posts telling the stories of the OneOak makers and their OneOak products, we tell the story of Philip Koomen’s making of a stunning pedestal table.

One of the two OneOak boards marked ready for cutting

One of the two OneOak boards marked ready for cutting

Philip had the use of two boards from the OneOak tree. He kept all his offcuts and sent them to his son Jody, also a designer-maker.

the table top and model

The actual table top marked out and a model of the table. Notice how the figure has been matched to mirror itself.

Philip Koomen using a Veritas block place to smooth the octaganol pedestal

Philip Koomen at work using a Veritas block place to smooth the octaganol pedestal for the table. Designing the tapered octaganol pedestal was a mathematical feat aided greatly by Google Sketchup! Photo (c) Living Woods Magazine

The table compliments a chair that Philip designed recently as a speculative project. The table top has a diameter of 1.3m which is a little smaller than he would have liked but the availability of OneOak timber excluded anything larger. He says it does make it rather convenient in size as it now fits in an estate car! It has been finished with oils specifically to make it more robust as it travels with the OneOak touring exhibition over the next few months.

The OneOak pedestal table nears completion

The OneOak pedestal table, by Philip Koomen, nears completion. Photo (c) Living Woods Magazine

Philip’s table will be on display at Art in Action 19-22nd July. There it will join dozens of other items made from the OneOak tree, including a coffee table made by his son Jody.

Visit the website of Philip Koomen Furniture

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak chest by Waywood

posted on July 12, 2012

Barnaby Scott of Waywood Furniture has completed his work on a OneOak piece making a stunning and unique chest. He tells us more about the inspiration behind the design and making of the OneOak chest.

When we were thinking of what to make out of our allocated boards from the One Oak, we quickly decided on two things:

 1. That we would work ‘with the wood’ rather than fighting it, and

2. We wanted to do something that was truly a trademark Waywood piece.

1. Working with the wood.

 The main board we were working with was very handsome, with a lovely chocolate brown patch rising from the base, and full of character. Now ‘character’ is a word often applied by timber merchants as a euphemism for ‘full of defects’, but one man’s defect is another man’s feature! It was obvious that we were going to get the best results by viewing each knot, each cluster of pips, each coloured patch, each split even, as an interesting feature to work with, rather than a blemish to excise and consign to the workshop boiler. This is a way we love to work when given the chance, but all too often considerations like structural soundness or a customer’s expectations get in the way. For one thing it means that we can fully embrace what nature has provided and show it off in what we hope is a respectful and enhanced way. But an equally important aspect is the fact that we do not waste this precious resource: what a tragedy it would have been if we had chopped the wood into small pieces and thrown half of them out. As it turns out, we have managed to use an exceptionally high percentage of the board, and all that has been burned is the crumbly and worm-riddled sapwood.

So what we ideally needed was a piece of furniture that used the wood in large slabs, rather than small components that excluded and wasted the characterful parts, or worse still components that suffered structural compromise from them. For example, to make a chair would have meant cutting out structurally sound legs etc, and throwing the rest of the wood away. In the end we opted for a chest made entirely from the oak – hinges included.

Passing the OneOak wood through the CNC machine

Passing the OneOak wood through the CNC machine

handwork

handwork

The main sections of the OneOak chest

The main sections of the OneOak chest

The OneOak chest in construction

The OneOak chest in construction

 2. A Waywood classic

Back in the mid 1980’s when Waywood was formed, we used to make a lot of free-form, organic, sculptural furniture, including a series of chests with wooden hinges which, at the time, were something of a Waywood trademark. We have often thought that we would like to re-visit these chests – after all, others have used them as inspiration and re-interpreted them over the years, so why couldn’t we?! We didn’t want to do a straight repeat, but wanted to to allow the intervening years – over 25 of them – to contribute from their wealth of ideas and developments in technique.

Apart from flattering ourselves that we now have more discerning and sophisticated eyes for design, one of the most significant differences between Waywood of the 1980’s and the Waywood of today is that we have added to our armoury some of what the digital age has to offer, both in our design office and in our workshop. Now we are able to model a piece of furniture on the computer, and rather than experiment with dozens of chests before we arrive – knee-deep in wood shavings – at one that we really like, we can now make endless virtual versions from which to choose.

Similarly in the workshop, we now have much more advanced tools than the procession of angle grinders, scrapers and chisels upon which we had to rely exclusively in the past. Of course a CNC router will only do what it is told to do, in just the same way as one’s hands, but it can do it more quickly and more precisely, freeing up time that we can then spend on those things that truly benefit from being done with hand tools.

The OneOak chest by Waywood

The OneOak chest by Waywood

The result is a chest which is much more boldly shaped than we have ever dared to do in the past – having been able to develop and preview a model – with undulating forms and a textured surface. To us, these features celebrate the living wood; the shapes evoke movement, like ripples on a lake, and these are married with a texture that enhances the grain and reminds us of where this wonderful material comes from.

Barnaby Scott, Waywood Furniture

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak moebius sculpture and jewellery

posted on July 11, 2012
Richard Fox and Jen Newman-Fox with their OneOak wood

Richard Fox and Jen Newman-Fox with their OneOak wood

Richard Fox and Jen Newman-Fox have started work on their pieces of the OneOak. The main section of the oak will be used by Richard to make a sculpture. In this case the work is based on the Trefoil knot shape with a Möbius (moebius) strip or twist (read the Wikipedia explanation).

To develop the sculpture first a maquette (scale model) of the sculpture is made, followed by a drawing, and at this point the angles and sizes of the individual pieces are worked out.  Richard is also working on another  four simpler wave shape sculptures which are smaller in size. Here are some photos of the making of the moebius sculpture so far.

Richard Fox sculpture (3)

Richard Fox sculpture - working out the plan

Richard Fox working on the sculpture

Richard Fox working on the sculpture. Notice the maquette on left

Gluing and setting the oak blocks

Gluing and setting the oak blocks

The OneOak moebius sculpture takes shape

The OneOak moebius sculpture takes shape

Jen is using the off-cuts from the sculptures to make OneOak jewellery, some of which will have precious metal clay silver inlaid into them.

OneOak jewellery

OneOak jewellery by Jen Newman-Fox

Visit the website of Richard Fox Sculpture

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak coffee table

posted on
Designer-Maker Jody Koomen has completed his making of a OneOak coffee table. It was made using Philip Koomen’s off cuts.
OneOak table by Jody Koomen

OneOak table by Jody Koomen, with his two year old daughter Maya

Talking about his work Jody explained:
“I decided on this table design because it is very minimal and can be made using a small amount of timber, which, in my case, was the key problem to overcome. I very much enjoyed working with this highly charactered oak and it was very satisfying to make the knots and splits a central feature of the table top. These defects or imperfections in wood are often regarded as inappropriate for fine furniture; however, to me they bring a piece of furniture to life and allow the personality of the tree to be revealed.
I originally designed this table as a dining table; however, I thought it would work equally well as a coffee table. To give you some indication of the size of this table I’ve included a picture of my two year old sitting at the table.”
Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak throne making part 3

posted on July 10, 2012

In our third installment about the making of the OneOak throne, designer-maker Robert Ingham talks about his creation.

This chair is a combination of design, construction and expression.  The design addresses the issues of function which is explicit in the word ‘chair’. It has to be able to support the weight and movement of the person who is going to sit in it in comfort.

The OneOak throne chair by Robert Ingham

The OneOak throne chair by Robert Ingham

The construction, which is the challenge of putting together the complex components is achieved with the knowledge of years of experience of craftsmanship, and which draws on the tools and processes of the past and the versatility of the progress that has been made in the last fifty years with the introduction of machines that allow the craftsman to remove material to achieve the forms, shapes and practical junctions between components without taking away the hands on and lateral thinking of the craft.

The expression is the visual factor that encourages the eye to engage with the chair and is the result of the designers’ desire to incorporate forms that have inspired them through the myriad of sensations that they have experienced from nature, architecture, drama, music, in fact all the fantastic sensations that the human mind engages.

Laminating the curved uprights

Laminating the curved uprights using a single part mould to hold the 4mm thick laminations in place with cramps while the glue sets. Epoxy resin is the glue was used as it does not contain water and cures chemically resulting in a very strong and stable bond.

Splines (loose tenons) used to join the horizontal projections

Splines (loose tenons) used to join the horizontal projections that will support the seat and provide a structural link to the upright legs and curved rails.

Shaping the flowing curve

Shaping the flowing curve between the horizontal projections and the curved uprights. Removing the bulk of the waste with a bandsaw.

Finishing the curve with a bobbin sander

Finishing the curve with a bobbin sander.

Gluing the arms to the uprights with cam clamps

Gluing the arms to the uprights with cam clamps.

Without the tools and technology, this chair would have been a nightmare to make.  In fact, I would go as far as to say, impossible to make.  The chair is my manifestation of the open minded attitude that technical progress has made available to the craftsmanship of today.
Robert Ingham, July 2012
Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak deer

posted on July 3, 2012

Craftsman Jeff Soan, of Wooden Creatures, has made a beautiful articulated red deer from the OneOak timber, which has a remarkable lifelike movement. Jeff Soan is best known for his articulating wooden creatures which he has been creating since 1987.

Talking about his work in the OneOak project Jeff said:

My aim from the beginning of this project was to make animals that would be found on and around the oak tree. The main piece is a red deer. I had hoped to form the antlers with branches from the tree but in practice this doesn’t work, the branches don’t have the right form. I have also enough timber to make a badger which will give me a chance to use my favourite stain, a mixture of vinegar and steel wool which blackens the oak beautifully.
From the offcuts I will make wrens which are the soul of the oak and king of all the birds.
The Oneoak project has been an enjoyable experience for me. I am never happier than when I am using my own off cuts and maximising the use of all possible parts of the tree and knowing that others are doing the same thing with the same tree makes it even better.

Jeff studied Art and Design at Goldsmith’s College in the late 60’s, taught for a few years, travelled for a while, married, started a family and a building business during the 70’s. He gave up building in the mid 80’s and a chance encounter with a wobbly rat from Chile changed his life. He was so inspired by this articulating folk toy that he joined a course in toy making at the London College of Furniture, successfully completing the City and Guilds course. He set up his garden workshop in 1987, making toys which were sold at the local craft market in Greenwich. After a year of selling many new designs he eventually  returned to the articulating creatures that had so fascinated him. A batch of wobbly fish being snapped up by eager customers caught the eye of a passing TV producer and he was invited to take part in a BBC programme called  ‘Handmade’. Sales really took off and he started developing many different creatures incorporating the technique. Jeff joined the British Toymakers Guild in 1989. His distinctive talent was quickly recognised and he was awarded the Polka Prize in 1989, the coveted title ” Toymaker of the Year” in 1995 and 2000 and the Guild cup in 1990, 1993,1994,1995 and 1999.

Visit Jeff Soan’s website

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak tree in its own image (2)

posted on July 2, 2012

This is the latest installment from Terry Hardaker on his progress in carving a relief portrait of the OneOak tree in its own wood.

Terry has had to deal with a large split that developed in the wood but nevertheless is making good progress. In this photograph taken in late June, it is possible to see some of the leafy canopy emerging in the carving. He will be working on the carving and demonstrating at Art in Action in July (read more).

OneOak relief carving by Terry Hardaker as of 26th June 2012

OneOak relief carving by Terry Hardaker as of 26th June 2012

Read more about Terry Hardaker’s OneOak work

Category: Art, OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak woodchip heats it up

posted on June 27, 2012

One of the last parts of the OneOak tree waiting to be processed was a large pile of its branchwood. Ever since the tree was felled in January 2010 the branchwood has been stored at Blenheim where it has been drying slowly for the last 18 months.

Some of the OneOak branchwood waiting to be chipped

Some of the OneOak branchwood waiting to be chipped

James Norman, from Oxford Renewables, has been waiting patiently for the wood to be ready for chipping. The resulting woodchip would be used by one of his clients to create heat for a large domestic boiler.

Last week the pile of branchwood was delivered by James Norman to Ed Mant of EJM Tree Services, who kindly chipped the material at no cost.

 

Ed Mant of EJM Tree Services chipping the OneOak branchwood

Ed Mant of EJM Tree Services chipping the OneOak branchwood


 

The first giant bag is nearly full of OneOak woodchip

The first giant bag is nearly full of OneOak woodchip


The chipping operation was overseen by expert William Hamer of Hampshire Woodfuel Cooperative Ltd. William checked the quality of the woodchip that was produced. Its moisture content was 25% (making it officially ‘W30’) while the proportions of its particulates confirmed that it qualified as ‘G30’.

We were particularly pleased to be able to assist Sylva with the woodfuel element of the One Oak Project.  We are keen to encourage the use of woodfuel and this was an excellent opportunity of demonstrating the understanding of its conversion and use, albeit at a rather smaller scale than we would normally work.

Braziers Park is one of the Cooperative’s regular customers and as we also supply other systems installed by Oxford Renewables, James Norman’s request for our help was one we were more than happy to accommodate. EJM Tree Services work regularly on Estates I manage for clients and Ed Mant was kind enough to agree to help as soon as I asked him.

 William Hamer, Hampshire Woodfuel Cooperative Ltd

 


The different size particles on the OneOak woodchip. 17.9%  greater than 16mm (foreground), 76.2% greater than 3mm, 4.2% greater than 1mm, and 1.7% less than 1mm (far end). Chip designation = 'G30'

The different size particles on the OneOak woodchip. 17.9% greater than 16mm (foreground), 76.2% greater than 3mm, 4.2% greater than 1mm, and 1.7% less than 1mm (far end). Chip designation = 'G30'

 

James Norman delivered the woodchip weighing 610kg to his client Braziers Park.  Using a standard figure of 3.8kWh per kg at 25% moisture content (Biomass Energy Centre), the estimated energy value of the OneOak woodchip was 2,318kWh. James explained that the OneOak woodchip was:

“enough to heat a four-bed house for about six weeks, or for one month in winter.”

 

 

The three bags of OneOak woodchip at the Braziers Park woodchip store

The three bags of OneOak woodchip at the Braziers Park woodchip store


 

James Norman of Oxfordshire Renewables adjusts one of the boilers at Braziers Park

James Norman of Oxfordshire Renewables adjusts one of the boilers at Braziers Park


James explained more about the Braziers Park heat system that Oxford Renewables installed:

“The heating system at Braziers Park is based on a cascade of two SOLARFOCUS 60kW  Therminators, which heat a pair of 3000 litre buffer tanks.  The heat from these is drawn off as required through an underground “district heating” system, which supplies both the main house 80 metres away, and two cottages as well.  The fuel is usually woodchip, although these boilers can also be run on logs.  Having a pair of boilers has several technical advantages, leading to greater efficiency.  For the community at Braziers, the new wood-fired system provided real warmth in the large old house for the first time while cutting their fuel bill by three-quarters, and above all giving them heating and hot water which is almost carbon neutral.”

 

 

 

James Norman of Oxford Renewables with the OneOak woodchip

James Norman of Oxford Renewables with the OneOak woodchip


With thanks to Oxford Renewables, EJM Tree Services, Hampshire Woodfuel Cooperative Ltd and Braziers Park.


For further information:

Oxford Renewables        James Norman                  http://www.oxfordrenewables.co.uk/

EJM Tree Services            Ed Mant               http://www.ejmtree.co.uk

Hampshire Woodfuel Cooperative Ltd   William Hamer   email: william.hamer@btconnect.com

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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OneOak clock

posted on June 25, 2012

Derek Elliot, furniture maker at Out of the Wood by Elliot & Co. Ltd , has revealed that he will be making a OneOak clock.

Derek said:

Most clocks tell time as it passes. We often complain that we do not have enough of this substance ‘time’ and do not have the space to do many of the things we would love to do. This clock is a whimsy, since unlike normal clocks, this one stores ‘time’. To remind us that there is always time available for the whole hearted pursuit of what we love, each moment the hand strikes, there is more ‘time’ stored, to make it possible. So this clock is a treasure: it brings us peace and calm, rather than the stress that our idea of time brings down on us.

The clock is made from the wood of the ‘One Oak’. The tree is a device which stores ‘time’ over a long period. This is visible in the structure of annual rings in the tree. So it is even more appropriate that ‘time’ is stored in what is already a time device. To follow the whimsy even further, we shall place some objects in the cupboard, which signify how we want to be with this precious ‘time’. We would like to invite you to join us by thinking of an object you would put in there. You can write on the paper available and insert it into the ballot box. We shall then collate the results and publish them on the One Oak site and see what we have in common or not.

The clock also has some ‘stored’ music. It is played entirely on wood or by wooden instruments. So the theme of release is continued. What happens when we open the door, rather than assume it is closed, because there is not ‘enough’. The music is composed by the designer’s daughter, Faith.

Derek Elliot

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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Acorn Oakbot

posted on June 24, 2012

Alongside the beautiful fine furniture and joinery being crafted from the timber of the OneOak tree, a piece of a equally impressive but very different kind is emerging from sculptor Thomas Humphrey. Dubbed the Acorn Oakbot the amazing piece was inspired by the Hasbro Transformers, specifically the character Optimus Prime, and signifies the connection between humans and trees in a very dynamic sense.

The Acorn Oakbot is being made from the slabwood of the OneOak tree: the large slabs cut from the main stems when they passed through the sawmill Deep in Wood. Normally slabwood is seen as ‘waste’ and is converted into firewood.

Concept sketches by New Zealand-based animator Fancis Hamon

Thomas worked with friend and New Zealand-based animator Francis Hamon, to establish the dynamic pose they wanted to achieve

 

The Acorn Oakbot sculpture design

The Acorn Oakbot sculpture design by Thomas Humphrey. It features the Transformer-like figure emerging from the ground in a dynamic pose.

Concept design for the head of the Acorn Oakbot

Concept design for the head of the Acorn Oakbot

Thomas Humprey is being assisted by a student Ronan Hanley from Rycotewood Furniture Centre, OCVC, who has been helping with chainsawing the slabwood.

Thomas Humprey working on the metal support for the Acorn Oakbot

Thomas Humprey working on the metal support for the Acorn Oakbot

Everyone will be able to inspect the sculpture with all the other OneOak products and stories at Art in Action 19-22 July.

Sculptor Thomas Humphrey‘s website.

Category: Art, OneOak project, Wood

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