I'm wondering what furniture makers that are developing new techniques are doing in the way of accounting for failures. For instance, Wendell castle has developed some stacked wood sculpted furniture. What if it cracks, cups, twists, checks, bows? I'm sure that someone paying 10-50-100k for one of his pieces would be a bit bothered by a check, cup, twist, etc. all in the name of art disclaimer or what?
I don't know a whole lot about Wendell Castle's furniture, but I believe it is like most things that appear simple - it is not. I do know what some of his earliest stacked things did crack and move, but I assume not enough to render it unusable.
Like the rest of us, there is always the disclaimer "Wood is natural product. As such....."
I will bet there are voids in some places to allow for movement and steel in others to carry the inevitable weight.
Also, nearly every large case made by Sheraton, Hepplewhite and Chippendale have serious cracks in side panels or similar problems. In fact, it is something that helps authenticate a piece.
My understanding is that when a customer buys the work of Wendell Castle there is an expectation that the temperature and humidity of the home or office, where the work will be put, is controlled so that problems are avoided.
I met Wendell in the early 1980's and repaired one of his music stands in the mid 1990's. It was owned by a man who taught at RIT. He retired and moved to Bath, Maine. The movers broke a leg on the stand. It was an easy repair and it gave me an opportunity to get a very close look at Wendell's work. It was very well made.
You just move on. One of a kind pieces have a higher failure rate than equally well made production pieces. A chair that sells for 100 grand isn't that many orders of magnitude "more durable" than another properly crafted chair, so it's not craft that's being purchased. Likewise, a failure of craft is only a marginal loss, and it's generally entwined with a failure of stewardship. The fleeting nature of beauty doesn't make it any less desirable.
Wood is in many ways an awkward material for furniture. Consider how simple it would be to weld a chair up and how complex it can be to make one of wood, I sometimes wonder why I bother with wood.
In the end I think people like wood in part because it reminds them of traditional values and "simpler times" which we may romanticize. Because we like wood objects we may tolerate wood's weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
Sculpted wood furniture doesn’t woo me much. It gives more traditional look to the interior. I prefer sleek metallic furniture. I had bought a couple of chairs from Ashley Furniture HomeStore. Posting pics below:
In my opinion, it is rather common for natural materials to see physical flaws like cracks, chips and so on. However, anything minor would most often than not, not be considered a design or manufacturing flaw by most stores. This is different from major damages like those incurred during poor handling or removal and so on. You would have to clearly state your concern before purchasing since the amount is rather hefty and you deserve the right to know what you are bringing home.
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