Inspiration from David Lisle

Case Study Part III: Creating a curved pantry

Taking a project from the design board to the workshop is always an exciting part of our process. Because every job is unique, careful planning, communication and flexibility in our practice is essential. Before each project begins construction, our team sit down and decide the best way to craft specialist pieces, considering how to solve any possible challenges, and any innovations that will aid in the process. Once agreed, we begin manufacture.

The first step in creating our curved walnut pantry is to create the curved framing and doors that will form the face of the piece. This requires special moulds, or “jigs”, with which we use a heated vacuum to press our timber to the desired shape. It is essential that each jig is set to the exact radius needed for each component to ensure a seamless curve.

Once the jigs have been made and set up, we cut and sand thin sheets of birch and walnut. These layer together to form the timber for our pantry doors and frames. By layering thin sheets in this way, the wood is much more flexible and malleable, and therefore does not split under the pressure of the press.

Creating a curved pantry 01

A panel in the press for an internal door face.­

The layers are glued together and carefully aligned on their corresponding jig. We then place the whole jig in the press under our heated vacuum for 24 hours to set the timber to its specific curve.

Once all the components have been pressed, we make any angled cuts that need to be done and assemble the doors and frames using dominoes and wood glue. A final press ensures that the pieces remain in square as the glue sets.

Creating a curved pantry 02

Cutting angles on the saw before gluing up this external door.

Now with our doors and frames made, we construct the interior, again made from walnut veneer. First, we cut the components down to size. We then rout the front edges of each piece to align with the curve of the face of the pantry and edge them with more walnut veneer. The interior is then fully constructed and final-fitted with the doors and framing to ensure everything fits as it should. We then deconstruct the pantry, ready to be sanded and lacquered for a smooth finish.

Finally, once the two coats of lacquer have dried, we triple check each component to ensure a perfect fit and finish all over. The pantry is now ready to go on site and be fitted in situ.