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Thread: Industrial furniture made from machinery - photos and video

  1. #1
    Jon
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    Industrial furniture made from machinery - photos and video

    I think I can add "industrial" to the very small window of furniture design that I can tolerate, along with "log" and "minimalist".

    Here we have an industrial scissor lift table from Restoration Hardware; around $2,000, depending on size and finish. It doesn't exactly look like high-quality work, but the aesthetic is not bad. RH is careful with their phrasing; perhaps they want the buyer to think that this is "repurposed" furniture, but they can't legally say that. The description starts: "We've reproduced and repurposed". Hmmmmmm...


    More: https://www.restorationhardware.com/...tId=prod690020

    Another interesting RH piece, around $500. I guess, hmmm...I don't know. It looks cool. Would it be comfortable to sit on? Would this work in a house with children? Again we have the sketchy phrasing in the description: "The sculptural forms of massive truck springs, discovered in a salvage yard, inspired this witty take on industrial seating." So I guess it's not really built from "discovered" truck springs, but that the springs served as an inspiration.


    More: https://www.restorationhardware.com/...egoryId=search

    Let's take a look at Vintage Industrial on Etsy.com. They also have their own website: https://www.retro.net. Looks like they're doing quite well - many of their furniture pieces sell for over $10,000. Per their website, they say that they don't actually "repurpose" pieces, and that "all of the bases you see are new", but that the finishes are antiqued. The pricing, aesthetic, and naming convention (note the flagship "Bronx" table) indicate that they're being marketed to hip wealthy Manhattanites hunting for an "industrial loft" look.

    Here's a $9,000 Hure crank desk. The "Hure" marking is a reference to Pierre Hure, a French machinist who manufactured beautiful machinery in the late 1800s (more here). Again, these are not original Hure machine bases, but antiqued reproductions.



    And here we have a $15,000 "Bronx" crank table. This is with a concrete top:


    A 64-second video from Vintage Industrial:


    Those of you who have a practiced nose for sniffing out old machinery might consider making a piece of furniture or two and seeing if you can capture a bit of this market on Etsy.com, possibly even distinguishing yourself by using original machinery. You can also use it as an excuse to bring some old machinery in the house, while presenting the above as proof to your spouse of your sophisticated taste in furnishings.

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    This industrial chic style furniture is all well and good as long as making one of these tables doesn't result in the rest of a century old machine tool being sent to the recycler. I've seen that happen once locally and made me feel about the same as I do about people killing rhinos for their horns. Given how easy it is for someone in the biz to make fancy shapes (like the Hure tables) with a CNC plasma cutter or a waterjet there is no excuse to kill an old lathe for its legs.
    Another point here in favor of saving old machine tools that are in the size range that any of us "hobby" or small business types would want: Unless they are really badly rusted they usually come apart easily into pieces of manageable size which with a little creative rigging can be easily moved to a new "safe" location. Several years ago I found a 2500 pound Hendy Torrington tie bar lathe 60 miles from my home. Took it apart, loaded the pieces into my 4x7 two wheel utility trailer and got it home in 3 separate trips. Loaded and unloaded with a 2 ton cherry picker engine hoist.

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    This unfortunately isn't new, not even recent, but a favorite example.
    The trend gets new names but the scenario is consistent enough. Antique, Vintage, Retro, Industrial Chic, Steam-Punk, Restoration, Re-purposed, whatever. That market is generated (selling durable goods viewed as scrap to some) with catchy wordsmithing, priced by mass and style, less on functionality. Now, this is not to demean true antiques, or visible craftsmanship, only sort of instance where it is implied. And lol, where legalities in statements require careful use.

    Soon as there are (more or less) 2-3 generations without direct contact to such items, it appears unique. In reality, that 'nostalgia' is imposed, just like so many other media campaigns that implant acceptance (brainwashing). Mostly it's clever vendors unloading previously undesired merchandise.
    Viz my observation circa February 1979. Easily in tune with same era of Saturday Night Live, funny beyond reason, was humor magazine National Lampoon. Published monthly, they'd run amok, rampant over topical media based material. I'll not specify issue name, pointedly directed at genders natural and assumed. Tthe example below hints in a general manner, thankfully PC was never their keystone.
    The 'topic' was Interior Decorating, as in loft conversions. Where certain persons of means inhabit spaces they'd never consider working in, let alone have abilities or tendencies to do so. Anyone need an example of innovative marketing...?
    Remember, this one is fake, I read this and laughed at near-insult to my trade, but truly saw handwriting on the wall.

    High-Tech:
    It's a perfect complement to the free but formal, easy yet elegant life-style of the very late seventies. Everyone's wild for the look and no one does it better than Andre Plummet, who's just finished decorating Halston's New York townhouse.
    "I did the living room in Springfield vertical turret lathes," he says, "with Cushman boring mills and Havig surface grinders, and set them all off with these perfect little drop forges I found in Jersey City. I think the effect is just right."


    This was accompanied by a photo; an overhead assembly conveyor in a plant, suspended components and all.

    Anyone have a man-cave? Or is it a workplace? Varies with who is looking, and who (why) bought said articles.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
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    Jon
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    Like everyone else, the industrial aesthetic is challenged when combining metal and wood. Here's an example of a conference table that makes me feel uneasy. This looks like it's made for an unsuccessful evil genius. Or maybe it's the offspring of a door and a bridge.


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    Those protruding fastener heads look like they are there to make meeting attendees sit up straight and pay attention. Betcha the designer of this thing never swept a floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Weldon View Post
    Those protruding fastener heads look like they are there to make meeting attendees sit up straight and pay attention. Betcha the designer of this thing never swept a floor.
    Or cleaned up spilled grape juice, au jus, or ink.
    One company exists, based on that very issue. A hospital in Hollywood CA, as most all hospitals of the time, used bamboo trays for in-room meals. Stains were not always removable. A plastics engineer solved that with compression molded trays of fiberglass cloth and resin, even reinforced edges with encased wire.
    Our older persons would recognize the trademark; a branch of Boston Fern molded under the resin sealed top. He worked in his garage.
    Still privately owned, it's been the second largest supplier of catering plastics for decades.
    The #1 spot? Only corporate monster Rubbermaid Inc was larger...

    Jon is right. That combination is near abominable. I'd estimate 20' long and an easy 1200lbs. I'd venture the pic is actually a rendering, placed in the setting that looks like a food prep area. Certainly no board meeting would occur in such an area, and the wood-metal edge isn't NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) food safe either. Perfect example of staging to wannabe industrialists wish in establishing a down to earth facade, however shallow. Like a false-front saloon in an old western town.
    I do like the size however, not the legs. I own the print layout table from the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Solid oak, 2"x2"'s edge glued and through bolted a couple feet apart along it's entire 14' length and 5' width. Same as originally used, it will mount hinged against the wall in my inspection, calibration, and small repairs area. The legs 'deploy' when swung down from wall and latch with a pin. At the estimated 400lbs, it will stay down!
    Last edited by Toolmaker51; 08-28-2017 at 11:30 AM.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    "print layout table from the Long Beach Naval Shipyard" Toolmaker51 -- What a fantastic find! And with a new productive second life! A great historic piece from a time when engineers and craftsmen respected each other. I hope you have identified its origin for future owners. A small engraved brass plaque modestly displayed with the clear laquer removed so it will tarnish properly would be my style. Ed Weldon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Weldon View Post
    "print layout table from the Long Beach Naval Shipyard" Toolmaker51 -- What a fantastic find! And with a new productive second life! Ed Weldon
    I have a pretty clear idea about the brass plate you mention. I've looked into a cast plaque though, not a mere engraving.
    Well, I have a distinct connection to that table. And 200 some odd acres surrounding it. The Long Beach NSY industrial area encompassed 119 acres (48 ha) of the total 214 acres (87 ha) owned. There were 120 permanent, 39 semi-permanent, and 6 temporary buildings, for a total of 165 buildings.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Beach_Naval_Shipyard
    About the 120 permanent buildings; main shop was around 800' long and proportionate in width 200'?. In 3 floors, you could approach any machine tool imaginable. ie 22' vertical lathes in the ground floor, largest Ingersoll laner I know of, to full size lathes and horizontal boring mills on the third floor...The largest and only deepwater drydock on the west coast, and more facilities than any from San Diego Ca to Bremerton WA. It's a ocean container yard now for China, thanks to Clinton's BRAC folly. A bridge blocks high superstructures in San Diego, besides small graving docks, and Bremerton lies way inland at the end of narrow Puget Sound, 50+ road miles, farther for vessels. Where strategy and tactics collide, I'd say.

    [excerpt from resume. though I'm a Toolmaker, been fortunate to dovetail background in odd beneficial ways.]
    CONSULTANT; EarthTech/ CKY/ Tyco 1999-1999 EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES REUSE
    Instrumental member in dispersal to public 454 acres of Navy property and Navy equipment relegated to City of Long Beach. City operated as agent to local business, in effort to reemploy the massive workforce. Smallest companies received greatest latitude, as even single items of capital equipment generated more potential employment, than occasional use in a large facility. My background and knowledge in applications exceeded those of 45 others, many were general salesmen. Client liaison to sales staff, resulted with excellent satisfaction and many return patrons. Position matched fulfilling their needs to items available, immense or minute, and related processing equipment. Basically an industrial engineering consultant, to whoever arrived, with knowledge and vocabulary to back it up. That aided advertising department too; in local demographics and spotlighted business owners. Accompanying customers through facility; physically guarding them of Industrial or Public Safety hazards, without any kind of occurrence.

    I extracted the table myself with permission, and chased some machinery outside unsuccessfully. We were barred from direct acquisition of CE. But as in every other shops I've worked, the contact and constant handling further cemented my deep preferences in machine tools, shop layouts, material handling, lighting, even wood block floors, you name it. Now, how to squeeze that into 6500 square feet...it may have been where the best known Pancake Mix was first produced in full scale volume.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    The table doesn't make me uneasy at all. I like the look of it. A bit of extra work cleaning it wouldn't bother me either.
    I far prefer the heavy construction from raw materials to the scrounging parts from quality metalworking machines. It breaks my heart to see a solid old machine scrapped.
    I have a 4'x4'x6" granite surface plate with micro-adjustments. It is my coffee table, and if my kids want to use it as a surface plate after I pass, it'll all be there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikebr5 View Post
    The table doesn't make me uneasy at all. I like the look of it. A bit of extra work cleaning it wouldn't bother me either. I far prefer the heavy construction from raw materials to the scrounging parts from quality metalworking machines. It breaks my heart to see a solid old machine scrapped.
    I have a 4'x4'x6" granite surface plate with micro-adjustments. It is my coffee table, and if my kids want to use it as a surface plate after I pass, it'll all be there.
    Your granite coffee table is in a witness protection program? He whack some people's shins, or what?

    Mikebr5's perspective is more tolerant, and therefore more correct. Raw material is a far better source than cannibalizing mere bits for style and sacrificing the remainder.
    Not much different than killing a shark for just fins, or buffaloes for hide alone. All those, I guarantee, only become progressively harder to replace.

    Unease for Jon (assuming so) and I is directed toward instances that style/ form is a highlight, when function and fit are displaced as secondary, or even ignored. Balancing them is no simple task. Most any type of product shows it. Various competitors must tweak features to sell theirs; and little details separate leaders from the pack.

    And to Jon by the way, can the Post Quick Reply button function be checked please?.
    What I mean is, Post & Reply work fine, Quick isn't...
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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