Popular Woodworking 2005-02 № 146, страница 35




Popular Woodworking 2005-02 № 146, страница 35

After high school Boggs read James Krenov's "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook" (Linden Publishing) and "The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking" (Sterling Publishing). After finishing the books, he decided to attend Berea College and study woodworking. But at the time, the college wasn't teaching hand-tool skills, which is what he wanted to learn. So he doubled-majored in philosophy (he had taken a philosophy class his freshman year and really liked it) and French (an easy second major, he says). Not satisfied, he dropped out and began carving spoons and working for woodworker Kelly Mehler.

Having discovered what it would cost to set up his own woodworking shop, he was about to drop the idea of woodworking altogether when he stumbled upon John Alexander's book "Make a Chair From a Tree" (Astragal). He was intrigued by the fact that he could make a chair with hardly any tools, and Alexander's primitive methods appealed to him.

"I saw a lot of connections with what he (Alexander) was doing and the spirit of what Krenov was doing," Boggs says. So he started building chairs using Alexander's methods, which were affordable, and incorporating what he liked about Krenov. It seemed bad timing to start a business - his wife was in school and they were expecting their first child. But his idea, it turns out, was a good one.

At the time Boggs was renting a house from the late master woodturner Rude (Rudy) Osolnik. Osolnik's son, Joe, saw the first chair Boggs built and immediately ordered it for his gallery. Since that time, Boggs has never been without chair orders.

Joe continued to order chairs for his gallery. Joe, Rudy and some other folks put together a craft festival and invited Boggs and his work to the show. More orders resulted from that. Then, in 1988, Boggs was invited to teach at the Southern California Woodworking Conference in Clermont, Calif. Chair orders came pouring in. Renowned chairmaker Sam Maloof ordered four of them.

Boggs continued to teach across the country. (He still teaches chair-building workshops at various locations. For details, visit brianboggschairs.com.) He also began writing articles for woodworking magazines.

During this time Boggs was building ladderback chairs working out of his house. He and his family decided to rent a different house

from Rudy, but still there wasn't enough space. So he rented a church outside of town with plenty of room but one wire from a neighboring building that provided electricity. Even though he worked with mostly hand tools, the electricity simply was inadequate. Plus, the church proved to be too cold in the winter (wood heat). So he added garage space to his house and, for six years, worked from that. This shop was featured in "The Workshop Book" by Scott Landis (Taunton Press).

Boggs started hiring help and eventually outgrew his garage shop. Nine years ago he found a lot, and then designed and built the shop he's in today.

A Chairmaker's Shop

There are several rooms in Boggs's shop. The back room is called the green room. It's not temperature controlled. One of the first things you notice is the 36" 1941 Yates American

band saw with custom-made solid-steel wheels. The band saw uses a rail system to carry green logs through the blade. Boggs uses the band saw for quartering logs. His hickory bark stripper also occupies this room, as well as coils of hickory bark hanging from the rafters.

The kiln and steam-bending room houses the steamer, which Boggs made. In it is a three-phase, 10,000-watt electric boiler gravity fed from a pot that contains a toilet bowl kit to keep the water level. The steamer can steam 12 chair legs at a time. Boggs steam s his curved chair parts one hour per inch of thickness. Typically he'll dry chair legs to about 15 percent moisture content, and then bend them in a form with compression straps. The legs are then placed in one of the holding forms that line the wall for a day or two.

The shop also has a machine room. But unlike most woodshops, there is no table saw. Boggs considers it unnecessary for his work

The machine room has no table saw - Boggs says it's unnecessary. You can see the router table Boggs designed in the center of the room.

Aaron Rust (left) and Aaron Beale (right) bend chair legs straight from the steamer. The legs are bent in a form with compression straps and are then placed in holding forms that line the opposite wall.

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