For over two decades I've been answering the same question from people who've just found out I make furniture for a living: "What kind of furniture do you make?" Early in my career I would serve up some complicated combination of terms like "Mission-style, Asian-inspired, Mackintosh, geometric, Greene and Greene, honesty in materials and construction, Stickley, old-world techniques, blah blah blah."
But now -- partly because of the glazed-eye reactions I would get to that answer, but more so because somewhere along the way I think I found my own voice as a furniture maker -- I simply say, "I make furniture that looks right, functions well, and lasts forever. Or at least I try to." This usually makes them happier.
Deciding what to make and how to make it has gotten much simpler in my many years of doing this. I've learned what works and what doesn't work, what looks right and what doesn't look right, what lasts and what doesn't last. I've learned to get my ego out of the way and let the furniture lead, to let it tell me what it needs every step of the way.
Wherever possible (and appropriate) I use centuries-old wood joinery techniques. Not because they are romantic, but because they are almost always the strongest and longest-lasting option for joining two pieces of wood. This is why they are centuries old. The best joints don't rely on metal fasteners, or even glue (although I do use these as a bit of extra insurance in places). The best joints -- the ones that will still be holding together centuries from now -- are simply made of wood that's been shaped to fit tightly into other wood. They are joints that understand the demands of function and atmosphere over vast amounts of time. They are joints that ensure us who use them that we will never need to return to a piece to repair it.
I've now crafted over fifty original pieces which live in over thirty homes and offices, in sixteen states across the country. I've only ever had one piece of furniture come back to me with an issue, which was easily solved. This track record helps me sleep easily at night, knowing that the things I've put out there will last. And sleeping well is a perk that's worth every bit of extra effort it takes to get it right.
As you can see, I have a lot to say about the furniture I make. I'd love to tell you more. Let's talk.