I have always been drawn to furniture that is simple in form and without too many decorative embellishments. Shaker and Arts & Crafts furniture were natural inspirations for me because of their simplicity, profound desire for quality in construction, and use of advanced joinery. Both periods of furniture design focused on the beauty of the species of wood used with little if no additional decorative embellishments. My work stresses key principles of fine craftsmanship that highlight the materials while allowing for natural wood movements. These include: mortice and tenon, rabbit joints, and floating panels. I use simple finishes of boiled linseed oil or wiped on oil based varnished to highlight the grain and construction methods.
I recently visited the workshop and museum of George Nakishima and toured the grounds with his daughter Mira. His outstanding views of beautiful wood as a medium, the simplicity of design, and respect for the wooden form has deeply affected me. My latest pice underway, a solid walnut credenza with hand cut narrow dovetails is being built with great respect towards Nakashima's designs.
As my craftsmanship advances I find that very high quality woodworking machinery is important, but what is most important is the sharpening, care, and use of hand tools to create and finesse joints such as dovetails, rabbits, dados, and mortises & tenons. To that end I have found that Lie-Nielson and Lee Valley-Veritas tools, with thick blades and extremely well machined tool bodies help make me a better furniture craftsman.