February 27, 2005 archives

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February 27, 2005

New flat files!

by sven at 10:00 pm

Seems like every artist's studio has to have flat files. When we went on the Portland Open Studios tour in October, everyone had them... You know -- the immense but shallow drawers that you might keep maps in?

Gretchin has wanted a set of flat files forever. They're exactly what you need in order to store big flat pieces of art. But they cost maybe $300 - $600, depending on whether you're buying used or new. Eep!

So I decided to make them myself.

...But where to put them? My "ah-ha!" moment (Jan 18) was when I realized that we had the perfect niche in the studio, right under our noses -- if we moved out the washer/dryer!

moving the washer/dryer
Jan 21: moving the washer/dryer

I had hoped to get the flat files completed before our first Artist's Way class began, on Jan 24. Not much time at all, from when the inspiration had struck -- but I've worked miracles before. I dove in, headlong, and made a glorious creative mess...

construction begins
construction begins

No miracle this time. I hit a major snag in the wee hours of Jan 24. See, I had used these nice sturdy joints for the frame -- but their bolts stuck out a little too much on the inside. If I had kept that design, some shelves would have to be narrower than others. I had to clean everything up and put the project away, incomplete.

I finally got back to construction on Friday (Feb 25). One corner at a time, I replaced each one of the offending parts with two joints that would sit on the outside surface. Take a look in this picture at how the corners have changed:

side view
side view

Another interesting aspect of the design, that you can see here, is that the shelves are longer than the actual frame. The reason for this is that I had to be able to get the frame through doors and the hallway comfortably. The frame is 30" deep; the shelves are 40" deep. So, once the bulky frame is in its nook, the shelves can be tipped into place on their rails with ease.

Anyway, I just finished the flat files tonight and loaded them up with art and big sheets of paper. Here's the final product:

completed flat files
Feb 27: completed flat files

Bottom Line:

I'm happy!

Conception-to-completion, the project took almost exactly 40 hours of work time, including shopping runs to Home Depot and Ace Hardware. Cost of materials was $185, not including the first set of joints (which I hope to return) or some new tools that I got during the project.

I think it's a pretty good value. If you try to assign a monetary value to the time I put in, then maybe not -- but I had a lot of (exhausting) fun doing it, so I prefer not to factor that in. Besides which, most flat file systems only have 5 shelves; ours have 15 -- and you can remove shelves if you want more vertical space. ...And they fit perfectly into our nook!

I mean, how cool is that?

posted by sven | permalink | categories: studio space