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2008 July | Tomita Designs

Bamboo Kitchen, Dining and Living room PHOTOS

July 29th, 2008 by tomitadesigns

Ive just completed a project in Burlingame, CA where I custom designed/built the kitchen cabinets and island, china cabinet, entertainment center, built-in bench, and dining table.

The cabinets bodies are bamboo stained black with sumi ink with inset bamboo doors.  Seeing the frame work harks back to earlier eras of inset cabinetry while also creating high contrast.  This contrast allows me to play with cabinet shapes and composition.  Rather than hardware for pulls, there are cutouts where you reach in with your finger.

The island has a 1.5″ solid bamboo slab which is my favorite part of the project.  The curves on that countertop are the only ones found on this project, making the island a centerpiece of attention.

The dining table was built out of glued up pieces of scrap from a local mill.  All of the material was cutoffs and otherwise unsellable lumber.  The process was brutally labor intensive but the result was worth it.  The legs are bamboo stained black, built as a frame of “L” shapes to have strength without bulk.  A matching smaller side table can be brought over dinner parties

The built in bench has storage underneath.  The big secret is that the right 1/3 can actually detach in seconds and roll away from the wall to allow for opening/closing of the french door.

My friend Jeff Clark came all the way up from Santa Barbara to photograph the site for me.  He is a very accomplished photographer and it was great to see him at work.   I always enjoy seeing people who are very very good at what they do.  He has posted a few teaser pics on his website www.jeffclarkphoto.com/ken


Bamboo Plywood sources

July 11th, 2008 by tomitadesigns

This whole ordeal my neighbor/friend Joe has gone through with his laser engraving business has gotten me thinking about the bamboo ply that I use.

Ive gone through 3 or 4 bamboo manufacturers/distributors in the last four years struggling to get consistent quality product.  People think all bamboo ply is the same but its really not.  There are big differences between manufacturers and inconsistencies within even the same manufacturer.

First I used Plyboo by Smith and Fong.  I really liked this product but had to stop using it when their relationship with their local distrubutor soured to the point where I couldnt get their products anymore at all locally.

Then I tried NW bamboo which I felt had inferior quality engineering.  Lots of voids, inconsistencies in thickness and the amber especially looked pale.

I tried Bamboo Revolutions and it was a little better but still i felt the product was not as good as the Smith and Fong.  Especially in the amber color the difference is noticeable.  The color is not as rich.

I use Teragren now out of Seattle.  They are apparently #1 in volume for bamboo flooring.  Ive been using them for six months or so now.  Ive bought around 12-15 sheets from these guys and had great results…. until this most recent batch.  Lots of excessive bowing and strange voids running perpendicular to the grain.  Im very dissapointed and the search for quality products starts once again.

Joe’s ordeal has made me realize I need to learn more about the product I use.  I need to know who makes it, how its made, and how environmentally friendly the end product really is.

Best Festool Tool?

July 10th, 2008 by tomitadesigns

My friend dropped by my shop and commented on my extensive Festool collection.

Are they worth it he asked?

I told him they all are worth it in the long run.  To be the best you need to use the best tools.  The saw especially is a revolutionary tool with really no peers.

Once i went Festool I never turned back….

my trip

July 10th, 2008 by tomitadesigns

Im leaving in a week to deliver phase two of my project in San Francisco.

After that ill be meeting up with some friends in Yosemite for a week and then back to SFO to fly to Tokyo for my friend Kenta’s wedding.  Not looking forward to the humidity but I cant wait to see my infant cousin again.