I’ve always loved the look of wood furniture and products. I grew up in a house with hardwood floors and as I grew up, I went from looking up at where I was going while sliding along the floor in socks to looking down at the incongruous grains as they slid out of view. Wood has been used to help create a rustic aesthetic in everything from cabins to old western towns.
Recently, while browsing the web, I also saw some really cool pieces of artwork like the ones below which involved burning wood to engrave images onto wood.
Examples of Wood Burning Artwork (Sources: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/33/11/cd/3311cdddb3dcabafc00b38e9de785145.jpg, http://www.thedreamerswoods.com/images/lg_Bench_back_wood_burning_closeup_chainsaw_carving.jpg.JPG)
I have become enamored with the outdoors, the majestic beauty of it, and the awesome power of nature, and I wanted to create something that would embrace that somehow. Wood seemed like the perfect medium for this, and engraving some kind of outdoor scene in it would allow me to highlight the natural aesthetic. Additionally, using wood evokes emotions of a simpler time and a cozy room, like a log cabin.
I also love modern design, things that are clean and simple, like Scandinavian design. This design philosophy often incorporates wood in a less rustic sense than wood burning and compliments it with brushed aluminum or white plastics.
Modern design using wood (Sources: http://cdn.freshome.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/6-Series-7-Scandinavian-Design.jpg, http://mackov.sk/app/webroot/CmsPlugin/files/06.jpg)
What I want to do is combine these two aesthetics in some way. I love the idea of the battle between natural wood and something more technology driven. One example of this combination which I’ve always thought looked really cool was the wood-skins for the HTC One shown below:
HTC One with Wood Skin (Source: http://www.icarbons.com/collections/htc-one-m8/products/htc-one-m8-light-wood)
I’ve been waffling back and forth between a few different ideas, but I think that I’ve settled on one of two, either a solid wood phone case wallet or a wood burning art piece incorporating LEDs in some way. For the phone case, I’ve been thinking of something similar to a guitar pick box like the one shown in this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyOAcvMCOgg) where a top layer swivels off to reveal the cards or money or something stored inside of it. For the wood burning piece, I was thinking of burning some sort of mountains, perhaps the Flatirons into it and then place some LEDs and allow the light to diffuse like the sky behind the mountains. Perhaps I could even sync the LEDs with the time of day so that a night time, there could be some star LEDs which light up and during the day they would just run with a light blue. Maybe I could work in a sunrise and sunset mode too.
Obviously, I’ll have to make a decision here soon about which direction I want to go, but wanted to do a bit more research before settling on one or the other. I’ve always wanted to learn more about woodworking but have rarely had the time or energy to invest in it. This project would give me a chance to not only do a bit of woodworking, but be able to explore the artistic side of design that gets very lost in engineering school. We’re so focused on how things work that we’re rarely that concerned with how things look; that tends to come later. I’m excited to do a project which focuses more on the aesthetic of it, with function as a secondary requirement.
Roshan, I think that both ideas are super cool and would work well as a main project. If you go in the direction of the phone case, I would pay very close attention to the grain of the wood. It is very strong in both tension and bending one direction while being very weak in bending in the other direction. The best analogy for this is a bunch of straws or carbon fiber.
In either case, I think you could also layer the woods into a laminate so that you could get multiple colors. For the wood burning project, You could even laminate different color woods together to form part of the picture and burn the other part.
The LED’s that correspond to the time of the day sounds like a really cool way to implement a dynamic aspect to a previously static design. The phone case also sounds pretty cool for it would most likely be the more applicable of the two projects. Personally, I think the wood burned project sounds more unique and innovative, but either way you’d have a solid project. You also probably already know this, but the idea forge has a wood working shop where you can get all sorts of help if you need it.