One reason we like to feature the process behind the design is how it breaks down what may otherwise seem complicated. For maker Jimmy Diresta, the process is an artform in itself. His videos are a soothing, manufacturing-noise-only, time-lapse of a project from beginning to end. It’s no less the case in his build of a steel finger-joint stool. Have a listen:
Let’s slow it down now and take a look at the steps he goes through:
1. Concept Design Sketches
Inspired by old metal toys that use steel joinery techniques as well as looking at his clasped hands while on an airplane (ah, the muse of the maker), Diresta captured sketches of what would eventually become the final steal stack stool in his notebook.
2. Digitize And Cut The Metal Sheets
Once the concept was finalized, he used Adobe Illustrator to digitize the pattern. The stool file is then loaded into his CNC machine — A Lincoln Electric Torchmate 4800 4×8 CNC Plasma Cutting Machine — where they are cut onto an 18-gauge cold-rolled steel sheet.
3. Polish The Metal
With the five pieces cut, four sides and the top, Diresta individually polishes them to remove the rust and imperfections before working what could arguably be the most important part of the stool, which is…
4. Assembly, aka Hammering It Together
Instead of using conventional hardware like bolts or metal nails, Diresta’s stool is held together by the overlapping steel finger joints along each edge of the metal sheets.
By hammering the tabs around the adjacent pieces, they create an interwoven mesh of sorts that holds them together. With quite a number of tabs on each side, it takes considerable time (and effort) to get the stool assembled.
5. Apply Rust Block
Polish it clean, spray it with rust-block, and this baby is ready to go! It may not look like the most comfortable thing to sit on but, dang, is it strong. !8 gauge steel is about 2lbs/sq. ft, so it’s pretty hefty as well. Though he doesn’t show it, the design lends itself to being stack with others.
You can find more of Jimmy Diresta’s soothing, manufacturing-noise-only work on his YouTube channel.