L.Post Rustics Blog


Inspired By The Beaver
By  Joann Post
Sunday 29th of October 2017 11:55:21 PM

 

 

 

Our family has a deep respect for and appreciation of the beaver.  Beavers are amazing creatures who play an important part in the environment and help it to thrive by creating new habitats and ecosystems for multiple species.  So, it made sense that our passion for beavers would eventually inspire us in our artwork.

 

This is how it started.  Jillian decided to create a beaver diorama.  She became quite absorbed in the details.  As you can see, there would be an underwater scene as well as a land scene above the water line.  The beginnings of a beaver felling a tree is in the upper left corner.  Fish will live in the beaver pond and the splash of the tail is forming on the water.

 

Jillian carved logs to look beaver chewed.  We loved this concept for pilasters.  Initially, the design began in a different direction, but then we decided to entertain the idea of the cabinet being somewhat in the shape of a beaver lodge.  Fitting, we thought.

 

Here is the start of the doors.  Ryan developed this design with the thought that beavers create tunnels in and out of the ponds and lodges.  The circular area represents the opening to the “lodge”.

 

Ryan worked with cherry burls to create layering and an anchor point for the pilasters.  We used some textural tamarack bark for the sides and planned on pulling that same detail up into the top section of the piece.

 

One of the pilasters set in place to figure out where they would best look.  So much planning of the details.  If one element looks off balance, the piece won’t be a success.  Burls create the skirt like base.

 

You can see where the top of the cabinet once was more open.  That changed.  In the business of creating art furniture, changes occur--trial and error, even when you create the basic design on paper or Sketch Up.  We all scrutinize, and decide on what needs to be added or to left out.  Sometimes, we try to resist changing something we aren’t totally happy with, but eventually we come to grips with the fact that the work done earlier must be deconstructed for the success of the piece.

 

Now we are reconfiguring the top--developing the new shape.  We’ve decided on small drawers instead of doors.

 

Jillian carved the bow front drawer to look like a poplar log.  The “chewed” branch nubs will be handles.  Should there be two handles evenly spaced we asked.  The answer was multiples, risking some balance, but throwing in something unexpected.

 

Now the piece is taking on somewhat of a beaver lodge shape.  The twig work on the drawers is coming along, but still so much to get accomplished.  We are pushed to complete this speculation piece in time for the Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Fair.  The clock is ticking and we still have commission pieces to complete.

 

Twig work on the doors, but they want something to frame the circular area.  We called on Jillian to come up with branch work and leaves.  

 

Here are the doors nearly completed (but upside down).  You can now see the beautiful bird’s eye maple that Ryan chose.  The bird’s eye maple was also used in the top here and there.  We never want one random element if possible.  The designs need to transition to other areas.

 

The lighting was trickier than we had anticipated.  The initial choice was strip lighting, but it cast too much bright light and the intent of the carver was to have the light stream through the “water” as sunlight would stream down into the depths of the pond.

 

 

During the evening, the beaver lighting is probably quite indicative of the lighting under the murky water of the beaver pond.  To house the light, we found just the right burl, cut it and hollowed it out, added our LED light for coolness, and, when it cast the perfect light--we breathed a sigh of relief.

 

We attached the flattened burl to cherry lumber so light wouldn’t escape around the sides and create chaos.  The branches holding up the final roof were pulled from an abandoned beaver dam.  The tops are chewed by the beaver as are the handles on the piece. 

So much thinking, planning and, of course, attention to detail helped create our beaver inspired cabinet.  The base has cubbies for wine storage to give it some more functionality.  We were honored to win the People’s Choice award at the 2017 Rustic Fair--thanks to this piece, the beaver, and our family’s love of art.

     


Our Gallery at The Maples
By  Joann Post
Friday 29th of September 2017 09:36:40 PM

This is what our home looked like in 1927!  Notice the Old Hickory settee under the maple tree.  The Maples was a fitting name for the place.  Built c.1810, it was a farm and later operated as an inn.
 
This is what our house looked like in 1927.  It was aptly named The Maples since
it was surrounded by stately old maple trees.
Notice the rustic Old Hickory type settee under the tree.  It operated as an inn
for many years and guests were afforded the luxury of indoor plumbing
and electricity--a real treat for the era.
 
 
Here is The Maples today.  We've lost some of the trees, but the ole girl is plea sed as punch to be our home gallery for  L. Post Rustics.
 
This is our house now.  We've lost some trees, but the ole girl is pleased to be home
to our L. Post Rustics Gallery.
Our gallery is a culmination of our own rustic art furniture as well as some artis ts and artisans who we truly admire.
 
 
When you think of an Adirondack home, you might envision heavy logs and cathedral ceilings.
 
Adirondack rustic furniture lends itself comfortably to most interior settings.  
It adds interest and art to almost any room.
 
The dining room is my favorite.  The color is a great backdrop for the furniture.  Bunker Hill Green by BM.
 
This is one our favorite rooms painted with Bunker Hill Green by Benjamin Moore.
Look for our sign with leaves carved by Jillian.  L. Post Rustics at The Maples.

Here is our new sign--hand carved maple leaves by Jillian--a tribute to the name The Maples.  

     


The Making of an Adirondack Library, Updated
By  Joann Post
Sunday 23rd of July 2017 09:12:03 PM

The Making Of A One Of A Kind Adirondack Library 

These are two of the completed sections of the Adirondack library.  The customer is a naturalist and wanted Jillian to carve specific botanicals, animals and insects.  

Jillian carving one of the owls that sits atop the “tree” pillar.  The theme is forest, of course.  The pillars are the trees which are topped by leaves of beech, maple and oak.  The idea being that if one looked up to the tree tops, there would be many different species of leaves intertwined to form the canopy.  Owls rest in the trees on either side of the south wall of the library.

Here is a close up of one of the owl’s talons.  Pretty amazing, huh?

It took Jillian nearly 18 months to complete all the carvings for this Adirondack forest inspired library.  

There was a lot of planning and fitting in the workshop.  Nothing could be oiled until Jillian was absolutely sure it was right.

She made the leaves so they would lap up onto the ceiling.  These cabinets are floor to ceiling.

This little flying squirrel peeking out of a tree knothole was applied to the “tree” and then blended in with Jillian’s magic.

Wait a minute, what’s this fellow doing?  Oh, he’s a merganser duckling leaping from a hole in the “tree”.  You can see him and his siblings in the next photo.

There they go, ready to follow their mama to the water. 

The trillium fretwork under the cabinet.  Look closely, Jillian made the negative spaces to be moths!

This leaf was going to be in the way of the upper cabinet door.  She solved the problem by making the leaf smaller–how did that happen?  Well, as you can see, a caterpillar chewed on it.

Our customer loves her library.  Each time she grabs a book, she notices some other small detail which Jillian left for her as a present. This customer gave us an opportunity to use our creativity, skill and talent.  Her gift to us, and our’s to her. 

 

     


Adirondack Rustic Grandfather Clock
By  Joann Post
Friday 7th of July 2017 01:44:52 AM

 

 
 
 

Milkweed, so representative of summer for our family.  For us, the milkweed, with its sweet smelling perfume, should be called Aromatic Sweetness flower.  This season brings with it our rustic furniture themed with botanicals and animals doing what they do in the Adirondack summer.

 

Here is our latest piece--an Adirondack Rustic Grandfather Clock.  We completely love making the grandfather clocks.  They all reflect the season in which we create them.  Jillian has the knowledge and creativity to bring our clocks to life with her masterful wood carvings.  

 

This grandfather clock is the story of the red fox.  He rests lethargically in the grasses, curled around his bushy tail.

 

He has glutted himself on the sweet wild strawberry patch.

 

Crabapples will soon come in season and will be a tasty treat.

 

Of course, the family all has a hand in this clock. Ryan designed and built the case.  Joann and Larry detailed the case with bark and twig work.  Jillian created the carvings and determined the theme.

 

Maybe a sad story for the meadow mouse--another favorite meal for the fox.  Lets assume this one got away!

 
adirondacks summertime rustic art woodcarving

 

     


Adirondack Aquatic Themed Sideboard
By  Joann Post
Thursday 29th of December 2016 01:31:36 AM

Leave it to Jillian to think up the best ideas for furniture to compliment her wonderful hand carvings.  For speculation pieces, she decides what would be the most enjoyable subject matter to carve.

  Summer afternoons often find the Post family retreating to our family lakeside property nestled in a quiet resource management area within the thick forest of the Adirondacks.  Oftentimes, its just a few hours of swimming or kayaking on the 20 acre pond.  Happy times are spent there.  So, we decided to create a piece of furniture that would allow us to share these memorable moments.    

 

This is the sideboard--the overall shape.  The lake scene is an oil painting by Joann.  The carvings, of course, are by Jillian.  We used cherry, burls, driftwood, cedar flares, birch bark and twigs.

 

The wood we chose for the top is flamed cherry.  Sometimes called quilted cherry.  This figured pattern reminds us of ripples on the water.  The driftwood log was pulled out of the lake.  As one approaches painted turtles, no matter how quietly one paddles near, they always alarm and drop into the water from their sun basking--plop plop plop.  They then dive down and disappear into the muddy pond bottom.  These guys are on their way in.  

 

The bigger turtle has his leg submerged into the cherry ripples.

 

Lily pads and dragonflies adorn this pillar. 

 

Water lilies float on the cherry sideboard top.

 

We picked beaver chewed sticks from the water in the spring.  Once they dried, Jillian carved the opposite ends to look like they also were chewed by beaver.  Then, they became the handles on the drawers and central door.  I can’t tell which ends the beaver made.

This was a joyful creation for our family.  Art that truly made us happy.

     


Adirondack Whitetail in Autumn Themed Desk
By  Joann Post
Sunday 23rd of July 2017 09:00:18 PM

Whitetail In Autumn Desk

When preparing months in advance for the Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair in Blue Mt. Lake NY, we decided we would honor the Adirondack Whitetail deer with a desk themed, “Adirondack Whitetail In Autumn”.  This is what we came up with.

It all started with Jillian’s carving.  This was a masterful work which included hand carved antlers–a tedious undertaking of glue ups and attachments with wooden dowels.  We held our collective breaths during the process.

Ryan designed the desk and then we tweaked the design so we were able to fit in some of the rustic elements more.  Looking like it has some pretty good potential.  We decided we weren’t going to do birch bark.  It would still fit the Adirondack Rustic Furniture genre, though.  We would add cherry burls, live edge slabs, cedar flare legs, twig work and, of course, whitetail antler sheds.


The carved front legs depict goldenrod–an autumn favorite around here.  Not everyone is familiar with the wasp galls that are frequently seen on the stalks of the goldenrod.  The little wasps develop in the galls and will emerge in the spring.  Beech leaves drape along the side curves.  The dried beech leaves will cling to the branches well into winter.

Snowflakes might be in the air when the whitetail is in the rut.


So, lets make sure this whitetail has plenty to eat.  Lets put him in a forest with beech, oak, and acorns for some favorite nut munching.

The carved arching branch at the top of the desk even sports some buck rubs.


And, yes, that is a tiny snowflake carved into an antler shed.

All the parts and pieces seem to flow pretty well.  Not too much, not too little, its a go…..

Dang if that deer didn’t just bound across the top of the desk!

 

     


Camp Memories
By  Joann Post
Saturday 6th of December 2014 07:45:38 PM

Camp Memories

Its been awhile since our last blog….but, it was a very busy year, and some things get delegated to the back burner.

Designing furniture and built ins is the main focus of our business.  If the aesthetics aren’t there, no manner of execution of a poor design will ever be successful.  We know what we like and there is a feeling we get when a piece is moving in the right direction.  Much like working on a painting—sensing when all of the elements are working well together and the final composition feels “right”.

The “right” feeling has to work for our customers and their space.  What we attempt to achieve is a level of comfort, familiarity, and artistic design. The design needs to fit the home, not compete with it.  

 

 As I think about the “comfort” aspect, my mind drifts back to the days of our family camp nestled in the mountains with a small brook enthusiastically flowing through the property.  Built by my French Canadian grandparents, it was meant to be a haven from the oppressive summer heat of the textile mills.  Parts of it were cobbled together out of salvaged wood from a catholic rectory (which, I’m sure, pleased my devoutly Catholic memere).  Every weekend of my childhood was spent swimming in Big Pond and the cool mountain air was drenched with the scent of balsam and sweet fern.   My older sister and I spent hours wandering around beaver dams and, on dares, could be found swimming in the mucky, leach infested water.  Afternoon activities revolved around the lake, but early mornings, before the black flies got truly vicious, were spent picking berries for any number of our Memere’s tantalizing desserts .  These were the highlight of the evening meal.  Chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes with gravy and for special occasions, Canadian tortiere.  The camp was always brimming to full capacity with our family, friends and relatives.  Memere spent most of her time cooking, working on 1000 piece puzzles, playing solitaire and reading Prevention magazine. 

 On our trek to camp, my father would stop at William’s Meat Market at the foot of the mountain to pick up provisions to last the weekend.  My siblings chose to wait in the car while I relished the store experience. Stacks of wooden cheese containers lined the shelves and were filled with aging cheeses.  The air was pungent with the odor of cheese in full bloom. My father would sample Mr. William’s mouth watering delights making pleasured guttural sounds and their conversation became muffled as they worked their way to the counter to settle the purchases.  I would wander around the store looking at the decorative signs, food labels, gadgets, and utilitarian items which no camp could be without.  The visit with Mr. Williams completed, we would make our way up the steep mountain in the packed Country Squire, engine whining, until we kids would excitedly announce that our dirt road was in sight.

My mother accepted camp, although she was attracted to a finer material world.  The willing helping hands were a reprieve in the caregiving of her four young children.  Mom spent most of her time sunning on the shared beach in her Marilyn Monroe-esque way.  She was very stylish and quite pretty and she enjoyed the attention that came with this.  

 

 Our camp structure was probably 800 square feet, had knotty pine walls, a pot-bellied wood stove, well used 1920’s furniture along with some rustic pieces made by my dad.  There were old iron beds with creaky metal springs stacked high with wool blankets that smelled of moth balls. Linoleum, which crackled under foot, covered the kitchen and hallway floors.  Cast iron plaques on the walls with humorous quips and one-liners like “Don’t worry if you work hard and your rewards are few, remember, the mighty oak was once a nut like you” reflected my grandparents’ perspective on life.  Never lose your sense of humor. Their lives were hard, though, with many losses, but they treasured family and friends.  Sadly, my pepere died when I was six but memere and all of her sisters (the great aunts whose height never reached beyond 4’11) were ever present in our lives.  They seemed like the happiest people I ever knew.  And so, our camp was the happiest place I ever knew.  

 

Our rustic family camp was a far cry from some of the lavish great camps of the Adirondacks.  I think, though, that no matter how spacious or exceptionally designed a camp is, its occupants want to feel a sense of connection to familiarity and past experiences.  Not so much a re-creation, but maybe a homage to a place where they felt the happiest in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

     


The Art of Rustic Furniture—Making Mistakes
By  Joann
Saturday 20th of September 2014 10:20:42 AM

The Art of Rustic Furniture—Making Mistakes

 

As much as we plan for our pieces, mistakes or unforeseen problems do occur.  Once we solve them, they usually become a wonderful enhancement to our furniture.  We actually embrace these trouble spots, because we typically are able to come up with solutions that we would not have thought of otherwise.  The mistakes force us to be more creative and the ideas start flying when we are faced with them.  Making a mistake is really a way to discover and try out something creative that you may not have undertaken.

 

If the design worked out as planned all of the time, our creativity would plateau.  Boredom might set in.  New ideas would never be born.  Surprises would not occur.  So, don’t be afraid to try a difficult design and certainly don’t scrap your project because of a mistake.  Some of the most ingenious breakthroughs in science occurred because of a lab mistake.  So it is with art.  We’ve been lucky enough to have those “eureka” moments in our workshop from time to time.

     


The Future of Rustic Furniture
By  Joann and Larry
Wednesday 16th of April 2014 03:36:39 PM

 

DSC02448

We hear about the future of rustic and the designer’s predictions of where this furniture genre will head.  It seems that rustic furniture makers always strive to come up with the next innovative idea that will separate them from the herd.  Trends to combine rustic and modern for example have introduced rustic into settings that may not have thought to embrace gnarly wood with polished steel.  

 

Adirondack rustic furniture makers have revived an art which seemed to fall into some obscurity during the 20th century.  Now, though, with the age of information technology, most are aware of Adirondack rustic and we believe it is here to stay.

 

 As our world gets more and more complex, many look to a quiet retreat reminiscent of a simpler time.  Hand made items can be difficult to come by these days with many old techniques lost to mechanization.  The factory finished product comes up short for those who extol the virtues of a craft made by the human hand—evidenced by imperfection, uniqueness, and creativity.  

 

Where is the most value today in antiques?  Not in the machined late 19th century furniture, but in the early pieces made by the cabinetmaker.  So the trend is with rustic.  The heirlooms of tomorrow are the pieces made by the small furniture wood shops producing the best examples of rustic furniture.  As in fine art, the best of makers are only able to produce a limited quantity of furniture made by their own hand.   

 

If Adirondack rustic fell out of favor tomorrow, our workshop would survive, since we have the versatility to create most any type of furniture.  Our hearts would mourn the loss, though, since Adirondack rustic furniture is what makes our creative juices flow.  We like to think that our positive energy resides within each piece we make.

DSC02450

 

     


Hand carved wood--developing a work of art
By  Joann Post
Sunday 9th of February 2014 11:43:51 AM

2014-02-05

DSC01662

 

     We are always thrilled by artistic talent.  We value it and believe art to be an intimate encounter with a human soul.                      

     We are also fortunate to have among us, a wood carver.  Jillian is young at her craft, but her carvings convey a soulfulness beyond her years.  She is systematic in her approach to each wood carving project.

     To begin with, she must truly understand her subject matter.  An avid hiker and woodswoman, Jillian gathers specimens of trees, branches, leaves, fruits, cones, and insects from the forest and displays them in her carving studio.  Shelves and  bulletin boards are filled to brimming with plucked items as a new project begins.  These will be study for peripheral aspects of the carving—meant to surround the main theme and give it additional meaning and understanding.

      The primary focus of the carving is then thoroughly studied.  If it is an animal, she will learn all there is to know about how it moves, what it eats, where in the landscape it lives, and how it interacts within its community.  

      This is in Jillian’s character—to understand the natural world around her.  Her scientific curiosity correlates with her art.  For her, one cannot exist without the other.  

      The final phase of preparation before her chisel touches the wood, is the drawing.  In the paper rendition, she plans for levels of depth, shadowing, balance, proportion and overall composition.  She pencils in notes of pertinent reminders.  For unlike a painting, in which the artist can have a change of heart and add or remove an element with a brushstroke, wood carving is unforgiving.  Once wood is removed in error, the carver is left with few salvageable options.

 

malegrouse202

     The process of choosing the right wood comes next.  She studies grain directions, texture and color with the ultimate goal of working with the wood’s characteristics to convince the viewer that a two dimensional relief carving appears 3 dimensional.  

      Finally, Jillian transfers her drawing to the wood and then the real magic happens.  It always amazes us how confident she is with each stroke of her chisel and how determined she works—as if the carving is buried within the wood and it is her mission to liberate it.

DSC01938

 

     Jillian carves every day.  We are fortunate to have continued work for her and realize that her talent greatly enhances our furniture and makes it more collectible and desirable.  We (happily) often hear her say that “there is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing.”

     


Interior Architectural Birch Bark Paneling
By  Larry and Joann
Wednesday 1st of January 2014 11:22:54 AM

 

DSC00490

 White birch bark as an interior wall application has been used as a rustic decorative detail in many of the old Adirondack Great Camps. Unfortunately, there are few examples of this interior architectural detailing left. The Great Camp Santonini, which is open to the public, has birch bark walls and ceiling treatments which remain intact. Back in the day, the panels were harvested from white birch trees which were part of virgin forest. These magnificent specimens yielded huge sheets of birch bark not found in today's Eastern forests. Just seeing the size of the sheets is amazing in itself, but viewing intricate moldings and detail work found in other private camps is enjoyment for the eye.

DSCF3595

 We have been privileged to work in and amongst these birch walled camps—some, we are guessing may have been worked on by Ernest Stowe himself. In the Great camps, one is surrounded by wood—often fir. The white birch bark wall treatments brightened the oftentimes dark and heavy feel of the interior.

Inspired by the beauty of the white birch bark as interior architectural elements, we at L. Post Rustics also create these treatments in both new and old camp construction. Vast amounts of bark get quickly consumed when “paneling” walls in large rooms-- which can easily escalate the cost of this treatment.

DSCF5789

We typically do not apply the bark directly to the existing wall. We make templates of the walls, then glue and vacuum press bark in the desired design to thin wood sheets previously cut to fit the spaces. Since a large sheet of white birch bark always wants to curl opposite of how it lived on the tree, the glue/press process keeps it in place. The procedure takes weeks and sometimes months depending on the room size and intricacy of the twig work design. Those seeing the metamorphosis of the room are hit with the “wow” factor. It is quite amazing to see the transformation of a space with this treatment.

Since birch bark does shrink, it is necessary to cover all seams with twig work or ample molding. Creating a recessed panel of bark with wood surround is quite pleasing to the eye. Adding some mosaic or organic twig work is icing on the cake.

   Planning well ahead for a project such as interior birch   bark paneling is necessary since birch bark can only be harvested in the spring when the sap is flowing. We typically are unable to sacrifice large amounts of white birch bark for wall treatments later in the year.

  If one is looking for a one-of-a-kind architectural      element for a camp or rustic home that harkens back to the heyday of the Adirondacks, white birch bark paneling is fantastic and can be the jewelry on a lovely lady.

     


Rustic Decorating
By  Joann
Thursday 5th of December 2013 01:20:22 PM

We often hear people say “I couldn't decorate in rustic, my house isn't a log cabin.” This comment, in turn, gives us the opportunity to educate. Some of the most beautiful Great Camps in the Adirondacks have features of the popular style homes of the later 1800's and turn of the 20th century. Contemporary log cabins of today were not typical among the examples of homes during the heyday of the Adirondacks. That said, rustic can live comfortably in any setting and doesn't require a certain type of architecture.

There are also not many “rules” to decorating with rustic. If you love naturalistic qualities to furniture and also find rustic furniture to be fun and sometimes a bit quirky, it will most likely fit right in to your decor. An eclectic mix is appreciated by us, and in our own home, we have rustic alongside period 19th century furnishings. Our federal style house is pictured in this 1914 photo and if you study the front yard, rustic settees, chairs and tables were right at home.

house

For those who gravitate to the unusual and seek to have one-of-a-kind items, rustic furniture can enhance an eclectic mix. A predictable interior that has the same lines, color tones and textures can feel stuffy and boring. Even small pieces in “unexpected” places can change the feel of a room. Be comfortable and have fun with your surroundings—life shouldn't be too serious.

 

     


Market shift in rustic furniture.
By  Joann Post
Thursday 21st of November 2013 06:34:07 PM

Market shifts in rustic furniture

Over the last few years, interest in rustic furniture designs seems to have shifted. More and more we are hearing customers say that they like some bark and twig, but want to see the cabinet wood and appreciate the joinery work.

The market was flooded in past years with furniture completely covered in bark, with uninspired twigwork, often hiding inferior cabinet workmanship beneath. The China trade in “Adirondack rustic furniture” brought in an even lower level of poor quality, albeit with cheaper prices. We have witnessed the poor quality of drawers that won't open, doors warped and twisted, and screw heads visible inside (and outside) cabinetry. It seems, though, that price has been out of proportion to quality, so the old adage “you get what you pay for”, didn't always hold true.

The 1990's seems to have been the heyday for the bark and twig furniture revival, but that has waned. We have seen this change parallel the Great Recession. People who enjoy beautiful furniture and are willing to pay for it want quality joinery, and exceptional design. Gone are the days when bark could be the sole reason for paying top dollar for a furniture item and this has weeded out some of the “get rich quickers” with little furniture building talent.

This is not to say, that very utiltarian rustic furniture has no place in the home.  Not all furniture needs to be created equally, but the pricing should reflect the differences.

Today's rustic furniture collectors seem to be paying much more attention to the details of joinery and construction—they want to see it. They are looking for creativity in design and, exceptional twig workmanship.  From where we sit, the Honeymoon period and the infatuation of the rustic furniture revival is over.  Today's customer seems to have a deeper appreciation of quality craftsmanship.

     


The butternut tree--will it be a memory?
By  Larry
Thursday 24th of October 2013 04:40:07 PM

 

Recently we purchased some butternut slab wood from a small, reputable lumberyard. It had been in a back room in storage for years. Remembering how I enjoyed working with it many years ago when I made reproduction Shaker furniture, I relished the thought of seeing the rich golden coloring-- this time with some blue tones streaked throughout. The butternut (Juglans cinerea) is in the black walnut family (Juglans nigra) and is also called “white walnut”. Butternut is a hardwood native to north american forests. It is highly valued for furniture making and carving.

The botany expert of the family, Jillian, was less familiar with the species than most other trees growing in the Northeast. Of course, this lead to some research. What we found out took us by surprise—survival of the butternut is threatened by a fungus which causes butternut canker. Because of the extreme virulence of the fungus, it is thought to have been introduced to North America.

Many wood workers know that American Chestnut once ruled the forests of the Northeast and was the primary hardwood. Chestnut blight extirpated this once majestic tree and now it is but a memory. Occasionally, antique chestnut wood can be found and reclaimed since it was often used as wood for barn building in the Northeast.

Old growth Elms are now a tree from the past. Most elms have succumbed to Dutch Elm disease or are in the process of dying.

Now the butternut. The National Forest Service is working on developing a more resistant strain of butternut by planting

seeds of trees not infected with the fungus. The seeds of infected trees are also infected with the fungus. Butternuts were often planted on farmsteads close to the house. The nuts were used as we use walnuts today. They are very tasty and a much enjoyed treat for both human and animal alike.

The butternut slabs that we recently purchased will be used in furniture applications, and will become cherished heirlooms. Adding the oil to the satiny wood, the colors come alive once more— golden and ochre hues swirling together to create their own artistry. A bittersweet labor of love.

     


Rustic Furniture Traditions
By  Joann Post
Monday 30th of September 2013 11:06:56 AM

     L. Post Rustics, the name of our business doesn't sound much like French Canadian, however, all but the Post branch of our families is of French Canadian descent.  As a matter of interest (mostly to us), Larry's ancestors and my ancestors came to "New France" (now Canada) with Samuel de Champlain.   We are Fortins, Godreaus (Goodrow), Lussiers, Beaudrys, Vaniers and all branches back through Canada and to France. During the late 1800's, our families emigrated to New York and Vermont.  

     We often look at our furniture and see lines and design elements that are reminiscent of early Canadian furniture and, since this is not intentional, wonder about the so-called "genetic memory" coming into play. 

      A little history on French Canadian emigration to New York and the rustic furniture connection link for anyone interested:

      The late 1800's in Quebec were financially difficult for the French Canadians as more and more rural farms fell into debt and poverty pushed the emigration to New York and New England.  Northern New York offered work in the lumber and textile industries, and since the emigration destination was close, New York offered the greatest opportunity at the lowest travel cost.  The French Canadians established themselves in "petits Canadas" that closely resembled the communities from which they came.  Many neighborhoods were called Little Canadas.  In Au Sable Forks NY, there still is a road called French Village.

     With the rise of the Great Camp era in the Adirondacks in the late 1800's and early 1900's, another opportunity for employment could be found by the locals. Most of the artisans employed in the carpenter shops set up on these large compounds were from the local villages--many of whom, were French Canadian.  Although the Great Camps were designed by architects, local flavor was added into the rustic elements and furniture made for the camps in the carpenter shops.

     We are proud of our French Canadian heritage and if our furniture resembles that of our ancestors in some way, we are proud of that as well.

     


Rustic furniture design
By  L Post Rustics
Saturday 27th of April 2013 07:34:25 AM

When people ask, "What is the most difficult aspect of building rustic furniture?", we say, "Coming up with the unique design".

Materials are important, as is the talent and skill to put them together, but the design and flow of the piece is critical to its success.

We have customers who leave the designing entirely up to us.  We know the functionality they are looking for and the confines of measurements, but the rest is up to us.  The resulting pieces are always our very best work.  These customers know us well enough to take the leap of faith that we will create a piece that is right for their space and they challenge our talents to produce something exceptional.

 Project funds do drive creativity in custom design.  Whether it is in architectural design of a house or furniture design, the creative process is restricted by budget.  

Envisioning the finished design on paper is a time consuming process.  Much thought goes into this.  We have to know what materials we have--often, we have to rummage through them stick by root base prior to or during the process of drawing up the design. If we don't have what we think we will need, the search begins to find the right materials. We plan in our minds how each branch will connect, knowing what types of elements could be substituted if the original natural bend doesn't comply to the form.  Being able to "see" how all the pieces will come together is tricky business.  All of this takes much time.   We tell our customers that the drawing is not entirely reflective of the final piece.  Sometimes, while creating it, the piece is asking for something other than the original plan details, or something takes on a look that we aren't crazy about.  We once made a cabinet with roots as part of the back gallery, we stood back and the roots looked just like cats perched on top of the piece.  The design subsequently was forced to change.  

We often take photos of the furniture as it is progressing, not only so we can see it in another way (Jillian and Joann do the same thing of their paintings and carvings since photos give another perspective), but also so we can show the customer and bring up any potential "changes" we are thinking about.

As a friend once said, "Creativity on demand is the most difficult aspect of the artistic process"  Typically, when a customer asks for a drawing, we like to take a few weeks to think about it.  The thought is quietly simmering in the back of our minds and then some small inspiration edges in which opens the "portal" of ideas.  Now we are ready to sit down and draw.

 

     


Antique window glass in our rustic furniture
By  Joann Post
Friday 19th of April 2013 11:01:49 AM

     Antique hand blown window glass is treasured by us.  We incorporate it, wherever possible, in our rustic furniture when glass doors or panels are desired. The hand-blown glass with its small air bubbles called seeds, the fold-like marks called reams and the wavy distortions, add historic rusticity to our furniture.

       The antique window glass in our own early nineteenth century home in the Adirondacks inspired a true fascination and appreciation of old hand-blown glass.  It saddens us to see the antique glass, which was made laboriously and is a historic treasure, discarded in dumpsters.

The earliest houses in the Adirondacks (and America) had little access to the expensive and difficult to acquire window glass.  Those more prosperous, were able to outfit their homes with Crown glass which predominated till the mid 1800s.  Crown glass was produced when molten glass was gathered on a blowpipe and blown into a balloon shape.  The blowpipe was removed, a solid "punty" rod was attached and the glass was spun rapidly until a disc was formed.  The outer portion beyond the central knob was then cut into panes.  The central knob, or bullion point became the "bull's-eye".  The rejected bulls-eye was used  where not much light was required such as fan lights surrounding doorways or in barns and chicken coops.  Today, the bull's eye is highly sought after by collectors.  This type of sheet glass had its size limitations and often the panes had to be joined together to create windows. 

 

     In our own house, the earliest windows were 12 panes over 12--a few survive in the carriage barn and attic.  In the late 1800s, larger window glass became available when hand blown Cylinder glass was produced and could make a finer quality with larger panes of glass.   Many homes "upgraded" to this larger window glass.

I am happy to say, that we have a large cache of antique hand-blown window glass awaiting a new life in a special piece of furniture.  By now, most who know us will call when old glass is available.  We never turn it away.  Much of it will sit outside while the wood and caulk slowly soften to the extent needed to be able to gently remove the glass from its confinement.  We have great sentiment regarding these treasures.  After the glass is cleaned with a mild rubbing compound, I look through it to inspect but also to get the visual experience of the many others,long now gone, who saw the world through this wavy, imperfect material.

     


L. Post Rustics loves to build clocks
By  Larry Post
Wednesday 10th of April 2013 02:29:10 PM

 Larry with Adirondack Rustic Grandfather Clock

     As a boy, my grandfather had a German made cuckoo clock hanging in his living room.  Half the excitement of visiting my grandparents was looking forward to seeing his prized cuckoo.  My brothers and I would sit on the living room floor waiting for the half hour and hourly presentation of the cuckoo through the two small doors in the clock's peak.  We sat in amazement as the cuckoo repetitiously called out the time. 

      I've been hooked on clocks ever since.  I've been fortunate enough to own a few old timers--a tall case 1820 grandfather and (of course) a Black Forest cuckoo.

The tall case clock gets wound every Sunday.  This has become a ritual.  It lives in the living room and it has a deep, rich tick-tock.  I find the sound to be very restful and its easy to fall asleep on the couch while listening to it.  I often think that it has outlived the many whose ears have heard this same ticking in the last 193 years.

     Since our family builds rustic furniture, it was fitting that we would make clocks in the rustic style.  Some of our large grandfathers reside at The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid NY.  They are mechanical clocks and with the proper care, their German movements will last a lifetime.  

      Each clock we make--grandfather, grandmother, wall or mantle clock is given its own identity and personality through the shape and rustic decoration we apply.  But once the movement is put in, we feel like we've breathed life into it.

 

     


When to harvest forest materials
By  Larry
Wednesday 10th of April 2013 02:46:40 PM

HarvestingMuch of rustic furniture building depends upon natural forest materials.  What we use usually requires the bark to be firmly adhered and to stay that way.  Sap runs heaviest in late spring and travels beneath the bark layer of the tree.  This is not the time to cut unless you want the bark to come off.  The old timers used to say that for the bark to stay on a cut tree, harvesting should occur in any month without an "R" in it.  So, from May-August do not cut.

Time is closing in for us to complete our harvest.  We cut a nice bunch of "moose wood" ( acer pennsylvanicum) last week.  This week we will look for yellow birch (betula alleghaniensis) and their root bases.  

Still much snow in the higher wooded elevations.  Many of our customers, friends and neighbors allow us to cut on their property and we will be "hunting" on our own parcels for root bases and oddities.