November 11, 2020

Understanding the Arts and Crafts “Style”

What is the Arts and Crafts “style?” I often hear that question. Rightfully so, that question is often followed by another query about different pieces of Arts and Crafts furniture looking quite different from one another; and that is a perfectly fair assessment, as I’ll illustrate later in this post. But before I jump into proving those folks right, let’s put this in perspective. That is before you can understand the arts & crafts style; you have to understand some things about the arts & crafts movement. That understanding begins with understanding the movement’s tenets.

March 26, 2014

Evolution of Design: An Update

Again, I’ve fallen into the habit of working in the shop and doing little blogging. So here’s another update on how the Stickley Double Costumer inspired coat tree is progressing. Since my first post, we’ve been working on creating prototypes of the two major components of this piece — the feet and the posts. First, let’s talk about the feet.

November 28, 2013

Ready, Set, DESIGN!!!

Designing is one of the most fulfilling aspects of making furniture. It allows you to have an influence on the furniture’s look and feel, as well as the dimensions and functionality. Yet, from a learning or skill-development perspective, it is also one of the most elusive elements of furniture making to understand, let alone master. If you challenge me to design on command (Ready, Set, DESIGN!) I can’t necessarily create a great design the way I can perform a specific skill— say cutting a set of dovetails, or building a drawer. In my mind, that’s because successful design requires inspiration, creativity, and epiphanies. And those elements are a bit esoteric and don’t easily lend themselves to being taught or practiced into existence.

March 31, 2009

Wood Magazine’s Jim Heavey

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hanging-out with Wood Magazine’s Jim Heavey. I first met Jim Thursday night-he was the headliner at the Washington Woodworkers Guild of the National Capital Area’s monthly meeting. Jim gave an excellent talk on how to select, apply, and care for finishes. To his credit, Jim is one of those rare speakers who can walk into a room full of woodworkers with no slides or visual aids– just a couple of finish samples, and keep a crowd captivated, and on their seat edges all night long; which is exactly what he did.