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Thread: Encyclopedia of Furniture

  1. #1
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    Encyclopedia of Furniture

    Picked up a 1965 edition of the 1935 Encyclopedia of Furniture while garage sailing this weekend. Lots of interesting pictures, and terms I didn't know. But my favorite passage was this:

    "CRAFTSMAN FURNITURE: Utility to the point of crudeness. Mission's lack of grace doomed it to a brief doctrinaire appreciation; nevertheless it attained wide distribution"

    That's it - in 476 pages. But the author sounds really disappointed that it attained ANY distribution. LOL

  2. #2
    Bill, the guy wrote that when going to the moon "and beyond" was the big deal. The Mission style was too bulky for
    space vehicles. But it's the most used style for electric chairs.

  3. #3
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    I don't know. It is a bulky style. It is something that I wouldn't want in my 1000 sq ft of living space. I like the style overall, I'm not over the moon about the style, but it's not my least favorite either. Personally, and I know everyone here will hate me for this, but I don't like Greene and Greene much at all. A coffee shop around here has craftsman chairs and they are bomb proof.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    I don't know. It is a bulky style. It is something that I wouldn't want in my 1000 sq ft of living space. I like the style overall, I'm not over the moon about the style, but it's not my least favorite either. Personally, and I know everyone here will hate me for this, but I don't like Greene and Greene much at all. A coffee shop around here has craftsman chairs and they are bomb proof.
    LOL - no ones going to hate you. Probably. G&G is something I like a lot, also Stickley and Limbert furniture. It is a style, for me, that shows off how I built something. I like the transparency of the style, for lack of a better term. And yes it can be bomb proof. I've been making pieces from Stickley et al not only because I like the look of it, but also because my process and techniques are pretty easily seen. And in the last couple of years, since I started making furniture, the how is what I've wanted to learn, and this style gave me that opportunity. I'm currently making a Stickley 962 server from Lang's book, but it will probably be the last piece I make from the book. Being 72, I have a limited window to make some things that are mine. To make a craftsman style piece that is perhaps softer, and lighter. I'm pretty bad at expressing what I mean, but the Stickley billiard chair I made, while very nice looking, is pretty massive and has a dominating presence, and I don't think it needs to be so in order to be an expression (interpretation?) of craftsman style. To my eye it lacks a certain simple elegance. And I find Makintosh's use of voids, or negative space, along with the lighter, more restrained construction interesting. So who knows what comes after the server. I think no more copies.

    The encyclopedia is pretty entertaining. His comment next to a picture of a desk with more gimcracks, doodads, thingamabobs, carving, wings, etc etc has this comment: A perfectly subtle example.... LOL - nothing subtle about it.

  5. #5
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    I also want to say that this author sounds dismissive, which I don't support. I don't think anyone should be told they are 'wrong' for what they like or don't like. It hurts no one.

    And when I say I don't like G&G, I DO like the overall style. I don't like the joinery, I'm not a fan of dowel pins showing all that much. I appreciate the effort and the skill it takes. I see many completed projects on this forum that I'm extremely impressed with. Style, however, I tend to enjoy more modern and simple designs. I like light vs heavy. I like simplicity over complexity.

    Personally, I think G&G is a challenging and gratifying project for a woodworker. I just tend to think that it's a style made for a woodworker. Like I tend to think that a non-woodworker would look at the piece and say "I like it, but why all the distracting wood dowels?" That's how I see the projects, if that makes sense.

    At the end of the day, I see portions of design movements I like and dislike. I think the secret (for me) is to pick the elements I like and figure out why I like it. Maybe it's the proportionality, maybe something else. Then I can incorporate it into my own stuff.

    I am definitely impressed with what I see on this board. I just want to re-iterate my style vs substance. I always appreciate the substance.

    I can see making a lighter version of arts and crafts. Would be a neat project.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    I also want to say that this author sounds dismissive, which I don't support.
    ..................
    I can see making a lighter version of arts and crafts. Would be a neat project.
    The author of the encyclopedia is amazingly dismissive. You can almost him sniff and wave his hankie at certain pieces.

    I agree on the lighter arts and crafts. Which is why I'm liking Makintosh more and more. I didn't care for his negative space at first, but his design evolution is really very interesting, and is growing on me. He went from this
    2019-07-18_17h16_54.jpg to this 2019-07-18_17h18_19.jpg . And his tables from this 2019-07-18_17h24_49.jpg to this 2019-07-18_17h25_30.jpg.

  7. #7
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    Do you find the Makintosh designs online or can you recommend any books?
    Molann an obair an saor.

  8. #8
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    There's a bunch of info you can google or duck duck, and I bought the Mackintosh Furniture: Techniques and shop drawings for 30 designs a while back. Decent book. Not much from later when he designed that beautiful chair. And here's a link to an old SMC discussion.

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?120434-Mackintosh-plans


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