|The informal court gets a face lift|
The office space is set in a pre 70s bungalow from the older version of Cooke Town and as a result, offers a number of interesting spaces around the building to use. The folks at Fisheye have left their mark on the insides of this building as only they could and wanted to create their outdoor meeting/lunch/evening party space as an extension of themselves. Therefore, they came up with a casual model to base their seating requirement on.... a picnic table. Dave, the seed of all these projects at Fisheye, handed us a couple of downloaded images of picnic tables from the Internet as reference.
|One thickness and modular sizing creating a range of parts|
While Fisheye were fine with that, we wanted to work for people beyond their team (and us) to include visitors, some of whom may find the process ungraceful. Any redesign though could not topple the qualitative experience of a picnic table.
|Krishna the carpenter inspecting the packaging wood|
Normally, one gets much smaller cut sections of this wood... mostly 5 odd feet lengths and about 4 to 5 inch widths. We had desired sections of at least 6 inches in width for two reasons... one to reduce the number of build-ups, joints and nail usage, and two to keep with the feel of an outdoor, sturdy picnic bench (not a delicate indoor cousin). There are a few places across Bangalore where one can source packaging timber, but only a few stock larger sizes.... usually used to carry heavy machinery for companies like Volvo, etc.
The process involved careful selection of the timber, hauling the wood to a nearby mill to cut it down to desired sizes, and then transporting this across town to our office space.
Most packaging woods bear the scars of their past... holes where bolts were driven through, recesses that seated metal washers, air cracks and perhaps even some gouged out portions. We decided to keep most of this and as a result it has lent immense character to this picnic table. This also offers various opportunities for creative use by the folks at Fisheye.
|The Table top with gaps for expansion and drainage|
Packaging wood is mostly pine and comes in a range of shades, from a pale pinkish brown to a deep reddish brown. The deeper the shade red, the greater the natural wood oil content. The oil gives the wood fibre strength and makes it water resistant to a great extent. Of course, one would need to repeat the process of linseed oil application every year or so.
The process of application is laborious and one should take care not to miss any surfaces, and also gauge the absorption of oil by the wood leading to the use of appropriate quantities. The linseed oil was applied with a pinch of an ochre colour mixed in which made the grain stand out beautifully.
|The remainder wood after completion of the table|
What we were most excited about at the end of this exercise was the minimal amount of wastage in the entire process. While very little waste was generated at the sawing mill due to the size of timber reapers and sections chosen, we kept the waste during the carpentry works to the barest minimum. Even these small pieces will find use somewhere soon I reckon.
While it took us about a week to complete this entire exercise from sourcing to finish, it takes only 10 minutes to dismantle the table and about 15 minutes to put it back. The table ensemble is in now in full use and seats about 12 people with great comfort. Feels like a mission that has been more than accomplished.