Moser: Legacy in Wood

A celebration of Moser's work and a glimpse into how he grew his business.

Moser: Legacy in Wood

Moser: Legacy in Wood

Anyone who is enamoured with Craftsman style or Shaker furniture will likely know the name 'Thomas Moser'. He's an influential designer-maker in his own right, and the author of the classic guide "How To Build Shaker Furniture". What you may not know is that he is also a very successful business man, the founder of Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers. The company produces an extensive line of hand built furniture that's available in showrooms located in Freeport, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and San Francisco.

In the first five chapters of the book Moser talks about his background, the genesis of his foray into woodworking, and his approach to the craft. You won't find any discussion of woodworking techniques here, no lists of hand tools or machinery, no practical tips that will make you a better crafts person. After all, techniques can be learned – with the right mind and right effort. What you will find, however, are Moser's thoughts on creativity, inspiration, and his design esthetic.

Moser's a great believer of the importance of functionality as it relates to design: "The best furniture design considers first what the object must do". Indeed, when looking at his furniture the words that spring to mind are 'inviting', 'familiar', 'timeless'. Here is furniture that seems to balance usability and functionality with good design. And, if we are to judge good design by market appeal, then Moser is a master designer.

The second half of the book is primarily devoted to the people who work with Moser, his sons in particular. To move from a single-person shop to a small production company takes more than one person. Clearly, Moser has great respect for the crafts people who work with him, and he gives them considerable leeway. Each of his workers produces a piece from start to finish, and then signs their name to the completed piece. It's much more akin to the traditional production shops of earlier centuries than the assembly line shops of today.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and likely will read it again. Why we do a thing, is, after all, just as important as the doing.

The Continuous Arm Chair

Ellipse Dining Chair

Castine Dining Table

PUBLISHER:Down East Books (Rowman)
FORMAT:Hardcover, 160 pages
AUTHOR:Thomas F. Moser & Donna McNeil

Carl Duguay
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