Gerald Fitzgerald of Middleton, N.H., made it into the League's Living with Crafts ex-
hibit on his second try. His first attempt was a set of contemporary Arts and Crafts-style tables with half of the components made of bird's-eye maple and the other half of black walnut. The jury deferred him based on the overall execution of the pieces. They pointed to metal fasteners used to attach the tabletops, corners left too sharp, light machine marks detected when they held each surface in a raking light and the quality of the topcoat, Fitzgerald recalled. For his next attempt, he attached the table-tops with wood buttons, put a Vi6-in. roundover on all edges as the jury suggested, did more scraping and sanding of each surface and switched from a brushed-on to a wiping varnish. Fitzgerald's work was juried in, but Moore added a final piece of advice, saying that the use of contrasting wood was too extreme. Although Fitzgerald thought that was "a matter of opinion," he limited the use of contrast in the new tables he crafted for the show, making them of cherry with walnut used only for wedges in the through-tenons.
Fitzgerald puts great value on the access he gets to the state's best makers. For example, Osgood recently took time to look over some boxes Fitzgerald built and then encouraged him to make his own hardware from brass and leather.
The jury sees two reactions to criticism and deferment. Some, like Fitzgerald, re-
main "humble and teachable," Moore said. Others just get angry and defensive, saying basically, "I've been selling them this way for years."
Moore's reply to the disgruntled applicant is, "That's fine. Maybe you don't need our help. But if you want to sell them through us, you'll have to make some adjustments."
He told me about one woodworker active in Guild who entered a Queen Anne chair for consideration by the League. The cabriole legs were well done, but they were not highly polished, and there were gaps in the joinery where the legs met the crest rail. Overall, there simply was not enough attention paid to detail.
The jury pointed out these things, suggesting that the man clean up the shoulders of his tenons. The furniture maker chose to ignore the advice and brought back the same chair when he reapplied, protesting, "This is the way a country craftsman would have built the chair 100 years ago."
The jury countered by sticking business cards in all of the joints and failing the chair again. The League's "Guidelines for Wood," sent to prospective exhibitors, calls for all pieces, including reproductions, to "be the best quality by today's standards."
"There can be no laziness evident or inattention to detail," Moore said. "Why relax
The right stuff. Loran Smith first caught the attention of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association with a serpentine-front chest of drawers in the Federal style. Now an Association member, Smith recently sold this Federal side-board—of mahogany, with crotch veneer, makore banding and maple string-ing—to U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
your standard after putting 40 to 50 hours of work into a chair?"
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