Growing up in my part of Texas, I was sure that every backyard hard at least one giant pecan tree, supplying both food for delicious pies and some very much-needed summer shade.
When I started milling local lumber for use in making furniture, I felt closer to the things I made and to the planet I live on. Lucky for me that these awesome huge pecan trees make wonderful hardwood that looks great and can be adapted to so many periods and styles of furniture.
At the foot of the bed, you will find the three-lobed, carved trifid feet.
This is something that came along pretty early for me. I had a request for a piece of office furniture, “someplace for my coffee and things”, that didn’t look like office furniture.
So this is a Queen Anne-style chest on frame. A sideboard of sorts, coming in at about 32 inches wide and under 16 inches deep.
Dark stained red oak with maple dovetailed drawers. The two drawers provided enough space to hold the necessary paraphernalia to become properly caffeinated and the size was a perfect fit in the office setting.
This was the first of many of these adaptations of another style to fit a particular purpose or space.
So, a while ago, …in storyteller’s terms we are talking about something greater than a dozen years back, here in this part of Texas we had a terrible rainstorm that we like to call a flash flood. This is also an indication of how long ago it was, since I now have grown children who are familiar with the concept of rain only through watching the Weather Channel on cable TV.
Anyway, as I was saying, …a while ago, after this particularly bad rainstorm, I got a call from a relative who asked for help removing a fallen tree. What I found was three fairly large mesquite trees that had grown up together at their bases and were let loose and turned out on the ground, each on it’s own path away from the others by the supersaturated earth below during this rainy period. Being the opportunist that I am, I went right out (two weeks later) and got myself a chainsaw mill and began my foray into milling my own hardwood.
Oh, I had so much fun that day. Sweating, cussing, wondering why the cutting chains had to be sharpened after every 12 feet of mesquite, wondering why I decided that was a good idea at all. But, when all was said and done, I had far more beautiful hardwood than I could have imagined. Today, after making milling timber a part of my woodworking, you might find some wood from the local mill in my shop, but you’re more likely to run into local hardwoods that have stories behind them, “Well
I have always loved roundabout chairs. (That’s what this post is really about.)
The corner chair on the right was made with Texas mesquite hardwood milled by me and is one of a group I made from those trees milled on that first day, one of which went to our local PBS affiliate for their auction. This one is similar to a Norm Vandal design that I thought worked for the mesquite and leather in a way that I felt wouldn’t be the case with a design like the roundabout in the Boston MFA. This chair is kind of a middle of the road choice between the Boston chair and another in the Brooklyn Museum in that this has a little bit of a ‘Texas Chippendale’ feel because of the three turned legs to the side and rear and the single cabriole leg in front and the curved seat rails.
These chairs were a lot of fun to make. We’ll just have to see if I will make the same design again, or go for something completely different. I do know that there are some boards out there that look like they want to be a chair…only time will tell.