04 December 2013

Old techniques, new furniture

My friend Patrick Shilling is a master woodworker in Bethnal Green, London. Over the years he's carved out a niche for himself as a creator of exquisite, one of a kind interiors. Here are some examples of his work.

Never one to sit still, Patricks's been turning his hand to fine furniture and over the years has perfected a technique that uses an adze and a saw on English oak. The texture carved onto these pieces is done entirely by hand and that's something that's utterly unique in the world.

The finishes he's developed for this line mimic the appearance of stone, leather and charred timber but the attention to detail he employs never lets you lose sight of the fact that his pieces are made entirely of oak.

His passion for and love of his craft shine through this entire collection and I invite you to take a look through the gallery on his website. Whether it's a wardrobe, a table, a room divider, a larder or any of the pieces in this collection, all of it's breathtaking.

If you're interested in Patrick's work, you can contact him through his website. He's also looking for dealers in the UK, the EU, The US and anywhere else in the world you might be. So if furniture's your thing, drop him a line.

It's an easy cliche to fall back on the idea that no one makes high quality furniture by hand anymore and people like Patrick Shilling are living proof that the cliche's simply not true.

03 December 2013

This beautiful table is for sale

This is what I call craftsmanship.

That joinery is in the center of a table designed and built by my friend Kevin Fitzpatrick. Kevin's a master furniture maker by any measure and I'm regularly awed by the work that he does. However, this table stands out. It's also for sale.

This table's made from reclaimed barn timbers and floor boards. The wood was milled 200 years ago from old-growth Pennsylvania white pine. All of the old growth forest in this part of Pennsylvania is gone now and the last of it was cut down at around the time the boards used in this table were milled.

As a more or less rural Pennsylvanian now, I see old barns, mills and tobacco sheds so regularly it's easy not to notice them. I make it a point to keep an eye out for them though, and they tend to figure into my my photography when I'm documenting farm life and local agriculture.

Many of these old structures are still in use although some of them get torn down from time to time to make room for more modern agricultural operations. That's a somewhat sad turn of events, however none of the stone or timber used in those old buildings goes to waste. Lumber reclaimers stand in line to buy up whole barns that are slated for demolition.

That ancient wood gets reused as flooring, siding and in the case of my friend Kevin's table, furniture.

When Kevin built this table, he took an old barn's structural timbers and used them as the legs and supports. The table top is made from the floor boards of the same barn.

Though the finished surfaces have kept the rustic appearance of barnwood, the table's engineering is beyond precise. Through a combination of complex joinery and pegs, there are no nails, screws or glue holding the table together. It's all beautiful wood on wood locked in a precision embrace.

The top of the table is made from three floorboards and there's a quarter inch gap between each board. The rough hewn edges made a close fit impossible. Further, the gaps allowed Kevin to showcase the wear patterns and natural distressing already present in the wood. All told, the table top measures 60 inches wide by 35-1/2 inches deep. The table top is an inch and three quarters thick.

The table stands 34 inches tall and the legs are three inches thick. This is a substantial piece of furniture and I can see it used as a display table in a retail setting just as easily as I can imagine it in someone's home.

Kevin's asked me to broker the sale of this piece as a test to gauge what interest there is out there for his kind of wood working. He has other pieces completed and many more in the works. The cost for this table is $2500 plus the cost of shipping, so if you're interested, let me know.

Dealer inquiries are welcome too and I'm offering a designer discount. Tables of this vintage and quality can sell for upwards of $6000 and at $2500, this one won't last very long.

So again, if you're interested let me know. We're open to other offers too so don't let the price tag frighten you off.