Nicole's Bedside Table

In this ID Tech assignment, students are given a variety of choices regarding methods of production and free-reign to explore one production method in three weeks. I decided to focus on wood, more specifically the idea of sustainable woodworking.

Material: Plyboo


Intuitively deriving a Concept for Sustainable Woodworking Practices

IND-612B ID Tech II
Pratt Institute, Spring 2011

Having done some woodworking prior to starting my education at the Pratt Institute, I decided to research what it would take to make my woodworking practices more sustainable.

 Consumer Icon by  Martin Laksman

Consumer Icon by Martin Laksman

Now that has been established. Let's set up some parameters:

  1. Since I'm located on the north eastern side of the US, most domestic varieties of hard wood such as walnut, maple and oak are sustainably harvested and verified by the FSC. However I have never worked with bamboo before and since it has been considered a "green" material, I decided to try it. (I will explain why it's not later)
  2. Unfortunately the woodshop is out of my control for now. The woodshop I used belongs to the school and there is no way for me to verify whether or not the power used to run the machines comes from a sustainable source.
  3. I usually use a polyurethane top coat that off-gassed for days. After some extensive research, I found a safer alternative: Safecoat.
  4. Following the lead of the buying local foods/groceries movement, the furniture business could do the same. Sell to local customers. In my case, my wife and I needed nightstands so this project is for us.
  5. And of course, end-of-life considerations means reclaiming the furniture after it's useful life. However, in terms of furniture perhaps a better idea would be to design and build it to last the test of time both aesthetically and in term of build quality. Since I know my customer, my wife and I, it's easy to design something for the client to use.

Continuing on a theme

There were a couple of pieces of furniture I had made for our home. They had a very similar aesthetic features but were always made with different types of wood. A shoe rack was made with Poplar with a stain finish. A rice container pedestal was made with white rift sawn oak with a cherry interior.

 Shoe Rack

Shoe Rack

 Rice Dispenser Pedestal

Rice Dispenser Pedestal

The new night stands should follow similar aesthetics, which might prove to be a challenge since bamboo furniture tend to look very different.

 Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

 CAD Drawings

CAD Drawings

Things I Learned

While Bamboo is thought of as “Green”, it is only green if I had procured it where the Plyboo was manufactured. Since my Plyboo was shipped over from China, the carbon foot print of its journey was larger than using wood from the Appalachian Forrest, so therefore this night table was not as green as I had hoped.

Plyboo is heavy, has a consistency of a dense hardwood but still works very much like plywood.