A year in the making, from initial consultation to delivery, this privately commissioned piece was a joy to craft. Designed in the clean, spare silhouette of mid-century modern style, I incorporated exposed dovetail joinery at the corners of the case and solid wood frame and panel backs for both the sideboard and hutch. Taking great pains to provide a perfectly grain-matched front, I cut all drawer fronts, rails, stiles and panels from a single plank. Perhaps the most unique feature of this design is the drawer- and door pulls. Leaving the drawer fronts and door rails over an inch thick, I hand carved the pulls, gradually removing stock from around and inside the pulls to produce a truly sculpted look. Discreet solid brass knife hinges offer full access to the adjustable panels behind the doors. The top drawer in the sideboard featured an adjustable silverware tray.
It is always a joy to complete a commission and deliver it to its home. Seeing a piece I labored over find its proper place, is one of those rewarding experiences reserved for the small furniture making shops. Larger companies have others to deliver and set-up their work and the connection between maker and customer is diminished. Pictured here is a Pencil Post Bed crafted in Black Cherry. Dry mortise and tenon joints are fastened by bed bolts with brass covers, providing unshakable strength at its corners. Tapered faceted posts, curving headboard and a White Ash mattress support system will provide decades of satisfied use. Finished with my signature hand-rubbed Linseed Oil, Tung Oil and Beeswax mix.
The customer writes: “Every time I walk into my bedroom I think, what a beautiful bed and how beautiful the bed has made the room. So thank you for all your skill and hard work. It really is a breathtaking creation.”
A few months ago, The Chronicle Herald ran an article describing my approach to furniture making. On the web edition, I noticed a healthy debate that was posted in the ‘comments’ section. It had to do with the cost of my hand-crafted solid wood furniture. Each of us has, of course, our own method of measuring value. Often, the price is the first factor we consider when making an appraisal of material things but we recognize that there are factors that frequently transcend the outright cost: desire, expectations and utility to name a few. If one’s only motive is to buy a chair to sit on and short term cost is most important, then my offerings will likely go unconsidered and might even be derided as ‘only for rich people.’
However, if you are interested in natural beauty, environmental stewardship, fad-transcendent style and integrity of construction, then you will recognize the true value of my work. When I think of my customers, none are super rich- many save in order to commission a piece every few years- but all have a highly developed sense of what constitutes real value. They recognize that a few pieces of furniture, well-designed and lovingly crafted by skilled local hands specifically for them, make a better living space. They know pieces that celebrate natural materials, and the work of the human hand often affect us deeply, including the children who grow up in their presence, their aesthetic values formed early in an environment of respect and quality.
I urge all who are contemplating a furniture purchase to think twice of the real cost that is often attached to ‘affordable’ pieces.
We’re very proud of our latest creation. This sleek dresser features hand-cut dovetailed corners on its case and drawers. Grain-matched drawer fronts highlight the growth patterns and rich color of American Black Cherry. A customer-requested feature are the glass drawer pulls set into hand-carved recesses. The sculpted legs add a subtle sensuality to an otherwise austere design. Our hand-rubbed pure oil and beeswax finish imparts a beautiful antique glow that will only improve with age. Like all our case goods, this dresser has a solid wood frame and panel back.
I was approached by a family last spring looking for a six-drawer dresser. They had a photo of a piece they liked and asked if I could duplicate it. I could of course, but suggested that I design something specially for them. The original photo showed the drawer pulls set into a routed circular indentation. I designed theirs with a hand-carved one instead, something they could never order from a mass-produced source. Here you see the carving in progress. We will post photos of the finished dresser in a few weeks.
We have added photos of the recently crafted J-Class Executive chairs to our Gallery page and to this posting as a preview. They are crafted from Mahogany and Ash and are a fitting smaller version of our award-winning J-Class Lounge Chair; surprisingly comfortable, tastefully proportioned and balanced, and meticulously crafted. We hope you enjoy viewing them and would be pleased to discuss a commission of your own.
We are currently finishing a small run of what we are calling our J-Class Executive Chair. Photography will shortly take place and we will post the images to our Gallery page. Later, we will be adding images of our J-Class University Chair. We have greatly enjoyed designing and crafting these chairs for specific customer requests and are confident you will enjoy seeing them, and perhaps in time even ordering a few of your own.