is to craft and place
heirlooms with a fervor for sustainability, using skills threatened with extinction. My enterprise is fueled by the increasing supply of
expired Red Oak and Walnut trees.
My chairs are created from the strongest unit of wood one can get from a tree, the riving. Rivings are rendered from the stem of the tree by splitting with wedges. The riving process defines the grain and reveals the essence of the tree. The pieces of wood produced thus are riven. The rivings are matched and oriented according to design requirements of the structure.
At times, one can find matching growth rings in each of the four legs. In the process, wood is worked green. Green wood yields to the wedge more predictably and shaves easier. Ring porous hardwoods (Oak and Walnut) have shrinking properties which are used to advantage. The rungs are shaved and dried before shaping the tenon and inserting it into the mortise in the green post.
The wood is finished with multiple coats of resin oil and hand rubbed. Chair parts are shaved to shape with drawknife and spokeshave while held with a lever device called a shaving horse. Some parts are steamed and bent to a shape that provides comfort. By changing size and shape of members, individualized ergonomic performance results. I have devised simple tools to expedite the work and waste less material while using the same essential methods employed by the Shakers 150 years ago. The seats are woven strips of inner bark of hickory. Bark is harvested in the spring when the sap is flowing. It is cut into strips and the rough outer shaven away. I offer the public the opportunity to glorify their sitting reality.