Meet Jacqueline and Matt, Penn State Furniture Designers

I mentioned that I have two architecture students doing "independent studies" for credit this semester. I'd like to introduce them and their projects to you.

Matt Fink
Ski Coffee Table
For W P 496 I will be constructing a wood coffee table while using reclaimed skis in the design. I plan on using more advanced woodworking techniques and mechanics so the table can open up to a smaller hidden compartment. For this class I will be submitting weekly posts to Dr. Ray’s blog for discussion and to track my progress.

Due to a limited budget I will be using mostly pine wood for the construction but this also helps with the larger pieces that need to be cut (close to two feet wide). The table will consist of a two-leg construction with three horizontal support pieces. The support pieces will be attached using mortise and tenon joints. On the top of the table, along two of the supports, will rest the ski tabletop. These skis will rest along tracks within the supports allowing them to slide apart. When the skis are pushed apart, it will reveal another compartment housing a shadowbox for ski memorabilia such as lift tickets, photos and medals. At this time I am unsure if I will wire the shadowbox for small lights as I’m not sure if the wiring will cause any problems or hazards.

Following the design of ski lodges, chalets and homes, the table will match the rustic style with sturdy supports but with simple and clean curves. The table will receive a darker stain to match winter themes and the ski tabletop will be skis of the same brand, if not same color scheme.

Two things have been passed down through the generations in the Fink family; skiing and woodworking. From a young age I was put on skis and have advanced through the different levels to become the proficient skier I am today. As for woodworking, I have always been surrounded by my family’s work ranging from furniture to decorative pieces. I even plan to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and uncle as they have their own woodshops. The ski coffee table was created by combining these two passions but has even deeper roots. Six years ago, my father, who was both an avid skier and craftsman, lost his battle to a form of cancer known as GIST (Gastro Intestinal Stomach Tumors). Recently, I discovered an old pair of his skis and in his memory I set out to create a piece of furniture with them. This led to the birth of my first reclaimed ski project, the ski chair, incorporating his skis as well as skis of other family members into a functional lounge chair. After this idea, I set out to explore other furniture options including shelving for family photos and my first coffee table. 

Jacqueline Holt 
The piece I would like to make this semester in my Wood Products independent study is a jewelry chest. I have so much nice jewelry that was given to me as gifts for special occasions, yet I never wear any of it because it is too hard to dig through boxes to find the piece I am looking for. Instead I would like to build a chest to house all of my jewelry to allow easy access to it while at the same time adding a focal piece to my bedroom.
The basic construction of the chest will be done with ½” thick Oak. I will explore using a more exotic wood, such as Zebra- or Tiger wood, for accent pieces, such as the drawer fronts and the top cover. I have chosen Oak because my research shows that it is a reasonably priced, strong, and common wood used for furniture building. I would like to use something like Zebrawood as accent pieces for an aesthetic change in the overall composition of the piece. Once complete, I plan to stain the entire piece of furniture with cherry stain to compliment other pieces in my bedroom. Decorative, yet modern hardware will be added as handles. The interior of the drawers will be partitioned and lined with fabric to organize and protect the jewelry. Hardware will be added in the side panel doors to allow for hanging jewelry. Finally a mirror will be add to the underneath side of the top cover which will hinge up.
The construction of this project will take place in the Stuckeman Family Building woodshop located in the basement. I will spend at least three hours a week designing and constructing this piece in order to obtain three credits for the class. The budget for this project will be between $150 and $200 dollars.
The construction process for the piece of furniture will consist of cutting pieces for one component one week followed by the assembly of those pieces the next week. The drawers and side panel doors will be constructed by connecting all four sides with dovetail joints and a dado cut for the bottom piece. The accent wood and handle hardware will then be attached to the outside of the door. The drawers will then sit in dado cuts along a frame piece to allow them to slide in and out on a track. The side doors and top cover will be hinged to this frame construction to allow open and closed positions. 
Tomorrow we'll be visiting a hardwood lumber producer here in central PA to discuss and select the project materials . I'll shoot some of the visit and share it with you in the next post.

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