The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump

For as long as I have been writing about woodworking, I have wanted to build a dugout chair. I first encountered the form in one of the many furniture books we had at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Soon after I started working at the magazine in 1996 I began poring through the books...

It’s OK (Good Even!) When They Hate Your Work

The city council candidate was screaming at me through her phone as I sat hunched over my desk in the newspaper’s newsroom. “How about I pull down my pants and you come and watch me go to the bathroom?” she screamed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” This impolite invitation was issued...

A Coffin-building Party

When I die, I want to leave this world in the same way I lived in it. As a woodworker who has spent his entire life building furniture for myself and others, I couldn’t imagine being placed into a box that someone else made. In 2005, I read this article in...

The Last Project

When I was in Charleston, S.C., last week one of the tour guides said something about cabinetmaker Thomas Elfe that stuck with me. “Most of his work is buried in the ground.” One of the primary jobs of early joiners and cabinetmakers was building coffins, and these projects have always fascinated...