(Music by Eric Beug, photos courtesy of The Lorimer Workshop)
For this week’s video we are resurfacing an old favorite.
New England is a corner of the United States rich with tradition. David Ellison, known on Etsy as lorimerantiques, and to many of his Providence, Rhode Island neighbors as The Lorimer Workshop, builds furniture steeped in such tradition. He is not only fascinated by the New England legacy, but also by how the simple styles of tables built by farmers have evolved in different regions. While his original enthusiasm for woodworking stemmed from restoring antique furniture as a hobby, David’s interest in the tradition of farm tables turned into a passion, as evident by the stunning conversation pieces below. Incorporating the history of the wood with a modern aesthetic, David’s tables organically serve as a home’s nucleus.
Like many master woodworkers, David focuses his attention on the details of the wood that he sources. He gets much of it locally from the many mills on the outskirts of town. To him, each piece of wood has a story to tell, whether it be with the hatch marks of the saw blade, the knots in the wood, or even the dry rot that has accrued from the way a board was assembled in a previous construction. Rather than turn his nose up at boards with rusty old bolts, or holes left from worms or beetles, he would rather highlight them, and incorporate their signature into the final piece. He recognizes that the history of these markings are just another part of the story yet to be told as each board is bound together by his process.
David acquires his wood from multiple sources, seeking wood that has been salvaged from old buildings, or even wood that has been milled directly from trees, but that has aged many seasons and is therefore undesirable for most woodworking fields. He’s fascinated by the process that old mills have for using every part of the tree, and tries to incorporate those conventions into his work by using as much of the lumber as he can.
He also pays a great deal of attention to the needs of his customers. He humbly admits that many of the ideas for his designs actually come from them. David’s “Bradley” style table, for example, features a natural edge and curvature of the tree still intact running along one edge of the table. While he’s not the first table maker to incorporate the natural outer bark layer of the tree into furniture, Bradley was the first customer who asked David to produce something in this style.
Etsy is also a loyal customer of David’s, having purchased two of his banquet style tables for our kitchen. Many meals, meetings, parties, and even Craft Night overflow wind up at these tables. Most of the desks in our offices are handmade as well, many of which were made by David, in a Parsons-inspired design.