This photo of the corner of a Shaker dresser is not too inspiring. Correct, or is it?
A long ago volume not often read, titled, “ The Workmanship of Risk by David Pye”, delves into art and craft. This book does not have to be applied just to woodwork.
The question that begs to be asked is how this corner of a walnut dresser fits into this? Here is the answer: first the walnut, It came from a tree that grew in the yard of a church in New York State, and when it fell it had a diameter of 5 feet. I have a friend that is 5‘9“ in height, standing by this tree when it was laying in the snow.
The lumber that came from this tree yielded many wide beautiful walnut boards. Using wide lumber in the construction the furniture always comes with a risk. Even when properly dried and seasoned it’s still may move some time in its life and produce a crack. The builder, by using good workmanship techniques, may minimize this tendency, but it’s never a sure thing. Some of the original surviving pieces of the 18th and 19th century may exhibit a crack. Many others have no crack. The thing they all share is beauty . The workmanship exhibited in the old pieces, I still strive to emulate in what I build. Please take note of the dovetails used in the case top and sides.
This allows for the wood to move. In over thirty years a hairline crack has happened twice. The beauty and craft are worth the risk!
How do you eliminate a flaw? You don’t! A builder will use MDF, particleboard and laminate. It is an effort designed to save money and eliminate skill. It does fail,–our landfills attest to that.
I will submit photos of the finished bedroom set when it is completed.