Interview with Peter Sandback
Concrete tables, huh? We adore them, but how did you decide to go into this line of business?I studied sculpture in school and found it a difficult way to make a living. I started by making concrete counters for a client that need cheap counters. I liked the material and soon started to make big heavy tables. My wife and I decided to move from San Francisco to rural New Hampshire to raise a family, so I had to figure out a way to make tables from concrete that could be easily shipped. That is when I worked out this process of casting a veneer of concrete around a lightweight core.
How long have you been doing this?
Almost 15 years
How long does each piece take to make? What is the process like?
I make 5 part molds for each piece. The concrete is poured into the mold and then vibrated. A big piece of foam is then carefully pushed down into the concrete while the whole thing vibrates. After the piece is dry, the mold is removed and the concrete is sanded and washed. It dries again and is then clear coated. If everything goes well it doesn’t take all that long, but it doesn’t always go well.
If not concrete, what material would you consider using to make tables?
Probably just plain old wood
Favorite music to listen to while working?
How would you describe a typical work day?
I wear a lot of hats here at work, so the work day varies a lot. It always starts early. I pack my 3 daughter’s lunches, I drive down the road to the shop, feed the chickens and check the gopher trap in the garden. Sharpen the pencils, take a nap. It is usually about 2 hours of office work and 8 hours of actually making furniture.
Any funny stories from behind the scenes you’d care to share? We sure like to laugh…
My daughter Jane Ann (7) chews gum, dries it in my kiln, paints it gold and makes jewelry out of it. She makes barretts which make you look like you have golden gum in your hair. That is really our best product here.
Who inspires you?