21 Feb

Kid in a Candy Store

Southern Accents

Remember what that was like? Remember the awe and wonder you felt seeing so many wonderful things all in one place? The anticipation and decision making involved in choosing from so many options?

This is the essence of a visit to Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, AL, for me and I would bet for anybody who fixes or builds furniture or does restoration. SA is a museum of architectural history and oddities that you can touch—and take home with you.

I am always amazed at what I see when I get to visit. I know I am going to see salvaged doors, mantles, shutters, leaded glass, claw-foot tubs, hinges, door knobs, and newel posts. All really wonderful handcrafted items with history and character. But there is always at least one thing that is totally random.

On a recent trip with a friend, I was not disappointed. She was there to find a claw-foot tub for a new home build. I was there because I never miss a chance to visit. I don’t know the number of items they have there, but it has to be hundreds of thousands, if you count all the hinges, antique keys, and drawer pulls. We browsed through rooms and rooms of salvaged materials and most of it I had seen the like of there or somewhere else.

But as I said, there is always at least one thing that is weirdly out of place—if you are in the market for a 5 foot tall concrete Chinese lion, they have one for sale.

12 Nov

Tractor Stool Rides High

Tractor Stool from Desing Within ReachNew to the Design Within Reach catalog is the Tractor Stool Collection made from top-grade American walnut and inspired by old-timey tractor seats.

I love the mixture of straight lines and subtle curved seat carved out of a block of black walnut. The finish looks supremely natural and will likely age very well. In the two taller versions the footrest is covered in black leather.

I am tempted to give this type of wood shaping a try in my workshop, but it looks like alot of work to get the seat curved in the right places. And the pressure to get it right would be significant because you know a block of nice wood like that would not be cheap.

As much as I love these, I will not be buying them for my home. The price is $1130 for the short one and it goes up as the stool gets taller. Best I can do is maybe to try it for myself with a lesser species of wood.

01 Aug

Coastal Living Idea House Toasted by Lightning

One of the coolest Idea Houses I worked on is now toast. Lightning started a massive fire that burnt the River Dunes, NC home to the ground earlier this month. It is a such a waste of a gorgeous home.

Saddest thing to me is that the 4′ x 7′ red oak dining table that was custom built from old barn timbers was presumably also destroyed by the fire. It was a beautiful piece—pardon my prejudice—that I really enjoyed building. You can see more pictures of the table here and there is a shot of it in the news video above.

12 Feb

Chair Caning Help

There is a new DVD set on Chair Caning that I wish was around when I was teaching myself to restore chair seats. The four DVD set ($79.99) covers the 7-step method, pre-woven cane, fibre rush, and splint-type weaving. If you only are interested in one aspect of seat weaving, you can buy any individual DVD ($24.99).

As for books, I can personally recommend Seat Weaving by Ricky Holdstock and Chair Seat Weaving for Antique Chairs by Marion Burr Sober. The former is a great resource with lots of pictures. The later is a 64 page booklet with line drawing diagrams, glossary, and easy to follow instructions for hand caning, rush weaving, splint weaving, and Shaker tape weaving.

Here are some online resources for instruction:

13 Dec

Camping in Style

Silver Tears CampersThis is not a terribly rustic way to go into the woods, but it is very cool. A craftsman in Roanoke, VA, came up with this  gorgeous teardrop pull-behind camper that is nostalgic and luxurious at the same time.

Take one look at this baby and you’ll see that this camper’s daddy was a furniture maker and designer. The form is the same as the classics of the 40’s but the exterior is mahogany and ash, giving a “woodie” persona. The interior appointments maintain the family character and make camping anything but roughin’ it. The base cost of one of these babies? Just $16,500.

Check out their web site at Silver Tears Campers.