Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chair Mobile Finished!

Congratulations to Jeff and Taylor on their new girl Leah!

We decided to make Leah a mobile that would subliminally get her interested in Industrial Design.

The cross members are bent ash, made on the same from as the wood fenders that were made earlier this year. We picked our five favourite chairs to immortalize and laser cut them out of 1/4" plywood.

Bonus points if you can identify each chair!

Panton Chair by Verner Panton
Wiggle Chair by Frank Ghery
Cord Chair by Jacques Guillon

Molded Plywood Chair by the Eames`
Rocking Chair by the Eames'

The chairs are laser etched on both sides to show a bit more of the chair detail and shadows. Each chair was scaled so that the weighed roughly the same, and the mobile would hang straight.

Since these photos I have shortened the bottom cross member so that it can rotate freely within the top chairs. Unfortunately I was not able to take more photos, but from this angle it looks pretty much the same.

Enjoy Leah!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Summer of Thor

This summer we have been doing a bunch of work for the local coffee shop Thor. We were asked to design a patio at the beginning of summer, but due to the nightmare that is the city bureaucracy it wasn't completed until about a month ago. We are now putting on some of the finishing touches.

The project began with the commission of an outdoor bench for the front of the shop detailed here. We then designed the space and layout for the patio, and even designed custom furniture to match the interior and front bench. Due to the poor timing the custom furniture and some permanently installed features will have to wait until next year.

The Completed Patio and Newly Installed Signage

The sign is made with leftover wood from the fences and some charred cedar that gives some contrast for the logo and works as a chalk board.

Charring the Cedar (fun)

We only wanted a light burn on the cedar, so we used a propane torch to blacken the surface instead of the more intense chimney burn method

Half Charred Cedar

The charred cedar was laminated and put into a pine frame. We then took the sign to Thor and applied the laser cut acrylic logo and wordmark  The acrylic was cut at 1:1 so that you we could use the offcut as a template to make lining up the pieces super easy.

Completed sign in our Garage I mean Workshop

Installing the Acrylic with the Template

1/4" Laser Cut Acrylic Letters and Logo

Easy as pie.

The sign also has space to run power and install lighting for the sign if so desired. We should have a more comprehensive post for the full patio soon. There are some great Norse ship inspired details that we like a lot.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gladstone Maps Exhibit (updated)

The Gladstone Hotel is putting together a small exhibition that we will be a part of. It focuses on the use of maps and geographic identity in design. The exhibition is going to be in the public spaces of the hotel, I think mainly around and up the central staircase.

Here is some of the other stuff that is going to put our coasters to shame:

Detail of "North Pole" by Joy Charbonneau

Detail of "Synapse" by Shannon Rankin

There will be work from these and other artists. It runs from October 5th to the 30th, and is free, so be sure to check it out!

Update! The Gladstone has published a blog post with some more details here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Hello all,
If you are in Vancouver between now and February 2013 be sure to check out the Tobias Wong exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver. One of my favourite designers (Canadian too!), he died two years ago at the age of 35.

I hope it comes to Toronto.
More info here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Groove Seating

We have been busy working on more of the wooden seating. This time it is three bar stools that use the same routed wood seating surface. We had these frames made from .75" (instead of 1") steel tubing, and the wood profile was made thinner to match. It now looks even hotter.

Before the Butt Groove is routed.

Before grinding

We modified the design of the steel frames to be taller and have a raised foot rest in the front. We then ground down the welds and gave them a clear coat. The steel is much brighter than what we used before, and there is a lot of nice discolouration by the welds giving the "gas slick" effect.

We used the same poplar that we had from the first round, and picked the most figured wood that we had left to give the seating surface character. The poplar was sitting out back at a lumber yard, and by the time we found it they gave us huge pieces for cheap. The outsides were weathered and grey, but the insides have some amazing colours. I am not sure if this came from the years of weathering or from the tree.

Three Bar Stools

The First Routed Seat

This is the same router jig that we used last time. There are a few chunks taken out of the side rails from where I slipped, but they don't compromise the surface quality of the seat. I do need to figure out how to lower the sliding friction between the wood. What kind of tape would work best for that?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Behind the Bench


So we noticed that we didn't post too many progress pictures of the bench building like we normally do, so here's a quick behind scenes behind the bench that we made for Thor Espresso Bar!  

Sketch:  At first we experimented with different ideas on how to prevent "uninvited napping", but in the end we figured that the bench was too short to sleep comfortably.

Woodworking: Here's Scott routing away one of the butt-grooves on the bench with his homemade jig.  We considered getting it CNC'd (let the robots do all the work), but we wanted to keep the fun for ourselves and went DIY.   

Assembly!  This was my job.  Note, I did not drink all those beers in the garage by myself - or at least I don't remember drinking all those beers.  To manage the weight of the solid-looking bench, we hollowed out the middle and put in a few solid poplar cross-braces to hold all the pieces together.    

Break time! Speaking of poplar, if anyone is looking for great camping this summer, we highly recommend checking out Cyprus Lake at Bruce Peninsula.  We stayed at the Poplar campground a few weeks ago and it was so good.  

Finishing: Using an old paint gun from uni, we put several layers of outdoor satin varathane to protect the wood. Spraying gives a finer finish than brushing and makes it easier to sand between coats.  

Oh and speaking of coats, Scott's sexy hog on my right is for sale, it was freshly painted over this spring too.  Feel free to contact us if you're interested :)

One size should fit all.

We picked through our wood and tried to put the nicer wood grain pieces on top.  We've never worked with poplar before, does anyone know if the dark bluish grain is normal?  Or is it a mark of the pine beetle?  Either way, we really liked it and wanted to highlight the variable grain markings.  

Testing:  The bench didn't topple over, test passed!

Stay posted, the Thor patio should be ready real soon!  In the meantime, you should swing by and grab one of their homemade popsicles ;)

- Heather.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thor Espresso Bar

While waiting for the patio license to go through at Thor we were asked to create a bench to sit outside the front of the shop. We completed the bench on the weekend and delivered it last night!

The bench was designed to be consistent with their interior design and furniture. Their bar and tables are laminated strips of reclaimed wood (similar to nicer 2X4s), so we decided to create a solid laminated wood block. We then routed two of the same seat profiles that we are using in the patio furniture we have designed for them.

It is made of the same poplar that was used in the other patio furniture, and is actually hollow to minimize material use. We think that the other side of the doors could use a single seat to make the bench look less lonely, but that will have to wait for now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We're Back!

Once in a while I come across a blog that hasn't had a new post in a long time and think "geez, those guys are lazy!". Well, now I think I understand. You miss a month, then the next post has to be a really good one, then it just becomes too stressful and you forget about it altogether. Well, that happened to us, but we are back! Hopefully we will keep it a little more consistent in the future.

So, lately we have been working on some patio furniture for a cafe in Toronto. The furniture is designed to match their interior space and counter. There will be seats, tables, and some other more permanent furniture.

For the seat and table tops we found some very nice poplar 3X4s at Danforth Lumber that were on special. It is a very nice light coloured hardwood that has some interesting contrasting streaks.

The wood is spaced out and then hand milled to get a scalloped seating surface. This was originally intended to act as a visual seating feature, but it actually makes the seat much more comfortable than the original flat surface. Bonus!

The wood sits in a very simple welded steel frame. The frames are raw steel and will be clear coated. The open frame makes it easier for the cafe to move, stack and lock the seats and tables at night.

This is the router setup that we use to mill the seating surface. The wood is clamped to the table to ensure that it does not move around and the router is attached to the round guide that slides back and forth on an outer frame. The outer frame curves up at the back which keeps the semi-circular flat on the rear of the seat. This works surprisingly well and actually gives a smooth surface on the wood. A quick sanding and you get this:

Heather is also working on a larger bench for the front of the cafe that can be installed before their patio application gets approved (the city is so slow!). This will also be poplar, and will use the same seating features.

We will have more updates soon!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wooden Fenders v2.0

I finished a new set of wood fenders just in time for the first real snow in Toronto. But now I don't want to go outside and get them wet...

I used the same ash as the pair for Heathers bike, which was leftover from the Delta Table project. These fenders are trimmed to fit my narrower tires, and are shorter for a sportier look, and because it was all the ash that I had left.

The wood was bleached to get it as light as possible. I have tried this in the past with mixed results, but it really worked well on the ash. It turned out almost bone white while accenting the grain. These fenders have the same mounting style as Heathers, but I only had room for two crosses instead of three.

My bicycle did not have any mounting hardware, so I made some small washer brackets that clamped onto the axle. These close-up shots make me think I should get a less rusty bike.

The front fender has a bent wire bracket that is held in place by the brake. The rear fenders have the same bracket, which is bolted onto where the brake would mount. The bent wire brackets are epoxied onto the inside of the fender and is only visible from the underside, or very shallow angles.

I used water based Varathane as a sealant and to keep the wood white, ensuring that it would not yellow. This gave me a nice matte texture, but I am worried that they will need refinishing sooner than later.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Toronto x Montreal

Last night we were invited to catch a 'sneak peak' for the the TODO Toronto-Montreal exhibition at Domison.

Domison wanted to offset the highly commercialized IDS (interior design show) and modestly celebrate local designs without price tags or labels. Apart from appreciating the beauty of each product and debating on how each one was made, we spent the night playing musical couch, test sitting on all the couches designed by Domison; Admiring the hand printed silk screened posters that were plastered over the walls, and drooling over the store window display made entirely with mops (both posters and window display designed by Paprika)

Here are some of the photos from the night.


Hand printed two color silk screen posters

wood panels wall decor - looks like rusty metal

Mortar & Pestle

stunning window display - mops, who knew


But don't take our word for it, go check it out yourself.


35 Jarvis St.

Exhibition hours:
26/27 January, 10AM to 8PM
28 January, 11AM to 8PM
29 January, 12PM to 6:30 PM