Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers
#19
  Re: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by hbmcc (The following as poi...)
(09-13-2017, 09:45 PM)hbmcc Wrote: I think we underestimate the mechanical work done a couple centuries ago; likewise, currently. My high-nuts opinions:

Machinery is wonderful at repetition and single function process. However, the more investment there is in machinery, the more work a shop needs to reproduce. (That is "re-produce".) And, no matter how unique a piece is, it still looks like "Ethan Allen" machinery shop and spray room product when it is rolled out on the showroom floor. Nothing drives the image of mass production better than a dozen clones in different colors and wood species to choose from in a "handmade" furniture store. Even Wally-World has only one display model of the full pallet of sawdust board tables in the backroom.

Right now, smaller shop makers advertising handmade goods are riding the "made in America" logo and mass producing things more durable than those being spit out in "slave labor" Asian factories.  

To elevate one's self above mass production, the final surfaces must appear to be handmade. Hence, Wolfe, or Doucette, goes over everything with a hand tool to introduce human miss-perfection. I just hope he final hand-finishes atrocious spray booth spray paint.  And, because the furniture is one, or more, of a thousand copies made over at least 200 years, he needn't worry about the one-off bloopers fashion police of fabric body decoration love to display duplicates of in Look and True Lies (whatever pulp litters checkout stands and doctor offices).

Enough. Stop.
Mercy ......why don't you tell us what you really think?

Just kidding... well said Bruce, keep up the good work...
Skip


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#20
  Re: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by hbmcc (The following as poi...)
Thanks for the compliment (?), Skip. Think I should expand it and submit my tome to Rockler for publication. I feel a new design critique welling up. Probably, indigestion.
Bruce
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#21
  Re: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by hbmcc (The following as poi...)
The market for actual reproduction furniture is quite small. Large manufacturers aren't making close copies of original pieces. The people who buy this high-end furniture know what they want and are willing to pay for it. The EAL directory of artisans proves that it is possible to make a living making reproduction furniture. Some of our members here have made that list at least once. When I used to sell pieces, I targeted the mid-range customer who wanted something that didn't come from a factory, was unique and not too expensive. I never had people asked if the surface was hand planed or the dovetails cut with saw and chisel. They just thought some things looked nice and bought them. I suspect the large majority of people buying wooden products can't even tell the difference between a hand cut molding, a hand planed surface or a hand rubbed finish. But those who can tell the difference and value the process as much as the product buy furniture from small shops like Doucette and Wolfe.
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#22
  Re: RE: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by Dave Diaman ([quote='Steve Friedm...)
(09-13-2017, 08:06 PM)Dave Diaman Wrote: Steve, I think the amount of hand tool work that goes into one of his pieces may be deceptive. The thing is all he is showing is hand tool work. He isn't showing you all the cross cuts and rips and tenons he cuts on the table saw or running material through the jointer and planer. It doesn't have the romantic appeal that hand tool work does. The fact is almost all good reproduction furniture makers are going to work very similarly to the way he does. If you come to my shop you will see the same exact thing. There are just a lot of details on period pieces that can only be faithfully reproduced using hand tools. After you do it enough you become very efficient working in a hybrid manor so to speak. in this day and age making a living using only hand tools is just about impossible unless of course your wife is in fact a neurosurgeon.

If you browse the various videos, he does have several "tailed apprentices".  A big-old-arn jointer among them.  As well as a nicer (Jet or Delta?) lathe.
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#23
  Re: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by hbmcc (The following as poi...)
Rob, I saw that jointer in the video and was drooling over it. It appeared to be a 20" machine but I'm not sure of te make. I have been saving my pennies and plan to sell my 12" jointer later this year and buy a 16" jointer. I would also really like to have the collection of hand planes he has. All my old Stanley planes look pretty shabby next to his but they have always served me well.

Youngbuck, you are right that the market for high end reproduction furniture is small. I have been listed in the EAL directory for the last 5 or 6 years and it is great what Early American Life is doing to help bring attention to the traditional makers out there. I actually wasn't in the directory this year because I missed the deadline to send in my paperwork. I get a lot of business through the directory and can always expect to get a few orders after it hits news stands. Even though high end period furniture is such a small market there is also a very small segment of craftsman who are willing to do the hand tool intensive work required to build high end pieces. That means as long as you are good at what you do there is work for you. I have maintained a 12-18 month backlog for the last 8 years. Most of the guys I know maintain about the same. The potential to make a good living is there as long as you are able to use your power tool apprentices and not compromise the authenticity of your work. As you said some customers don't notice the hand made details or care. That said, my really good customers who continually order high dollar pieces do know the difference and really appreciate it. Another thing that people pay big bucks for is reproducing antique furniture surfaces. Over the last three years I have been seeing more and more of this work. This is mostly because I'm finally getting pretty good at copying to old surfaces. In some cases I'm able to charge as much for the finish as the time to build the piece to the investment of time to learn how to do it has paid off.
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#24
  Re: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by hbmcc (The following as poi...)
Couldn't help but notice his fast hands. Lol
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#25
  Re: RE: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by David Adams (Couldn't help but no...)
(10-08-2017, 04:52 PM)David Adams Wrote: Couldn't help but notice his fast hands.  Lol

I think those are Photoshop moments.... Or, video equivalent.
Bruce
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#26
  Re: RE: Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers by Bentley ([quote='Dave Diaman'...)
(09-13-2017, 07:05 PM)Bentley Wrote: Easiest way to make a living being a furniture maker is to marry a neurosurgeon.

Or, as Black Forest on Home Shop Machinist puts it, “How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!”
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