“The major difference between modern and 18th century techniques is the level of labor required to build furniture. Obviously, everything is done by hand,”
“It’s all powered by either your legs or your arms. As far as 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 things throughout the year, not just Windsor chairs. I am working in a modest 2000 sq. ft. where I use a mix of modern electrically powered tools. (jointers, planer, drill presses and thickness planer) and hand tools.
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 this means to me is, even if I put something through a modern piece of equipment, then I further refine it at the bench with hand tools. Therefore, every piece of furniture I build in the shop is being worked by hand in some way. Some use the term “Bench built” which I feel defines the style of work that I do.
Electric Tools vs Hand Tools
When I am at a craft or market fair selling my work I dress in period clothing and demonstrate some aspect of 18th century woodworking. The question I am asked, Is this 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.