Recently, I completed a Windsor sack back chair for a friend who wanted me to match the chair color to the walnut desk in their living room. She, along with her husband, had earlier visited my shop and asked me to make one for them. So here are a couple pictures to share. The finish on it features a walnut dye and several coats of polyurethane that was rubbed out to a satin sheen. While I personally prefer the classic milk painted finish, I have to admit that this chair is awesome in its beauty. Because she wanted it stained, I made the seat of basswood and it was truly enhanced by the walnut finish. As a finishing touch, I also applied a label on the underside of the chair seat. This was done on the original Windsor chairs and I gave it an antique look by sealing with garnet shellac. Altogether, this walnut chair was a wise choice for my friend and a joy for me to complete.
Sometimes woodworkers are asked if they sense a spiritual connection in their use of hand tools. Call it curiosity or a fascination with famous people, not a few of us will wonder sometimes whether a star in the art of woodworking knows God. Why is that? For one, many famous professional woodworkers display great sensitivity to the nature of wood as a material, cherish a well tuned plane or saw, and greatly enjoy the time spent in using sharp tools to cut through the wood fibers. To appreciate things like the beauty of wood, to use and make fine tools can look like a person has a spiritual connection. I have that same appreciation for making things of wood with one difference, I give God all the credit for it being possible. We can say it it is too personal of a thing to ask or reduce the conversation to be about defining spirituality. As in what is spirituality for a woodworker? To me it is simple. If a person has a relationship with God then nothing we do can be without God’s presence. Therefore, as a chairmaker, I celebrate that God stands beside me in my shop and in the making of every chair. You can call that my spirituality or you can call it living in prayer. I prefer the later.