Inside the Workshop: the Casepiece Project

Written by Heide Martin on .

Casepiece projects are wrapping up on campus, as both the Nine-month Comprehensive and Furniture Intensive students reach the end of the casepiece curriculum. The only requirement for the project is to include at least one door and one drawer, essential skills for a furniture maker. This project pushes students to begin to develop their aesthetics, and also teaches essential skills in time management and workflow organization.

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Above, Nine-month Comprehensive student Rachel Davis fits a drawer on her case, which features pierced drawer and case details. 

Periodic design consultations with instructors provide critical feedback as students begin to develop their pieces. Student Christina Vincent consults with Furniture Intensive instructors Tim Rousseau and Ray Finan, and Adam Lucks discusses drawer fit with Ray Finan.

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Components quickly pile up as the projects move along, particularly when students begin to tackle drawers.

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Students are encouraged to explore creative and unique solutions to the “a door and a drawer” criteria of the project. One-on-one instruction supplements formal lectures in the machine room and at the bench, and is essential to the development of each piece. Below, instructors Stewart Wurtz and Aled Lewis provide machine skills consultation, while assistant Patrick Coughlin advises on glue-up prep.

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Focusing in the machine room!

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Below, case glue-up preparations, as well as a series of glued-up cases. Once assembled, the cases are ready for doors, drawers, and details. While the pieces look far along in the build, every furniture maker knows that the most challenging aspect of a successful casepiece design is the finishing touches.

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Every class of students impress with their creativity, and this group is no exception! Below, Furniture Intensive student Emily Appenzeller puts a first coat of finish on her toy chest, which features carved Alice in Wonderland scenes.

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Brass joinery details on a case by Nine-month Comprehensive student Helen Helfand.

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Selecting the right hinge can be a tricky part of the process! Casepiece by Nine-month Comprehensive student Jeff Mazur, ready for hinges and full assembly.

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Side cutouts and stained glass details on a piece by Nine-month Comprehensive student Rachel Davis. Stay tuned to our blog and Instagram page for more photos of the finished cases!

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