Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I have a confession to make...

I really like Arts and Crafts style furniture (that's not the confession). It appeals to me in a way that I like most things in my life to be - simple and clean. It appeals to me even more since life with young boys is rarely ever simple or clean. We have a Morris style chair that might possibly be the most comfortable chair in our house (err... most comfortable chair in storage). My wife and I ooh and aah over mission style dining room furniture.

This blog post, and my confession, is the result of watching the Fine Woodworking video series on making an Arts and Crafts Glass Front Cabinet which has proved to be the tipping point of my pent up guilt. The design of FWW piece is beautiful and I am looking forward to someday building something with glass in its cabinet door, but I'm torn on the material used throughout much of the style.




I can't stand the look of quarter sawn white oak. There, I said it. I know it's one of the pillars of Arts and Crafts. It's coveted by woodworkers throughout the country for its stability and medullary rays. The original craftsmen used it because it was plentiful and inexpensive and modern craftsmen want to stay true to the period. But the figure looks like a mistake, a smudge. And when it's fumed the wood looks downright filthy, as if it has been in a smokey bar for a couple decades.  It is not clean and simple

Don't get me wrong I like oak and I love figured woods... as an accent. A drawer front, in a panel, a table top. Not covering an entire piece like a blinged out, bedazzled, airbrushed t-shirt from a mall kiosk or a teenage girl's iPhone cover.

I much prefer Arts and Crafts pieces made from maple or cherry or walnut. These woods are also plentiful, domestic and available with figure. How good does a dovetailed drawer look with a walnut face and maple sides? Cherry matures to a rich color that nearly forces you to run your finger tips over it.

I know my opinion goes against the grain (pun intended). I'm cool with that. I have another confession. I don't like India Pale Ales either. Too bitter. But the entire craft beer drinking world seems to be in love with them. The craft beer section at my favorite packie is half IPAs. Need more Belgian beers in there.

Last one... I don't like Greene and Greene either. The blending of craftsman and Asian just doesn't do it for me. I'm down with ebony plugs, but cloud lifts are out.

Whew. I feel better, thanks. Got everything off my chest.

We're on the final count down for the new house. 16 days, 16 hours and 20 minutes as of the this posting date.

Thanks for reading!
Jim