He Doesn’t Walk the Straight Line of Furniture Making

The woodworker is known for his curvy-lined pieces. With stool and chair seats in contrasting colors, he also makes it known that he’s not all about “brown furniture.” Photo by Rimas Zailskas

“Some days are all splinters and dust,” says furniture maker David Scott. He usually works on several pieces at one time, and is always searching for ways to become more efficient.

He has to. From first-draft design to final delivery, Scott works alone.

It all started, he says, when he took a woodworking course during his senior year at Goddard College in Vermont, where he’d been studying psychology and counseling. He was so moved by the experience he decided to embrace a different career path, and enrolled in the two-year Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. Scott says the education he received there gave him all the tools he needed to become a self-employed craftsperson. He’s been a full-time furniture maker since graduating in 1980.

Photo by Tim Barnwell

Scott’s curvilinear pieces are in artistically pleasing contrast to the straight lines generally found in factory-produced furniture. While straight lines might be more efficient from a production standpoint, “curves have power and energy,” says Scott. Being a one-man show, he can also customize. If someone sees one of his tables but wants one perhaps two inches taller, or a bit wider, or in a different wood, he’s happy to oblige.

Of all his pieces, it’s his signature rocking chair — with its nine bent-laminated curves, it takes two weeks or more to make — that he believes will be around in a hundred years: the family heirloom. He’s also become widely known for his graceful tables, stools, benches, and home accessories (most recently and trendily, a new series of end-grain cutting boards). This year’s plans include a new dining chair using the signature back slats featured in his rockers.

Photo by Tim Barnwell

An avid cyclist and hiker, Scott credits the outdoor exercise for keeping him healthy. It also gets him out of his workshop.

“My work is physically demanding and not the easiest way to make a living But,” he’s quick to add, “I have job satisfaction. Being able to see the tangible results of a day’s labor is a remarkable gift.”

David Scott, Southern Highland Craft Guild. Scott’s work is on view at  (19 Biltmore Ave.) and at the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway). For more information, call 828-550-4742 or see scottwoodworking.com.

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