So I’d read a few books, bought a few tools (an 8″ tables saw and 4″ jointer, a router and sander, a 7″ planer) taken a very basic evening woodworking class and made a few very simple pieces on the side while working as a carpenter for about a year and a half. By that point I decided I pretty much knew it all and so decided to start my own business – Richard Bissell Fine Woodworking. I quit my carpentry job and moved my tools into the basement of my parents vacation house in Putney, Vermont and hung a sign at the end of the driveway. Only after I’d done this did I come to the realization that nobody knew I even existed (as far as woodworking was concerned) and that I really had no idea how to change that. Quite a scary realization.
As it turned out I didn’t know a heck of a lot about woodworking either but I wasn’t aware of that and as it turned out I had plenty of time to hone my skills while trying to figure out how to sell things. I believe my first sale was a crude file cabinet for a friend had seen one I’d made for my brother. It was frame and panel construction with oak frames and 1/4″ luaun plywood for the panels. The drawer fronts were oak as well and if I remember correctly the drawer boxes were made of 1/2″ or mayby 3/4″ plywood. In hindsight it was a hideous piece but it did hold files and the drawers went in and out.
Anyway, that’s how I got started making furniture. Fortunately I was very young and I’d read a few books that made furniture making sound very noble so I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. It’s a wonderful way to make a living and I’m fortunate enough to do it in a wonderful place to live – Vermont.
My plan is to use this blog to give readers an idea of what it’s like to be a furniture maker and to show what goes into making a well made piece of furniture. I’ll also present new designs here and show work in progress so please check back regularly.