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Goings on at the Because We Cannery

Custom couch with organic decorative engravings

In our constant want for custom furniture, combined with the ability to create it easily, we recently made ourselves a small couch for our office. Because we are in a small space we designed it to be flanked by two filing cabinets, so the filing cabinets act as armrests / side tables. We also put a hinge on the seat of the couch, so that we can use inside the bottom for storage.

engraved couch

We did two new techniques with this piece that we had not tried before, and it worked really well. First off, with the design we used a plug in for illustrator called Scriptographer . We have been playing around with it for a while, but not used it before on a physical piece. Scriptographer uses Java Script to extend the abilities of Illustrator, and creates vector lines off of the user's drawing. It has a window of different tools and scripts you can run and make all kids of patterns.... like these:


We used scriptographer to create the decorative elements by taking the model of the couch we created in Revit, exploding it out into its pieces and drawing over the top of it. Like this.....

couch design

The other new technique we used was carving into a pre-finished piece of wood. We started by painting a full sheet of plywood with an eggshell interior black latex.

couch sheet

This allowed us to have a very clean and dramatic engraving on the surface of the wood, with little cleanup or finishing labor. We set up the job in our CAM software to carve the decorative elements into the wood. This decorative carving was the longest part of the job, aside from creating the design itself taking about 45 minutes for the full sheet. The entire couch is made of 1.5 sheets of plywood.

engraved couch


engraved couch

Next we cut out the individual panels that make up the couch. By using a compression spiral bit and making multiple passes on these final cuts, the sides are clean and in need of little to no sanding. Mostly the back side just needed to be brushed off of excess bits. We made the design of the couch to have wide finger joints, so that it easily slots together, and requires very few screws. This gives the couch the clean and dramatic look we were going for.

engraved couch

engraved couch

And now we have a nice place for our guests to sit in our office (and we can hide the server inside!)

engraved couch with storage

Hooray for the shopbot!

Jillian Northrup