Sorry for being away for so long. Missed me?? After dealing with whatever life has thrown at me at the workplace, I decided to quit my job and start my own woodworking studio. No more paper pushers telling me how to do my job as a principal occupational therapist. Now, I’m a full time business owner, woodworker, and occupational therapist all rolled into one. And I’m very happy now.
What we believe in
Let me introduce Clamps and Braces. Clamps and Braces believes that wood is the way to go in the future. Plastics are killing the planet. Clamps and Braces aims to start and support a woodworking Maker movement in Singapore. Our fathers used to make functional furniture during their time, come our time, we buy plastics and throw lots of them away frequently. Clamps and Braces aim to start a movement similar to Man’s Shed in Australia and UK to bring woodworking back to Singapore.
We want to build communities of woodworkers who support each other, and share ideas, skills and tools. We hope to reach out to the our Fathers who used to be Makers, but have hanged up their tools. We want to provide the space, the tools, and the material for these people to continue to gather and make their things.
We want to bring the joy of woodworking to teens. Teach our teens to be Makers, not just consumers. Teach them to see value in things, not just price. Let them achieve their true potential of creativity, to make things as beautiful as art, and as useful as furniture.
We want to start a maker movement with young adults.When they set up their own home, we want them to make memories in it that can be seen decades after. Daddy and Mummy made this table together at a class by Clamps and Braces, instead of Daddy bought this table really cheap, it spoils so quickly. A couple that woodwork together, stays together surrounded by beautiful things.
What we do
We run woodworking classes (can be customized ), do custom made furniture, and we sell tools and material. see https://clampsnbraces.wixsite.com/home
Just finished a stand for an electric keyboard. It’s made of recycled lumber from a crate, so material cost is less than $10 for some varnish, stain, and sandpaper.
Someone donated a keyboard with a broken stand to the nursing home. My executive director simply asked if I could repair the stand. I couldn’t resist the urge to build a new one.
The vertical post are 4 pieces of lumber glued together with miter joints, the kind that was used in Stickly furniture. The feet of the stand are actually simple boxes. Because of the Stickly design, I am able to threat the wire for the pedals through the hollow post, making the entire thing look a little neater.
As I said, the wood came from a crate. This explains the large number of knots in pine, but it adds character.
This stand was dyed elbony and finished with 5 coats of rubbing varnish. The patients I was working with learned how to make wooden pegs, peg screw holes and trim them flush, sanding, dye the wood and use rub on varnish.
I was inspired to do a wash basin for my toilet for quite some time already. I made the side, a little bit of the top; various parts were lying in my workshop at various degree of completion. The kick in the butt came when my neighbor living on the floor below me complained that my toilet floor was leaking. I needed to hack previous sink for the renovation.I can’t be living without a sink in the toilet, so I had to get my act together to finish this piece of art.
This piece is made of Burmese teak, which I read is used to make boats. The cabinet and doors are frame and panel construction. The joints are glued with titebond 3 and held with screws which are then covered by Ebony square pegs. Ebony square pegs are a hallmark of Green and Greene furniture design. The sink is actually a square box with proud finger joints. The sink sits on a flat top with breadboard end on one side to keep everything flat, Because of the urgency that I needed this piece of furniture, I did not do any cloud lift. The entire piece is finished with 3 layers of epoxy.
I am an occupational therapist working with patients with mental health problems in a psychiatric nursing home.. One of the main problems that the people I work with face is their poor cognition. Their ability to reason in a coherent manner, short term memory, reasoning ability and the ability to learn new task is affected due to their condition of schizophrenia, low IQ, among other diagnosis.
Their cognitive deficits also affect their psychosocial aspects as well. Because they are achieving much less than others, issues such as self esteem, self concept, self efficacy are also a problem. They may see themselves as being unable to achieve anything except whatever to take whatever handouts that the healthcare providers or volunteers give. They say something is too difficult even before they try because they lack the confidence to even try.
After analyzing these problems, I decided to work with them to build a rocking chair. I thought that building a rocking chair would let them see themselves as achievers. Inspiration for the design was gathered from the Maloof Rocking chair and that of the Shaker rocking chair. I did not have a clear design on paper to work with. Instead what I did was to make a plywood model of the rocking chair, test it for comfort, before I sketch the curves on the plywood. After one side is done, my friendly router bit did the work of shaping the other side, using the first side as a template.
My patients did the sanding, lots of it. One or two of them help to drive in the screws during assembly. All of them felt that they contributed to the making of the chair in some way and they were all smiles when they sat on the chair and started rocking. One of them was heard exclaiming, “we succeeded, we succeeded!”
While the material cost of the rocking chair is really cheap (S$65), the amount of self esteem it brings to the patients is through the roof. Woodworking is indeed a good activity for patients with mental health issues.
A friend of mine wanted to make pop cakes for her department year end party. She thus needed a pop cake stand. She searched the web and found a simple stand costing $50. It was a simple block of wood with holes and then spray painted white. She sent me a link and asked if I could replicate it.
“Of course I can, but why would I?” was my instant reply. So I designed a one that I could call my own design, taking inspiration from the end grain cutting board.
The main board was made from the end grains of pine wood. This is frame with a teak border. Lengthwise, the teak border sits in a dovetail groove. This gives it space to expand and contract as wood naturally does. The ends tongue and grooved and held together with spots of glue and panel pins which hold them in place but still give them sufficient space to expand and contract.
So there it is. An end grain pop cake holder. I hope she likes it.
Greene and Greene inspired table and stool set
This beautiful and unique table and stool set was inspired by the cloud lifts of Greene and Greene furniture. This piece is made from solid Burmese Teak which is a strong and lasting wood. It’s nice golden brown adds warmth to any room. The combination of good quality teak with the beauty of G&G cloud lifts has a special grace that beckons you to sit and have coffee. The legs are inlayed with purpleheart which gives a nice complement to the golden brown teak wood. The joints at the legs are solid mortise and tenon joinery. All surfaces are rounded and hand sanded to 240 grit making the edges inviting to touch.
The table is 710mm high and has a top 595mm in diameter.
The stool is 460mm high and 335mm in diameter.
Entire set: $1400
Please note that this is NOT outdoor furniture. Do NOT use in wet weather.
Teak wood, nice grain
Note the shape of the legs
Like the wood grain of the table top
Like the wood grain of the table top
Can you see the Purpleheart inlay?
Photo taken from a lower angle
Burmese Teak Stool and Table Set. Price: $1400
Note the Greene and Greene inspired cloud lift pattern
Will look good in your balcony
Greene and Greene inspired table and stool set
The above are clearer pictures of the baptismal font that I made in my previous post: Easter Church Furniture. A bowl is placed on top of the table to collect the water.
Plans are underway to improve the table such as a self draining wooden bowl to match the table. Front and side pannels with baptismal related icons (dove coming down onto water) are also in the plans. So stay tune.
It is a table approx 33 inches in height and a diameter of 14 inches. The difference from previous stool design (the prototype) is that the legs are an inch larger than the diameter of the top. The previous design places the legs in the same vertical plane as the top. This design is more stable than the prototype.
I’ve also added cloud lift to the stretchers under the top for visual interest. The bottom stretch was intentionally left flat so that a shelf can be installed in future. The future plan is to add side covering and conceal some form of container to collect the run off water from the self emptying bowl on top.
Baptismal font. The table was inspired by Greene and Greene. You can’t see it but the top rail has cloud lifts on it. It’s made of Burmese Teak, very good Teak. Inlayed with purpleheart. finished with 5 layers of varnish and a coat of wax
In this photo, the purpleheart inlay is clearer.
This is what it’s all about….
Easter deco, the effort of Holy Family’s Art Ministry.
Made of Kapur wood using Mortise and Tennon Joinery. A bit of an overkill for a simple stand like this but the joinery will last a long while. Finish is also five coats of varnish and a layer of wax.
These photos were taken with my iPhone as I was setting up the stuff today. Will get you better photos next time when I have a bit more time for a photo shoot. Any comments about the design. Questions and comments about their construction are also welcome.