Ilan Dei Studio

Strategies for Furniture making with digital fabricationIlanDei_PortraitShortly after moving to the United States from Israel in 1986 I began studying with master Japanese woodworker Kai Ito in New York. Ito provided a lasting influence on my work, teaching me the significance and beauty of working with my hands using age-old Japanese techniques. As I continued to seek out inspiration from other cultures, I traveled to California and worked with many cutting edge Architects in the early nineties that defined Modern design at that time (such as Frank Gehry and Eric Lloyd Wright to name few). Through those experiences I have learned the value of cross pollinating cultures, styles and skills.

With a studio featuring five strong and successful disciplines that enhance and complement each another, I created a business model that is as complex and creative as any of the products I design and build. I crafted a vertically integrated menu of services that consists of five disciplines: Interior Design, Fabrication/Research, our own brand of Products, Licensing and Education.

When I got my first shopbot it was part of an experiment with designing and integrating cell manufacturing for a very large furniture company that no longer exists. In doing so I realized that what could be good for large company is a must for a small shop to survive in the future. Plus the technology was affordable for an operation at my scale.

I realized I had more control of what I could design on the computer, then what I could build with my hands. ShopBot offered opportunities for growth, as well as a creative freedom and a competitive edge for a small growing studio.


In this blog I want to lay out an approach for maximizing the potential of a wood shop, or small design/build studio. By combining Rhino modeling software, which allows for precision modeling, with Part Wizard and ShopBot, I can demonstrate traditional furniture making on steroids. This will entail a streamlined process that includes nesting, joint making and relief curving for one single chair, and equally important, how to build jigs, with your ShopBot, for production aids with traditional wood working tools.