The spring semester has come to the end, and what a wild four months it has been! At first, the Cabinet Class endeavored on a new adventure into the land of CNC routing by setting out to design and fabricate the millwork for 20K Ophelia’s Home. Typically, the 20K Home is outfitted with off-the-shelf cabinetry units for kitchen and bathroom storage from the big box stores, i.e. Lowe’s or IKEA. The quality of the cabinets purchases is usually reflected in what the Studio can afford. To improve durability of these particle board cabinets, we decided to create cabinet designs that would be both more affordable and sturdy.
Despite all of the obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been an exciting semester filled with discovery and empowerment for the Studio as well as the students. The first half of the semester focued on learning about the CNC router and its accompanied technology. By March, initial design for all of Ophelia’s Home storage was nearly complete, and the students built a physical mockup of their cabinets.
Remote learning, however, began at the end of Spring Break. Yet, the students continued to move toward a final design of storage spaces, which included the kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and bedroom closet storage. This week, the teams presented a presentation of their final project: a book that explains the context of their cabinetry designs and a stylized guide of instructions on how to build the cabinets. The class hopes this this books will be used to continue the exploration of millwork when studies resume in Newbern. Hopefully, the adventure will continue very soon!
Thanks to all those who helped make this class a success, including Dylan & Keith from Wood Studio and John Byler from Dudley Hall’s shop in Auburn. This semester’s great work would not have been possible without your help! Most of all, thank you to the Rural Studio 3rd-year students who persevered through tough circumstances. Great job to all!
A lot has happened since the last Cabinet Class blog! Rural Studio has transitioned their classrooms to remote learning for the remainder of the semester, in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Anyone see that coming? Not us.
To keep everyone safe, class is now being held on an online video platform. Obviously, this will change what is expected from students for the rest of the semester. Unfortunately, in accordance with Auburn University regulations, the Studio has put all on-site construction on hold, which includes 20K Ophelia’s Home. As a result of all of these changes, this class will regretfully be unable to fabricate their cabinets this semester.
This change in plans, however, will not stop the class from powering forward! Teams are now working remotely to finalize the design of their cabinets. With their final designs, students will create thorough sets of construction drawings and instructions for the use of Ophelia and Rural Studio. Hopefully, at the end of April, this class will have all components needed to build the cabinets, so the next class can construct cabinets when the Studio is able to return to the shop. Steve and Chelsea are excited to see the beautiful fabrication drawings this semester creates!
It might still be raining, but the rain delay is over for the 3rd-years! It’s about time here at 20K Ophelia’s Home, but the framing of the floor above the crawlspace foundation is finally complete. As the rainy days are starting to become less frequent, there has been more time for the 3rd-years to progress forward with construction.
Enclosures team finished up the last details on the termite flashing, figuring out a neat corner solution along with the flashing dipping down to cover where the girders rest.
Wednesday was a charrette day back in studio, and the walls have never been more colorful! Ideas upon ideas were put on paper as the whole day was spent exploring options for the porch on Ophelia’s Home. The 3rd-years will continue to refine the design for Ophelia and the site.
There were a few road bumps while building the flooring because we discovered the foundation was not completely square and is now a ~soft~ trapezoid. Having to work around a funky foundation, the framing team became pros at leveling and squaring the floor framing. In order to make sure the floor was entirely level, they carefully worked to correct the rim joists by pushing them towards the crawlspace in some spots. Once the shimming and squaring was done and checked (and checked again, and maybe redone in a few places, then checked some more) it was smooth sailing to place in the rest of the joists and blocking.
To cap off a busy week , sub floors were put into place on the joists. The floors might be blue, but the 3rd-years sure weren’t as they finished up with a layer of waterproof paint that matched the much anticipated clear sky above.
Folks, it was one heck of a rainy week in Newbern! Though this slowed some of the progress of the floor framing in Ophelia’s Home, the 3rd-years did manage to get some work done on site before the big storms hit. They completed the fabrication and installation of both girders and the termite shield. Soon after the rain came, the site became a mud pit for the rest of the week which pushed the third years back into studio.
On the bright side, the newly installed drain for the foundation has proved to be worth the multitude of gravel-filled wheelbarrows as it was able to continuously drain the majority of the water that came flowing into the site!
Once indoors, construction documents were updated and the 3rd-years were able to get ahead on cleaning up other drawings, so they’ll have plenty of time to kick it into full gear on site once the rain quits. While not being able to work on site, the 3rd-years also began the process of determining the color of Ophelia’s Home. This was done by looking at the context of the surrounding landscape, and discussing how this can relate to the color.
Tune in next Monday folks, for another update on the 3rd-years tomfoolery! P.S. If somebody can get it to stop raining please do.
This week 3rd-year students began the process of designing new cabinets for 20K Ophelia’s Home. The first assignment in this adventure, following Steve’s introductory lecture on Alabama’s Lumber Industry, is to do some research.
The students have been tasked to research not only the past millwork Rural Studio has typically used in their projects but also to interview Ophelia about her storage needs. Because Chelsea and Steve want all the help they can get, this week the class also got a visit from the Cochran brothers, millwork experts from Wood Studio in Arley, Alabama.
Dylan and Keith Cochran are old friends of Rural Studio. For over 15 years, they have served as the Studio’s go-to consultants for all things furniture and cabinetry-related. During their visit, they reviewed the students’ initial millwork research and gave feedback on design.
After reviewing two presentations, Dylan and Keith gave a very thorough demonstration on how to build a cabinet, which was not only incredibly informative but also a lot of fun for everyone.
During their workshop, the Keith and Dylan described what materials are required to put together cabinets. Following this explanation, they demonstrated the assembly process, which involved joining the following parts: a toekick, cabinet box, face frame, shelves, and a door with hinges. Throughout this tutorial, they emphasized the most important part of cabinet-making: sanding and finishing!