As woodworkers I’m sure that we all see furniture purchasing in a different light to most. There’s nothing that makes sense less than knowing that people are happy to spend on a rickety flat pack which won’t last two minutes, but can’t justify spending for a solid, well made piece which could last them forever. Where is the foresight?
For just a moment I tried to think in favour of the flat pack, and could see only one advantage. It isn’t cheaper, not in the long run, but it does suit our fickle nature by allowing us to indulge in the latest trend – hopefully it will last just long enough before we start to get bored of it. I’m not much of a fashion fan myself, I’d rather get to know my furniture and be surrounded by old friends, but even I can see the desire to freshen things up from time to time. Well made furniture can very easily outlive our taste for it, give anything a hundred years or more and it can seem too dark, too ornate or simply too different for our palate.
This brings me to more of the reasons why I’m a big fan of paint. I know that every time I bring a paint brush close to a piece of wood there’s going to be a certain amount of eye rolling and ‘oh no.. you’re covering over the grain’, but I like to appreciate wood as much more than a pretty face. Wood is a remarkable material …. the structure, strength, workability. The appearance is just the tip of the iceberg, so whilst I appreciate the beauty of wood, I also feel guilt free painting over it. I could paint oak and still sleep like a baby.
Simple, strong pieces of furniture may have the best potential for a long and fruitful life in today’s face paced world. In all of a Saturday afternoon, that deep red piece that has become tiresome can become crisp and classic cream in a lick of paint. When two unmatched items of furniture are brought together the varying timbers will likely be nothing but an unsightly clash, but a quick paint job to one may be all that’s needed to create harmony. I made a good living building furniture once, but I couldn’t have done it without paint.
After hailing the wonders of paint, I’m going to go and see how Helen’s getting on with rustling up a finish for my chair. We’ve opted for a linseed paint for toughness (this has always been my go to paint) and the colour will depend upon which pigments she has to hand. We’ve had a lot of interest in the dimensions for the chair since last week and so we will also bring you a brief plan as soon as possible. Helen will do a follow up with some recipes and thoughts on paint.