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Around Town : Knowhow Shop

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Here in the Crafts Department, we like to be in the know when it comes to the latest and greatest craft communities, workshops, and alternative spaces. That said, I was delighted to stumble upon the newly founded Los Angeles–based cooperative fabrication shop and design studio called the Knowhow Shop, founded by architects Kagan Taylor, Justin Rice, and Joshua Howell. The mission of the Knowhow Shop is to “provide a low cost work space for emerging artists, designers, and architects by offering a full collection of professional wood working tools, metal working equipment, machines, and shared studio space.”

Check out its latest project “In a Tangle”—an astounding 400 pound(!) wood bike rack, which now resides in Roanoke, Virginia. The guys of Knowhow Shop were nice enough to share some behind-the-scenes footage and commentary on the making of this monstrous comb.

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Digital rendering of the rack.

2 Digital rendering of the rack.

3 "The comb is constructed in a similar way to how a traditional, functional wooden comb would be, using a mortise and tenon connection."

4 "The connection detail of the hair to the sidewalk is similar to that of a hair follicle."

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“In a Tangle” was a delightful project for us, and one where we were able to pursue multiple interests at once. Knowhow Shop believes in encouraging social change through art and design, a bike rack provides a unique opportunity to do just that. It is a necessary part of civic infrastructure that has yet to have found one accepted form, the standard wave rack seems to be most common but it is far from ideal in terms of function and aesthetic. We play with the flexibility of the wave form to make a rack that says more than just “lock a bike here.”

We chose Mangaris/Red Balau for the wood because we wanted a material that would invoke the dense tropical hardwoods often used for decorative wood-ware and also stand up to years of use. We also decided not to put a finish on the wood opting instead to let it age naturally to a silver gray. The comb is built up of three layers and has a rigid handle/spine with grain running the long direction and mortised teeth going transverse. We used a combination of waterproof polyurethane glue/ marine epoxy to lock it together. It is built to last, either while securely holding bikes or if Gulliver were to wrest it loose and use it to adjust his coif.”

Images courtesy of the Knowhow Shop.

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