A blog devoted to professional aspects of design
and engineering applied to the art of fine woodworking.

October 24, 2014

Shelving Units: History, Perspective, and Pipe Organ Building

The Treaty of Versailles heavily restricted the German aircraft industry following WWI. Yet Germany was able to develop a bomber force prior to WWII by disguising their development as passenger aircraft. All good engineers are students of history because history often provides us with important lessons.

There is a good deal of discussion in music circles today about the current state of the pipe organ and its use. I feel that the instrument may no longer be relevant in a lot of ways just as I am beginning to define my workshop not only as a space to better understand functional design and the relevant architectures and technologies that produce that design through modern woodworking technique, but also as a place to continue the building of those musical instruments.

I began my shelving unit project to specifically prototype the construction of the sort of larger frames I would use to build another pipe organ according to a design concept I am working on where less is more. This instrument would be a smaller subset of one of the organs I built in the past yet, would be something altogether new providing those who use it with an instrument capable of expanding their knowledge of music, composition, improvisation, registration, and accompaniment by allowing them to incorporate a rich set of tonal resources into a performance with other musicians. Being a work of art in and of itself, I see something like this ending up in a smaller art or performance gallery where chamber music performances would enhance the use of the space.

It was Antoine de Saint Exupery who said that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. This is the basis for a pipe organ I would now build.

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