The Urban Woodshop of Gal Tel Vardi

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The young girl in training.

I met Gal Tel Vardi about fifteen years ago when I spent a semester as a visiting lecturer at Shenkar College of Design. Gal (“Wave” in Hebrew) was the head of the advanced fabrication workshop, overseeing (among other things) the laser cutting machines, rapid prototyping, and CNC machines that helped our students execute their prototype ideas more quickly and with greater precision.

Gal spent time in Norway building a unique wooden frame structure meant for drying fish.

My mission as a professor of furniture design and woodworking was to teach our students how to master the “old world” woodworking tools and techniques, from the safe use of bandsaws to the correct handling of a chisel. Gal, on the other hand, was positioned at the other end of the tech spectrum, dealing with screens, computer programs, and algorithms. So when I visited his workshop for the first time, I expected to meet a modernist tech fanatic who doesn’t know or care about traditional woodworking, let alone the history of furniture design. But boy, was I wrong.

During our first conversion, I learned that Gal had graduated from some prestigious furniture manufacturing certification programs (in France and Switzerland) and was lucky enough to be an apprentice under the guidance of some acclaimed manufacturers. His training included inlay, veneer, traditional carpentry and carcass design, as well as relief carving and wood preservation techniques. The person I met was a true Renaissance man who housed a sea of ​​knowledge ranging from ancient woodworking to the most recent achievements of our field.

Girl sitting in front of a door reconstruction project in Tel Aviv. Gal is a great restorer of furniture and carpentry work.

Sometimes Gal works on large-scale reconstruction projects. This gate was originally built for a gate in old Tel Aviv. Gal rebuilt the falling gate trying to adhere as closely as possible to the original design and details.

Gal is a disciple of the European woodworking tradition. His training included inlay, veneer, traditional carpentry and carcass design, as well as relief carving and wood preservation techniques.

Gal is also a French polishing expert.

After returning to Israel from Europe, he devoted his time to furniture restoration, teaching and lecturing on furniture design and history, and finally founding the rapid prototyping workshop in Shenkar.

Gal built this office years ago. Career all the signs of his unique style or original work.

One of Gal’s restoration projects was an old Art Deco radio. The old wooden box radio was in poor condition. Two of the four Bakelite knobs were missing and the speaker screen was deteriorating. Gal had to make new knobs and recreate the screen.

Like most Israelis, he lives in a small apartment. His condominium is located on the Mediterranean border of Tel Aviv, a few hundred meters from the waves. In order to be as close to his work as possible, he decided that his apartment can also serve as a surfboard studio and storage (Gal is an avid surfer). Call it a design workshop, home studio or Urban Woodshop, Gal’s apartment is a place that allows him to generate his dreams and ideas and create small to medium sized furniture and more.

Below, you can see and read about his Urban Woodshop, his projects, and how he negotiates life and work in the same space. Gal’s special solution may not work for everyone, but if you can’t justify renting a dedicated studio space, you should definitely take some ideas from this talented Israeli artist.

This is the condominium of Gal, a few hundred meters from the Mediterranean sea.

Girl in her living room / urban carpentry.

His current project is a small Northern / Central European style workbench. Once completed, the bench will be the centerpiece of his living room.

Set off for his new workbench.

Gal hand-forged aromatic herbs in Galilee and made us an extraordinary tea.

Until his new workbench is completed, he uses a butcher’s table as a temporary submarine. He built this piece many years ago.

Surfboards in the living room / home shop. Gal’s dining table is often used as an auxiliary table for stocks and projects.

Bar and F-clamps on display in harmony with a bookcase. These massive bar clamps and sturdy F-clamps were manufactured in Israel by the HaKHoret Clamp Company. Unfortunately, with the changing tides of trade, consumption and the plague of hyper globalism, this company has ceased its clamping operations.

Books and planes on the same shelf … why not?

French carpentry books.

Study in carving.

A detail hanging from the surfboard.

A container for wood waste.

Tools and a grinder.

Gal’s workbench design plus a 3D view of his next project.


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