Award winning furniture designer and maker

13th March, 2014

Author: Festool Marketing Team

Laura McCusker - International award winning furniture designer and maker

Laura McCusker is an international award winning furniture designer and maker based in Hobart, Tasmania. She has been making furniture and running her own business for 16 years and during this time she has developed a diverse clientele, has exhibited in solo and group shows, has received some great media coverage (including TV, radio and print) and has won a number of awards for her design. Her husband Peter joined the business almost two years ago and they now work together full-time as designers/makers.

Laura bought her first Festool track saw during one of her first installation jobs about 15 years ago. She went for Festo as she was familiar with the tools from her time as apprentice. “The Festo machine was more expensive than the other brands out there but at the time I was focussed on getting the job done well and quickly (and didn’t want to have to repair any MORE mistakes!) and so I went with the ATF 55. It is still one of my most used and reliable tools in my kit, and if I’m honest, it does have a certain sentimental value, having got me over the line on that initial job!”

Laura’s work is wonderfully varied and in this article, we’ll focus on her project for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery:

“In the middle of 2012 I was approached, along with a number of other local designers, by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) to submit designs for gallery seating to be included as part of their multiple-million dollar redevelopment and refurbishment. It was an honour to be asked and even more of an honour to have two of the designs I submitted selected as those that would be used when the museum was reopened to the public in early 2013.

We named the two benches for this project Civic and I-Beam and the commission was for 17 of the former and nine of the latter. This was a pretty big undertaking for the two of us in a workshop with fairly limited space and we did consider taking on at least an extra person to help handle the workload, but ultimately we decided we could manage it on our own.

Before we started we made sure that our equipment was up to scratch which meant stocking up on a variety of Festool products. We were already pretty well provided for in this regard but as anyone who uses Festool will tell you, there is always an excuse for more!

The number one piece of equipment that we knew we would use was the Domino DF 500 but we made sure we had a back-up fresh cutter as well as the approximately 1500 Dominos we would need for joining the Tas Oak stock we would be using on the project.  We backed up our existing ES 150 sander with plenty of new discs and we also invested in a new BS 105 belt sander which we knew would make the finishing process a whole lot easier.

The project was tough on all our machines with a lot ripping, docking and machining of large gauge sections of timber but they all held up well.  We joined all the sections with dominos, before cutting down and trimming with the TS 55 saw and the OF 1400 router, then finishing with the belt sander and the orbital. Festool systems were essential to the ease of execution and success of this project and we are always very quick to credit them whenever we talk to people about the job.  Our relationship with the Festool range is certainly one that will span our working lives!

The outcome of this was two products which have received a huge amount of praise and sit beautifully in the new surrounds. We are proud to have been part of this process and proud again that our pieces may be part of TMAG for many years to come.”

For further information about Laura’s work, you can visit her website.


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