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Tilt Front Laptop Computer Desk with Carved Front Artwork Inspired by the late-Birger Sandzen

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 10-06-2007 02:13 AM 3359 reads 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several have asked about what I am working on now, so I thought I would take a minute and post some progress photos.

My current work is a Kitchen Shelving and Desk system in Birch to match the styling of the exisiting cabinets built in the early 1960’s. Seemed like a fairly straight forward project for a past customer, and I like working for them. They “discovered” me, and that “Rates” in my book, regardless of what they want me to do.

During the planning stages while we were measuring and brainstorming the design, I threw out the concept of adding a tilt down desk for a laptop station with a carving on the front on the desk.

The customer liked the idea, so I asked her what she wanted on the front. She said, “something original you draw inspired by Birger Sandzen’s work, like the lamp you did for us…..”

Here is a the link to the lamp page if you are interested. The shade with the hammered copper work of a Tree/Farmhouse/Silo/Hill was the work she was referring to.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/41

That was all that needed to be said. This customer is always creative and trusting, and enjoys letting me run with an idea, which is the receipe for get the most creativity and hard work out of me. She also gave me a check to get started which was more than I asked for. Another key to a successful commission.

So, I headed straight home and started putting thoughts together on what to build. My dad built a carved front desk when I was a kid, and I have wanted to try that myself. Sometime, I hope to add a blog with his work shown, it is truly amazing, and never ceases to inspire me, despite growing up in the midst of it.

For the artwork, I decided to draw my own original artwork of a Kansas Flinthills Prairie Scene with a Stone House homestead. For styling inspiration, I looked to a Kansas Artist, the Late-Birger Sandzen. I grew up admiring his painting work, as he seems to have captured the heart of the Kansas Prairie like no other has before, or since. He was also friends with my grandparents, so his name came up often while I was growing up. His painting work is mostly impressionistic landscapes, were he was able to capture the “Kansas South Wind”, and it’s affect on everything it touches. I tried to use this styling concept in laying out the Homestead Scene. His paintings, woodcut prints, and linoleum prints have become very collectible, getting several “spots” on the Antique Roadshow over the years. People here in Kansas love his work, and easily recognize it. So, I hope others will see his inspiration in my carving work this time.

I’ll post more during the project posting, but this short note allows me to show the progress. I am ready to build the top bookcase that sits on the desk, and then I will start the desk chair. This desk is now complete, except for the finish, and the “copper stays” that I am hammering to hold the tilt-front flat in it’s working position.

Thanks for reading,

Mark

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Desk Concept Sketch for the Bid. (still don’t have Sketchup ready to utilize, but getting there)

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Desk Concept Art Drawing for the Bid.

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Full sized artwork completed on paper. From this point, I transfer the drawing to the Birch Panel with carbon paper, and start removing wood.

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Desk Art now carved in Wood:

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Desk with Tilt Front Panel installed

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Another shot with lower light, using shadows to show the depth of the relief carving.

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UPDATE 10-8-2007

Since Mark Mazzo asked, I’ve added a photo showing the panel and all of the tools I used to create it.

Hitachi Pluge Router
Bosch Colt Router
Ryobi Trim Router
Pfingst Flexishaft Carver
Dremel Hand tool A
Demel Hand tool B
An assortment of Dremel Bits
Palm Handcarving Tools
Japanese made single Beveled Edge Carving Knife
Swiss Made Carving Gouge
Stanley 1/2” wide Chisel
Black & Decker Drill motor
Klingspor Sanding Mop
Tracing Paper
Carbon Paper
Pencil

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If you would like to read more about this project, please see the following blogs:
1) http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/decoustudio/blog/2148
2) http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/decoustudio/blog/2169
3) http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/decoustudio/blog/2163

(This writing, photos, drawings, design, and sketches, are copyrighted by M.A. DeCou 10-5-2007, any use of this material is restricted without the express written authorization of the Author. Thanks for your help.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com



22 comments so far

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2739 days


#1 posted 10-06-2007 02:18 AM

Mark,

That is some awesome stuff! Your creations are heirloom quality. That is just beautiful.

I’ll look forward to seeing the finished project!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View RJones's profile

RJones

310 posts in 2900 days


#2 posted 10-06-2007 02:27 AM

ok and people aren’t knocking down your door to commission work why??? Truly inspiring! Thanks for sharing.
RJ

-- http://rjoneswoodworks.com/

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1997 posts in 3151 days


#3 posted 10-06-2007 02:33 AM

RJ: You got me, I just don’t know. I get a lot of inquiries, but few that are willing to pay what it takes.

Thanks Tom.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3059 days


#4 posted 10-06-2007 02:35 AM

Just never know where a project will end up do you. Very nice carving.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6698 posts in 2725 days


#5 posted 10-06-2007 03:32 AM

Hi Mark;

As usual, your work is astounding. Great carving work!

Makes me want to run out and build something!

Keep the faith, and whatever you do, don’t read that post some fellow wrote about going pro. It will make you depressed! LOL

Take care,

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2707 days


#6 posted 10-06-2007 03:52 AM

Mark, This is what we have come to expect from you; a great looking and functional piece of art work. Excellent.
Tom

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

13242 posts in 2728 days


#7 posted 10-06-2007 04:01 AM

great carving. beautiful job.

Check out this link to BIRGER SANDZEN. Your carving reminds me of his style and there may be a woodblock print or painting that may inspire you. Sandzen is one of my favorite arts and crafts period artists. His work has inspired many of my tiles.

Regards
DAN

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

649 posts in 2879 days


#8 posted 10-06-2007 04:28 AM

Once again that quality that you provide for all of your work shines very bright in this piece. You did a very nice job at giving this carving movement. I would like to see a close up picture of the details in the carving. Thanks for sharing Mark.

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2733 days


#9 posted 10-06-2007 04:32 AM

I wish I could carve like that. Great job!

Gary

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3146 days


#10 posted 10-06-2007 04:53 AM

Great carving Mark. and a very nice drop front desk. I know it will be great.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2982 days


#11 posted 10-06-2007 08:07 AM

I’m never disappointed when I look at your work.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2906 days


#12 posted 10-06-2007 11:54 AM

bowing in your presence!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View DocK16's profile

DocK16

1140 posts in 2832 days


#13 posted 10-06-2007 02:52 PM

Greeeeeen with envy on your free hand work, as always your work joins learned skills with true God-given talent, the results are, like Obi says “never a disappointment.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3044 days


#14 posted 10-06-2007 05:20 PM

Another great piece of craftsmanship by you.

I love the carving, you could’nt ask for anything better.

You’ve given me a great idea that I may be able to use for a desk for my new iMAC.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2842 days


#15 posted 10-06-2007 05:23 PM

Wow Mark. That is really nice. Looking forward to seeing this with finish and installed.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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