Saturday, July 25, 2020

Western Woodworking

The wood of choice was the ponderosa pine which was felled, split, and adzed to a workable thickness and fashioned into larger pieces of furniture, no two of which were alike. 

Kingsley H. Hammett, Classic New Mexican Furniture, 1996

I'm not comparing Western style woodworking to Japanese style woodworking in this post, I want to ask this question: Are there any woodworkers living West of the Mississippi River?

Yes, I know that there are woodworkers west of the 100th meridian - there are woodworkers and co-op's in most major Western cities, many of the world's best known classical guitar makers live here in the West - but to look at a typical woodworking blog aggregator one would suspect that there are no woodworkers living west of the confluence of the Wabash, Ohio and Tennessee rivers. I know that I haven't been posting on this blog as much as I use to, creating a decent post takes time, whereas posting on Instagram is as simple as taking a photo and telling everyone about it in 40 words or less.

Recently, I subscribed to Woodworker West so I could get an idea of who is working out here in the West and what they are doing. Like most magazines these days, it is sparse with pages and information, but I did feel a little lonely as I thumbed through the latest offering.

To find a quote for this post, I went to my small library and started to dig through the volumes to find some quote about woodworking in the West and, once again, I was surprised that the only books I had on that subject were on furniture making in New Mexico. I have a good selection on the logging and lumber industries of California, the trees of California and the West, log cabin building techniques of the Inland Empire (parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), but no books on West Coast furniture making, probably because my interest in Arts and Crafts style furniture faded away about 25 years ago. 

Are Western woodworkers too busy making a living to blog, vlog, podcast etc., about their work? Do they have enough clients that they don't have to talk about or advertise their work? Or, dare I ask, is blogging about woodworking a thing of the past? 

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