Bmac

Furniture style Opinions

Recommended Posts

I'm interested in starting a conversation about furniture styles. We talk quite a bit about styles in a somewhat haphazard way, and Nut did a great job with the style references post. This kind of post might have been done in the past, but I don't really remember one, at least as long as I participated in this forum. I'd like to hear other's opinions on the styles you prefer and why. My eyes might be open to something new that I never considered or realized.

I started woodworking with right angles and M&T joinery. Shaker simplicity was my first real influence and it fit my skill set. Getting a bandsaw totally revamped my view of woodworking. That tool along with quality hand tools opened up so many different options for me. Mid Century Modern started creeping into my designs and of course the sculptured stuff is a big draw for me. But the MCM just keeps intriguing me more and more. In an article I was reading it says MCM can be grouped into 3 categories; the bio-morphic, the machined, and the handcrafted. It's the handcrafted style with the heavy Danish influence, it's simplicity and clean lines that has created a somewhat timeless style, at least in my mind. Here's the article I was referencing;

https://www.anothermag.com/design-living/8678/a-brief-history-of-mid-century-modern-furniture-design

I've tried to read and study Greene And Greene, but still haven't embraced this yet. I think I could and I'll keep giving it a look. Love to hear why others like this style.

Arts and Craft style is something I think I will eventually jump into since I quarter sawed a bunch of white oak last year. The AC style is alittle blocky in my mind, but I think I need to be exposed to it more.

Federalist, Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton style is just too ornate for me. 

Rustic and slab design isn't even on my radar. It's funny, over 20 years ago I made a slab coffee table with a funky spalted maple slab. People loved it and still love it, but I hate it. Gave it to my son and his girlfriend for their new apartment. They love it. It's a real shame that Nakashima's use of the live edge slab has been so bastardized. 

I know I've missed quite a few styles here but hopefully this is a topic that interests others as much as me. Thanks for looking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started ownership with an 1860 Colonial. I now own a 1952 Ranch. The styles I gravitated toward were those I could envision in the house. That means I am after dramatically different pieces now. That is highly non-specific, but fitting to frame the conversation. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My style reference post is really lacking on the Danish handcrafted MCM. I've really started to appreciate it now that I'm seeing a lot of makers doing it wrong (in my opinion). If any one has suggestions place them anywhere and I'll try and incorporate them into the post.

My big trouble with all the current makers and their designs is everything is to heavy. What i mean but that is all the members are twice as wide as they need to be which gives all the pieces a very heavy and bulky look. A&C can be very delicate furniture if proportions are observed and the heavy look is removed. I've been pushing this lately and have been quite happy with the result. There has also been a lot of MCM furniture that is ruined with a very heavy look. Some renditions of the Hank Chair are a good example of using members that are just too wide IMO. Jory Bringham does both a good job at making delicate looking pieces but at the same time is the worst offender for bulky furniture that could be delicate.

So far I have liked some of the furniture from Jens Risom, Hans Wagner, Finn Juhl.

I agree with the older styles being far to ornate. Though it does make sense why those styles are ornate. They basically existed to fluff the egos of the Aristocracy. The ornamentation is heavy to try and install a feel and look of extravagant wealth. This may be a bit harsh but it's my opinion on the matter. It's also similar to how i view some of the Greene and Greene furniture.

Bmac I think you'd appreciate Hans Wagner. He appears to do a lot of chair work. It's not all woodworking but they are chairs and I know you love chairs. I find irony in that by the way. You spend a lot of time standing to make something that you sit on but in order to make more seating you have to be standing. At what point does your drive to create seating conflict with your desire to be seated? :P

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I really appreciate Wegner, learning more all the time.

As for your comments on A&C, I've liked what you've done to some of your pieces to make them look more light. I can see A&C in my future and definitely working to make the look delicate. Agree that many people do it with a heavy hand, thats what my original comment meant.

Jory is interesting in my opinion, he has some different designs and his construction methods are very intriguing. I've incorporated some of his ideas in the current Maloof build. As for the Hank chairs I made, they actually ended up in my dental office. I know I softened it quite a bit and it really doesn't look like the original design, but patients go absolutely crazy over the chair. They LOVE it. I was very surprised to see how much love this chair gets, because it's not my favorite. I always find what my patients like very interesting as I get a good cross section of the population. My office currently has 8 of my chairs. The 2 Hank chairs, 2 Maloof lowbacks, 1 Maloof highback, 2 tea party chairs from Morrison, and a bowtie stool from Brock. Seems like different people like different chairs but those Hank chairs may be the most popular. 

I also did that simple lounge chair prior to my current build to work out seat angles and it only took week. https://www.shaunboydmadethis.com/plans/8py176q1nhz2yrlz7j696njm9rlpck-24rhl-e7ds8  But it sort of grew on me as I was making it. I gave it to my son and his girlfriend for their apartment and they LOVE it, absolutely love it. My daughter loved it also and said I really need to start selling these things. I said no one is going to buy that and she mumbled something about being out of touch. I did agree to build her a few out of white oak to put by our pool.

I agree with you also that your post is a little light on MCM reference material. I'm going to do some research on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Mick S said:

Wegner. Hans Wegner.

Sorry.

Duly noted, I should be slapped!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admire some of the mentioned styles from afar, as my skill set is a fair bit behind. But I truly love the Shaker designs, and the philosophy behind them. Function is defined first, and well. Ornamentation supports function, or is omitted. From an engineering point of view, absolute elegance. Exactly what is needed, no more, no less. Not to mention all the functional details that most folks don't recognize, like the finials on chair back posts, designed to hold cushion ties securely, yet easy to remove for washing. Or the pivoting feet found on the back legs of many Shaker chairs, put there to allow tipping back in the chair without the legs slipping out from under.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too don’t care for the fancy Chippendale style. It makes me feel like I’m in a museum when I’m around it.

I also don’t care for the Danish Mid Century style as it looks too Ikea-ish and Retro. It also reminds me of the “cool” crap we lived with in the 50’s, or, mid century. 

Like Bmac, I got over the live edge real quick with my first furniture build and like him, it was a coffee table. But I kind of grew fond of it and still have it. 

I’m kind of like Ross in that I prefer a simpler style with  just a little pizazz added. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Coop said:

I too don’t care for the fancy Chippendale style. It makes me feel like I’m in a museum when I’m around it.

I also don’t care for the Danish Mid Century style as it looks too Ikea-ish and Retro. It also reminds me of the “cool” crap we lived with in the 50’s, or, mid century. 

Like Bmac, I got over the live edge real quick with my first furniture build and like him, it was a coffee table. But I kind of grew fond of it and still have it. 

I’m kind of like Ross in that I prefer a simpler style with  just a little pizazz added. 

Coop, I was with you on the MCM style a few years ago, couldn't figure out it's attraction. The Ikea like look was a real issue with me too, esp all the plywood used in pieces. But looking at pieces from some builders (Maloof, NakiShima, Esherick, and even Krenov) they upped the bar on this MCM style and it has sucked me in. Also, with my love of chairs this style has alot to choose from.

@Chestnut I just ordered a few MCM books, I'll get you a review in a couple weeks. Real excited with a book I found the ranked the 100 best MCM chair designs.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Mark J said:

Federal Style.  Complete with stringing and inlays.  

But if I could magically make just one piece of furniture it would be a Goddard and Townsend block and shell desk.  

You hit on something.  It's not so much the style but the maker.  The desk is extraordinary but they also made a mean, tall grandfather clock.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the Shaker style, and I think for much the same reason.. as I value simplicity and purpose.   I don't think it's right to just discount it as just being simpler to construct as I think there's a lot of skill that goes into a well made piece.

Some of the first furniture I bought in my home before we were married was Danish influence.   Again the simple lines I just find appealing.

But that being said, my grandparents had some furniture... not sure of the style, but it had extremely ornate hand carvings in it.   In particular they had a pedestal table with lions feet carved into the base and extension legs that was really beautiful.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also as some others here am influenced by shaker, mission. And me. I like form follows function. I don't mind plywood on the inside but solid is better. I like frame and panel construction. I love figured, matched grain panels. If the client has the wallet for the figured, I get accolades towards me that belongs to the wood. Most of us here know some of the wow factor is  about the wood.  It doesn't bother me that sometimes I get credit for the beauty of the wood. I look at a highly polished panel and grin. And don't say a word...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys for all the comments, I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. A few comments from what I've read.

@Chet, so right that many of us have different styles in our home as we have the ability to build what we like. I too have a mish mash of styles and it doesn't bother me because I know I have pieces that are well made and expensive to buy.

@curlyoak, great point about the medium in which we work, using beautiful wood really makes a piece, regardless of style.

For those who like the ornate styles, I completely understand your attraction to it. It classic and challenging.

Didn't mean to put down Shaker style as a simplistic style construction, but it seems to be many of our first styles we built.

3 hours ago, Chestnut said:

I wanted to share this with you Bmac and get your opinion. I really like this chair and i feel like it fits your style somewhat.

https://finnjuhl.com/collection/45-chair

 

Yes Nut, that chair is something I'm attracted to. When I've looked at Finn Juhl stuff, some of it is a little to out there for me but that chair hits my sweet spot. Thanks for the link, it's interesting for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Bmac said:

Yes Nut, that chair is something I'm attracted to. When I've looked at Finn Juhl stuff, some of it is a little to out there for me but that chair hits my sweet spot. Thanks for the link, it's interesting for sure.

My level of respect for Finn just went up 10 fold. They host 3d CAD models of all of his main furniture on that website for free download.

Included a screen shot of it open in cad...

Untitled.thumb.jpg.a27d5bfb7ab2694f9ef8c7c98f4da6a2.jpg

One of his books also free.

https://issuu.com/onecollection/docs/houseoffinnjuhl_catalogue

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.