I suspect that my interest in woodworking began with a lifelong love of trees, forests and everything associated with them. This passion for trees expanded to a growing awareness of the beauty and intricacy of wood, culminating in a fascination with antiques, antique restoration and all things architectural. But it was in 1992, on summer hiatus from teaching writing and my graduate studies in Medieval, British Romantic, and contemporary literature that I became fully inducted into the mysteries of woodworking.
That year my husband and I blithely embarked on the leviathan task of building a log home with our own hands. Even though we spent every spare minute at work on the house we did not move into our new home until 1996. My most pointed and painful memories of this time can be encapsulated by saying that 'only the sustained use of an inadequate or an absolutely wrong tool can give one the deep appreciation derived of using the right tool for the job.' I have since acquired some excellent tools, but given my style, preferences, and woodworking needs, the Legacy is, not just the right tool, but the tool I choose for performing tasks that range from the purely functional, to the pleasingly superfluous and much of the necessarily experimental stuff that goes on in between. Without my Legacy I would not be able to produce the kinds of furniture that I make.
Having surprised myself by feeling more affinity for woodworking and carpentry than commuting hither and yon to teach writing and composition, (I live 120 miles round trip from anywhere I could teach) my husband, Paul, and I made the decision to start the business that now operates under the name of Wallflower Cabinetry & Other Fine Furnishings, a small design and furniture building company located on our property in the coastal mountains of northwestern Oregon. Although meticulously crafted using time-honored methods of joinery, Wallflower's heirloom quality furniture features more imaginative adaptations of traditional design elements rather than adhering to the rigid constraints of period perfect reproductions.
I love antique furniture (relishing, in particular, the idea that objects of utility can at once be functional, durable and beautiful) and I have learned much of what I know about craftsmanship from working with old pieces. In the coarse of learning a craft, every individual finds his or her work influenced by their preferences in art, music, literature, work, etc. and the way those interests and experiences combine in the human imagination give form to individual ideas about design, color, proportion and balance. Almost everything we see is reminiscent of something else but what distinguishes a person, a creature, an object of art or craftsmanship is the individual character either suggested or otherwise expressed by that being or object. I appreciate austerity but tend to favor more elaborately detailed moldings and turnings in my own work.
Having said all that, I can now state why of all the machinery in my shop my little Legacy Ornamental Mill most simply, safely and effectively allows me to realize my own peculiar notions about how I want a piece of cabinetry or furniture to look and that is why I value it so highly. So much of the individual character of a piece resides in the execution of details. I take great pleasure in the fact that I can go to my Legacy and, for example, lighten the severity of a ponderous old molding profile by adding buttons, dentil or rope detail. The basic stability of the way the router is mounted in the Legacy, the pure ingeniousness of its three axis design and its lock down capacity make operations simple, straightforward and most importantly, safe. If you suffer any wariness or just have a good healthy respect for woodworking equipment you will appreciate the enormous difference in the way you are able to function independently in the shop. I live a long way from a hospital and these concerns are always foremost in my mind but I find that the degree to which I feel confident and safe using a machine to be commensurate with the amount of pleasure and ease I derive from performing a task in my shop. This is not to imply that any and all woodworking machinery including the Legacy, requires anything less than full attention and careful maintenance when operating. The Legacy allows me to safely perform tasks using bits of cutting depth and diameter that, prior to my acquaintance with the machine, I would have reserved for the shaper - the ultimate beast of a machines that I would never use without someone in attendance.
Because Wallflower Cabinetry was founded on the principle of conservation and reuse I turn table legs, split turnings, spindles and newels from reclaimed lumber salvaged from either fallen or derelict structures dating from the last two centuries. Without the plunge cutting capacity the Legacy affords me I would be unable to achieve the deeply cut coves and filets on much of the loverly seasoned and difficult lumber I use. I tend to rough out or round the billet on the lathe and then use my Legacy with a template to index for placement and depth of cuts along the circumference of the leg then I return it to the lathe to refine the details
I would encourage anyone interested in expanding his or her woodworking capabilities to explore the potential of this machine. I am in my shop at least six days a we