Cool shelving; Materials and how they are used. CD and DVD racks design and construction.

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Design and Inspiration

The inspiration behind this shelving system lies in the cellular kites built in France by the pioneer aviator Joseph Le Cornu during the early 20th century. He used a simple ladder shape to give a strong but lightweight structure that could be repeated indefinitely, allowing a feeling of space and weightlessness. As a youthful kite flier I was fascinated by this approach to building three dimensional objects. Ilustrated by a diagram from his notebooks and a picture of a modern replica




















Compare these pictures with the photograph below, fascinating how an idea can recycle itself  over thirty or more years.














Construction and build.

The metal frames of this shelving system are made of mild steel joined together using a method known as brazing, in which the steel elements are joined together with brass, to give a clean, smooth joint that polishes up beautifully. This means that they do not need painting, and simply treating them with wax polish prevents rust and allows the workmanship to be seen.

Brazing involves heating the metal round the joint to a red heat with an Oxy Acetylene torch with a flame of 1600 degrees centigrade, then melting the brass into the tiny gap between the pieces of metal being joined, a very hot fiddly and time comsuming business, but the results are worthwhile.















Below is a close up shot of a joint being made, note how close my hand is to the flame;



























 Here is a close up shot of the joint, not something that needs to be hidden under paint. Once the metal frames have been polished they are treated with 'Jade Oil', which leaves a very thin film of resin over the metal to keep humidity out, without making the metal look lacquered.

I recently had a customer request a shelf unit in a black finish, I figured that painting it would lose the 'clean' natural look that I like to achieve, so I finished the shelf with 'Gun Blue' the chemical used to turn gun barrels a bluey black colour. Difficult stuff to use, but worth the effort. I can make this option available on future units. Photo below. There is a picture of the whole unit on the Options page.

















The shelving is fixed to the frames using countersunk screws under the cross bars on the frames. The whole unit is mounted onto the wall with via screws going into small tabs hidden in recesses machined in the wooden shelves.  This adds to the feeling of space and lightness around the whole unit, and avoids the horrible clutter of screws and fixings seen on so many mass produced shelves. below is a close up of the wall mounting, the tab is about 1mm long by 3mm thick, the upright bar is 8mm thick.












I generally use soft wood for the shelves, but can source hardwoods at extra cost, contact me for more details. For the finish on the shelves I use woodstain and three coats of Danish Oil, for a semi silk finish. The stain chosen is of course up to you, the customer. I now able to offer a range of hardwoods, this does bring the price up, but a set of shelving is a one off purchase.



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