Down the Rabbit Hole

Here we go, a blog about furniture.  Zzzzzzz……

So why am I doing this?  Not quite sure really but it seems to be the thing to do these days.

I’ve become more and more fascinated with making furniture.  When you do that you have to make choices…what form, period and means of construction.  I’ve been evolving.  Soon after we bought our first house I wanted to fill it with “Mission” or Arts & Crafts furniture.  I convinced my wife, “this will be cheaper than buying stuff at the store”.  Ha!  I did make simple mission stuff for a while, learning a bit, making mistakes and generally having a good time.  I never took any classes and really was never that interested in Norm – something seemed wrong watching his shows.

Then there was a detour – I think it was sort of Shaker-style.  Or maybe it was Jeff Miller’s chair book.  I don’t remember but I wanted to be challenged – to do more and get beyond what I’d learned in oak and straight lines.

That’s when I found the rabbit hole.  I stayed close to the edge for a while.  I couldn’t really see where it led.  I got it in my head to build a sideboard in Hepplewhite style.  I had no idea how to do this, and I now know there’s a lot wrong with the end result.  People visit the house and tell me how much they like it, and how beautiful it is.  I thought so too when I built it – I was really proud.  Then I started to learn more about HOW it should have been built and what it really SHOULD look like.  A little dirt slipped under my feet.

Life got in the way for a while.  It does that.  I changed jobs.  We were raising a daughter -and continue to do so.  We bought another house.  I kept at it, each project presenting a new challenge (and often an excuse to buy a tool).  I built a more serious workbench.

Then a Pembroke table.  I copied one I found in Sack’s Fine Points of Furniture: Early American.  I decided to see if I could copy it.  I thought I pulled it off.  It has a few issues but by and large I’m really happy with it.  I loved to get fussy and into the details.  Researching how to do it and what it should look like – all from one picture in a book.  A little more dirt beneath my feet comes loose.

I read more.  I stopped getting the magazines that didn’t match my evolving interests in period furniture.  I started others that discussed hand work and period detail.  I read more and more about the furniture and HOW it was built.  I happened on SAPFM (Society of American Period Furniture Makers) and joined.  I attended Woodworking in America when it was first here in Northern Kentucky.  That’s all folks – now I’m fully consumed.

I don’t sell my furniture though I could at some point.  Making furniture is a nice activity that I can do without a computer or other screen in front of me.  I do it for the challenge and satisfaction of making something for myself.  Maybe I’m nuts, but I’m having fun.

I’ve bored my Facebook friends with my last project – A Sheraton Field Bed.  It was not a great forum but it was sort of fun to do.  As I prepare the next project I thought it would be fun to document it even more and see if anyone is interested.  I’ll talk about that and other related stuff I find on my journey deeper and deeper.

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One Response to Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. Gil Sanow (The old man!) says:

    Actually, Paul, your great grandfather Albert Sanow was the real professional cabinet maker in your Sanow lineage. He worked for a company in Cleveland which built custom fixtures, cabinets, etc. for drug stores and bars. I have always wondered what work of his still exists.

    You have his tool chest, but I cannot be sure what tools you now have were his, via your grandfather.

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