Method of Construction

All of my pieces are free-standing cabinets built using salvaged 100-299 year old virgin growth lumber. The boards I salvage came from trees in a heavily canopied Pennsylvanian forest. Because of the lack of light, these trees grew slowly, developing tight growth rings. From my understanding, before the 1850's, most of the wood used in Lancaster county was cut down from enormous White Pine trees in central Pennsylvania and floated down the Susquehanna River. After the 1850's or so, the Hemlock and Yellow Pine was harvested.

Today, I acquire the lumber from demolished buildings though trade, sale, barter, and dumpster diving. Once I pry the old boards and beams from their environment, they are loaded onto my truck, de-nailed and cut into usable lengths. These days I strive toward a more re-fined look in my cabinets, so I tend to eliminate nail holes and deep imperfections in the wood, although some imperfections are desirable. The idea is to create something that is not "rustic" in the popular sense, and would blend perfectly in a contemporary home. I think this tends to help my pieces stand alone against the backdrop of current "Amish-built" furniture, created by teams of guys with nail-guns.

Most of the older barns, houses and out-buildings in Pennsylvania were built with the "softer" woods, such as white and yellow pine, hemlock, fir, American chestnut and poplar. Occasionally, I will use oak, and much more rarely walnut, cherry and even sycamore in my cabinets. It often depends what is at hand. 150 years ago, these harder woods were selected as furniture grade, and saved from construction. With the centuries-old varieties of patina that has developed in the softer wood, I find them just as desirable.

I begin by cutting rafters into 1.5" rods and building a standing "cube" to the required dimensions. As I seldom use stain on the exterior of the cabinets, I pay special attention to the patina and selection of boards from beginning to end. The back, bottom, and sides of the cabinet are filled in, and then I put my attention into the "face". Inset panels are put into the top and sides, and an interior frame is constructed. I always say that whatever happens next is "whatever you can put into a rectangle". A drawer here, a door there – all can be built according to the dimensions and needs of the client. Many of my cabinets are half opened/ half closed, as I find that many people wish to display items. They are constructed with a screw, glue and plug method, and stand the chance of weathering hundreds of years. Although I utilize a variety of concepts, each piece is truly one-of-a-kind. I try to save ever sliver of this valuable lumber and often use many strips to complete a panel or shelf, which contributes to the depth of texture in every surface. Each cabinet may be constructed of more than 100 boards. My pieces are generally finished with a Tung oil.