Located in the bayside
community of Bellingham, in Washington State, Fairhaven Woodworks was
established in 1976 as a furniture design and fine woodworking studio.
Our work then consisted of custom woodworking for local clientele with
some production work for sale in craft shows. Currently we are focused on high end furniture on a limited production scale, that is, we produce
pieces in short runs. I intentionally keep the numbers low to maintain
evolving technique and personal attention to the work. All wood parts
are made from scratch in our shop - no components are outsourced.
Quality control is our major concern. Beyond our production pieces we
welcome custom work that complement the Arts and Crafts style.
Way We make our Furniture
Our furniture is hand made. Furniture of this caliber can only be hand made. Each piece of furniture is ushered through the manufacturing process with great concern. Raw boards are selected for matching character and grouped in sets for each piece. Book matching is typical. For example with our Morris chairs instead of just selecting two one inch thick boards for the arms we will resaw (split down the middle) a three inch beam to produce a set of book matched arms.
All structural joints are pegged mortise and tenon to original standards. Major joined parts have tenons that are exposed.
Strength is integrity and we try to imagine our creations lasting for hundreds of years.
Final sanding is to an ultra smooth 220 grit. Finishing is particularly laboursome with not less than four coats of oil wet sanded in with 400 grit sandpaper. This produces a rich clear satin luster which is silky smooth. Arms and table tops get an extra two to three coats of finish.
Pride of craftsmanship drove the Arts and Crafts Movement and our Arts and Crafts furniture celebrates the handcraft. Each piece at Fairhaven Woodworks is dated and signed by the craftsperson(s) who made it.
In keeping with the
Arts and Crafts philosophy we use materials of natural beauty.
Hardwoods are of top quality selected and matched for color and
grain. Our furniture is readily available in cherry, mahogany and
walnut as well as quarter sawn white oak, the traditional wood
used in the Arts and Crafts Movement. We would be happy to work
in any other wood of your choice on a custom basis. Our standard
upholstery materials are leather, linen or raw muslin . The leather we use is
of the highest quality top grain northern European bull hides. Our linen is
made of pure hemp, a very durable natural material that blends
beautifully with the Arts and Crafts style. You may also provide your
own material for our upholsterers. If the client would like to provide
their own cushion covers we will be happy to release our furniture with
only a simple muslin wrap.
pieces are oiled. Our finish is a shop formula of tung and
linseed oils mixed with varnish. The finish is wet-sanded and
hand-rubbed to produce a rich clear satin luster which is silky smooth.
We feel this treatment best maintains the natural quality of the
hardwood. Since the finish is absorbed by the wood it will never chip or
crack as is common with most surface finishes such as lacquer or
polyurethane. The finish will always look fresh if maintained with
periodic light coats of oil or wax.
Our Arts and Crafts pieces a not period reproductions. This line was developed to commemorate a period of furniture design that I personally feel is the most important in American history and roots most of what is now considered fine woodworking. These designs are inspired by the masters of that historical time. We draw from the fundamental approach then add subtle design features to create a piece that is a unique blend of traditional and contemporary. We preserve enough of the original thought to honor the designers yet add our ideas to bring the piece into our own era. Most of our influences are in terms of ergonomics, joinery and finish.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of oiled furniture is it's ease of maintenance. Light damage such as surface scrapes and scratches can usually be just rubbed out with steel wool - soaking the steel wool in Danish oil can be quite effective. If steel wool does not work try wet sanding with 400 wet and dry sandpaper and Danish oil. If the 400 does work your way to coarser grits until the scar is gone then work your way back to the 400. Dents can often be removed by steaming with a clothes iron. Set the iron on high and place a wet piece of cloth over the dent. Place the iron on the rag and let steam for a couple seconds -two or three times usually does it. Follow with wet sanding. With damage that is beyond these measures we usually patch with 5 minute epoxy - wait for at least an hour then sand down to 400 grit with the Danish oil. The beauty of the oil finish is that you can blend in the surrounding finish to the repairs. Doing that with a lacquer or polyurethane is very difficult and these surface finishes can easily be damaged. Unlike these hard surface finishes your oiled furniture will never have to be stripped to refinish. The finish will always look fresh if maintained with periodic light coats of a quality oil or wax polish. Wax will need to be removed to repair damage or when refinishing with the Danish oil.
When you purchase a piece from Fairhaven Woodworks, you can be assured of a quality that is unsurpassed. Our Arts and Crafts line commemorates a historical movement that embodies a philosophy we truly embrace. Honesty, integrity and attention to every detail will make our pieces truly irreplaceable.