Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Peter Sandback Nails His Designs

comments (9) July 26th, 2012 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 221 users recommend

Video Length: 3:57
Produced by: Jon Binzen

Peter Sandback will tell you he's not a great woodworker. And maybe he's not a handcut dovetails kind of guy. But every time you turn around he seems to have developed another innovative and dynamic technique and designed a whole slew of great pieces around it. 

When I first saw his work ten or twelve years ago, he was building impeccably crafted tables with concrete tops and selling them all over the country. He had developed a method for casting a thin shell of concrete around a core of foam, making the tables light enough to ship. For good measure, he had also come up with a surface treatment that made the concrete stain resistant--a problem most concrete countertop makers had yet to solve.

By 2008 Sandback was pushing in a very different direction. After years of experimentation, he had figured out how to make thin end-grain log slices, glue them to a plywood substrate, and create tables with what looked like inch-thick slabs of tree--but without the threat of warping or cracking. He has made a lot of great pieces using that method, and you can see them and his concrete tables on his website,

His current specialty, which is featured on the magazine's back cover and in this audio slide show, is making elaborate inlaid patterns using aluminum nails. The slide show presents a range of pieces he's decorated with the technique and explains how he creates a pattern step by step.

More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

• Liam Flynn: Virtuoso Vessel Maker
• John Reed Fox: The Uncompromising Craftsman
• Jere Osgood: Modesty and Mastery
• Ulrika Scriba's Marquetry: Risk and Reward
• Adrian McCurdy: Furniture Riven from the Log
Geoffrey Warner: Assembling a Life
Peter Shepard Turns the Page
Curve It Like König
Partners in Craft: Harold Wood and John O'Brien
Tool Chest with an Arts & Crafts Legacy
Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro

posted in: blogs, videos, inlay, slideshow, peter sandback

Comments (9)

Hands_in_Wood Hands_in_Wood writes: The artistry of wood and nail is remarkable and elegant in its simplicity. The photography and narration was likewise excellent. Both made a inspiring presentation. I think I'll try something similar ! ! !
Posted: 2:27 pm on December 29th

epitimao epitimao writes: Sorry, should have been R.J. Leahy. Call them, they were great on the phone to work with. here is a link:
Posted: 5:44 pm on November 27th

epitimao epitimao writes: I found copper and aluminum nails at RH Leahy in California. Great price, sold by the pound and they ship.
Posted: 5:15 pm on November 27th

autoart autoart writes: Where did Peter source the aluminum nails, and what size nails does he use?
Posted: 7:01 pm on August 21st

MarkFoster MarkFoster writes: Great piece. just got my recent mag and saw the back cover. I like when people think out of the box and do innovative things!
Posted: 5:17 pm on August 6th

RogerEllison RogerEllison writes: Excellent woodwork, excellent story and very effectively presented. This was good. Thanks.
Posted: 5:16 pm on August 6th

user-553605 user-553605 writes: Hi can anyone tell me where i can find designs similar
to what peter use to create his nail art.
thanks paul.

Posted: 2:35 am on August 6th

neverenougftackle neverenougftackle writes: Sir, you did a superb job on your narration. With your discription and Peter's talent showing his labors. It was a pleasure in both relms. Thanks to the both of you.
Posted: 1:19 pm on August 4th

PurdueDan PurdueDan writes: Jonathan and FWW,
Thanks for your wonderful back cover pieces. Peter's work is inventive and beautiful. Thanks for sharing a new way to do surface treatment on wood.
Posted: 7:48 am on July 27th

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