About Dunstone Design

Dunstone Design is one of Australia's most respected bespoke furniture makers, and caters to those who appreciate beautifully crafted and well designed pieces. At the heart of Dunstone Design is designer, craftsman, educator and writer Evan Dunstone. Evan is a 2001 Churchill Fellow in contemporary chair design and manufacture. He has travelled widely and worked with some of the finest craftsmen in the English speaking world.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"The Grotto" and the Waterfall Stool

Many people tell us how lucky we are to work wood professionally and how relaxing it must be. Well, sometimes it’s all hand planes and chisels, while at other times it’s just hard work and dust.

Our workshop has a sanding room called “The Grotto”.  It is in this room where the really hard yards take place, and in this series of shots by Bronwen, you can see the grit more than the glamour. 

The Grotto is a sealed space with its own dust extractor and lighting. The rule is that any serious sanding takes place in The Grotto and there is no bigger sanding job than a stool run. In this series of images you can see the hard work it takes Alex and Dan to put the “love” into thirty blackwood stools.
Alex is the undisputed champion of the Dynabrade random orbital air sander. He uses the Dynabrade with the same skill, flair, dexterity and confidence that any classical woodworker ever applied to chisel work.  
Alex working the Dynabrade random orbital air sander.

Dan works away in tandem with Alex.  They work as a team to do the final shaping and finish sanding. Dan is the bloke you want on your right hand side in the shield wall while the barbarians attack. Dan doesn’t get ruffled, never stops and never backs down.
Dan works on a stool in "The Grotto"

This is hand work at its rawest. Make no mistake; Dan and Alex are in competition with each other. Like two gun shearers trying to ring the shed, if you get in their way they will steam right over the top of you. The game is to do the best possible job in the shortest possible time; its is more about professional pride than anything else. These two know that they can do a better job than anyone else and in less time than the next-best person. This is what it means to be a professional craftsman. This is what a day’s work looks like.

Waterfall stools are still our most popular pieces. The design is 12 years old and we sell about 85 of them a year. From The Grotto they go to the oiling room where they get four coats of oil (with 48 hours between coats). Dan and Alex have seen the stools through from a pile of rough lumber to the finished product. 

A pair of finished Waterfall Stools, in blackwood (left) and jarrah (right)
A finished pair of blackwood Waterfall Stools
The saddle of a jarrah Waterfall Stool
Finished Waterfall Stool in jarrah

Waterfall Stool in blackwood

The last thing they will do to this run of stools is place the Dunstone Design maker’s mark on the front left leg of each one. A team made these stools.

The Dunstone Design makers mark on the underneath of a brand new Waterfall Stool in blackwood

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