By Jeremy Kimchi
Every beautifully-designed piece begins somewhere. We were intrigued to hear the process involved, so we spoke with Jeremy for a behind-the-scenes view:
When a client commissions me to create a piece, the very first thing I need to know is what exactly I am being asked to create. Synagogue furnishings or an Aron Kodesh for example, are of a different scope both in time and materials, and require a different approach to furniture, such as a coffee table or bedroom set. I discuss with clients the overall gestalt of the piece they envision: its rough dimensions, specific functions, possible design elements including suitable types of wood, and any other relevant details.
Although furniture might be a focal point in a room, it never stands alone, and should blend into an existing milieu. So after I’ve collected all the information I need regarding the item itself, I coordinate with clients to meet on-site (when possible), to examine the space the piece will occupy when completed. Everything a client tells me about their personal taste and lifestyle, the specific function of the piece, and the space where the item will be housed, makes the item that much more personal and unique.
After I have all the input I need from a client, I make quick sketches on site and establish the overall theme and character of the piece. I also give clients a rough estimate of the price range so they have an idea of costs up front.
Back at my studio, I prepare the first round of renderings, which I send clients for their initial approval. We then move into the final stages of the design process. I present detailed drawings so that every aspect of the piece, both functional and aesthetic, is clear and meets clients’ approval. Being a yekke by nature, I always give a precise date for delivery, so clients know when to expect their finished piece. Once clients give me the final go-ahead, the creation of the piece begins.
The first stage is the selection of wood. Each species of wood has its own characteristics and quirks. I rely on my experience and artistic sense to pick and match the right type of wood that will best serve the item in terms of stability, color, grain and texture.
Next is a series of gluing and joinery techniques that I apply to the planks I have chosen. For example, mortise-and-tenon joints, and aprons for a dining room table are terms that describe various elements used in a piece of furniture. I joint and plane the boards, attaching pieces when necessary to extend the width or thickness of a specific part, or for a 90° angle. After completing the basic form of the item, I begin the artistic design: sawing and shaping the curves and recurves of a desk’s legs, or sculpting the panels of a cabinet.
Once the design stage is complete, I begin sanding, which is a long meticulous process. I start with a rough grit and gradually working up to a fine finish. After carefully wiping away the fine dust that remains, I apply lacquer, which leaves the surface with a lustrous satin finish. I take pride in creating a warm and inviting finish which beckons to be touched.
When the laquer is dry, the various parts of the item are carefully glued together. Sometimes I do the gluing prior to the finishing, depending on the type of piece and joinery. Drawers, doors, handles and accent parts are attached, and I review the piece for any final touches. Finally, I sign and photograph the item and it is carefully packaged for delivery and installation. It might sound like a very technical process, but it takes head, hands and heart to create a beautiful piece of art.
Jeremy Kimchi is a master wood craftsman living in Kfar Adumim. Jeremy creates wooden masterpieces of any size or style, beautifully customized to your style.
He can be reached at 052-321-3980, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website kimchidesigns.com.