Eain Tierney's Chatoyance writing desk

Eain Tierney’s Chatoyance writing desk

Putting together the Gallery for each issue of Fine Woodworking is always fun because the photos of everyone’s work are such a pleasure to see. It’s not often, though, that we get a video submission as well. Because—let’s face it—finished furniture doesn’t usually move too much.

Eain Tierney’s Chatoyance writing desk is the exception to that rule. It’s made to be appreciated not only for its beauty but for what happens when it moves.  As the Ticonderoga, N.Y., furniture maker wrote when he submitted his piece:

“I have always been fascinated with certain properties of wood, most notably chatoyance, the holographic visual property that you have to move back and forth to be able to see. I figured why should you have to move to see it when the piece of furniture could move to show it to you?

I scoured the internet to find what people were doing with wood in textile form and found Woodskin, which has properties similar to what I was looking for except they use plywood, not solid wood. So I developed a wood skin that can move fluidly but still show off the chatoyance of wood.

In keeping with the theme of motion, the Newton’s Cradle is the switch for the motor to make the front of the desk move. The bottom sphere is suspended by magnets that activate the switch; and when off, the switch sphere rests in a perfectly carved depression in the desktop. The light bar, resin cast into the desktop, is activated by an illuminated, touch-screen technology switch.

I simply wanted to make a piece of furniture that was kinetic in nature and displayed the qualities of wood I appreciate.”

Nothing “simple” about it.

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