Using 3D scanning and 5-axis CNC milling, I sought to be more sensitive to the natural shapes of organic material than is possible with traditional woodworking tools. At the heart of this project was 40” of a live-edge slab of claro walnut that I wanted to use entirely. By using 3D scanning and complex computer machining By using 3D scanning to capture the live edge of a slab of wood, the entire piece can be almost completely used in a piece of furniture, virtually eliminating the waste needed to mill square boards for traditional furniture building by using 5-axis CNC milling to create glue joint along the complex organic geometry of the tree.
Traditionally, the first step in making furniture would be to mill clean, rectangular boards from the rough, organic slab. But instead of cutting off and trashing the tricky, organic live edge, I 3D scanned it, which allowed me to model it, lightly machine it, and create a glue joint with a computer generated 3D model of its inverse shape. The process is the visual centerpiece of the finished chair.
The Divisadero process represents a new line of inquiry into the future of digital fabrication. Rather than searching for how we can make more exotic or complex forms, instead the focus is on using smarter tools to start with more complicated shapes, remove less material, and expose natural beauty that in the past was simply removed for the sake of accuracy.