Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Robert Erickson's Chairs: Angle of Repose

comments (5) November 29th, 2012 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 101 users recommend

Video Length: 4:45
Produced by: Jon Binzen

Robert Erickson is one of the most accomplished chairmakers in the country. Raised in Nebraska, he made his way to California in 1969 and a few years later built himself a shop in a remote area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With no power, no phone lines, and no potential clients nearby, he began working with hand tools--and a chainsaw--and decided to focus on chairs because they were easy to ship. These days he runs his fully-equipped shop on solar power and ships his work all across the country.

With no formal training in woodworking, Erickson learned through reading and by trial and error. After four decades at the craft, he's earned a national reputation for chairs in a wide range of types and various styles, all of them combining a command of aesthetics, durability, and comfort.

Erickson's chairs typically feature clear-finished domestic hardwoods--most of them western but some from the east--but he also has an affinity for pieces painted in bold colors. And although he's best known for his chairs, in recent years he's been building impressive tables and case pieces as well.


More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

Peter Galbert's House of Windsor
Silas Kopf: Majoring in Marquetry
Peter Sandback Nails His Designs
Liam Flynn: Virtuoso Vessel Maker
John Reed Fox: The Uncompromising Craftsman
Jere Osgood: Modesty and Mastery
Ulrika Scriba's Marquetry: Risk and Reward
Adrian McCurdy: Furniture Riven from the Log
Geoffrey Warner: Assembling a Life
Peter Shepard Turns the Page
Curve It Like König
Partners in Craft: Harold Wood and John O'Brien
Tool Chest with an Arts & Crafts Legacy
Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro


posted in: blogs, videos, slideshow, chairs, binzen, erickson

Comments (5)

JayPique JayPique writes: Really gorgeous work. Sadly, it makes me want to give away my tools and let real craftsman like this prosper.
Posted: 10:43 am on February 23rd

MACAUS MACAUS writes: After seeing this piece I would have to say he is one of the most accomplished chair makers in the world, not just the USA. The composition of wood and steel in his tables was also very inspiring. A joy to see a true master craftman's creation.

Posted: 6:27 am on December 31st

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: Jon - nicely produced piece about an inspirational maker.

Posted: 1:13 pm on December 28th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Beautiful chairs - for sure!

The Adirondack's appear to be at least somewhat influenced by the original Adirondack - the Westport of the early 1900's. Much improved - wth the curved back!

The Adirondack Museum has the original Westport plan available for $15:

for anyone who might like the original dimensions for their own 'point of departure'.

Frank Lloyd Wright also based his outdoor chairs at Yemassee Plantation on the Westport...
Posted: 4:25 pm on December 9th

Woodsmithy Woodsmithy writes: Beautiful work. I love the artistic quality of their pieces, and the way they incorporate the natural beauty or nuisances of the wood/iron.
Posted: 10:21 am on November 30th

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