Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Furniture fit for a General

Last April, I read an article in Woodwork Magazine about Joe Cress, owner of Logan Creek Designs, and maker of reproduction Civil War Campaign Furniture. Until then, I never knew there was such a thing.

Over a decade ago, Joe's interest in the Civil War prompted him to visit the Virginia Military Institute, which houses some of the furniture he now replicates. Captivated by one piece in particluar—Stonewall Jackson's field desk—and a chance encounter with the museum's executive director led him to where he is today: a maker of "products belonging to three generals, all under license".

Among those products are Robert E. Lee's Camp Chest, J.E.B. Stuart's Field Desk, and Stonewall Jackson's Deathbed.

On his website is a downloadable pdf file of the Woodwork Magazine article and samples of his work. Of particular interest in the article is the fact that Joe purposely adds subtle inaccuracies in his pieces at the behest of places like the Smithsonian Institution. This, in an effort to derail people who try to pass reproductions off as original.

Joe lives one state away from me, in Virginia. I'd love to drop in on him someday and hopefully he'll agree to an interview. Maybe it would help persuade him if I dress in period costume. Anyone know where a gal can get a bustle?*

*Is anybody else totally creeped out by that last photo?

31 comments:

Charles said...

Very nice period pieces. Sounds like he would be a very interesting interview especially given his unique access to the original pieces.

Ohhh, and I am also troubled by the photo of the full-figured, yet headless dress. I'm not sure if it's the missing head or all that junk in the trunk but something is definitely weirding me out!

Al said...

Kari,

Nothing like items from another era, including THAT dress ;-)

I find it interesting that inaccuracies are included; and I totally understand THAT. You should see how many I have in each of MY projects... :-) I hope the Smithsonian will request they also be included.

VERY neat info!!!

Now, about that dress: I cannot imagine *what* is under the rear end, but it must have been HOT in the Summer - and all to look "good". Will you wear one of these to Berea?

Now, visually, I can cut off the rear, and THEN you have something nice and neat, trim, and classy! Oh, how we adjust to the times - (sigh...)

Of course, I still remember *huge* bell bottoms, and long hair, and polyester. And to even think I did all those, too...

Al said...

Kari,

On second thought, *please* don't wear that dress. I would rather greet you with a grin on your face!

Presbyfruit said...

That dress reminds me of a "Happy Days" episode that scared the hell out of me. Please don't wear anything like it. Or anything that requires a whalebone corset.

Stephen Shepherd said...

I for one find the dress very appealing, nothing like a woman in a long dress. Well I am showing my age. There are some great wooden furniture and objects from the Civil War and many are recorded in old photographs.

There is a lot of interesting portable furniture.

Stephen

Wyldth1ng said...

Tombstone.

I had purchased several while I was there with a lady friend.

The Village Carpenter said...

LOL @ the comments! Thanks for the chuckle. :o)

Stephen, you disappointed me (just kidding you)---I thought for sure you would pick up on the fact that the dress is post-Civil War Victorian. Bustles during the Civil War weren't nearly as, um...bustle-y.

Wyld, I was in Tombstone about 20 years ago but I wasn't into bustles then. Hope your lady friend enjoyed them!

Vic Hubbard said...
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Vic Hubbard said...

Okay, take two.
one..two..three...IIIII like big bustles and I cannot lie....sorry, couldn't resist. That was a really good article. Woodworks is, by far, my favorite magazine. They usually look more at the artistic side of woodworking. While I do think FWW is a good publication, they don't veer far from the norm.

Presbyfruit said...

Thanks, Vic. Now I'll have that hit song from the 1880's in my head all day: Baby Got Bustle.

I never thought there'd be a comment thread in THIS blog about ba donka donks.

Vic Hubbard said...

Like I said, Nancy. Sometimes I can't help myself. As soon as I saw that dress, I couldn't get it outta my head and thought I'd pass it around:-0 :-D

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I saw that in the back of your closet!

Mom

Dan said...

I remember reading that article and thinking: "That guy is living the dream!" I am so jealous. I mean, what a great niche – Civil War history and woodworking. And there are enough people interested in the CW or even in re-enacting it, that he can have a strong market for very specific pieces.

And speaking of re-enacting, you might want to check here for your correct era dress:

http://www.ccsutlery.com/ladies/index.html

The Village Carpenter said...

I thought the same thing, Dan. I also thought, "Why didn't I think of that???"

Thanks for the link to the period costumes. I didn't see one for a 19th c. female woodworker, though. What's up with that?

Stephen Shepherd said...

VC,

I just noticed that the bed is missing the blanket roll, that is why that right lower post is askew.

The blanket roll is a turned piece above the rail (for the rope) and adds stability to the footboard. The blanket rolls were loose and a blanket was rolled around it, if it was cold, then it could be easily unrolled over the bed.

Just a thought.

And apparently they don't have a bed wrench or bed key to tighten up the rope on the rope bed. That is where the term 'sleep tight' comes from.

Stephen

Shazza said...

If you put on a bustle...I want to see pictures!!!

Metalworker Mike said...

Stephen - maybe they felt that the rope would stay tight enough for the term of the campaign. Along with the wrench they'd need a mallet to drive the wedges in while tightening, and while you'd think they'd have mallets with them, maybe it was just seen as an unnecessary complication?

M.Mike

Stephen Shepherd said...

Mike,
George Washington had a folding 4 post campaign rope bed & I believe they still have the bed wrench in the Smithsonian. The bed went inside a sleeping chamber (a small tent) inside his field marquee.

Now I am wondering if the bed was a campaign bed or just one in a house where he died, it doesn't look like it is easily transportable.

Stephen

Gary said...

Kari... I'm totally confused. I've researched it, but I simply can't find that generals uniform in the last photo. Was it French by any chance?

Fireblossom said...

Forget waterboarding....for serious torture, there's nothing like women's fashions from the days of yore.

The upside for civil war era ladies was the acceptance of the "Boston marriage." I expect some of those women bore that hardship uncommonly well ;-)

The Village Carpenter said...

Gary, why yes, how perceptive of you. That uniform belonged to General Gigantesque Derriere, originally from Nancy, France.

Fireblossom, those poor ladies had to cinch their corsetts so tight, their lungs popped out of their nostrils. No thank you!

arredamento mobili ufficio said...
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A.J. said...

Hi Kari...

Glad you liked my article on Joe Cress in Woodwork. His work is amazing; the photos don't do it justice.

A.J. Hamler

The Village Carpenter said...

A.J., I hope to get to see Joe's work in person someday. And thank you for writing the article. I would not have know about him otherwise. :o)

Rustic Furniture said...

You have really captured the nice work. My wife love the double bed most.

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The Village Carpenter said...

Dear spammers, you will be deleted, so kindly buzz off.