Federal Embellishments and Pendleton House Inspiration

Pendleton House, the world’s first American art wing, built in 1906. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

Pendleton House, the world’s first American art wing, built in 1906. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

Episode 5 of Rough Cut takes Tommy on a time travel back to the 1700s as he stops in at the Pendleton House at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to explore the federal embellishments found on the pieces within.

Officially part of RISD’s Museum of Art, the Pendleton House is our country’s first museum wing devoted to American decorative arts. The Federal-style house was constructed in 1906 as a replica of Charles L. Pendleton and is home to pieces of furniture crafted by 18th-century Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Newport cabinetmakers.

Tommy’s Episode 5 federal hall table is a nod to some of the pieces found on display at Pendleton. The bell flowers, stringing and other embellishments that he covers can be seen on the desks, chairs and tables collected preserved by Museum of Art RISD.

The Museum of Art RISD is located in Providence, RI. Click here to find directions and hours and to learn more about what’s on display right now.

Scroll down for a taste of what’s around the corner in the Pendleton House.

Job Townsend, cabinetmaker, Desk and Bookcase, 1750-1760. Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

Job Townsend, cabinetmaker, Desk and Bookcase, 1750-1760. Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

American, Slab Table, 1765-1775. Bequest of Mr. Charles L. Pendleton. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

American, Slab Table, 1765-1775. Bequest of Mr. Charles L. Pendleton. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

American, Slab Table, 1750-1780. Bequest of Mr. Charles L. Pendleton. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

American, Slab Table, 1750-1780. Bequest of Mr. Charles L. Pendleton. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.


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Fire, Fused Glass + Triple-Mitered Corners

0404_glass_desk_lampIn Episode 4 of Rough Cut, Season 4, Tommy endeavors to build a glass desk lamp, which features triple-mitered corners and beautiful glass panels crafted by glassblower Neils Crosman.

Crosman is no stranger to Tommy or Rough Cut. He played host to the woodworker last season on a Road Trip to his studio at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In that episode, he helped Tommy come up with an “optic twist” design for his Barley Twist Lamp.

This season, Crosman meets up with Tommy at a Cambridge glass-blowing school to teach Tommy a little bit about the art of fusing glass. Together they cut glass diamonds from three sheets of blue-colored glass and lay out the diamonds to form the cube-like design you see in the final piece. Once laid out, those individual pieces are heated up to 1500 degrees, where they fuse to become one solid panel.

It is widely believed that the process of glass fusing dates back to the Egyptians in 2000 BC. This fact is subject to dispute, as some scholars suggest the Mesopotamians discovered it as far back as 2500 BC, while still others state that it wasn’t until the Romans that fusing techniques first were implemented. Regardless of the origins, it is more widely accepted that fusing lost favor when the glass blowpipe gave rise to glassblowing, which became the dominate glass-forming process for over two millennia, until fusing’s resurgence in the 20th century as a fine art form.
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Tommy Mac to Host Prism Awards on October 30

Tommy Mac will have the distinct honor of hosting the 2013 PRISM Awards on Wednesday, October 30 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, MA. Sponsored by the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston, the PRISM Awards celebrate the best home builders and designers in the industry. This year the awards are being held in the memory of Steve Twombly, and a portion of all ticket sales will go to Housing Families, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit dedicated to ending family homelessness.

What’s more, Tommy will be auctioning off one of the Season 4 pieces, with 100% of the proceeds from the sale going directly to Housing Families. The Garden Bench (featured in Episode 13 of the current season) draws its design inspiration from one of Tommy’s favorite Boston neighborhoods — Southie. It’s a hand-made piece of art that will look great in the backyard of whoever nabs the winning bid.

If you’re planning to be in Boston on the 30th, grab some tickets for the event.

Hope to see you there!

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Pine Chests and Accent Nails

0402_pine_chestIn the Pine Chest episode of Rough Cut, Tommy builds a 17th century-inspired pine chest with accent nails farmed from Tremont Nail, a nail manufacturer based out of Mansfield, MA. Located in an old cotton mill, the company was formed when Isaac and Jared Pratt bought and rebuilt the building in 1819 after it was partially burned during the War of 1812. After burning again in 1836, repairs were completed in 1848 and the mill has been virtually unchanged since. Its appearance in Tommy’s road trip is more or less the same as its been for the last 150 years.

What’s more, many of the 60-odd nail machines you see are over 125 years old, meaning the technique of nail cutting demonstrated in the episode date back a century and a half.

FineFinishTremont Nail manufactures a wide variety of nails, from furniture, cabinet and door nails to heavy duty and flooring nails. Their steel cut furniture nails run the gamut from box nails and brad standards to fine cut headless brads and decorative wrought head black oxide finish nails. Possessing impressive durability, cut nails force the wood fibers downwards, wedging them against the nail, making it harder to pull them out and reducing the likelihood of loosening.

Tremont’s cut nails are widely used for restoration projects, but woodworkers can find a use for cut nails to lend an historical or authentic feel to a project, just as Tommy does with the pine chest.

If you decide to go with cut nails for your next woodworking project, be sure to line up the long side of the nail with the wood grain or you’ll run the risk of splitting the wood. For nails that are longer than 1 1/2 inches, it’s a good idea to drill a pilot hole first.

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Season 4 Kick Off – Bent Lamination Chair and a Trip to ICFF 2013

The much-anticipated fourth season of Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac is upon us! In the kick-off episode, Tommy bangs – er, bends out a lamination chair using a jig he makes himself. The end result is a stylish, gravity-defying piece with surprising strength.

Tommy’s road trip takes him to the 2013 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York, an annual showcase for contemporary design that draws representatives from all over the globe, from Argentina and Belgium to Taiwan and the U.K. The Fair umbrella covers not just contemporary furniture but also carpet & flooring, lighting, wall coverings and more. It’s a lot of avant-garde packed into 4 days.

Every year the ICFF Editors Awards Committee votes on winners across a number of categories, including Body of Work, Best New Designer, Craftsmanship, Furniture and a few others. It seems fitting to highlight two of those winners here, in the following categories:

The Chubby Chair.

The Chubby Chair.

New Designer

Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij took home the prize for New Designer, thanks in no small part to his attention-grabbing “Chubby Series” of products which include the Chubby Chair and Chubby Coat Hanger, the former created by a continuous line of brightly-colored plastic extruded by a robotic arm. Retailing for around $400, the Chubby Chair is described on Vander Kooij’s website as being “precise like toothpaste” and “heavy like oak.” Other furniture pieces by the designer include the Flow series of rocking and dining chairs and saloon table as well as the Pulse low chair.

Furniture

The ICFF Editors Awards for furniture went to ercol, an England-based company founded in 1920 by Italian immigrant Lucian Ercolani. ercol’s offerings span the gamut from living room chairs and sofas to dining room table sets, storage and display furniture and bedroom pieces. Check out the video below to learn more about their “Ercol Originals” line, which was designed in the 1950s by Ercolani himself.

Interested in attending next year’s ICFF? Check out their website for dates and locations.

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