Thinking about furniture and the wood that goes into it.
Lately it seems much of my free time is spent thinking about woodworking. Case in point: I was playing golf with some friends about a week ago and found myself far off of the fairway where I was supposed to be, and instead, next to an old dead oak tree. With not much more than a shell of its former grandeur, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the mass this tree once occupied. Even as it stood with only 8’-10’ feet remaining, it had to be at least 5-6 feet in diameter – or about as wide as the golf cart was long.
Although it was probably dead for at least a decade, it must have lived for at least 200-250 years, judging its size. It was without a doubt the largest tree I have ever encountered. I wondered if it had fallen in a storm, or was consumed by disease of some sort. Perhaps, once felled, a local furniture maker or sawyer was able to cut up pieces of this oak into usable boards, now living on in the form of a table, chairs, buffet or some other massive piece in a home. Taking a quick picture of this tree, I resumed play with my foursome.
Upon further reflection, I considered my craft of furniture making and the time it takes to make something truly special, something that will stand the test of time and future generations of children, adults and movers. Much like the tree that continued to have a presence and make an impression of those passing by, I believe that building furniture can achieve something similar to this. Handcrafted furniture, or any craft for that matter, leaves something behind that outlasts its creator. The utilitarian practicality inherent within the craft of furniture making makes it not only beautiful (most of the time) to look at, but also a pleasure for others to enjoy and use in their lives. Passing this on to future generations makes it that much more enjoyable and satisfying.
Sharing the Passion with like minded enthusiasts…
Next month, on August 14-16, the Woodworking in America Conference will be held in St. Charles, IL. I’ll be fortunate enough to attend the show with Gorilla Glue and look forward to speaking with plenty of woodworkers, designers and businessmen who have found a similar calling to the work bench. I’ll be spending some time in the classes as well as conducting a bunch of glue-up demos at the Gorilla Glue booth. Feel free to stop by and say hello.
I hope to learn as much as I can over the weekend, and will likely gain a greater understanding of why I am so passionate about building furniture. Perhaps it is an unspoken secret amongst us “lumberjocks” that only we know why we love our craft the way we do. But I know I won’t be the only one with that sentiment of passion, joy and allure of the craft and the legacy it creates for all of us.
-- Andy Brownell