One of the reasons I first became consumed by woodworking was the American Art & Crafts movement. Though I rarely build Arts & Crafts pieces anymore, I fell in love with the joinery and the oak about 1990 when a neighbor let me sit in his Morris chair.
I started collecting pieces, but there was only so much antique furniture you can buy on a $16,600 annual salary at a newspaper.
So I started building it.
The Arts & Crafts style was my gateway into the craft, and I’ll always be grateful for it opening the door into other furniture styles, especially Welsh chairs and the real early stuff I’m building now for “The Furniture of Necessity.” Some of these pieces remind me of looking under rocks at Wildcat Mountain Lake in Arkansas. If the creepy guys in the bathrooms didn’t get you, the copperheads might.
Like this aumbry I’m building this week. Some of it is so unfamiliar it’s just weird and difficult to see the pitfalls ahead. Like mortising into the edge of 12”-wide oak. That’s an odd feeling. And then discovering that the mortises graze the crease mouldings on the stiles. I didn’t see that coming.
Other stuff is just new territory for me. Cutting the crease moulding on the top rail felt weird – it was going to terminate abruptly on the stiles. Yet when the joints went together, the shop lights were off and it looked good – like a moulded apron between table legs.
Tomorrow I start the pierced carvings on the stiles. I’m not looking forward to doing it in dry oak, but that’s what I’ve got.
— Christopher Schwarz