Like having enough fiber in your diet, woodworkers (me included) can benefit from regular exposure to lots and lots of antique furniture.
Looking at overall forms (nice and awkward) and construction details (typical and far out) will help train your eye when it comes to executing designs. It also will inoculate you against silly statements in magazines, books and on the Internet about what constitutes real craftsmanship.
But what if you live in a place where antiques are rare? Or you just don’t get out much?
Thankfully there is the new blog “The Furniture Record” written by Mark Firley. Though his blog has been up since only November, for several years Mark has collected thousands of photos of furniture during his travels and shared them on Flickr with friends.
Now, thanks to the blog, Mark is sharing these photos with everyone. Most of the posts point back to large Flickr sets for you to explore.
While Mark lives in North Carolina, he does a lot of traveling (Russia?). Everywhere he goes he visits antique stores and fills his iPhone with photos of the outsides (and insides) of the pieces he encounters.
He is a bit obsessed with dovetails, so you will see tons of photos of how they were laid out and executed on pieces.
I highly recommend adding “The Furniture Record” to your RSS feed or bookmark list. Firley’s photos have definitely improved my design eye, and they have settled many arguments about what “real” furniture is like.
— Christopher Schwarz