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About the Artist
I design and build hardwood furniture inspired by Shaker designs with a reverence for the trees and forests which produce the wood. My work is quiet, warm, and meant to be used in everyday life for generations. The beauty lies in the clean lines, thoughtful use of wood grain, and graceful proportions. I employ furniture-making techniques that have been in use for hundreds of years. Each piece is built one at a time and starts with carefully hand-selecting the finest lumber for the most beautiful color and grain. This is one of the most important parts of the building process. After the wood acclimates to the relative humidity in my shop for a few days, I begin the milling process to produce flat and square material with which to begin building. At this phase, I identify which parts are best for each part of the piece. For example, in a side table, the boards for the top are selected for the most beautiful grain and match. The legs need to have straight and vertical grain so as to stay straight and not to distract the eye. I aim for the four aprons, which are the horizontal pieces that join the legs, to have continuous grain. Finally, the drawer front and box pieces need to be straight riftsawn or quartersawn grain so that they will fit in the drawer pocket precisely but without swelling and seizing in humid weather.
Thoughtful grain selection is critical to building a well-composed piece. In my wall cabinet, the four pieces that make up the case are cut consecutively from the same board. That keeps the grain continuous at each corner. The case is joined with dovetails cut with a hand saw and chisel. The wedge shape of the dovetail resists the forces of gravity to pull the corners apart. The horizontal pieces that separate the drawers are dovetailed to the sides to prevent the sides from bowing out. The door panel is the focus of the piece and is chosen for its beautiful grain. It floats without glue in a groove in the frame to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction of the wood across the grain. The door frame parts have straight grain so as to not distract from the panel. The drawer fronts also have riftsawn, or straight grain, which is more resistant to seasonal movement so that the drawer will not stick in humid weather.
I use sustainably harvested hardwood lumber which grows in Eastern forests within a few hours from my shop. I primarily use cherry, walnut, white oak, maple, and ash. Cherry is my favorite for its color, grain, workability, and abundance. There are no other hardwood species that ages as gracefully as black cherry. Freshly sawn, it is salmon pink, but within the first few months and years it takes on a deep reddish-brown with a depth like no other wood. I finish my work with a natural oil finish hand-rubbed to produce a satin luster. This is a labor-intensive process that results in depth and richness unmatched by a surface finish. It is also best for the health of my clients, myself, and the environment. I build furniture to last longer than the trees which produce the wood with timeless designs which never go out of style. Lives and works in Springfield, VA.