Breakout Table

For our inaugural Made @ blog post, we present the making of… a table.  And not just any table.

Meet: Chad Johansen, builder of extraordinary furniture, and Jeremy Hanson, inventor of all sorts of gadgets and co-founder of Seattle Makers.  Together, they are the duo behind this actual, tangible item: Seattle Maker’s beautiful, standing conference table.

Tools:
  • Hand sander and sandpaper
  • CNC machine
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps… clamps… clamps… and did we mention clamps?
Materials:

3 sheets of furniture-grade plywood with a maple veneer (each about $100)

Time:

About 10 hours (5 hours of machine time and 5 hour of assembly)

The Story:

Chad has been building furniture for some time now, starting with an urge to have a standing desk.  Instead of buying a stand up desk for himself, he instead decided to buy a shopbot CNC machine and build one himself. He now runs Ledge Productions where you can order furniture that he’ll build for you himself.

Fast forward to Chad discovering Open Desk an incredible distributed manufacturing model for furniture.  They provide the design, makers prove their making prowess, and agree to pay Open Desk fee for the commercial use of their open source designs (personal and not-for-profit use is free), allowing makers to manufacture furniture from their designs on demand for customers.

Jeremy chose this design from Open Desk’s site.  Chad took it from there, starting with about 5 hours of machine time on his CNC…

….and 4-5 hours of gluing and assembly…

Et voila!

Well, not quite voila.  Turns out there were about 30-40 clamps needed, so a run to Harbor Freight which resulted in pretty much buying them out of their clamps.  So, tons of clamps and a vat of wood glue later, voila!

Well, almost.

Turns out the original design was for 18mm plywood and Cha used 18.5mm plywood, so there are still a few kinks to work out, but as you can see, we have a beautiful piece as a centerpiece in our space now with a bit of sanding down to make the last few pieces fit.

As Chad said, the first time making any of Open Desk’s designs is the learning draft.  The second and third are even more smooth as the kinks get worked out.  All part of the making process.

Chad is particularly excited about the potential and ease with which anyone can now create their own furniture.  Designs and machines are available, and anyone can learn the skills to handcraft their own custom piece.  We hope to have Chad in Seattle Makers soon to teach classes on furniture building and maybe upholstery too.  He’s also very passionate about telling the history of furniture and tracking each piece’s story: where it’s been and where it’s going.  He plans to engrave each piece of furniture with a number that you can enter into a website he’s also building and track the story of each unique piece. Similar to the garden gnome in Amelie.  Haven’t seen that one?  Oh well, lost reference.

If you’d like to see the table in person, come on down to the Seattle Makers and check it out!!