Put Your Boots Up & Stay a While

SAMSUNGDuring the week between Christmas and the New Year, I was on a short vacation in Colorado. Even though I had never spent time in the state (except passing through on a connector flight), I had a preconceived idea of what to expect when it came to Colorado furniture. My idea may have been wrong – it may still be wrong. But it was reinforced within the walls of the house where we stayed.

That idea was that Colorado is “Cowboy,” and the furniture was “bunk house.” By bunk house I mean heavy, bulky, sturdy in construction and strong – furniture you could put your boots on after a long day on the trail. (Did I touch on enough stereotypes?)

SAMSUNGBesides the view outside the windows (shown in the opening photo) and the view on the ski slopes (when I wasn’t picking myself up after a nasty spill), I spent a few hours throughout the week staring at the pair of end tables in the family room; one table is shown at right.

These tables, when I first eyed them, made me shake my head. Cowboy? Yep. But as the week wore on, I began to appreciate the heft. The overall design came to be appreciated. Not sure if it was the pain of being away from shop-made furniture for such a long time, if this was an example of “If you live with something long enough you become fond of it” or is it simply a good design and nice looking table.

Although I don’t particularly like the gouge work along the lower edge of the aprons, and I could think of a few different design ideas for the space between the shelf and floor – chunky turning doesn’t do it for me – slowly I accepted the pinwheel designs on the top and bottom of the legs. They look as if they could be cut using a single carving gouge– I have yet to give it a try, but I will. I found something similar to the pinwheel on the cover of “A Woodworker’s Guide to Carving (Back to the Basics),” by the Editors of Skilled Institute Press, but that design is chip carved.

What about it? Is this design good? Would you like to see this project in the pages of Popular Woodworking Magazine? Leave me a comment. And if you reside in the great State of Colorado, or your last name happens to be Hickenlooper (as in Governor Hickenlooper), please know that I enjoy your state immensely. Where else would you go to ski, snowmobile and snowboard – I never actually got to the snowboard stuff.

— Glen D. Huey

If you’re looking for a book on carving wildlife, pick up a copy of “Wildlife Carving in Relief,” by Lora S. Irish.

19 thoughts on “Put Your Boots Up & Stay a While

  1. msiemsen

    Much of that area has an early Spanish influence. I would look there rather than to the “cowboys”. Much of the furniture was pine and so needed to be built a bit heavier for strength. It is the original “Mission style”. Antiques roadshow did a bit on it
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/tips/southwestfurniture.html
    Santa Fe in New Mexico was founded in 1607 and is the oldest capital city in the US. The oldest city in Colorado is San Luis, founded by hispanics in 1851. Colorado means “color red”.

  2. Dave Ring

    The two things that bother me the most about this table are the top and the drawer pull, both of which look way too dainty compared to those massive legs.

  3. pmac

    If you shortened it by cutting the legs above the turning and making it an actual footstool…maybe. ;)

    If your looking for ideas, I sent Megan a request for a project that is pretty nice ( and Megan if your reading this, CS mentioned something in a recent post at his LAP blog that the project would help prevent. ) :)

  4. oakripper

    I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the Magazine but i would like to see a couple of other design options in the article, maybe show it with smaller diameter turned legs or differently designed carving or both at the same time.

  5. flatpickn

    I’d like to see it done. Fix up the obvious design fails. I’d be more interested in the lineage of the design. My guess is Spanish, hence the Cowboy connotation and the Mediterranean feel to the piece. The vaqueros as a group were some of the original “cowboys”. The word buckaroo is vaquero anglicized. Finding spanish influence anywhere in the west is hardly surprising. It would be a nice change from Shaker and Arts and Crafts. Not to disparage either of those styles, they’re my favorites, but every once in awhile I order fish instead of steak.

  6. bpdean

    All the details look Indonesian to me. Single gouge carvings, chunky turned legs, top coated distressed paint, profiled table top. I bet the drawer front has a poorly made chunky dovetail and the back is nailed.

  7. DoctorJ

    While I can’t imagine wanting to build this, it could be interesting to use this as a starting point for a design article. Where did the designer go wrong, and how could you incorporate design principles to modify this into a better result (multiple paths would be most interesting), keeping in mind that this is to be a functional object in a rental space and possibly subject to rough treatment..

    BTW, next time you pass through our fair state, try to find time to stop by Red Rocks CC in Lakewood and visit their fine woodworking program. http://www.rrcc.edu/finewood/

  8. Fraise

    The link in the Mike B comment above goes to a porn site. Suggest you cull it. And the little table looks like a Flintstones’ effort. Well, I guess it takes all sorts.

  9. Jonas Jensen

    I agree with 7-Thumbs.
    The end table shaped object reminds me of cheap imitation furniture that is supposed to look old and Mediterranean.
    I must say that I would have been wildly surprised if I had seen such a project in PWM under the Glen Huey name. It would be so far from your usual good looking projects.
    You could always repeat the Barrister book case article, perhaps with dovetailed carcases. That still ranges as one of my favourite articles.
    Brgds
    Jonas

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