with Drew Langsner

Most cabinetry made today utilizes veneer or frame and panel construction for the visible components with plywood and factory-made materials like ‘oriented strand board’ for the actual structure. It all comes together thanks to biscuit joinery and specialized hardware for the hinges, latches and drawers. This works nicely. But if you’re interested in making furniture from solid wood with hand tools, something entirely different comes into play.

Drew became interested in handcrafted real wood furniture in 1972 when he first saw examples of farm-made home furnishings in the Swiss Alps and Scandinavia. Drew and Louise wrote about this in their long out-of-print 1974 book Handmade. (Harmony Press)

At their North Carolina farm Drew decided to follow up on this interest when it came time to make cabinets for their hand-hewn log home. The primary wood here is air-dried eastern white pine, with native black cherry hinges, and draw pulls. Beech was used for the drawer runners and counter tops.

The project for this tutorial is a wall mounted corner cabinet. This smaller project was selected in order to make a complete piece during the 5-day class. Similar construction can be used to make freestanding cabinets, bookcases, solid wood doors and other furnishings.

The eye-catching element on the corner cabinet is the wooden hardware. The pintle and gudgeon hinges are hardwood, as are the components of the carved door handle and latch. These work very nicely and also become a decorative element. Not so obvious is the carcass construction which utilizes solid wood sides, lids, shelving and doors rather than the more complex frame and panel construction. The top and bottom boards secure the side units, which in turn capture the interior shelving. As in the traditional pieces, our cabinet utilizes some discretely located wood screws and even a few finish nails where these are appropriate.

Tuition is $1225. This includes project materials, your private room and Louise’s cooking. We also provide the more specialized tools for the course.

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