Are there any families, couples or individuals out there looking for a new addition to the family home – something that will last for generations to come?
An item of furniture that is not only a beautiful sculptural piece, but one that offers stylish functionality with a Scandinavian twist that will impress your family, friends and strangers alike (should you choose to let them into your home!).
Well – the search is over – Chris has been hard at work in the workshop and produced four Giuseppe Hall Tables. Giuseppe Hall Tables.
The ‘Giuseppe’ is a hand crafted American Black Walnut (top) and Rock Maple (base) hall table designed and made by Christopher Neal. A table inspired by the designs of Giuseppe Scapinelli – a furniture maker known for his beautifully crafted mid-century modern pieces and unique style incorporating curvy lines and soft shapes. Chris has captured the spirit of Scapinelli while creating a refined and elegant design, which would look and feel at home in any modern home. Crafted in carefully selected timber lovingly shaped by hand (for X hours) this table is a joy to look at. There is a possibility I may be biased but I have the original and I love it! See for yourself how great it looks below…
Where can you get your hands on one?
The Giuseppe is currently available from Sturt Gallery, Mittagong or why not contact us directly on instagram or facebook to find out more.
Spoon carving – it’s a thing you can try! A really fun thing that apparently many people haven’t really even thought existed, let alone thought about trying.
Since we started a wood adventure I’ve been learning bits and pieces about different types of wood and tools and admiring Chris’ enthusiasm for learning from amazingly skilled designer/makers and over this last year designing and making some of his own beautifully fine furniture. I’ve been quietly intrigued by wood turning and also carving particularly of items used in a culinary setting such as turned bowls and carved spoons. I wasn’t even looking but when I stumbled upon a spoon carving workshop – it felt right!
Naturally as my parents were visiting from the UK the week it was on I floated the idea of all going and they (with blind trust) said sure sounds fun! Little did they know it involved axes and was actually two days – a little more than some casual whittling!
Our carving workshop was a few weeks ago now and our spoons are currently drying. It was amazing! We learnt every wood wrangling step from log to spoon! Having previously not trusted myself with sharp knives when chopping vegetables it was a step up using an axe for the first time but under the watchful eye of the Spoonsmith Jeff Donne we all took our branches and logs and found their inner spoon!
As you can see from the photos – we used not only axes but draw knives, spoon hooks, short and long knives and a Twca Can. You can also see why I say log… I had big ideas and my sights set on a big spoon of the serving variety – in retrospect there’s a really really slim chance I went a little too big but hey, it depends on how you look at it (i.e. from what distance) and how hungry the people are you’re serving?! I love my spoon nevertheless and it will be forever my first hand carved wooden spoon. There’s some up-skilling and refining to do and certainly some practice to be had but watch this space – this may be my first but is certainly not my last spoon!
Special mention to my mum and dad (who carved two!) who did an outstanding job with their spoons as you can see from our family of spoons above.
My review… I have asked for an axe for Christmas, have a spoon knife on order and am eyeing up various branches with a serious intent to find their inner spoon!
Its been a while folks – sorry! There was a small matter of some postgrad studies to get out the way which I am happy to report are now all done and dusted. Phew!
What did you miss…
Term 2 at Sturt School for Wood! Luckily if you have been following us on Instagram or Facebook you wont have missed out! If you have not been following then I can’t imagine how you have coped for all this time! I am proud to report that we now have four completed pieces of fine wooden furniture and plenty more in progress.
A BEAUtiful hall table, designed and made by the one and only Christopher Neal!! It’s not only wonderfully proportioned, beautifully finished and finely sculpted, its truly a work of art and I honestly couldn’t be prouder. Someone asked Chris whether he was going to sell it… Chris mentioned it was my birthday and he would probably give it to me – it was advised that if that was the plan – he best marry me to avoid me running off with the table!! I am pleased to report, that after over 16 glorious years I have now got what I wanted and am off! Hilarious!
We also have a gratifyingly functional but gloriously sculpted sofa or side table – designed to fit snugly over any part of the sofa so that it can be used for drinks, nibbles, a laptop or anything you so choose.
Is it a stool or is it a table…
We are now midway through Term 3 and can’t believe its going so fast. We are right in the thick of the batch project – two of the four stools or tables – depending on your needs desire – have been completed and which you may have seen on Instagram. Sights are firmly now set on the up and coming cabinet project. Watch this instagram shaped space.
Chris completed his essay and presentation on the life and works of Hans J Wegner last week which had been looming for some time. Not one for public speaking (who is?) or particularly wordy (unlike me) it had been a rather unattractive prospect even since signing up but we can consider it an awesome JOB DONE!
PS In case you were wondering the timberbits pub quiz team is taking a more relaxed approach to attending the weekly pub quiz with their rank wavering probably less than their commitment. I am not sure I ever got to report the winning of a $50 drinks voucher but this has been their result to beat and I am delighted to report they have never come last… did I just say that? If ever there was a way to tempt fate!
I am not going to pretend I know much about wood or woodwork in this blog as it’s not me who is learning and obviously Chris is just starting out and of course I have yet to meet anyone who knows everything there is to know about something. Like they say… You learn something new everyday! (I do love a good saying).
Having got that disclaimer out there… I think its OK to share with you things that we talk about and are interesting! (Although perhaps you can be the judge on the interesting stakes)…Have you ever looked at a bit of wood and considered what knots are and how they are formed? I hadn’t until this week when Chris mentioned it… Knots are where branches or the beginnings of branches used to grow out from the trunk of a tree. A knot marks the point where the branch intersects with the cut of wood you are now looking at (assuming you are now looking for knots in any wood nearby). Apparently the wood used in most things is usually cut from the trunk.
I immediately looked at the nearest piece of wood … I sat there and imagined what it looked like before it was one of our floorboards – a tree with lots of branches?! They have so many knots in! Were they all from the same tree trunk? How big was the tree?! We will never know the answers to these questions but maybe this little fact will make you also wonder where your wooden furniture came from (other than ikea… incidentally there’s nothing wrong with ikea (if you are not a woodworker) and their meat balls are pretty good!) or marvel at exactly how far removed we are from that woods previous life!? Or maybe not and that all depends on how long you think about it I guess!
From my perspective though I have always liked wood and can appreciate a nice bit of furniture (particularly if it’s good looking, interesting or comfortable) but my levels of appreciating definitely need to be upped a notch or two after what I have seen and heard so far. Both in terms of considering the many different types of woods and where they’ve come from and the workmanship that goes into something that’s handmade!!
The amount of time planning, drawing, engineering, measuring, cutting, preparing, fixing, building and finishing that go into even the simplest of looking items is amazing.
I won’t be hugging trees nor swearing off mass produced wood items (for the moment) as everything has its place but the very least I can do I guess is look at things a little differently and maybe stop to appreciate them as more than just the end product!
You might have noticed and been worried about the lack of update on the TimberBits pub quiz effort well after a fifth place last week they returned to their top spot so far this week… Fourth! Chris’ random and extensive flag knowledge is yet to be put to the test!
In other news – a man offered me a wafer (of the biscuit variety) Saturday. Just on the street as I walked passed. He didn’t say anything just looked at me and held them out while he ate his wafer. I said ‘ohhh no thank you’ in a upbeat I would love to but I absolutely couldn’t kind of way and then proceeded to try and carry on my conversation I was having with Chris prior to that while the wafer offerer walked along by the side of us! Nice of the man but a little odd!
HANDY WOODWORKING TIP (From @ChrisINeal)
After sanding to your highest grit rub the wood with hessian – it burnishes the wood to make it shiny then you can apply your finish.
Well I hope everyone’s week has flown by in a mostly uneventful fashion! (Don’t want it to be boring but nothing too dramatic is good right?!). Ours has flown by – there have been less missed trains and some work induced anger management required on my part and for Chris well he has been busy making stuff and learning to use some rather large tools which, imagine my surprise, he loves! I am still counting the fingers on a daily basis (all present and correct)! The week could have been a little more dramatic if Chris had eaten the peanut laden museli bar I put in his lunch box… He didn’t though! (Its not life threatening allergy levels but it would have made him sick!)
This week saw the crafting of a bread board and the beginnings of a mallet.
Watch this space on the mallet front but its head is made of Jarrah – well known for its density and beautiful rich red colour. I have seen it so far and it’s mallet’ish in shape but we’ll wait for the finished product until we give you a look-see!
A few of Sturt’s ex students have stopped by this week for various reasons – it’s great to hear what they are up to now. Other highlights include consumption of a Wham Bar (by Chris who was given it by Simon) – for those of you not familiar with UK confectionary… Imagine an exceedingly chewy pink bar made almost exclusively of a sugary toffee like substance that tastes like fruity candy floss which also features small pockets of sugary sherbet! Does wonders for your fillings if you have them! It’s one of those sweets (‘lollies’ in Australian lingo) that you had when you were a kid and when you come across them in adult life you pretty much lose it … and start raving about the last time you had one or the fact that you can’t remember the last time you had one or and my personal favourite reminiscing about how just maybe they were bigger back then?! Were they?! We will never know!!!!
Pub quiz update – ‘Timberbits‘ came fourth this time! (There was a joint third but still…) Improvement! Whether it was just luck or the team pulling together – time will tell. Last weekend we went to Towradgi Beach Hotel Food and Wine Festival. Scorchio!! Had some lovely food and gelato but no wine was consumed – mostly due to the risk of immediate dehydration. The festival was held in a car park in full sun on a day that was 30 degrees! Fun none the less, if not a little sweaty! On the way home we also managed to buy a rug from a shop that was closed! Good effort I reckon! Guy was unloading something from the van when we wondered into his shop – he did mention it was closed but encouraged us to look anyway! Said rug is made by Fab Habitat and is made from eco-friendly recycled plastic and is looking pretty snazzy in its new home.
This weekend sees some BBQ action! There is an event at the school – A Tools & Techniques Weekend and Chris, along with the other students, is going to be doing some shifts on the BBQ! Luckily Chris is a good chef and an aficionado of well cooked sausages! Personally I like them essentially cremated which I can’t help but feel is a little English of me! Maybe all English people don’t like their BBQ’d meat burnt but maybe that’s how it ends up a lot of the time? This is very stereotypical and I know many great English BBQ’ers but the fact remains is English weather does not encourage the fine tuning of BBQ skills so based on this argument alone there is a higher probability of BBQ mishap and unpredictably cooked food!
Gee some people go on don’t they… I hope you made it to the end this week! You can consider my ramblings over – unlike a face to face encounter hopefully there was no digital equivalent of nodding and smiling while backing out of the room slowly!