By Tom Heatherington
Can anyone explain what makes a simple log table more
to many of us than a finely carved mahogany table? Is it
a matter of style or taste? To be certain, some log or rustic
furniture pieces do not blend well with every decorating
and few of us would place an Adirondack chair with a
kneehole desk, but in many settings log furniture has no
In the traditional sense, most furniture is made from wood
(which is nothing more than logs that have been "tamed").
However, log furniture is the antithesis of most conventional
furniture. Traditional furniture makers favor pristine wood
planks without knots or blemishes, while log furniture
emphasize knots, diseased patches and even tree bark.
Oftentimes conventional furniture will feature graceful lines
and delicate legs, while log designs boast thick, powerful
verticals and cross members. Log furniture makers often rely
hand tools more than machines. The drawknife and spokeshave
essential tools used to peel logs and make tenons. Handsaws,
chisels, hatchets and other hand tools are found in every log
furniture crafter's workshop.
Log furniture is practical and it stirs our appreciation of
human genius and resourcefulness. Unlike conventional
mass-produced furniture, log furniture is particularly
distinctive in that no two pieces look the same. The
of the logs and slabs ensure that every piece presents a
singular appearance. Log furniture is a form of natural,
hand-made freeform art.
It is this author's opinion that it is the bold and unique
character of log furniture that speaks to us so intimately.
furniture has a soul that whispers to us about our past when
people produced furniture from the raw materials nature
provided. Early pioneers built log furniture out of necessity,
and it retains a romantic charm that inspires thoughts as
daring as that Westward expansion. Log furniture is bold and
gutsy - yet warm and inviting. It can be massive, yet graceful
and it offers us a way to introduce nature into our homes.
The numerous answers to "why log furniture is popular" are as
varied as the craftsman who produce these works. Simplicity,
elegance, boldness, history, natural beauty... there is a
difference between style and character. And that's the reason
log furniture is so popular.