At one time, i was never a fan of rustic style furniture. The image conjured up large clunky, bulky uncomfortable chairs, garnished with deer antlers and bear faces adorning the room. At first glance, it would appear that this style was simple to make. I had the impression anyone who made rustic furniture was impatient, lazy, and rushing just to produce something. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I came across the book, “Making Rustic Furniture” by Daniel Mack. In it, I saw furniture that was slender and graceful. My eye flowed around each piece. The bends, the bows, the curves all elegant yet a rugged strength was there. I quickly realised that his style was nothing of being impatient, or lazy. I was under the impression that to make beautiful furniture it had to first come from a beautiful (expensive) board bought at the local sawmill. But after Daniel Mack’s book, I could see the beauty in a simple branch.
With my new found conversion to rustic furniture, I was itching to jump into this new style of furniture making. Buck saw in hand, i head out to the mulberry tree in my yard. Trimming up the tree leaving me a pile of branches I sort through it. It became quite a challenge to take the natural graceful curve of a branch and apply it to a piece of furniture. To use only what nature gives you in it’s unchanged form and in turn create a useful or artist piece of furniture is quite the challenge. I soon realized that I had only just scratched the surface of what it takes to build rustic furniture.
To dive deeper into this style I continued my search online and talked with other woodworkers. I found that other craftsmen such as Peter Follansbee, Tom Casper, and Dennis Laney all kept referring to one man and his book. Drew Langsner’s “Green Woodworking, handcrafting wood from log to finished product”. My local library didn’t have it in it’s collect. I thought, like many others, I’ll just buy it online. Warning, have one hand ready on your chest, because this book price will stop your heart.
However, there is good news. Drew Langsner has done an author’s reprint of the book and you can buy it from him on his site.
In the book I’ve learned the proper tools to have and how to use them. (Look for my shaving horse blog article coming soon) The proper way to construct and work with green wood. How to dry the wood and ways to combine it with wet, green wood, to produce a joint that is so strong it doesn’t need glue or dowels. Grain orientation, design and practice projects are all included in this book. It’s a must for anyone who wants to “branch out” into this form of furniture. Hehehehe. I couldn’t help myself.
This rustic chair is my first one. I made mistakes, I learned things, and I will be able to look back as I develop more rustic furniture and see how i have “grown.” (Hahaha, I’m cracking myself up) I would encourage anyone wanting to look into this style, to try and create one. It’s truly rewarding to see nature and how it can enhance our heart, soul, and mind.
Okay, go dance now people!