View Full Version : Wendell Castle died this weekend...

Mark Levin
01-21-2018, 12:34 PM
Damn, Wendell Castle died this morning.
There was not a more powerful or influential force in woodworking than Wendell, not Esherick, not Maloof and definitely not Krenov.

https://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=65517 (https://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=65517)

Rod Sheridan
01-21-2018, 2:10 PM
Very sorry to hear that, he certainly was creative and influential.........Rod.

greg Forster
01-21-2018, 8:39 PM
Yes, sorry to read this. I went with my Dad a couple times to meet Wendell Castle when he was at RIT. ( His father was one of my Dad's teachers back in Kansas)

Andrew Joiner
01-23-2018, 2:45 PM
I'm sad to hear this news. He was a pioneer in woodworking. He was a genius in design, marketing and making.

I saw Woodenworks in 1972. It was a traveling exhibition at a museum featuring the work of George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Wharton Esherick, Arthur Espenet Carpenter and Wendell Castle.

I was making a living woodworking at the time. That exhibition changed my life. All 5 of these guys had fame and fortune from the craft I was in. Thank God there was no internet then because I would have searched and copied many details from all of them. Instead I was truly inspired and energized by their work. The freedom that they took was liberating. Furniture design and construction was heavily bound by tradition then and these guys broke the rules big time!

In 1972 the work Wendell Castle showed broke the rules the most. I did many mundane woodworking jobs as the years went by to earn my living. Having seen and touched Wendell's work inspired me to take risks with my own designs.

In 1980 I was invited to be in a furniture design contest put on by the Hardwood Institute. There were famous furniture designers and non-famous competing for the awards. The awards were presented at the Waldorf Astoria. My design came in second in the ready to assemble category. It was a table that didn't look like a knock down piece. No one believed it came apart without tools until I showed them. I heard from some judges I would have won if my listed retail price was lower. There was no mention of it but the ready to assemble category was judged on value (low price) as well as looks! Wendell Castle was there and I got a chance to chat with him. He asked "which design is yours?" I pointed to my table and Wendell said " You should have won, your's is my favorite" What an honor. Talking with Wendell was WAY better than winning first place would have been!

Now I'm retired and thank God for the internet! When I need design inspiration I search Wendell and his work. I've seen details of his home, shop and all his work. He continued to be a woodworking pioneer until his death. I bet he's carving some sensuous seating out of clouds right now.