Allan Parachini Custom Furniture

how I work

Wood talks. That may sound crazy, but it's true and I try to listen to it as much as I can. I do both speculative and custom pieces. The process for creating each is the same, except that custom projects are preceded by detailed discussion with the client about what the intended purpose is, where it may be placed in the home or office, other colors that make up the décor and what pitfalls need to be avoided. If possible, I visit the location where the piece will be—particularly when precise measurements are important.

I'm not a draftsman and I generally do only the roughest of sketches of a piece I'm making because I know it will change as it's being made. For complicated and challenging projects, I often make a scale schematic, like the one here, that is primarily to work out the engineering. A table, for example, has to stand on its own and be capable of carrying any load intended for it, for example, and function dictates form. The usually unseen undercarriage supporting that table is what enables it to do its job.

Then I go out and get the wood. I select each piece individually and then, when I get it to my shop, I typically spend a few hours looking at it, identifying features to be emphasized and problems to be avoided. The materials are most often purchased from hardwood suppliers, but I am always on alert for found materials, especially including forklift pallets. Recently, I rescued an old growth Douglas fir door from the side of the street in my neighborhood.

Then I start work. Often, the design concept that I have in my head is altered along the way to take advantage of some particular aspect of the wood's beauty. The process of adapting to what the wood says continues all the way until the project is completed, including sanding and finishing. I occasionally incorporate non-wood components in a piece—sheet metal and copper piping are favorites—but I don't use stain or paint. In the end, the wood speaks for itself and my job is to let it find its voice.

AP Furniture

Desk

I sketch rarely, but when a scale rendering of the engineering elements of a piece require, I do one. The image above is the sketch itself and the bottom photograph is the piece, from the bottom, showing execution of the engineering drawing.

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[ copyright 2011 Allan Parachini // design by JG originals ]