In our second newsletter in the series Focus on Finish we will look at the effects that can be achieved using the most humble, but arguably the most important, tool in the studio: The Band Saw. It is possible to suggest that in leaving tool marks on the work, makers are pointing to the origins of the material and the process that created the piece of furniture.
William Newberry received a British patent in 1809 for his idea of a band saw. However it was not until 1846 that Anne Crepin devised a technique for welding a band saw blade so that it could withstand the rigors of sawing and bending around band saw wheels. From then, until the Tate Modern opened its doors in 2000 to reveal its Oak floor with the band sawn surface left 'unfinished', the marks made by the saw teeth would generally be painstakingly removed and polished out to celebrate the grain patterns of the timber in highly reflective surfaces.
The book matched Elm boards of Quatre (below) were re-sawn on the band saw and then planed, scraped and sanded by hand and finally polished to a highly finished and resilient surface with a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.
As modern machinery and veneering techniques has made it easier to produce highly decorative glossy surfaces other aspects of achieving surface effects have been explored. One of these techniques is one of 'no finish'; leaving the makers marks and methods of production visible. This perhaps carries with it cultural connotations that enable the maker to communicate their aspirations for a piece of furniture within society.
As culture began to change, to adjust to the reorganization of financial structures following 2007 - 08, the high gloss of shiny, often veneered, surfaces no longer seemed appropriate. Designer makers began to create surfaces that spoke of integrity, not quite austerity, but a reaction to the opulent finishes demanded by the excesses of the early 2010's. At the same time architects celebrating a pared down aesthetic such as John Pawson or Peter Zumthor began to rise in the consciousness of the design cognoscenti.
The Edy writing table (below) uses the sawn texture of English Oak to contrast with the highly finished, book matched brown Oak. Not one of our first pieces to leave band saw marks on the surface but an interesting transition piece - using them alongside an highly polished surface.
Having become accustomed to leaving a band sawn finish on furniture we felt it only sensible to follow in the footsteps of Herzog and De Meuron's work for Tate Modern and use it on flooring. Here internal floor boards are contiguous with the weathered sawn boards of the decking beyond separated only by the brass running strip of large sliding doors.
Band sawn Oak floor boards and weathered Douglas Fir deck
Exceptionally durable, a band sawn surface catches the light well and combines elegantly with stone glass and steel as can be seen in the Litton Cheney kitchen (below) which we created in 2012
Band sawn fumed Oak kitchen cabinet drawer and door with perforated stainless steel panel.
We hope you've enjoyed reading about our finishes. Why not take a seat and check out our new Spotify Playlist: BAND SAW
If you'd like to know more about how we finish timber,talk about any of the pieces featured in our newsletter or discuss any ideas for a commission, please don't hesitate to get in touch.