Jámbor Attila

jambor_attila-1-274x412Over time, old furniture are drying up, warping, the wood cracks, legs loose, drawers get stuck. Most of the time they are discarded at house clear-outs. But, wood being cut decades ago means reusable treasures for the expert eyes.“We drove home at clear-out time, collecting usable planks and throw-away drawers, my wife suddenly ordered to stop. There is a bench! Full braking, we jumped out from the car, and we started to pull out the bench from the heap of the discards. It did not move. It was a street furniture bench, screwed to the ground.

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” Fifteen years ago one of my mate took me to a restoration workshop. They engaged in renovation and conversion of Empire and Biedermeier furniture. Along three months I polished only, I did not know where I was. Later, I got a work: to dismantle and reconstruct a commode. It succeeded, the German boss’ eye opened wide, then he only assigned the work to me: cut this piece off, put a column there… Ruined furniture was brought here from all over Europe.

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I dismantled hundreds of furniture into small pieces. There is no secret to me: joints, plywood thicknesses, and method of gluing tell me everything on the furniture. When I went to another restoration workshop, I was able to make whole transformations, constructing chest of drawers from armchair, cocktail cabinet from writing desk… what the customer wanted.

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Renovations are ordered by the antique shops, and the home decorators come with all kind of ideas as well. I get a drawing or a photo, e.g. of an Empire clock case. It is said: from it, make a cocktail cabinet of a man’s height. Or, the round table be expendable, comfortable for twelve people.

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The original of this davenport, in Vienna, has a height of 147 cm. I needed to enlarge it proportionally to 170 cm, what is more, its intended purpose was changed. It was two weeks’ work to stick together the pieces according to the blueprint. To invent the dovel joints needed an intensive brainwork.

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For the fine joints I use traditional methods only, drawers are made only with grooves. For the fine plywoods I use organic glue only, but I prefer the thick plywood cut by myself, of tropical wood.

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The body of any furniture is made of old pine. I bring home any discarded pieces of wood, I get used furniture from friends. After disinfection, I cut them to laths, then the laths are glued together to a given form using my helping hands, the clamps.

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It is covered by veneer of fine wood. In the pattern of the apple wood veneer you can see the fine waves, produced by the wind, keeping the branches bending. The lemon wood is velvet-like, glittering a little because of tiny quartz grains coming up from the soil.


Using walnut, you can surface big patterns, even faces and animals are looking back from a cabinet.

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To design a hidden treasure drawer is a great pleasure: to find the place of the the small peg opening the secret lock, or of a piece of leather to pull up the hidden drawer. Or what should be the support of a robust and heavy table, that is easy to be lengthened by a tiny housewife (furniture photos by Attila Jámbor)

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There are perfect copies, and there are ones to meet today’s claim produced by recomposing a classic style. He even signs these using the wax seal of his father. They are bound up together that the materials used are already perfectly dried up, so you could not be disappointed. We can find peculiar delight in the brillant solutions of the old and proven techniques, not talking about the use of the natural materials. The proof: the dog of the master joiner is licking animal glue.

30/9/2011 Budapest



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