Hattery Labs

After months of anticipation, the folks of Hattery Labs have moved into their space.  I had to leave at the beginning of February, but my friend Chris Currie carried on, finishing up the assembly, sanding, oiling, and waxing of the last few tables.  He is a consumate professional, and his work speaks for itself.  

The last day I was there, we put together the final conference table, a 14' long beast that managed, somehow, to still look fairly sleek relative to its enormous size.  I was also excited to see a 200+ pound table top supported on four slender wood legs, with no connecting tensile structure at the feet.  You can design all you want, but every time I flip over a table or a chair for the first time and see how it sits my heart leaps into my throat a little bit; design becomes real, and your reputation and ideas hit reality in one concrete moment.  I've had that moment turn into splintered wood and clenched fists; fortunately, this time, it turned into high fives and raised beers.  

What follows is some final photos of the work, and an illustrated journal of the final assembly of the conference tables, following progress posts here and here and here.  Much thanks to Mark Wills, Josh To, and all the folks at Hattery Labs, as well as Chris Currie and Jamie Sartory -- it was a helluva lot of fun.  And the tables turned out ok.

Mark Wills at work, photo by James Buyayo.

The work tables are 45" wide by 96" long.  Each table top is made up of nine Douglas Fir timbers, laminated into a solid piece 1-3/4" thick.  A chamfer runs down the edges and corners to smooth out the wood and give the slabs a finished look.  In the center of each table, a cord slot receives the electronic entrails of the modern office, feeding umbilicals down to a power strip hidden underneath the slab, and then on into the floor.  The base of each table is a simple, clean pair of rectangles, linked by three crossbars -- one at the feet, and two rails underneath the table.  A set of locking casters allows for flexibility.  Each is finished with a non-toxic, penetrative coat of boiled linseed oil, followed by a hard paste wax.
The first recorded use of the tables; meeting with contractor, architect, and developer.  I was psyched.
End view.  Nice and simple.  Photo by James Buyayo.
Chris had a lot of acreage to work over.  Photo by James Buyayo.
Cord slot.  Photo by James Buyayo.
The wood is beautifully warm against that cold-ass Jonathan Ives aesthetic.  Photo by James Buyayo.  
The conference tables are more aggressive in form, suggesting the speed of Hattery's business with swept legs and stretched, horizontal slabs.  One is twelve feet long, and the other is fourteen feet long, the longest we could go with unbroken pieces of wood.  Each top probably weighs more than two hundred pounds; this presented a real structural challenge, as we were determined to keep the whole table wood, instead of using steel for the legs.  To lock the legs in place, especially given their aggressive angle, we mortised them through the entire depth of the slab.  This prevents the legs from twisting and kicking out, while also providing a subtle visual detail in the table top.  An apron of thin members further locks the legs in place while providing an place to hide away cords.  
I clamped the leg blanks together and hand-planed them, side-by-side, to get them uniform. 
Gluing in the brace.
Mmmmm.  Angular.  Featuring a tenon on the left-hand side which eventually would slot into the table top.
The legs also looked like assault rifles.  And I'm a nine-year old boy at heart.
Chris Currie.  Like a BOSS.  
Laying out the mortise for the legs.
Drilling holes so I could get the jigsaw in.
Rough cut with the jigsaw.  The tape keeps the wood from splintering at the edges. 
Router jig for precisioning up those mortises.
Routed.  Then I chiseled out the corners for an amazing fit. 
Legs and mortises, getting acquainted.  
Chris and I screwed a block on the backside of the leg so we had something to hit with a hammer to persuade the legs to fit into the table top.  
Oh man.  Tight.  
Putting an apron on that bad boy. 
The first stand.  I threw up in my mouth a little.  Nervous like a new dad.
Even pretty tables have braces.
Not bad, eh? Photo by James Buyayo.
You're fired! Photo by James Buyayo.
The mortise-and-tenon situation.  Photo by James Buyayo.