I’m a day late posting the Q&A with my father-in-law that I promised after showing you the incredible dresser and jewelry chest he created.
I wanted to give Joe the opportunity to describe his process a bit and to talk about the materials he used. And I’ve mixed in a few photos I took of the project in process. The photos – including the one of Joe posing with the dresser’s frame early in the process – were shot in Joe’s woodshop.
Here’s what he had to say:
Question: How did you come up with the design for these amazing pieces?
The dresser's shape came easily and was quickly approved by Barb (his wife and my mother-in-law) as the direction to follow. The jewelry box changed dramatically after the dresser was almost completed (as you can see in the photo at right).
The "boxy" model just did not match and I wanted to add a "crown" to the dresser. Even during the construction I had no plan for the backstop. One day it just popped in my head and I created it.
Q: Where did you find the unusual wood?
Joe: A friend told me that his son-in-law had some rough-cut and air-dried lumber for sale, which had been harvested on his land just outside Martinsville, Ind.
One Saturday morning, we drove down and purchased the spalted maple. The whole tree was used in creating this piece. In addition to removing the outside edges there were also sections with so much deterioration that it was not structurally viable.
The walnut came from my best man (and admired mentor), Joe Kesslar in Amo, Ky. When he retired from teaching shop, he had donated lumber which he did not need and he kindly shared some with me. He was also the source for the spalted poplar, which is the highly figured wood used for drawer sides and dividers.
Q: How many hours do you have in the pieces?
Joe: The entire project took just over 400 hours to construct and finish.
Q: How can you let something so beautiful go?
Joe: The project was a way for me to establish my craftsmanship credentials.
When I started I had a vague idea of how the project was going to be assembled, but had quite a few "surprises" along the way.
It was with a great deal of satisfaction to watch fairgoers as they were "attracted" to the piece. Even with the "Do not touch" sign, people reached over to get the tactile connection.
On the far side of the fair, a couple of men were carving a cow's head (it was the "Year of the Cow") out of a chunk of spalted cherry. My wife noticed the spalting and mentioned my work. I pulled up a picture of it and they had seen it already and were quite free with their praise.
It means so much to have validation from your peers.
There are parts of this work that will never be seen and yet have been crafted for utmost durability and beauty. I want it to go to someone who will cherish the piece as a work of fine art.
The dresser is for sale. To see more photos of this amazing dresser, get additional details and see the price, click here to go to the sale site.