Furniture & Carpentry

If youíre beginning to wonder where that new album is, itís because Iíve been a little distracted.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have just gone into some line of work to make ďspacesĒ for people. Itís what I want to do with songs. Lately, Iíve been enjoying a season of creating that involves the cutting and carving of wood rather than the pen and paper crafting of songsÖ but those will come again. I can hear the hum of bees, waking up after a long winter.

Picture your room. What you have in your room speaks about you and who are you. If you have real trouble throwing things away, itís likely that your room will reflect it. If you are living in a small rural village somewhere on the outskirts of Calcutta, you might have only a few possessions, but I think theyíd be speaking just as loudly, about priorities, your livelihood, your heart. I donít want to elevate material things to a ridiculous level, because we as people are so much more than that, but Iím a clue-hunter, and material things are great clues.

I just have to say it: I love 3/4 inch ďgood one sideĒ fir plywood. Yes.

And I owe Paul, our next door neighbour a lot of thanks, as he has been lending me all of his nice hand planers, scrapers and chisels.

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Please be reminded that these photos are copyrighted. That means that you need to get permission by the artist to use them.

Click on thumbnails for larger photos.

Dish cupboard
Fir plywood/pine construction
Approx. 4 x 3 feet

The clean and simple lines of most Japanese furniture really appeals to me.

Itís a nice balance for the Indian embroidery work I collect (and am trying to learn how to do) which is terribly bright and complex.

Fir plywood construction
6 x 2 feet

Thereís nothing too complex about the design of this sofa, but it needed to do double duty as a bed for overnight guests, and I still wanted folks to be able to lean against the back. I ended up attaching the back to the wall beside it, using a long piece of plywood that hides the ugly heaters, and secures into the low table, which I screwed into the floor. This way, when we need to create a sleeping situation for two, the sofa can be pulled away from the back, and slid over to the other sofa, and secured.

Bathroom shelves
Fir plywood construction
7 x 3 feet
36 x 15 inches

Our ceilings are high, as is our priority for storage. I needed a place to start putting the guitars, so I decided that the most humid place in the house (our place is so dry in the winter that one of my guitars cracked in three places) the bathroom, was pretty much the only place left. The huge shelf runs the entire length of the bathroom along one side, and has a secondary shelf below that holds towels and stuff. I put it high enough so that when Travis (Chrisí bass player) comes to visit he wonít smash his head. (Travis is about 6 feet, 6 inches tall)

Indian Puja cabinet
Solid Poplar wood construction
30 x 14 inches
(Work in progress)

Inspired by several of these kinds of cabinets I saw in India on the last trip, I wanted to build something that we could use to store incense and items that Chris and I use in our own personal devotional times (attempt, is the word most appropriate to me; not the word discipline, Iím afraid) and his sitar practice sessions. Thereís something really beautiful about watching smoke drift up when one is trying to pray. As a visual person, I really connect to it.

The cupboard is currently in the carving stage, (something I started learning when I was about 13 years old) and will be finished with a dark stain, to match the Indian desk which will be sitting underneath it.

The next two pieces (including this one) were made without the use of power tools (with the small exception of a drill, to fasten the hinges/hardware.)

Indian desk
Solid Poplar wood construction
16 x 25 inches

If youíve ever traveled to India, youíll see a lot of shopkeepers with desks like this. Itís also the kind of desk that Gandhi used during his lifetime. You have to be able to sit cross-legged for long periods of time to use it, and so thatís why you donít find these at your local North American furniture store. Iím trying to get more used to sitting this way (ever since I started Tabla lessons) and Chris already spends about 3 Ė4 hours like this during his Sitar practice, so I really wanted to make one of these to house all of his musical gear (like the ďfakeĒ non-aesthetic Tampura and Tabla machines.) Itís also where we sit when we want to take the time to be more quiet, think, pray, journal or read snippets of Thomas Merton or the Psalms.

Japanese lantern
Solid Poplar construction
14 x 7 inches

We broke living room paper lantern at a one of my gigs, so I figured I better make something a little more solid. The top handle part comes apart so that you can removed the electric light and replace it with a candle, for romantic picnics in twilight meadows full of late summer Queen anneís lace.

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