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Blog entry by frank posted 03-31-2008 02:37 PM 940 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

—-a study in the cross cultural texture of ‘wood art’. how proud are you of your underside?

I still remember the time I was in a well known and famous gallery owner’s showroom over in the upstate region of … ...., looking at some of the furniture on display. Well next thing I know as I’m down on my hands and knees is a loud display of noise as this person let me know that I was on the verge of being asked to leave or ‘to be removed’ as I was violating some unwritten form of conduct that says; “you can look at my top-side, but don’t look a my under-side.”

I have all-ready in the past here did a blog story on; How's Your Underside Looking...., but I think I will update and write some more thoughts on this subject soon. And remember, if your ‘under-side’ is not matching the quality of your ‘top-side’, according to workmanship and finishing….then you have all-ready lost.

Two important points of perspective that I have come to learn are, when you are showing a piece of wood as ‘wood art’:

1.) Folks are going to want to touch and stroke that piece of wood and if your wood is not up to this, then you are going to be ‘effected’ by the results you get when they sharply pull away their hand from your work. That hand of the customer is only an extension of their mind and what is incorporated in their mind is the image of how your wood art should feel. You did not tell them how your wood should feel and that definition of how the wood should feel is one that they themselves wrote in over a time of past experiences of touching wood. And make no mistake, if you do not allow your wood art to be touched by their hands of flesh, you the artist have already lost. If you have ever watched the hand that goes to seeking out a piece of wood and then watch that hand sharply drawn back in the ‘effect’ of disgust at not being smooth, then you will also know the sinking feeling that follows in the pit of your stomach. To the artist who presents smooth wood to the customer, that artist will watch in amazement as the public is drawn to the touch, feel and stroke of the wood as he knows that he is ‘the causer’ of this moment. The good news is that this is one way ‘to cause’ an art sale!

2.) Folks are going to want to see, touch, feel and inspect the underside of your piece of art. I have watched folks get down on their hands and knees at shows so that they can look at the underside. If your piece on the underside does not match or excel in quality of work as to your topside, then once again you are the loser who has succumbed to the ‘effect’ of being found as not being prepared for the quality of situation!

3.) Knowing how to ‘finish’ is just as important as knowing how to ‘build’ and as a matter of fact their is no-separation. In the world of gallery shows and fine furniture, your piece of wood might look good, but if it is not shouting/screaming out to be touched and stroked….you have failed in the art of finishing. So often when it comes time for me to describe how I sand a piece of wood and start talking numbers that go larger than #220, folks will not understand when I say that the smallest of fine grit you can stop at is #1000….

Well more on this subject soon….

I also apologize for some of the missing photos in some of my blog stories….just noticed now that one hosting site I use often here, is in ‘intermission’ so those photos are off the web at the moment. These on this story are being hosted by Flickr and it seems that I may start using more of Flickr and an-other hosting site also, as I really have so many photos all over the web. Please give me some ‘grace’ and I will straighten this out over the coming weeks….and,

Thank you.

”.... work smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood….”

-- --frank, NH,

4 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#1 posted 03-31-2008 04:12 PM

I remembered your first blog on this topic. Made sense to me then and makes sense to me now.
quality is quality—not hidden crap.

Thanks Frank

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dooley's profile


85 posts in 3747 days

#2 posted 03-31-2008 06:53 PM

Yes, I would like to know a bit more about your ‘grit’. Could agree with you more.

-- Dooley

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3939 days

#3 posted 03-31-2008 09:37 PM

I remember some time ago I was looking at some furniture in a store and after a few moments the salesman came up to me and immediately asked “How long have you been building furniture?” I was surprised by his astuteness but apparently what gave it away was that I had removed the drawers and was looking at the back of them. He said most people wouldn’t bother to look at furniture the way I was looking at it.

I’d say when producing an art piece or a piece of furniture (is there a difference?) then everything is fair game and all of it should be available for experiencing and all of it should be treated with the same attention to detail, quality and workmanship. You wouldn’t expect a statue to only have 1 good side, now, would you?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4231 days

#4 posted 04-02-2008 01:14 PM

—-well I missed a day in replying here, but will see about giving some more thoughts on this soon.

Lets see now....
1.)—-the difference between sanding and polishing and….
2.)—-how that relates to your ‘level of grit’....
3.)—-the importance of tack cloths and why I never finish a piece without them….
4.)—-the difference between oils….and some of those other’s….
5.)—-some brushes that I use and yes, you might be surprised….
6.)—-spontaneous combustion and proper disposal of your rags….
7.)—-the time factor involved, like did you//do you understand that a good finish may require more effort then the time you put into building the piece….
8.)—-rubbing out and polishing….
9.)—-the beauty of and durability of shellac….
10.)—-there is no-secret in achieving a good finish, no-lost art, you don’t have to understand alchemy….
11.)—-the need for making and saving test pieces….
12.)—-you will need patience, a willingness to learn and possibly forget all that you have all-ready (thought) you learned….
13.)—-and if #12 is too much for you, then you can all-ways ship your project to me for a charge and I will finish the piece for you….
14.)—-and all the many more to come….

Not sure how all this will work out or the level to commit, but will see what happens….and,

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

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