WoodReform: 2014 Studio Visit
Before I start this new adventure, I thought it might be nice to take a look back at the original event that inspired it. Originally posted Oct. 2014, here.
In September I attended IDSwest here in Vancouver. It was a great introduction to the design scene and I met some wonderful people while exploring a slew of beautiful products. One particular piece that caught my eye was a high-gloss blue wood table at WoodReform's booth. Tim Grant, the mastermind behind the company, was kind enough to tell me a bit about his process and invite me to check out his workshop. So a few weeks ago, I strolled down to Richmond to get a first-hand look at just how Tim turns a tree into modern wood furniture.
I arrived at the showroom and took in the sampling of work -- a wood table darkened with a steady hand and a torch, a coffee table assembled with precision-cut slats, benches with magnets embedded in them to keep a cushion loosely attached, and much more.
After exploring the showroom for a few minutes, Tim appeared and invited me behind the scenes to the attached workshop. He had a huge kitchen island clamped into place on his main work area and explained the current stage he was in, what it would become, and how he got this far. This led us on a journey around the rest of the workshop. We started with long pieces of lumber lined up along the walls. He described the nuances that he's learned to look for in wood -- the grain, the knots, the curvature. We went around to each piece of equipment that he uses -- the table saw, surface planer, sanders, etc. He even has a huge paint spray booth in the back.
Tim grew up around wood. His grandfather and his father were both carpenters so he's spent a lot of time cutting down trees, drying lumber, building homes, and restoring furniture. He event spent time building film sets. With all of this experience, he still says he is always learning something new. Each piece of wood is different and he's constantly exploring new methods.
One example occurred in the process of making the blue table that initially caught my attention. Tim was experimenting with a long tooth joint. It looks so clean and elegant, but was a very long process to get just right. Each slot has to fit just perfectly with each other in order to get the clean, strong hold that Tim wanted to achieve. He showed me a few of the test examples that he had done where he was off by as little as 1/16" in a few of the slots and the joint failed. He brought his final test pieces along out to the showroom to demonstrate how, even after he figured out the joint, he had to achieve it on a longer piece of wood to create a table.
This visit was incredibly helpful in understanding how the furniture I specify is made and the importance of using well crafted pieces that will stand the test of time. I left feeling inspired and very impressed. A big thanks to Tim Grant for taking the time to give me a tour and share his knowledge!
Tim Grant // WoodReform