This is Calvin. He’s been a woodworker for over 15 years. He lives and works in rural Pennsylvania, a region with a deep tradition of wood-working. Skilled labor is in great shortage in the United States. Much of it was lost during the period of mass industrialization when the country’s manufacturing industries moved to a parts based production model and then again when unable to compete with overseas pricing, manufacturing left our shores. Craftsman with an ability to build a finished piece are increasingly rare. Shops with the ability to provide scaled manufacturing even more so.
In an era with no shortage of readily available goods, it is sometimes difficult to remember that pieces are made. Someone, somewhere, built the object. Or at least a component of it. Furniture pieces are complex objects. The building process has many steps. Some of these steps are as simple seeming as applying a bead of glue. The precise execution of each step is critical to the whole.
Pride in craft is what distinguishes the skilled worker. It’s also what distinguishes the finished piece. We’re lucky enough to work with some of the country’s finest woodworkers. They bring with them a tradition of craftsmanship that is over 200 years old. It’s a tactile world with a direct connection to our forests and the woodsmen who maintain them. There is a deep respect for these natural resources and the inherent unpredictability of the material. From the harvesting of the timber through the final sanding and oiling of a piece, there is a shared passion. The beauty of our pieces owes a great debt to the careful work of their hands.
We sat down with Calvin. His words on his process below.
How did you come to woodworking?
Caught the bug from my oldest brother.
What is your speciality or skill?
Utility – where needed.
What process are you working on in the image above?
Gluing the foot assembly.
What machine or tool does the process require?
A glue brush and panel clamp. You can see the clamp in the background.
What is the length of time required to complete the process?
It takes 10 minutes per set.
Can you share some details about the process? What makes it particularly difficult or unique requirements of the process?
Careful gluing is important for the integrity and durability of the entire piece of furniture. Tight joints and the correct amount of glue is essential.
What brings you the most satisfaction in woodworking?
Knowing I am building a product that helps bring satisfaction for the user.