Chop, Chip

There are several different jobs I have to do in building furniture that make me uneasy. I am afraid, I guess, that someone will come up and tell me that I can step aside now; the real woodworkers are here. This happens most often when I’m doing handwork. I made a decision when I started that I’d use electrically run tools anywhere I could. I decided this because it is a way for me to keep my prices down. It also means that I have to become very precise with them. I’ve, for instance, taught myself to run a palm router along a straight or curvy line.

The work you see in this picture is just a matter of hacking out a rectangular space to hold a leg into the seat of a chair. I have, however, seen the work of a carver, David Esterly, who was hired by the British government to replace some 18th century carvings that were done by Grinling Gibbons. The latter has few peers in the area of carving. Esterly passed away a few years ago with Lou Gehrig’s Syndrome. This was a hard way to go for a man with such a masterful touch.

Knowing that kind of work is out there is a humbling experience. So, here I go: chop, chip.

See Bourgeois Furniture at Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, WV and Capon Springs, WV at Bent River Trading Company.