“The major difference between modern and 18th century techniques is the level of labor required to build furniture. Obviously, everything is done by hand,” he said of the old methods. “It’s all powered by either your legs or your arms. The chairs — I do everything by hand to make those.”
I handcraft my Windsor chairs using traditional methods just as the chairmakers of two centuries ago, but I am also building a lot of different thing throughout the year, not just Windsor chairs. I am working in a modest 2000 sq. ft. shop with modern electrically powered tools. (jointers, planer, drill press and thickness planer) My philosophy on building furniture has always been to use the modern equipment to speed up the process of building furniture. This allows me to keep the price as reasonable as possible without sacrificing the “handmade” look of the piece. What that means to me is, even if something is put through a modern piece of equipment it is then further refined at the bench with hand tools. Therefore, every piece of furniture that goes out of the shop is being hand worked in some way. Some use the term “Bench built” which I feel defines the style of work that I do.
When I am at a craft or market fair selling my work I am always dressed in period clothing demonstrating some aspect of 18th century woodworking. The question always arises, is this is how everything is made? So to clarify, no, not exactly, but I spend a lot of time in my shop without hearing the hum of the modern equipment!
I enjoy what I do and take great pride in producing these reproductions of America’s past. Enjoy the web site and I look forward to building an heirloom “Bench built” piece for you.