An engraved crab sits atop this dovetailed box on a stand. The angled sides of the box grow seamlessly out of the contrasting bubinga stand; a similarly angled sliding interior tray completes this delicate composition.
This commanding desk is the second in a series of three. I worked and shaped the mokume gane hardware in response to the vibrant flow and cross flow of the stunning claro walnut.
The first in a series of desks whose design is driven by the curve of the leg, which flows through the front, sides, and top. The marine theme of the hardware reflects the owner’s tastes and my surroundings.
The third in a series, this desk features a curved gallery across the back and heraldic engraving that references the client’s Scottish heritage.
With restrained curves and polished surfaces, these nightstands showcase the rich figure — from curly to dramatic burl — of American and European walnut. Engraved nickel silver pulls accent the composition.
An animated pair of side tables in solid Essex, MA walnut. They feature thin, elegantly curved legs and a dramatic lighter stripe of contrasting sapwood. The pulls are engraved with classical scroll work.
A sideboard in highly figured Claro walnut standing on darkly patinated cast bronze legs. The walnut was acquired from the collected stock of Jere Osgood. The hardware was made in my studio from mokume-gane, an exotic laminated metal that originated in Japan.
Li’l Rocket stands expectantly on cast bronze legs, awaiting takeoff. This small cabinet in striking Claro walnut features an interior of gum, a dramatic wood which complements the highly figured exterior.
A rectangular cabinet in quartered brown oak with contrasting sapwood accents at the corners. This directs attention to the subtle engraved escutcheon – a piece of turf whose blades of grass echo the ray figure in the oak.
A smaller cousin of West, this rectilinear cabinet in English brown oak features dramatic contrast between the dark base and light edges. The engraved escutcheon plate showcases a sunflower caught in a spiky, darkly beautiful phase of decay.
Having been inspired by boats for many years (my childhood was full of modelmaking, paintings, etc.), it seemed inevitable that I would finally build my own one day.
I have been fishing split bamboo fly rods for nearly three decades, and have been making them since 1999. I am self-taught at this craft, although it is an extension of my fine woodworking career.
Each rod is made completely by hand, from the cane splitting process to the finishing. Many are enhanced with hand engraved metal parts.
Constructing a bamboo rod is an exacting process. A culm of bamboo is split and straightened; the nodes reduced; then heat-tempered to remove moisture and stabilize the material.
Each of six strips is then planed by hand to a triangular cross-section of a specific taper, deviating by not more than .001 inch. When glued together (with the rind still on the outside), these rods represent the epitome of non-synthetic fly rod construction, featuring strength, elasticity, and supple delivery.
One will find bamboo slower than most synthetic rods. I feel that the reduced tempo allows for a more measured, delicate presentation. One is able to “steer” the final approach, resulting in a more accurate cast.
My fly rods are built to my own custom tapers as well as historic tapers from Jim Payne, Paul Young, and Everett Garrison. The rods are given three coats of varnish before the hardware is attached. I make all of the reel seat hardware from nickel silver and wood. I blue the ferrules, and rub the finish to a dull sheen in order to minimize reflective glare that can spook a fish.
The snake guides are wrapped with white silk, which becomes transparent when varnished. The stripping guide ferrules, tip, and cork check are wrapped in brown silk, and are accented with contrasting vintage silk.
The contrast of woods and the beautiful ray figure of the brown oak offer a dramatic backdrop for the engraved nickel silver medallion.
Small boxes are a delight to make and own. They are a forum for exquisite detail and delicate joinery—cabinetmaking on a very small scale.
A small box to hold delicate craftsman’s tools, with a tray that gently floats in place. The interior, of California nutmeg pine, offers a pleasant fragrance upon opening.
This rich piece of curly white oak is perfectly offset by the spalted beech panel.
This version of my Crane Chair moves closer to one of its original inspirations—the darker wood, backsplat carving, and foot rail are elements found in the classic Chinese Official’s Hat chair.
The initial idea for these chairs came to me while sketching in a gallery. Re-imagining a chair I had made 10 years ago, I drew it again with a Ming dynasty influence and arrived here…my version of a classical Chinese design. Many of the details were not established in the drawing; instead, I found them as I worked the wood, allowing my eyes and hands to tell me when the shape was right. Tuning a curve, adding a facet, constantly looking and questioning as I worked, a sculpted fluidity emerged and the chairs came to life.
Strong double-through tenons hide in long, sinuous curves, making a sturdy yet graceful dining chair. The contoured back flexes as you lean on it, providing comfort and support.
A contemporary take on Chinese joinery, made in light wood with a curved, comfortable and richly colored seat.
A classic modern design by Wharton Esherick, the Philadelphia woodworker considered to be a father of the studio furniture movement. Sturdy yet light, riven hickory legs and stretchers flex slightly as you sit, giving comfort to a solid wood stool. I’ve made a number of these over the years, using various woods for the seat.
A unique plank of local air-dried cherry, with rich color and figure, became the focal point of this bed. It is an interplay of subtle and strong curves.
Working with highly figured walnut veneers that I’d been saving for over 20 years, I explored many potential layouts before arriving at the right balance of form and pattern. This screen was a joy to create, a fantastic experience composing on a 6-foot by 5-foot canvas.
I have kept a stock of old commercial veneers for almost twenty years, using a small bit now and then, as much of it is highly figured. A screen seemed like a perfect showcase for such dramatic wood. I offset the panels with a dark wenge frame, creating a rich contrast.
The restoration of a Ming Dynasty table became a master class in the design and construction of classical Chinese furniture, which I have long admired for its clean lines and perfect proportions. This reproduction features the same complex joinery as the 300-year-old original, so secure and strong that glue is unnecessary.
An elegant hall table whose legs join the apron in a style reminiscent of the French furniture designer Ruhlmann. The fine, smooth nature of pear demands equally refined, delicate details—hence the slight, crisp reveals and gently curving back lip.
Commissioned by a good friend and valued client, these tables are an attempt to pay homage to the classical Chinese form of the Ming dynasty. Padauk, a garish orange wood, eventually mellows to brick red and brown tones that approximate the beauty of the traditionally used (and long-lost) wood huanghuali.
A table at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam inspired the demons carved in the corners of this butcher block. Specifically made to the height of an enthusiastic baker, the piece also accommodates wheels for easy maneuvering.
One of a pair of low occasional tables with patchwork veneer tops and unexpected curves in the legs and feet.
A medium-size writing desk for an elegant setting. The legs meet the apron in a gentle curve; the fall-front drawer allows the use of a wireless computer keyboard.
After struggling with initial sketches of this table, the form evolved and took shape once I stopped drawing and began roughing out the parts with hand tools. A simple design made to live alongside a couch, I constructed the piece from a stock of air-dried walnut that I had been saving for the right project. The legs, which are octagonal at the floor, sweep gently into the corners of the upper legs and apron.
Pie-slice curly maple veneer top on a bent lamination pedestal. The Latin phrase First come, first served reminds the diner of the task at hand. Lettercarving by Ann Conneman.
A simple idea made interesting by combining contrasting types of maple; the textural variations of the wood (curly, straight, etc.) are used as the design elements in this piece.
This walnut executive’s desk features dark wenge accents on the ridged spines of the legs.
One of a set of three variations on a theme, this bowfront cabinet is an exploration in straight lines transitioning to soft, pleasing curves.
Lower and wider than Three Twins No. 1, the second in the series was customized to fit a client’s space. The ocean-themed engravings evoke childhood memories of summers in New England.
Another variation, but a bit bolder in concept. No. 3 is the same height and leg shape as the first version, but with an asymmetrical shape—a concave front with one straight, short side and one curved, longer side. The walnut veneers, from the far bottom of the tree’s stump, have so much drama!
The artful integration of metal and wood form the basis of my work. This piece expands that focus to include cast bronze, a material that has intrigued me for years. The glowing golden brown cabinet, of thick old-stock Narra veneer, sits atop bronze legs. The concave front opens to a light, clean Swiss pear and Narra interior offering banks of drawers and hanging shelves. An intricate engraving of a New England seascape graces the escutcheon plate.
Living near the sea, I am fascinated by tide pools and the microcosms of life they hold. Inspired by the ribboned, seaweed-like grain of the mahogany, I engraved a scene from one of these pools: periwinkles among the rockweed, a beautiful and common sight on the New England coast. Curved Cuban mahogany doors open to reveal a concave row of three suspended interior drawers, each graced with an engraved nickel silver pull.
Two cabinets in one are tied together in a bowfront walnut composition. The darker, more serious lower section is united with the sculptural upper cabinet by long, tapering faceted legs.
This low cabinet is cloaked in a tapestry of rich exotic walnut. Amazing in figure and pattern, the pieces were discovered in a long-held cache of rare, old veneers. Composing with them was a rewarding process. The stand, of pau ferro, completes the reference to Ming Dynasty forms.
This set features the subtle interplay of convex and concave curves. The client gave me a great deal of freedom with the design; I created two curved panels on the front of the standing cabinet, carefully choosing and coopering the pieces of figured air-dried walnut. The dark wenge bases anchor and unite the pieces.
This dresser of traditional design features a figured cherry top and case, laurel burl drawer fronts, and maple stringing. Drawers are lined with fragrant sassafrass. Although a departure from my usual design style, this piece was an interesting challenge and happily met the clients’ expectations.
This sculptural piece was inspired by James Krenov’s experiments with door panels that seemed to spring out of their frames. I created a walnut panel that visually floats, curving delicately around the mullion like a sheet of paper.
A cabinet on a stand in contrasting planks of pear. Curved front and back with a concave drawer gallery and shop-made silver hinges. This piece was featured in Home Furniture magazine and the Taunton Press publication In the Modern Style. It is now home to an antique cufflink collection.
A slight curve of the plinth apron gives lift to this cherry cabinet with raised octagonal panels. It is an elegant storage solution for a client’s audio equipment.
A faceted-front cabinet that brings together the design sensibilities of Barnsley and Krenov. I was intrigued by the challenge of using coarser woods to make a refined piece.
A showcase on a case with subtle curves. Hickory, though stubborn to work with, has tremendous depth of color and textural variation. The brass hinges and engraved brass key are shop made. Featured in the book With Wakened Hands, this cabinet houses a collection of antiquarian and artist’s books.