Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...

I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A re-do due to doo-doo

The foot rest was a ring of wood held between the four legs' ankles, wider at the front for your feet to rest upon.  The whole time I was working on it, mitering four pieces of wood together into a frame from which the foot rest would be cut, building a beautiful jig to precisely guide a router as it made the eccentric circular cutouts, and then making the cuts themselves, the whole time, I kept wondering if it would look like a toilet seat, if that would come to anyone's mind beside mine.

It occurred to Jeff Tiedeken in about 3 seconds, he managing only to slightly soften the blow by saying "I hate to say this, but it looks a little like a toilet."  I do love honest friends.  He scores consistently high on this measure.

I have moved on.  Back, actually, to a previous design, in which the brass cross bars of the original chair are present, and an additional 5/8" brass rod encircles the front half of the chair, held aloft from the front three legs by nicely made brass stanchions.  This alteration will be easy to accomplish as I have already received all of the necessary components from internet sources, having ordered them and other components for even other alternatives, all while I was sketching variations on the foot rest and trying to finalize my choice.  I tried the toilet.  Looked ridiculous.  Now I'm making the cantilevered foot rail.  I've modified the wood as required.  Monday, I will get some 5/8" solid brass rod, having slightly crushed the 5/8" brass tube I had as it went through the tubing bender, enough so that it no longer passes through the stanchions.  3 days lost.  Oh well.

Today I saw two rooms available for rent in two share houses.  Not happy with either.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Progress on the Tall Chair

 My friend and shopmate Jeff Tiedeken took some pictures with his phone, of me working on the tall chair.  The whole frame is cut, shaped, and joints cut.  Tomorrow, I will make the foot rest which also serves to tie the legs together at the "ankles".  I will probably have it all glued together by Friday, and make the seat and back rest over the weekend.  1st chair: 3 months.  2nd chair: perhaps 8 days.  If I make multiples at the same time, I can probably do several per week, and can justify a helper.  Its starting to sound viable!  I have one more sample I want to make, from a beautiful piece of mahogany I got yesterday, and then I've got to start selling some chairs!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pressing on

After a few days rest, I worked out a few improved jigs and so forth, and started the tall chair.  In two days I have completed what took me a few weeks the first time!  I see some additional streamlining I can do to get this much down to 1 day next time.  Interesting.  To-do list: rent room in share house (saw one from Craig's list, e-mailed another), look for part time work (met a "famous" stair builder, showed my pics and got some leads to high end contractors, met a great woodworker and showed my pics, etc.), do some back taxes, get a check up (I've let some maintenance slide a bit).... and MARKETING.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Improved photo

CNC may be too expensive, I'm talking with two more firms.  Meanwhile, I've designed jigs to make the parts by conventional means, if necessary.  I made a drawing for a taller, bar stool version, which I like a lot.  I wish I had another completed one without the arms...  maybe I can do it in Photoshop!

A very good friend from New York visited me yesterday.  It was a terrific visit, but I was surprised by my sentimentality, contrasting my life back then and now.  He pointed out that what I'm doing is new to me, and that if I am truly pursuing art, I should expect the work to evolve, slowly over time.  Great advise.  I have to get out of the emergency and panicked way I am trying to proceed.