Spring Break is here, and this 3rd-year class is almost ready to build! Before Spring Break, however, the students were reviewed by some incredible experts for their midterm.
For the class’s first review, friends from Wood Studio, Dylan and Keith, and Emilie Taylor from Tulane came and gave their sage advice on the students’ design and built cabinet mockups .
For their second and final miderm review, the Studio’s fearless leaders Andrew Freear and Emily McGlohn visited the class. Given this is the first time Rural Studio’s woodshop class has ever ventured into building cabinets, Steve and Chelsea wanted to provide the students with as many perspectives as possible. Thanks to all of the wonderful reviewers the Cabinet Class has had over the last couple of weeks!
As assigned, the teams have been diligently working towards their cabinet designs. As part of their assignment, the teams built physical models, or mockups, of the cabinet itself. This is a very common practice at the Studio, which is used to test the fabrication process.
This means that the students finally get to build something in a shop class! Because a large component of this course’s assignment is using a CNC router, instead of traditional shop equipment, a number of the students ventured back to Auburn’s shop at Dudley Hall and CNC’d the cabinet pieces.
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!
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!