I recently spoke with Austin Aaron of Dancing Grains Woodworks in Boulder, Colorado on his process in designing and building a custom bed from live-edge walnut.
Aaron, who works with everything from CAD to hand tools, carved each bed post with gouges and chisels, following a line drawn from his design template. He also transferred the design onto the side rails, so they would fit when connected to the posts.
When I first saw the piece, it reminded me of Odysseus and Penelope's bed from The Odyssey. Odysseus carved the bedpost from the twisted trunk of an olive tree--without cutting it down.
The hero describes his process in Book 23:
"I cut away the leafy branches of the long-leafed olive, and, trimming the trunk from the root, I smoothed it around with the adze well and cunningly, and made it straight to the line, thus fashioning the bed-post; and I bored it all with the augur. Beginning with this I hewed out my bed, till I had finished it, inlaying it with gold and silver and ivory, and I stretched on it a thong of ox-hide, bright with purple."
After building the bed, Odysseus proceeded to build his home and kingdom around it.
On building custom wood furniture, Aaron says, "Everything that we are exposed to in our daily environment, especially in the home, has such a great effect on the way we live our lives and make decisions. So, we propose that the more inspiring an environment you can create for yourself, the more fulfilling life has the potential to be."
Odysseus would most likely agree.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.