Spring 2019
This one-of-a-kind matching pair of silver maple salad tongs strikes a balance between a curvilinear flow form language, feel in-hand, and utility. Developed over the course of about a month, it is the cumulation of refinements through physical prototyping and examination of existing hand-held objects and curvilinear forms.

The objective of the project was to marry fair curves – which lead your eye through and around an object – with a practicality of a tool like salad tongs. Much of critique sessions and my exploration involved an investigation of fair curves found all around us, and how they can make designed objects beautiful and desirable.
A collection of fair curves from automobiles, furniture, and more. I printed this out and pinned it above my desk to serve as a sort of inspiration as I was drawing different curvilinear profiles.
Through the entire design process, sketches, photographs, and recorded observations in my sketchbook informed the form development for the salad tongs. I began by drawing out pairs of orthographic profiles for the top and side views. As physical prototypes came into play, I began to draw the tongs as solid objects, thinking over the process of revealing a form through the processes of making.
Studying existing curvilinear forms informed the beginning of form exploration.
I visited Williams-Sonoma to study and interact with existing kitchen tool handles.
Hand-drawn silhouettes on paper allowed for quick exploration and iteration.
Critique notes and doodles.
Drawing a flowform in perspective.
More critique notes and doodles.
Illustrated process of making the salad tongs.
Figuring out the best way to depict how the salad tongs are made.
More exploration of illustrative drawings.
Sketchbook and loose paper work. Hover over or expand images to reveal captions.
Illustrator was incredibly helpful in creating outlines that describe the shaping process.
prototyping form
Extruded polystyrene board was the ideal material for prototyping salad tongs because it allows for quick shaping yet enables resolved form details with sanding. After deciding on a pair of orthographic profiles that seemed harmonious, I spray-mounted printed profiles onto a foam block, ran it through the band saw, and shaped it with hand sanding.
Shaping a foam salad tong. In-hand feel was a priority, so I often asked others to hold salad tongs while shaping to inform changes.
Seeing others' salad tongs during critiques was not only fun, it provided meaningful conversation about the semantics of form and importance of craft.
Lineup of foam salad tongs. The second one on the left photo was an exploration in the constraint of purely geometric form. In the end, I decided on a more curvilinear design.
shaping the wood
Solid wood is unique among materials for its versatility and warmth. Derived from natural sources, it is lightweight and strong yet workable by hand. The grain pattern of wood provides a directionality and dynamism to form, especially in curvilinear objects like my salad tongs.

Once completed, I photographed the completed foam design and used Illustrator to generate final profiles from which the maple blocks would be cut. Intermediate shaping was done with a spindle sander and hand-sanding with coarse sandpaper. Final surfacing was performed with very fine sandpaper to create an even matte finish. Since the goal was to create a mirror pair of tongs, each shaping step was reflected across blocks to ensure uniformity. 
Photographs of foam models like this helped me analyze and translate the form to wood.
I carefully aligned my camera to document important angles of the foam model. Views from different angles were superimposed to account for perspective distortion, then traced.
Digitally-generated outlines pasted on wooden blocks. From beginning to end, constraining dimensions and repeating same shaping steps across the two blocks helped maintain consistency to create a mirrored pair.
Roughing out the form on the bandsaw.
After the initial 4 cuts.
Fresh from the bandsaw. Much more shaping to be done.
Hours at the spindle sander comprised the majority of intermediate shaping.
Fresh from the spindle sander, moving on to hand sanding.
A friend and colleague suggested rounding off the sharp tips, seen here.
I trimmed off the sharp corner on my foam model to see what it would look like.
After photographing the first rounding, I removed more to round out the corner even further. In the end, I decided on a more subtle radius.
Photographs from the woodworking process. Hover over or expand images to reveal captions.
After a semester of really honing craft through hand-tool modeling, it was a delight to be back in the shop working with such a timeless material as wood.
final form - more pictures

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