End Grain: The Myth of Original Design

Consider yourself a midwife to creativity.

By Brian Boggs
Page: 64

From the December 2011 issue #194
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I have taught a number of classes on designing chairs and it’s always interesting to watch students’ creative processes. I like to keep my classes as fresh as I can for my own benefit if not for the students’, so I plan each class a bit differently. Still, every design class seems to run into the same wall. This wall appears in the form of the question: “How do we come up with good design ideas?”

WEB SITE: Discover the Boggs Collective, located in Asheville, N.C., and take a class from Brian and his fellow craftsmen.

Design Matters: Brooke Smith

A visit to the shop of a designer & craftsman
By George R. Walker
Pages: 20-21

From the October 2010 issue # 185
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Creativity is a slippery thing. A lucky few are born with a creative streak that seems to flower without effort. Others (most of us) have to work at it to unlock our creative potential. Rarest of all is that bird that combines generous natural gifts and hard work.

Words like “artist” and “master” come to mind when describing furniture builder Brooke Smith of Columbus, Ohio. His small one-man studio turns out exquisite furniture that spans a broad range. I liken Brooke to a classically trained violinist who’s comfortable playing Bach, rock or bluegrass. His work encompasses corporate boardroom tables, high-style period reproductions and one-off modern studio pieces. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are first-rate, but the thing that most stands out is his talented designer’s eye.

Blog: George R. Walker writes three times a week on the Design Matters blog.
Web site: See more of Smith’s work at his web site.
In our store: George R. Walker’s DVDs.

End Grain: The Apprentice

Persistence (and a crazy mother) can help.

By Elia Bizzarri
Page: 64

From the November 2011 issue #193
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I slept on a cot in the loft of the shop, cooked on a portable burner, and walked my dirty dishes through the garden to the basement sink. Curtis Buchanan walked in at seven one morning to discover white splotches on a pair of freshly painted chairs waiting to be delivered. Oatmeal-water splotches. He tried re-oiling, steel-wooling and every trick learned in his 25-year-career.

WEB SITE: Visit Elia’s web site.
WEB SITE: Take a class with Elia at The Woodwright’s School.

End Grain: Workshop Radicals

Farewell TV, DVDs and http.

By Roy Anderson
Page 64

From the June 2011 issue #190
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One of my more serious-minded friends asked me why I was a woodworker. I replied that I’m just here to have a good time playing in my woodshop. No, he insisted. That’s not good enough. You’ve got to have a theory, a woodworking philosophy.

“Huh?” I adroitly responded. But I will admit, he planted a seed. Not wanting to appear inadequate, I came up with a personal philosophy. So here goes.

Blog: Editor Christopher Schwarz has recommended a number of books on his blog about all aspects of woodworking.

From the June 2011 issue #190
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End Grain: Chainsaw Massacre

Premeditated cedar slaughter satisfies.
By Joe Asnault
Page: 64

From the October 2010 issue # 185
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I made the decision to murder with a tinge of remorse because I have heard more than a billion times during the last few years that we need trees to help stem global warming. But the beauty of the 75′ of dead straight Western red cedar towered over me. I pulled the starter cord of my 24″ bar chain saw and I cut the wedge, committed now, adrenaline pumping. I began the hinge cut, slipped in a plastic wedge for safety and murdered the tree. It screeched just before it hit the forest duff, then lay still. I didn’t see a dead body. I saw dollar signs, and my guilt wafted away with the sweet smell of the 50-to-1 gas mixture.

The tree was alive, and didn’t need to die – but I needed cedar lumber for the interior siding of my mountain cabin. Go ahead. Call me a killer. But now I’m a killer with some killer 6′ lengths of primo cedar – and now this woodworking project won’t kill my pocketbook. At fi rst, that’s how I saw it – as a way to save some cash. I realized a different motive later.

Article: Read “Lusting for Lumber.”
Video: Is a chainsaw too delicate for you. Try black powder.

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