I work primarily with solid wood for two reasons: First, it allows me to use construction techniques that are very durable and visually pleasing, such as mortise and tenon and dovetail joinery. Second, solid wood wears agreeably over the years; little dings and nicks and dented corners blend together over time to create a character that is unattainable in newly manufactured or thinly veneered furniture.
Traditional joints like the mortise and tenon and the dovetail are the result of a rich worldwide history of trial and error that has yielded simple joints as durable as they are appealing to the eye. I use joints that maximize both the mechanical strength and gluing characteristics of the wood while also meeting the aesthetic needs of the piece.
I cut many joints by hand for several reasons, not the least of which is that I greatly enjoy working with hand tools. Primarily, by using simple hand tools such as chisels and saws to cut accurate joinery I have developed a wide vocabulary of non-standard joints which allows more flexibility in my designs. Proficiency with hand tools allows me to accurately cut complicated joints that often require time consuming jigs and setups with power tools.
I prefer simple finishes that accentuate the tactile quality of wood. Plain old oil and wax, hand rubbed to a deep luster is my favorite. In my opinion, the best finish a piece of furniture can have comes from generations of use in everyday life. There are of course exceptions that require more durable finishes.