The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Video Gallery: Drawers that Breathe

comments (16) January 28th, 2009 in blogs, videos

thumbs up 77 users recommend

Video Length: 1:30
Produced by: Anissa Kapsales, edited by Gerald LaStarza

Peter Schlebecker's "Breathing Drawers" from the Readers Gallery of FWW #203 demanded more attention than a small picture on p. 78 of the magazine, so we shot a quick video of Pete and his anthropomorphic cabinet at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship this fall.

Pete's early vocal training and the connection between singing and breathing inspired this basswood and mahogany chest of drawers (20 in. deep by 17 in. wide by 50 in. tall).

The chest has a silicone-rubber membrane inside the frames on the top and sides, which "breathes" as the well-fit drawers are opened and closed, revealing sketches of chest musculature underneath it. The lower drawer doesn't have a cutout pull, but opens with the air pressure produced from closing the top one. The finish is lacquer.

The leg joinery also merits more attention, read how he crafted the refined supports in a companion blog post: Nice Legs.

posted in: blogs, videos, chest of drawers

Comments (16)

goodguy goodguy writes: Hmmm...
It's amazing how people are attracted to gimmicks. A shop full of expensive machines and router-jig-cut dovetails do not a craftsman make. Feh.
Posted: 12:54 pm on February 25th

TropicalCraftsman TropicalCraftsman writes: Aloha, Great kinetic sculpture. I once had a valving problem with a Craftsman style side table drawer. I solved it with a hole drilled into the back covered with a rubber flap to keep out dust. It worked great in the shop and I proudly demonstrated the function to my client. An embarrassing moment occurred when he was showing it off to his new mother in law. As it turns out, rapid closing of the drawer created a rude "woopie cushion" sound. His beautiful bride solved it by keeping a open box of scented powder in the drawer. The powder lubricated the rubber to stop the fizzling sound and added a fresh perfume into the room.
Posted: 2:45 pm on February 15th

drllucas drllucas writes: Thanks, Gina, for posting the link to construction photos. When I first saw the opening frames of the video I thought it was a cabinet in Asian style with opaque rice paper or thin wood sides. It is a lovely piece that obviously took a lot of skill to craft.

Aesthetics is more a philosophy than a mechanical skill, but for purely subjective and personal aesthetic reasons, this is not something that captures my imagination. But others are obviously appreciative of even the most unusual aspect of the cabinet. I like the piece, but it is a little unusual in its affect for my taste. Just proves again that in some cases functionality and aesthetic effect are both in the eye and imagination of the maker.
Posted: 6:41 pm on February 12th

GEide GEide writes: Hi Folks,

If you want some more practical info, read how Schlebecker crafted the legs in a companion blog post:

Posted: 4:51 pm on February 12th

Palestine Palestine writes: Get a life !
Posted: 4:38 pm on February 12th

drllucas drllucas writes: Quote from blkryder: "Given the first comment the point is apparently to seperate the intellectuals from the simpletons. Keep on making beatiful thought provoking pieces."

Of course, an actual intellectual would be able to spell "separate" and
"beautiful". Most of the videos in finewoodworking focus on skill levels combined with pleasing aesthetics. While skill level is apparent in this video, breathing associated with singing paired with woodworking is rather esoteric. The general observation "Form follows function" begs for the question, "So what?" Oddities do not fine woodworking make.
Posted: 1:10 am on February 12th

wsg2 wsg2 writes: Gee, I'm glad to see you're not wasting your life.
Posted: 9:02 pm on February 11th

DDolphin DDolphin writes: I have to agree with "tmackinator". Why is this being featured here instead of a high school health or physics class? Given the size of the drawer, it would have to be a particularly poorly fitted drawer NOT to move that membrane. And I wonder if he could even open the bottom drawer if there was anything of any weight placed in it. And a drawer that won't open or can't be filled is hardly noteworthy!!! Maybe we should just concentrate on that leg joinery you mentioned.
Posted: 1:10 pm on February 11th

fresco fresco writes: Simplicity in kinetic sculpture is always a success. Great piece.
Posted: 12:40 pm on February 11th

chipsndust chipsndust writes: Woodworking... like other artforms, is a blend of tradition and inovation. I think this project captured both. From what was visible in the film clip, the craftmanship and joinery seemed very good, and the idea was interesting.
Posted: 10:22 am on February 11th

fwwshop fwwshop writes: It's encouraging to see pieces that are functional and artistic. Our goal is to keep creativity alive and this piece has done that. Well done.
Posted: 9:31 am on February 11th

tmackinator tmackinator writes: Are you kidding? There are real craftsman that need their products showcased way before this thing.
Posted: 9:30 am on February 11th

johncbrownmd johncbrownmd writes: It's always nice to add another dimension to woodworking as inspired by this craftsman. Wood is constantly moving in nature and after project construction - this project highlights this - beautifully.
Posted: 9:17 am on February 11th

blkryder blkryder writes: Given the first comment the point is apparently to seperate the intellectuals from the simpletons. Keep on making beatiful thought provoking pieces.
Posted: 3:27 am on February 11th

drllucas drllucas writes: Sorry, but this is one of the few videos on finewoodworking that has little practical value. What is the point?
Posted: 11:30 pm on February 10th

mcbrown mcbrown writes: very cool. What's the material? Bob
Posted: 8:02 pm on February 10th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

ABOUT THE EDITORS MAILBOX editors report from the woodworking front lines. Check in every weekday for news, information, projects, and answers to questions from Fine Woodworking readers everywhere.

Learn about our new format!

Archive: Temporarily unavailable. Stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience.