There’s something elemental about wood. It can be structural; it can be shaped to a form that offers both utility and beauty, and the very quality that gives it structural strength – the fibers, like flower stems in a child’s fist – also give wood its internal beauty. Heart wood, the older fibers in the center, gives a deciduous tree its strength. Sap wood on the other hand, gives a tree life, channeling water and nutrients from the roots and sap from the leaves. In many trees there is a beautiful contrast in color between the heart wood and sap wood.
A Furniture Ethic
Furniture built by your local artisan of locally harvested urban lumber is a gift to future generations.
A Furniture Aesthetic
It’s the nature of wood itself that informs my aesthetic vision.
I love the combination of walnut and maple. This bed mixes the two in a frame-and-panel construction, with birds-eye maple panels.
Gustav Stickley Writing Desk No. 708
Traditional Mission-style writing desk in quartersawn oak.
Display shelf in quartersawn white oak with walnut accents. Finished in blonde shellac.
A serving tray of quartersawn oak with dovetailed sides.
Arts and Crafts Night Stands
I built these night stands as a learning project, under my father’s guidance.
A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.”
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Consider the poem “The Woodcarver“, by Chuang Tzu, a Chinese Taoist in the 4th century BCE. Chuang writes of a master carver, Khing, who is commissioned by a prince to create a bell stand. Khing fasts for several days to set aside his emotional attachment, and then goes out to the forest, thinking only of the object he is to create. When he is able to envision the bell stand within the tree, he is ready to begin.
In the end it is only the wood and the worker. What tools one brings to bear are important for the results they produce. I cannot claim that a dovetail saw and chisels are better than a router with a dovetail jig for cutting dovetail joints – only that with my dovetail saw and chisels, the results I achieve please me and leave me with the urge to cut more dovetails.