Wood has been one of the most important and most used building materials in human history. Each tree is a unique individual and no two pieces of wood have the exact same grain, color, figure, or texture. We are used to talking about wood simply by species (pine, oak, walnut, etc.), but this simple way of categorizing completely undervalues its functional and aesthetic possibility. There are certain properties that are generally similar to a particular species or growing condition or location, but in reality each piece of wood has unique characteristics that can be taken advantage of or ignored. We examine and select each piece of wood we use, intentionally orienting the grain for strength and the figure for aesthetic quality.
Further, wood is a dynamic material that moves and changes dimension with changes in humidity. Understanding how wood moves in relation to its grain is critical to ensuring the lasting integrity of the joinery of a piece of furniture. We are lucky enough to be able to mill much of our own wood, and only seek out more exotic species of wood for special purposes or to meet specific client desires. Cimarron has a partnership in a milling operation with two mills and a kiln. This allows us great control over the wood we use in our furniture. It also allows us not to be a part of the sad depletion of a precious and vital part of our world. Cimarron almost exclusively uses wood that is native to California and that has fallen naturally, or has been cut by arborists out of necessity (for example because the tree puts a home in danger, or crowds other more important trees). In this way, we do our part to reduce the environmental cost of trucking and of felling trees, which for all our sakes should be left to flourish.
Cimarron uses many tools and techniques found in wooden boatbuilding to design and create the sculpted shapes, smooth curves and clean lines that characterize Cimarron’s work. Using techniques from traditional wooden boatbuilding allows us to work with complex irregular curved shapes as well as more traditional lines and angles. We design in full scale, giving us the ability to see and interact with the dimensions and proportions of our designs throughout the process. Our prototype is then replicated in CAD software, which is in turn used to program large scale routers to allow us to scale production to demand.
Sculpting Cast Concrete
Concrete is a differentiating material for Cimarron. It is the most used building material on earth and while most of us associate it with sidewalks, buildings and parking garages it is really a far more varied and versatile material.
Using concrete delicately and elegantly in furniture requires a much deeper understanding of its chemistry and structural properties than one might assume from seeing its use in mass construction. There are many products that have been developed to alter, enhance and reinforce concrete. Concrete can be a very strong, durable material but only if it is property reinforced for a particular situation. Modern advancements in reinforcing concrete with carbon and glass fiber allow concrete to be cast into an endless variety of shapes that would not be possible or practical with traditional steel reinforcement. Cast concrete allows for the creation of a wide range of shapes and appearances that are limited only by imagination and an understanding of the physical and chemical properties of the material.
Modern techniques, pigments, and ingredients allow Cimarron to match almost any color as well as create a wide range of shapes and textures.
We hand cast every panel and tile we use in our furniture, and no two pieces will ever look exactly alike. While we can achieve great consistency in color and general outcome, each piece will have subtle differences in look as the cast concrete settles naturally in the curing process, and as each piece takes on a slightly different look as grinding and grouting are applied where aggregate has been used. It is in the choice of color, or the combination of color with aggregate, that our clients get the most unique experience with a piece of Cimarron furniture.