One of the things I enjoy about visiting my father in Charleston, S.C., is you are always walking distance from stunning furniture from all over the world and across several centuries.
I spent this morning collecting images, details and dimensions for my next book and stumbled into a store I’d never been in before. It specializes in furniture from the West and East Indies – specifically campaign furniture.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved campaign furniture – my grandparents had several pieces – and I’ve always wondered why it wasn’t a popular style among woodworkers. It’s manly, simple, robust and (generally) well proportioned.
The store’s owner has been importing it into Charleston for about 15 years and showed me a lot of construction details I hadn’t yet considered, such as how examples that used teak as a secondary wood were much more likely to be the real deal. Teak is quite bug-resistant. Dovetail joinery that didn’t rely on hide glue was a good thing because of the wetness, heat and bugs that would eat the hide glue.
If someone else doesn’t pick up this idea and run with it, campaign furniture might be a book in my future. Earlier this year I proposed a campaign chest project to Popular Woodworking Magazine – I haven’t gotten a “yes” or “no” yet. Perhaps these photos will sway Megan.
— Christopher Schwarz