Contest: Give Your Furniture a Pompous Name - Popular Woodworking Magazine
 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Personal Favorites, Required Reading, Woodworking Blogs

I know I am going to get flack for this, but I cannot help myself.

Last week we received two copies of a cool new book in the mail , “500 Cabinets: A Showcase of Design & Craftsmanship” (Lark). The book is (though I didn’t count the cabinets) a collection of 500 designs from woodworkers all over the world.

Most of the cabinets are contemporary, and almost all of them are fun to look at. All the staff members here have been paging through these books since they arrived. I really like these books because you get to see a wide range of work, and it’s usually beautifully presented.

But there is something about these books (and some contemporary furniture in general) that makes me giggle: Why do some woodworkers insist on giving their pieces of furniture artsy and unscrutable names?

When I opened the book, the first cabinet I saw was on page 147. It’s a cool piece of work. Well-proportioned. I want to know more about how the maker achieved the surface texture. But here’s what he named the cabinet: “Naked Came the Weekend.”

I was drinking some coffee at the time and I started laughing so hard that I didn’t know if the brown water was going to come out my nose or my pants.

Here’s another: “Misery is the River . . . Cabinet.”

Here’s the scene in my head. My wife and I are in the bathroom one morning and she says: “Honey could you reach over the commode and get me toilet paper from the Misery is the River (pregnant pause) Cabinet?”

Or: “Ceci N’est Pas une Boite a Tiroirs” (This is Not a Box With Drawers). Note to self: Add French for another layer of artistic shellac.

“Leap and the Net Will Appear.”

To be fair, most of the cabinets in the book have names that are more along the lines of “Teak Sideboard” or “Chiffonier.”

But the funny arty-named ones keep me turning the pages.

So here’s the contest: You can win a copy of the book “500 Cabinets” simply by submitting your own artistic and pompous title for a piece of furniture. Submit it by leaving a comment below (be sure to include your e-mail so we can contact you , e-mails addresses are never published, by the way).

The deadline is noon EST, Aug. 6, 2010.

– Christopher Schwarz

Our Best Furniture Books

“Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood & Light” by David Mathias. We just received our advance copies of this book and all I can say is wow, wow and wow. It’s available for pre-order in our store now. I’ll be blogging more about this book when I return from North Carolina.

“Building 18th-century American Furniture” by Glen D. Huey. Glen sits two cubicles away from me, and even though I talk to the guy every day, I am still in awe of the work he does. This book is a collection of his best pieces.

“Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture” by Robert W. Lang. Bob also works with me here at the magazine, and I am pleased to announce that we now carry his books in our store. Before I knew Bob, I knew his books. His whole series of Arts & Crafts books is excellent.

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Showing 93 comments
  • A cure for chest-in-drawers disease!
    Your chest will no longer fall into your drawers.

  • Chris Jacques

    My tool cabinet will be named,
    "The Long Weight"
    I’m still growing the wood, and I’ve got guilt on my shoulders from storing my chisels in a metal toolbox.

  • John Williams

    "Proust Roost" – single wall shelf long enough to hold the complete leather-bound works of Marcel Proust.

    "Weapon of Crass Instruction" – MDF cabinet with screw joinery formerly used in a remodeling reality show.

    "The Scarlet Fetter" – a red crib.

  • Don Dailey

    or…
    "The Wind Holds the Polymath Captive"

  • Don Dailey

    my pretentious cabinet name:

    "A Bastion of Gossimer Dreams"

  • Schrödinger’s cabinet

  • Quin Leach

    The Right Honourable Cabinet of Upper Gumtree

    Furry is so a color

    Nietzsche averts eyes; avoids staring contest – Cabinet

    Better, faster, stronger – 6 million dollar Cabinet

    Bask in my luminous presence, unworthy mortal!

    This side up

    Post no bills

    The Holy Side Chair of Antioch

    A social injustice which can be corrected with wealth redistribution
    (name for any gallery piece with an exorbitant price)

    Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Récamier – Recliner

  • Neil Cronk

    No prints can come from fingers if machines become our hands

  • Phil

    "And thence it came, Rigor" Armoir

  • Michael White

    comatose cellulose – a bed
    time in exchanged for space – armoir
    cherry in repose – lounger
    zacchaeus’ perch – sycamore stool
    green bane – redwood fence
    fluid motion of symetry
    osmosis in relief – red oak carving
    dynamic static interpose

    I decided to stop…

  • This one makes me look good – a handcrafted medicine cabinet with carved pull and wooden hinge

  • dale

    "get your tongue outa my mouth, cause i’m kissin you goodbye" medicine cabinet

  • john Callaway

    " I wake in the morning # 79 dash 5 "

  • Norman Pirollo

    "I hope square wasn’t one of the criteria"

    Norman Pirollo

  • megan

    Measure for Measure
    A Commode of Errors

    sorry…had to be done.

  • John Clark

    "and you shall know us by the trail of sawdust and the sound of our swearing"

  • Neil Cronk

    "Shade side of ultra true wickedness"

  • Mike

    A La Carte: Borders of Errant Iridescence

  • JM sisler

    A Shoji cabinet such as by Ryan Shervill in Number 181, February 2010 Popular Woodworking-
    Morning Glory
    Morning Dew
    The Bluebird Singing
    I really liked "twenty-three weekends I’ll never see again","Untitled",and "A match away from nothingness"

  • David W.

    Infinite perfection – Cabinetry’s highest form

  • AAAndrew

    David V.’s exhibition has a "No.2" where the boards are now chips of wood and they sit on a table called:

    "The Table of No Contents"

    AAAndrew

  • Tree, Who Must Be Obeyed

    Mike Hamilton

  • Jake

    "Awkward Lesson in Gender Socialization."

  • tim k

    it was a dark and stormy night…stand

    the unvarnished truth

    Sue (for a highboy)

    wuthering heights in semaphore

  • "Neighbors mysteriously missing tree"

    Matt Sinclair

  • "Neighbors mysteriously missing tree"

    Matt Sinclair

  • Patrick

    For a chest of drawers:

    "Dovetails? We don’t need no stinking dovetails!"

  • Louis B.

    "that which shall remain nameless"
    …for just about any piece of furniture…

    Louis B

  • Vince G

    Another interesting contest might be to explain the references (most of which I had to Google). I guess Naked Came the Weekend is a play on the hoax novel Naked Came the Stranger, or one of the other popular occurrences of Naked Came the… (don’t know where it got started, really). The question is, how does the piece connect with the reference? Maybe Naked Came the Weekend is a piece of faux furniture? A hoax piece cobbled together by a crew of woodworkers? A previous poster has already highlighted the Magritte reference, which may or may not be aptly used, but the others, I haven’t a clue. Leap and the Net Will Appear is certainly out there, and I assume the Misery/River one is a Tom Waits reference. But how do these references connect to the piece? Can’t tell without seeing the book, and even then it’s probably a long shot…

    Anyway, for the contest:

    Un certain je ne sais bois

    Meaningless, but I can just see it working. In fact, it’s probably already been done more than once.

    For hopelessly obscure references, though, I’ll go with:

    When the Pants Come Off…Into the Drawers They Go.

  • Ed Furlong

    I may have seen too many art installations, but how about this:

    "Chiaroscuro: Intersect between the bedded angle and the angle of repose–A soliloquy in figured wood and A2 steel."

  • John Kinzie

    "Pourquoi bois?"

  • Thomas Giacchina

    Since most of the cabinets with names would be displayed with the insides not visible, I would name it:

    You should see the inside!

  • John Cashman

    Juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean jan.

    Everyone would be Kari, if only they tried.

  • The Village Carpenter

    @ John Cashman. Dahng rahn, another Firefly fan. :o)

  • Charles Davis

    Lots of great entries above!
    Here are a few:

    &
    The Piece Formerly Known as &
    The Answer to What Would Jesus Do.

  • John Cashman

    French is so last millenia. All the future elite will be using Chinese.

    放縱瘋狂的結・放纵疯狂的结
    phonetic:
    fahng-tzong fung-kwong duh jeh
    translation:
    "A Knot of Self-Indulgent Lunacy"

    Or:
    閉嘴。容我們發財。・闭嘴。容我们发财
    phonetic:
    BEE-tzway. Wrong wuomun FAH-TSAI
    translated:
    "Shut Up and Make us Wealthy"

    Or:
    狒狒的屁眼・狒狒的屁眼
    in English:
    FAY-FAY duh PEE-yen

    You’ll have to look the last one up yourselves.

    Kari the Village Carpenter should recognize these.

  • Martin Shaw

    "Ryobi’s Defense Fund"

  • Eric

    Leaves of Neander

  • Kurt Schmitz

    ‘yes, it’s gonna stay like this’
    ‘it’s what I’ve been doing in the shop’
    Breakfast nook buffet table: ‘biscuits with legs’ (sorry, luddites)
    ‘fleam flicker’

  • The Village Carpenter

    Oops, correction: • Golden Proportion Stands On One Leg

  • The Village Carpenter

    1. Crouching Tenon, Hidden Drawer

    2. Tai Chi Series Three:
    • Grasp the Dove’s Tail
    • Parting the Wild Figure’s Grain
    • Golden Triangle Stands On One Leg

  • Shawn G

    "Corpse Coed" (Corpse of Tree in Welsh)

  • Andy Lovelock

    ‘Lion’s Lair’

    A name for a chair commissioned by a Londoner who was born within the sound of Bow Bells. (St Mary-le-Bow Church in Cheapside, London). In other words a ‘cockney’. ‘Lion’s Lair’ in cockney rhyming slang means ‘chair’. The rhyming word isn’t spoken so when people came round they could say "Sit in the Lion and take the weight off your plates." (Plates of meat rhymes with feet).

  • TGID#3

    Thank God It’s Done. (the third)

  • Andy Lovelock

    For ‘Di’ read ‘Dai’

  • Andy Lovelock

    For a chair: ‘Lumber Region’
    For pine furniture: ‘Knot Perfect’
    For a Welsh dresser made out of hardwood: ‘Di Hard’. For a small production run of Welsh dressers made out of hardwood: ‘Di Hard 2’, ‘Di Hard 3’ etc.
    For a piece of abstract wood art ‘My hovercraft is full of eels’ or any other name that bears no resemblance to what you’re looking at.

  • Leif

    An Individual Lemming

  • shadyb

    the Over the "Office" Organizer…

  • vernon doucette

    "Overcooked Woodworking"

  • Dan Oelke

    "Not sawdust"

    (Not nearly as clever as many of the great entries above)

  • Rick Roberts

    Dual constipated syncopated urination station.

    —————————————–
    constipated [ˈkɒnstɪˌpeɪtɪd] . def. 2. subject to restriction or blockage in a flow of productive activity or creativity

    syncopated . def. 1 : cut short : abbreviated

    Two seater outhouse leaning to one side and named during a blockage in the flow of creativity.

  • LizPf

    The Cabinet (the only one worthy of being called a cabinet)

    Reflections on a Gift of Spalted Maple

    July (built in February)

    Wood Zeppelin (this is a LP cabinet to hold a priceless collection of early 1970s rock records)

    And finally, we have a glass fronted cabinet filled with wood shavings, entitled:
    Positive and Negative: the Dialectic of Woodworking

  • Robert

    Cotton Keeper

  • James Haskin

    Title for every piece of crap at IKEA

    "Better Than Nothin’ *shrug"

  • David V

    "The Death of Woodworking"

    Featuring three apparently rough cut boards that were actually hand planed and meticulously carved with a carving knife to resemble rough cut wood.

    1) A 2 foot square walnut board. Individually titled, "Walnut Square."

    2) A 2 foot square cherry board. Individually titled, "Yorkshire Countryside in Blue"

    3) A 2 foot square maple board. Individually titled, "A 2 foot square maple board."

    It should be noted that the edge of the famous "Yorkshire Countryside in Blue" has a spot that appears to have been a drop of blood from a sharp carving knife. The spot is actually a deconstructionist narrative of the myth of woodworking to demonstrate the personality of the board and any further working on the wood destroys the true beauty of the wood through social conformity. This psychoanalytical embodiment created a radical shift from the hegemony of abstraction in a way that no one actually understands.

    The three pieces are on display on a simple table. The table has been titled, "Bob".

  • Bob DeViney

    The Cabinet formerly known as Chester Drawers.

  • BJ Kavanaugh

    Perfection of Neo-expressionism in cellulose

  • Scott

    One too many!

  • mvflaim

    "Hail a cab"

  • philip williams

    Schrodinger’s cabinet (alive/dead cat included)

  • philip williams

    how about voulez-vous couche avec moi?

    for a bed design, of course.

  • Dylan

    "Tree Carcass Skeleton"

  • Ben C

    "…from dirt, water, sun, and blade."

    "a match away from nothingness"

    "one man’s treasure"

  • Badger

    Here is my entry…

    "My Drawers are Better Than Yours."

    badger

  • curt seeliger

    ‘untitled’

  • Nate

    Hollowness, with walnut.

  • Josh B

    Schrödinger’s Kat Kennel

    Cheers,

    Josh

  • Glenn Madsen

    Twenty three weekends I’ll never see again.

  • David

    Tabula Rasa

  • Tristan Williams

    "Thus Spake Zaraschwarztha"

    "May The Schwarz Be With You"

    "Somewhere to keep my stuff"

    "I’m too sexy for this cabinet"

    Tristan

  • Scott B

    Symphony No. 1 in C(ellulose), Op. 21

  • Vlad

    Kaka del Toro (Sh*t ov de Bull)

    Sagesse infinie de crétins

  • Larry

    The Etiology of Suffering: a stool.

    Entropy, a Cabinet in Three Acts.

    Carpe Lignum

    "Le bois, c’est moi."

    By the way, for those who are unaware, the "ceci n’est pas une boite a tiroirs" title above is a reference to Rene Magritte’s painting "The Treachery of Images"–a painting of a pipe with the caption "ceci n’est pas une pipe" (this is not a pipe). His point was that it was in fact a picture of a pipe, not a real one. So if the piece actually is a box with drawers, I’m afraid the person may have seriously missed the point…

    Ben

  • Jon

    Also Sprach Kabinett

    If French gets bonus points for snooty-ness, surely German does, too. 🙂

  • openid.aol.com/fr8dogg

    "Farfigwooten"

  • openid.aol.com/fr8dogg

    Mortise tenon swallows, rabbet, carcass playfully embraces, nails of joy…

    (barf)

  • Larry

    Wood is Dead.

    Ben

  • Jules

    For a chest of drawers:

    Dovetail Shrine of Confidence.

  • Narayan

    "L’essence du Boîte"
    "You Put Your Weed In There"
    "Where’s the Fun in That?"
    "Schädenfreude Deluxe"
    "Pffftrrr" (this name must be accompanied with a horizontal swipe of the hand)
    "Shop Class as Soulcraft"

  • Michael

    Scraps

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
    – Miss Piggy

  • Dresser les tiroirs parcourir.

    Double sided dresser,
    cherry – from grandmother’s homestead,
    birds eye maple – from an old Shaker desk
    lignum vitale accents – salvaged from a 150 year old Columbian catherdral.

    😉

  • Sean

    Here’s a cabinet I made that I and my family just call the "pinwheel cabinet" to distinguish it from other furniture, as in: "I think there might be some batteries in the bottom drawer of the pinwheel cabinet …"

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chevy_chase_hughtos/4183709850/sizes/l/in/set-72157607001006126/

    I now realize that such a pedestrian, obvious name won’t do. I propose the "Sexing the Cherry" cabinet after the postmodernist novel of the same name:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexing_the_Cherry

    How’s that for pretentious?

    😉

  • Jason King

    L’impossibilité de la séance

    (for a chair)

  • Peter Baines

    Itsi bitsy teeny weeny yellow poka dot book keepy

  • Bob Rozaieski

    "That’s a Tight (Dove)Tail"

  • Andre

    "Now where did I put that knob" (Cabinet with hidden hardware)

  • David Harker

    My cabinet name is:

    "The Cabinet For Which No Other Name Will Do"

  • Hubert

    Ouch!!! by: Carlos Osorio

  • "It’s Al About Me, and My Elegant Drawers – Lingeries Cabinet"

  • Torch02

    The Mother of All Cabinets
    Chair: The Sitting
    Treasure: The Story of a Steamer Trunk

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