Monday, November 4, 2013

Haverhill: Day Two

Day two of the Boston Furniture Workshop. Another early morning departure and late night return (thankful for an extra hour to sleep in before church on Sunday). It was excellent again.

Brock Jobe began the day with an overview presentation about four centuries of Massachusetts furniture. He explained the Four Centuries project and made a compelling case for why we need to think of furniture production when we think of Massachusetts.

Kem Widmer finshed the morning with his presentation of his search to put a name on a group of 18th century chairs sharing distinctive construction details. He walked us through his thought process for attribution as well as his travels to the British Isles to track down the source of this chairmaker’s apprenticeship. The talk was enlightening.

The after-lunch slot was filled by the one and only Peter Follansbee. His demonstration of the 17th joiner’s work was equal parts entertaining and educational as always. Sopping wet oak plane shavings, complete exploitation of grain, and lots of dry wit: always a winner. Peter is a blast to watch. You can tell he makes this presentation for a living. He is a pro at audience interaction. If you haven’t see him yet, go pay him a visit at Plimoth.

Richard Nylander was the last presenter for the day. He covered the frame making of John Doggett, a 19th century successful entrepreneur.

I thought the day was particularly special because I got to chum along with Freddy Roman and Peter Follansbee. It was great to observe their expertise while we were examining objects. I was fortunate enough to have Freddy show me around his shop after the day’s event. His place is full of really nice hand tools, power tools, and veneer. Oh and he’s got a couple clamps, too. I was in awe of Freddy’s high level of workmanship and precision in all the examples of his work I saw around the shop. It’s humbling to see Freddy is light-years beyond my skill.

Over dinner, we discussed furniture making, furniture restoring/conserving, historic furniture, and… oh yeah… future opportunities to learn more about period furniture. Freddy is an incredibly generous friend and ally. I look forward to the next time we get together.


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