ADJUST/ADAPT - Rush Seated Oak Kist (Oak from Sorn Estate, Ayrshire - milled 1999; natural rush from Bedfordshire; brass stop hinges)
Made on commission to the client's dimensions, and being given free rein to choose layout, compose both materials and form, Rush Seated Oak Kist has been a joy to make. Built for a specific place in the house, it provides deep storage space and a place to sit encompassed in one piece of freestanding furniture.
Despite the fact that there are references to a number of styles comprised in the piece - including raised and fielded panelling; Arts and Crafts rush seating; Krenovian and, in using far from perfect oak, Scottish vernacular - I feel the kist demonstrates very well the attention I like to pay to materials, and to wood grain, particularly, allowing them to play an important part in the overall harmony of what I make.
My making process starts with an idea and rough sketch of what I will be making and, almost simultaneously, looking through boards of timber in an attempt to marry the two. The next step is working out the joinery and position of hardware etc, followed by re-sawing and bringing the component pieces to near dimension. Next is composing the pieces and doing the joinery using a combination of machine and hand tools before doing final surfaces and edges, using extremely sharp hand tools, then applying a finish. Sandpaper has no place in the process.
Photos: Tina Sørensen
After 26 years of practicing traditional upholstery and, to a lesser extent, cane and rush work I set off, at the end of 2012, to extend my knowledge and skills of fine furniture making . This eventually led me to Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, a small school with an all encompassing, immersive method of teaching. It proved to be a revelatory experience!
My work is much influence by my time there and, particularly, by the philosophy of James Krenov which lies at the heart of the school's curriculum. Machining is used as an initial milling process to thickness and shape the component parts, and to take some of the slog out of the work. Thereafter, reliance is on super sharp hand tools to achieve fine fitting joinery and final surfaces before applying natural finishing coats. Sanding has become unnecessary, which has led to a cleaner and healthier working environment.rekam eht tcatnoC