Thursday, June 5, 2008

Woodworking Around the World

Some online statistic services let bloggers know how readers found them—through searches or referrals from other sites—and where in the world readers reside. Below is a list of the places where woodworkers who read this blog live. In total: 59 countries/regions/territories. Wow. Woodworking is truly a universal language.

I am very curious about woodworking in other parts of the world, including other states within the U.S., particularly regarding the types of wood that are readily available and the styles of furniture that originated there.

Cherry and walnut are plentiful where I live and they are my favorite woods to work with, followed by pine. I have only cursory knowledge of the furniture styles that originated in PA, so am not able to write about them with any depth, but my favorite is Pennsylvania German furniture for its folksy, earthy, and practical qualities.

At right are photos of a trunk that my great-grandfather built in Boxholm, Östergötland, Sweden before he came to the U.S. I have never seen the trunk in person, just photos, so I'll guess that the wood is pine. The hardware is not original and there had been a sliding tray inside which has since gone a-missing. Sturdy and functional, but with what may have been a purely decorative element on top of the lid—the raised portion.

The wooden plate was painted by my grandma and reads, in Swedish, "Welcome to our home." She used a technique called rosemaling, or rose painting, which originated in Norway in the 1700s. "C" and "S" strokes, and stylized flowers are indicative of this style of painting. Although she was not a woodworker, grandma may have influenced my love of folk art and handmade creations.

I would love to hear from woodworkers across the globe & U.S. about the wood & tools they use and the furniture designs & decorative elements that are representative of their country or state. Feel free to leave a comment here or email me directly: Photos are appreciated!