Newspaper article on Chris Becksvoort's new book

Practicality, in life and craft, drives Maine’s most famous furniture maker
Christian Becksvoort's new book speaks to the philosophy behind his work.

NEW GLOUCESTER — Christian Becksvoort doesn’t want to be the ornery old guy who complains about how things are and wishes for the way they were.
He’s generally pretty well disposed, balanced and grateful, and at age 69, shows hardly a hint of slowing down. But he can’t help himself when it comes to talking about how it used to be, back in the day when kids were taught in school how to make things out of wood with their hands. They had to know how to measure, cut and hammer and were supposed to be endowed with enough functional woodworking skills to navigate the basics of home ownership and life.

“All those wood shops in high school have been turned into computer labs,” laments the fine-furniture maker from New Gloucester, better known as “the Shaker guy” because he handles the restoration work at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in his town. “Every kid today is digitally fluid, but they can’t hang a bookshelf. I guess I’m a dinosaur.”
Dinosaur or not, Becksvoort has earned senior status among Maine furniture makers and, with it, the right to speak out. What we lose with generations of kids who can’t handle a saw or a sander are cultural connections to Maine’s past and people’s sense of independence and ability to take care of themselves, he said. In a state that may be home to more woodworkers per capita than any other, Becksvoort stands out for his absolute adherence to the Shaker tradition and the value of working within a personal aesthetic, as well as his commitment to making, and selling, high-end functional furniture that is designed and built to serve its purpose for a very a long time.
“I don’t do what I call California woodworking,” he says. “I don’t do it to impress the galleries. I try to keep it useful and simple and functional. That’s always first and foremost.”
He opened his studio in 1986 and has worked mostly alone since, designing, building and finishing custom furniture that is mostly inspired by the Shaker tradition, with unadorned lines. He works mostly with cherry and uses a simple oil finish. His client list has only about 200 names on it, but he’s known across continents – mostly North America and Europe – for his simplicity, purity and his exacting craftsmanship, executed with a personal stamp that distinguishes his work. He doesn’t care if you call him an artist or a craftsman and isn’t particularly concerned about the outcome of any such discussion.


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I've only had dog beers.

If hummus is made from Garbanzo beans, why isn't it called Garbanzus?
  Re: Newspaper article on Chris Becksvoort's new book by shoottmx (https://www.pressher...)
That's interesting but not limited to woodworking, most can't change the oil or spark plugs in their cars. Name almost anything that may put dirt under your fingernails or cause callouses and it will be the same.

My dad was a lineman when I was young and used climbing spurs. All my grandparents were born on family farms. The world changes.
  Re: Newspaper article on Chris Becksvoort's new book by shoottmx (https://www.pressher...)
Chris B is a wonderful craftsman and a very nice guy; I've had several interactions with him in the past decade or so. For that reason alone, I just bought his book in the LV free shipping deal, so he'll grab a few bucks on the sale. I'm looking forward to his writings.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis

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