My artistic talent is building beautiful functional furniture pieces from native Missouri hardwoods that
come from trees harvested near our family farm in Pike County Missouri. This timber is taken to a local saw mill ,
cut into planks, stacked and air dried in barn to naturally air dry for years. The reason for this naturally drying
process allows the beauty and color of the wood to remain in the planks as they cure and dry. Commercially dried
lumber eliminates the natural colors embedded in the grain. Natural walnut has shades of red, orange and purple
that are visible in my finished pieces. I do not use any stain in my finishes to allow these colors to remain
visible in my very unique works.
I don't use usual wood products. My wood shows off natural inclusions such as splits from lightning strikes and large knots that don't affect the structural stability, but add eye appeal that most people can't resist from touching.
When deciding on my pieces I carefully select the wooden planks needed, then I plane them down and work them into boards. I do not plane this lumber completely smooth which allows large radius blade marks from the old sawmill to remain as shadows in the finished works. This timber was cut by a sawmill that used a tall radial saw blade, a process that now is completed with a commercial bandsaw blades in the large sawmills. You will probably not see this characteristic and historical significance in other works as there are no more sawmills that use the big blades to cut logs into planks.
I have donated over 40 pieces, mostly tables and rocking chairs to benefit auctions at Children's Hospital, Siteman Cancer Centers, Barns Jewish Hospital in St Louis and several other nonprofit organizations and benefits. One of my rocking chairs was auctioned off to the Missouri Governor's Office and sits in the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.
My first rocking chair was massive, I mean huge! It was for my aunt Kate on her 92nd birthday, it was a hit! And after that
I continue to change and evolve the design. I have made nearly 90 of these chairs everyone different but the same. I fall in love
with each one I make and its hard sometimes to give it up!
I guess that's what happens when your hobbies is your passion. Until recently I have always donated my works to charity auctions, but I'm getting older and this will help with retirement. Whether they sell or not, I will continue to make these because its what I like doing, there is something about working with wood that brings a sence of accomplishment and joy in that you made something with your hands that can possibly be cherished by someone else for generations.
There are some great rocking chair craftsmen out there with some astonishing pieces. with astonishing prices some over $8,000. Most are a knockoff of a famous woodworker and if you have that kind of money that may be what you want, some of those chairs are amazingly beautifuI.
My chairs are my own design, are beautiful, functional and made for a family to cherish for generation, I do not try to make a living off of each person that buys one of my chairs, my satisfaction is that someone thought enough of my rocking chair to proudly place in their home to enjoy, Everyone has a rocking chair that they inherited from a grand parent. And it is old but it was probably still made on a production line in the 1800. Mine are handmade by me in my wood shop from timber from my farm. There is something about a rocker when you know the man who made it!