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Live Edge Furniture in Production for Neilson Library

An example of live edge furniture created by Sam French

An example of live edge furniture created by Sam French.

In June 2017, a large elm tree in front of Neilson Library was taken down. The utility rerouting required for the new library construction impacted the root base of the tree and it was removed as a precaution. The wood from the tree, however, will live on as eight unique pieces of furniture in the new Neilson Library.

The original elm tree, formerly located outside the Neilson Library.
The original elm tree, formerly located outside the Neilson Library.

Woodworker Sam French will be fabricating three live edge reading room tables, four live edge benches, and a one-of-a-kind live edge cookie table, all designed by Maya Lin. Live edge furniture is designed to incorporate the natural contours of wood planks; rather than cutting away knots and creating square edges, only the bark is removed.

Left: wood slabs cut from the elm tree. Right: the wood piece that will form the cookie table.
Left: wood slabs cut from the elm tree. Right: the wood piece that will form the cookie table.

The reading tables will be located in the two north wing reading rooms and the Collacott Room, while the benches will be placed outside the elevator in the Central Hall. The cookie table will be placed in the core area on the ground floor. You can track the production process on French’s website.

French is the owner of Gill Country Clear Woodworks, located in Gill, MA. His business was selected for its commitment to land protection, preservation, and sustainability.

R-L: Architect Bill Bialosky, furniture craftsman Sam French, and metal base fabricator Bruce Golinski.
Right to left: Architect Bill Bialosky, furniture craftsman Sam French, and metal base fabricator Bruce Golinski.

Contact

Charlie Conant 
cconant@smith.edu