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.
elevation of nook millwork design
elevation of laundry millwork design
perspective of bedroom millwork design
elevation of bedroom millwork design
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!
student’s rendering of Ophelia’s kitchen cabinetry design
We’re now in the home stretch! Students are vigorously working toward a quickly-approaching end of the semester. We have just about one week left. Everyone is pitching in to fine tune their drawings and produce a book that will explain the process of building cabinets for a Rural-Studio-built home.
The class has drastically changed over the last month: a woodshop class is now unable to actually work in the Studio’s shop. So, the class determined that next best thing to real fabrication is to build a virtual instruction guide that will help the future Rural Studio cabinet builders.
All the great work that was done prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic is now enabling everyone to work from their homes, whether they be in Alabama or even South Korea. Zoom video calls are amazing things! Students are working to create a book that includes in-depth drawings and instructions on how to build a set of cabinets. Stay safe and stay tuned for a more in-depth look into the final book!
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!
Steve Long demonstrates how to safely use the planer
For the 3rd-year students, each semester begins by getting familiar with the Rural Studio Wood Shop and all it has to offer. The shop is very basic in the tools that it’s equipped with. So, students have to be creative in how they use each tool.
To kick off the class, the first task is to make a wooden cutting board in the shop. Each student is given three small pieces of cherry and walnut wood. After that, the limits are endless. With only the constraints of what is available in the shop, the design is up to whatever anyone wants to try.
By allowing the class to begin at a small scale, the cutting board project provides the opportunity to use and get familiar with all of the tools in the shop before moving to a larger and more difficult scale: cabinetry scale. The assignment also begins to facilitate an understanding of what it’s like to work with wood, which also proves helpful when the students work on the framing for Ophelia’s Home. Because there’s so much possibility, it’s always exciting to see the end result for each cutting board!
Last week, we started a new adventure in the Rural Studio Wood Shop. Instructors Chelsea Elcott and Steve Long are teaching a new course for the 3rd-year students this semester. They are taking on the task of manufacturing their own cabinetry for Ophelia’s Home, which is currently under construction as part of the 3rd-Year Studio. (The house will be completed in April.)
This will be Rural Studio’s first attempt to design and build their own millwork within the scope of the 20K Project. Though some projects have done something similar, most have been in the confines of larger community projects. The goal this semester is to test our abilities creating storage and cabinetry solutions within our homes. Rather than being reliant on modestly priced, store bought units, this will give us an opportunity to use more sustainable and higher quality materials within our homes design. Stay tuned each week to see our progress!