Wednesday, February 20, 2013

'robinson house studio' London Trip 20/02/2013

V&A Museum

In December last year the V&A Museum opened their new furniture gallery featuring works by Thomas Chippendale, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ron Arad, Jasper Morrison, Eileen Gray and Michael Thonet, to name but a few. The exhibition tells the story of furniture through the ages, exploring the progression of design as well as the development of techniques in construction.

The display down the centre of the room focused on the furniture timeline whilst around sides of the room the pieces were grouped according to the techniques used, ie. veneering and marquetry, upholstery etc. Dotted here and there are also displays dedicated to prolific designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Michael Thonet.

Page Lacquer

After a spot of pizza for lunch we made our way over to Page Lacquer who specialise in polyester lacqer finishing. We were shown around by Juliet Page, one of the directors, who explained the processes involved in lacquering. They have a huge range available - approximately five thousand different finishes, and even make some of the furniture they spray. 

My favourite part of what they do is the emphasis on experimentation. Everyone in the workshop is encouraged to use any free time they have to experiment with new ideas, colours and textures, and if a client has an idea that is different to any of their pre-existing finishes, they will strive to come up with something that fits the bill.

Marc Fish Latest Piece

The as yet untitled cabinet we are making is back in full swing. I spent last week applying 3 or 4 coats of polyester primer which needed to be sanded back in between coats and any remaining small holes filled.


Chris then sanded the whole former to 1500 grit before polishing. Polishing the former enables the fiberglass doors to come away from it after the glue has set.

We marked out the datum lines using masking tape as a pen or pencil won't show up on black gloss.

After that, the former was finished and we could begin fiberglassing the doors.

Once the epoxy resin goes off, the door can then be cut into the desired shape!

In the next few days we will be laying up the second door and after that we can begin laying veneers over the fiberglass in the same fashion as Mollusque.

Inspiration of the week

Each week we will be adding a new inspirational section to the blog. We will post photos, furniture, buildings, art, anything that catches our eye and inspires us.

To kick it off I'd like to share my personal favourite, and also one of Marc's favourites from the V&A trip - The Fractal Table made in resin using 3D printing technology. The link below the photo is to a video of how it was made so do check it out!

More to come next week


Barnsley Workshop Visit 11/01/2013

Barnsley Workshop Visit
Every year Marc organises a trip for the students to visit the Barnsley workshop, located in a rural, picturesque part of Hampshire. It is an excellent opportunity for them to see some of the finest furniture in the country in the process of being made.
James Ryan, the workshop manager and designer, is always very welcoming as he takes the students around the workshop.
The workshop was set up in 1923 by Edward Barnsley, whose father Sidney and uncle Ernest Barnsley were key players in the Arts and Crafts Movement. The workshop has always emphasised the importance of attention to detail and the furniture they produce is some of the most well crafted in the world.
Glue Experimenting
The students also had two days of learning about various types of glue this week. After a comprehensive lesson from Marc they set to experimenting with epoxy resin, urea formaldehyde, Titebond, PVA, hide glue, super glue and using pigment to tint epoxy and UF.
Harewood testing
For the last couple of day I have been testing the effects of iron sulphate on various veneers. Iron sulphate reacts with tannins in the timber and changes the colour to grey, blue or black. Oak, which has a high tannin content will go almost entirely black, whereas most pale timbers will go a silvery grey colour. It is extremely easy to do so have a go yourself. You can get iron sulphate from most garden centres, just mix 4 tsp with two pints of water, pour into a tray and soak the veneer in the solution. The picture below shows the effects on rippled sycamore, curly maple and figured douka.
More next week!