After Hours at the Woodshop: Elliot’s “Shinto” Table

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At the center of any piece of art is its inspiration and for decades, traditional Japanese architecture has been at the center of much Western design. The unornamented, simple structures that concentrate on the importance of creating space, rather than filling it, is irresistibly intriguing to many Western craftsman, architects and designers, including the team here at Xylem Design.

So, it’s no surprise that one of our beloved dudes working on the floor, Elliot Martin, envisioned this solid cherry/walnut wood coffee table with a soaring tabletop and minimal supporting legs. The horizontal shelf located below the tabletop carves out a generous space within the structure, ushering a feeling of security and sacredness into the display of whatever treasure it might one day guard. The elements of balance, harmony and long, interplaying lines apparent in this exquisite piece evoke an image of a traditional Shinto shrine or a hand-penned Japanese character.

 

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While you might be hung up on these powerful Japanese nuances in the design, Elliot said the focal piece, as he’d have it, is the wood.

“The first thing I did was just go to the lumber yard and pick out some cherry and walnut from the lumber yard. I wanted to build around the wood — I wanted the tabletop to be the centerpiece, not the design,” he said.

 

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“I didn’t do much design beforehand. I just started building, playing around with the wood. I milled all the wood myself and once you mill it, you lose lots of wood and you just see what you are left with and go from there.”

 

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Elliot worked on the table here at the Xylem shop for about two weeks — squeezing in an hour or two here and there after his shift. Our employees often pursue personal projects after hours at the shop, when inspired.

“That’s one major perk of working here,” Elliot said. “It’s really nice to have the shop and all this nice machinery at our disposal.”

All the wood cost him a total of $120 and was sourced at a local lumber yard in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, for all of us reaching for our wallets to name our price, the table isn’t for sale and will be accompanying him on his move to Bozeman, MT later this summer.

However, this is a perfect example of the ingenuitive design and quality craftsmanship that distinguish all Xylem Design’s products. Do you have an original idea like Elliot? While the majority of our work is with laminate sheet goods, we love working alongside our customers to provide unique solutions to their needs. Call us today and we’ll set up a live design session using our Gemba Cam!

 

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