David Selditz, West Coast/Asian Influenced
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Wood Magazine

David Selditz, West Coast/Asian Influenced

I came to this craft years ago after attending a lecture presented by the archivist and historian for Stickley Furniture. I found my direction and began pursuing American Arts & Crafts design. As the work evolved, I had to determine how to generate income while joining a fraternity of very gifted craftspeople.

Humble beginnings
West Coast/Asian Influenced
David Selditz
West Coast/Asian Influenced
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Pagoda Box

Humble beginnings

My humble beginning consisted of an 8" contractor's saw, a 4" jointer from Sears, and an incongruous mess of hand tools. I began making boxes in their most fundamental form and at some point went outside the design "box." While playing in the shop with different forms, I came up with what I called the Pagoda Box and to my surprise and delight, a couple of local galleries took them on consignment and actually sold them.

After a few years of making these simple boxes, I experimented with architectural forms and produced a large, functional jewelry box based on the American bungalow.

Though labor-intensive and costly, they succeeded. I've since slowed the pace of boxes and redirected my focus on furniture.

I discovered Charles and Henry Greene through a book by Leslie Bowman titled American Arts and Crafts: Virtue and Design. The four or five images within reflected the best of Greene and Greene furniture in form and function. I immediately thought, "who wouldn't love this stuff?" The problem was how to build it, so I began a journey with the help of some of the best craftsmen in the northwest.

After developing a level of confidence and relying on the tutelage of my mentors, I managed to build a small line of occasional furnishings that consist of hall entry and side tables, a spin on a Harvey Ellis bookcase, and a Greene-and-Greene-style sideboard. Among these pieces I developed a fondness for the hall entry table.


 

Hall entry table specialty
David Selditz
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G75 Hall Entry Table
West Coast/Asian Influenced
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Bungalow Box

Hall entry table specialty

The hall entry table at right, based on a Greene and Greene design lends itself to form, function, and detail. I think it's a multi-use piece that can be placed directly inside the front door, in a bedroom, or behind a sofa. The significance of this piece is in the detail with contrasting splines, pegs, and brackets, all functional and decorative. The table above was constructed using vertical grain Sapele and quartered red oak as secondary wood. The peg and spline detail are Gabon ebony, and for the finish I applied an oil and urethane mix concocted in my shop.

I still enjoy making the Pagoda Box, though it remains exclusive to the Patina Gallery in Santa Fe or done on request. These boxes remind me of the start of my journey and of how I've evolved as a craftsman. My only focus is to continue to learn this craft, to become better technically, and to build what pleases me.

I think John Ruskin said it best, "The lyfe so short, the craft so long to learn."

--David Selditz
Bellingham, WA

You can build our version of David's Pagoda Box from detailed step-by-step plans.


 

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