I never went to design school, or ever had a class in furniture design, so the things I make are purely influenced by my surroundings and however my untrained mind chooses to translate raw material into functional form. Since I work in historic preservation in New Orleans, I regularly find myself in edifices that are in an advanced state of decay. Inside these buildings, I often play archeological inspector, following the clues left behind by the former generations of inhabitants and the changes to the structure itself perpetrated by both man and nature. Once a house starts to degrade and the plaster falls down or is “gutted” in order to put up drywall (a far inferior finish by the way), then all that is left is the lath and studs. Laths are the thin wooden strips that cover the walls and ceiling of old houses that were originally installed to hold up the plaster. A house striped down to lath is full of texture and patterns and has a skeletal feel, like being in the belly of a wooden whale. Here are some pictures of one such house that I was in recently on a site inspection after hurricane Isaac, and all the textures and archeological ephemera therein that will be my impetus for furniture and lighting design in the future. I’ve mixed in a few images of things I’ve made from similar materials to show what the detritus can become with a little vision and elbow grease.
Tag Archives: salvage
The lath table commission progresses, and today I cut the Italianate arc on one end. The method for this is simple: a router attached to a board, pinned on one end so that the other end swings in an even curve. To make the cut easier on the router bit, I first cut away the excess lath with a jig saw. The distance between the pin and the router proscribe the severity of the arc. This arc was cut to match the existing shapes of the arched doors and windows in the house. The cut-off area looks like a city skyline, so i’m going to make a base for it and give it to the guy who commissioned the table.
Experimenting with new table top designs, utilizing wood lath as usual, I built this end table with spiral top. Don’t stare too long or you might lose your sanity.
I’ve been commissioned to build a giant wood lath dining table top, whose final dimensions will be 32” x 6’10. I estimated I need around 200 strips of lath to pull it off. I’ve got most of the stock milled and ready to go, now I just have to lay it all out and glue it up. I’m figuring it’ll take five rounds of gluing to put the whole thing together. Patience is paramount in a project like this!
The Lather’s Table I made for the Green Project’s Salvations Contest is in this month’s issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine, featured in the Reader’s Gallery on Page 77. Fine Woodworking is an awesome magazine to subscribe to if you are into woodworking, and I’m honored to be part of such a prestigious publication this month. Here’s a scan of the cover and page 77:
I was recently commissioned to build another lathing strip table and work is well under way. The picture below is of the top of the table. More pics to come upon completion in about a week!
I just bought a neato old light fixture on ebay with a red glass globe that I’ll turn into a table top lamp. It reminds me of a vintage movie house light with its soothing red color, but Leslie says it makes her think of the eye of Sauron (lord of the rings evil overlord) and is slightly afraid of it. Either way, there has to be a market out there for something like that, right? I can see the etsy listing now: “vintage scarlet orb of doom lamp for your desktop…”
Currently for sale in canton texas at “A Feathered Nest”, dry creek landing.