Future Fairly Fine Furniture

The decision-making process I used over the fall to decide to get back into woodworking was fairly simple: get better or get out. By that measure, I upgraded tools as I could over Black Friday to meet the “get better” side of the equation. That process isn’t complete, but major steps were made. Now I need to produce something that is worthy of running a shop.

The render above is hopefully the first step. I am a huge fan of early-20th century furniture design, and Prairie School architectural design. What I tried to do was to conceptualize my take on these designs in a functional early-21st century usage. The final design might change slightly, but I want to keep the Harvey Ellis-inspired overhangs, and the Marion Mahony-inspired stained glass design on the doors. The overall dimensions shouldn’t change, unless they are material related.

The first build is a printer sideboard. The current thing holding the printer now is an Ikea cabinet that is only slightly functional. What I would like to do is replace it and let it hold a bunch of retro video game consoles that are currently sitting on my desk and another Ikea cabinet. The design would allow for it to become another bookcase inside, or for whatever purpose. The insides are regular adjustable shelves. I don’t yet know how to make stained/lead glass, so the inserts may be temporarily wood or faux glass.

The desk will have a tower space on the right, which can later be converted to drawers if so needed. The left side will have a spot for files at the bottom. There will be ventilation and cord management slots in the right base and underneath the top. I don’t plan on having any other accommodations for ports or cables, as I want this to be more of a classic desk that can serve as a computer or office/library desk. Any future needs can be addressed by adding on and securing to the top underneath at the back, as the monitor stand will.

I have also designed a TV console, and a basis for tall bookcases. I designed the TV console to hold as many consoles as I can think of at the moment. The width will fit into a future office space should we remain in our current house, but will also work in our current living room and is around a standard size, if not a touch tall. There will be an attempt at cable management in the form of back panels, plus heat management via thermostat-controlled AV fans. Any future consoles will require putting them on top or making other changes, but the entire interior of the cabinet except for the vertical partitions are removable. This is a pretty standard build and design. The drawers will be dovetailed if I can refine my methods. Most likely push to open drawers and door, so that the design stays clean.

The tall bookcase can be duplicated and adapted for any room. Here, it is holding drawers of games, but the goal will be to have them on adjustable shelves. If that turns out true, then no adaptation is really necessary – just add as many adjustable shelves (besides the one fixed at door height) as necessary. I haven’t planned on making full doors or four doors, but I may change my mind here.

I had to choose between quartersawn white oak and walnut, and I decided to go with walnut. As I stated, this is my take on period pieces and I really enjoy the sight of walnut get freshly finished. That, and it’s cheaper, and I like the darker wood.

So, I had hoped to begin this project in late October, but that obviously didn’t happen. Since I knew I had to get my situation upgraded before I started, I have pushed it back to at least now. I have at least the initial amount of walnut on hand, but now I have to make a design consideration of what the final process will be since I’m only going to get about 7/8″ thick pieces out of this 8/4 stock. I will be cleaning up the shop a bit more and thinking on this, and hopefully starting to mill at the very least before Christmas.

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