Flow Tongs

This project deals with the methodologies for the generation of forms with complex transitional surfaces. The goal was to create two wooden forms that act as salad tongs.



I began with some freeform sketching of silhouettes—I tried to explore a breadth of dynamic shapes while remaining considerate of ways the hand could comfortably grip the form. I then started to refine them by drawing  inside the confines of the 10" x 1.875" x 3.25" wood block profiles. 


For my first iteration in modeling foam, I chose a the following design; I felt it had an energy to it, yet was still simple enough to constitute a "flow form". I made the four cuts  indicated in the template using a bandsaw, and then sanded the form smooth. For this iteration, I held off on doing any secondary shaping. 


After receiving feedback that the shape of the handle was too ambiguous, I responded first by seeing how I could use secondary shaping to improve the form. I removed some of the material from the main bulge of the handle, opening up space in the middle. This allowed the hand to curl into a grip more naturally.  


Moving forward with the information I learned from the previous model, I returned to doing loose sketches of profiles. Returning to this exercise with new insight about my form yielded interesting results. 


I settled on the above design for my next iteration. The handle of this form is longer, slimmer, and better indicates to the user how to hold it. I continued to make adjustments even after putting the template onto the foam block, and then made the model below. 



For my final foam model, I sought to push the dynamic qualities of the design just a little further. I gave the blade more area, and lengthened the handle by making it curve more dramatically. I also made the side profile much thicker, so I could sand the blade down to be at an angle to the handle. Finally, I added secondary shaping, making the upper inside edge of the handle transition into the top of the blade—this was an important addition, as it marked a clear landing point for the thumb and furthered the aesthetic qualities of the design. 


Before making the tongs out of wood, I did some final sketching of the form and visualized the steps of the fabrication process.



I began by laser-cutting my final templates on acrylic, and then tracing them on the wood blocks. Once again, I made the four cuts on the bandsaw, and then used a disc sander and spindle sander to shape the forms. Along the way, I added a new edge to the inside of the handle that resolved any remaining ambiguity about where the pointer finger was supposed to land. After refining a few other curves and transitions, I finished with some hand sanding to smooth out the surface. 



The final objects emphasize functionality through their form and fit in the hand. They communicate intended use effectively, and have a cohesive visual language that flows well.