Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Partners in Craft: Harold Wood and John O'Brien

comments (10) December 13th, 2010 in blogs

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
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Harold Wood and John O'Brien met in Texas in the 1990s when both were fitting out "flying palaces" for sultans and heads of state. Wood, an Englishman who moved to San Antonio in the 1970s, ran a very successful company there decorating and furnishing the interiors of private jets. Having apprenticed under his father, a prominent English painter, he initially created murals and other finishes for aircraft interiors and eventually designed all the furnishings as well.

View Wood and O'Brien's Work in Fine Woodworking #217

Old-Growth Splendor

How They Did It

O'Brien, raised in San Antonio, had worked for many years in residential and aviation cabinetmaking when he joined Wood's firm, where he oversaw 30 other cabinetmakers. When Wood sold the company in 2000, he thought he would be spending most of his time painting pictures. But he also had a few pieces of furniture he wanted to design, and he asked if O'Brien would like to build them.

O'Brien's answer was absolutely. Ever since then the two have worked as a team, with Wood designing and O'Brien fabricating. And they have produced an array of pieces that combine jaw-dropping materials, outstanding design and utterly uncompromising craftsmanship. 


More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

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, end grain

Comments (10)

Handmade_Furniture Handmade_Furniture writes: As a builder of handmade furniture I can safely say the wood grain is mesmerizing, and this is a real work of art. Very inspirational to say the least.
Posted: 8:46 am on September 9th

jtgg jtgg writes: What beautiful work! The craftmanship and detail are impeccable.
Posted: 12:49 pm on January 7th

ButchGMacDonald ButchGMacDonald writes: Since the drawer fronts would expand in all four directions you would have to allow expansion in the drawer slides as well as top and bottom. I wonder if the resin in the old boards has changed over the years? Solidified or dried out any and making it stronger? This is beautiful stuff! Why can't I come up something like that. Whoops, my jealousy is showing.

Posted: 11:02 am on December 27th

dave55 dave55 writes: My kind of work! Love it!
Posted: 3:19 pm on December 24th

winchestertonfield winchestertonfield writes: I question the strength of this end grain construction. I've worked with end grain yellow pine, and anything less than 2" thick is very vulnerable to breakage. A 3/4" in drawer face maybe with a very dense end-grain, but I see those pulls easily breaking. Very attractive, but I question the longevity.
Posted: 9:04 pm on December 23rd

FRANK001 FRANK001 writes: Realy inspirational.
Conjunction of knowledge, hability and historical references... A real work of art.
Posted: 9:50 pm on December 22nd

FRANK001 FRANK001 writes: It is realy inspirationnal to see such a high quality workmanship, where history, knowledge and hability focus on one single audacious project.

It's like a Christmas gift !

Posted: 9:44 pm on December 22nd

Livermore Livermore writes: I often see things here that impress me but I do not take the time to comment and although I may think that a work is executed extremely well I do not see the art of the maker but instead great craftsmanship and the art of some other person or of another time. But here it is totally awesome.
Posted: 3:04 pm on December 21st

Woodsmithy Woodsmithy writes: These are inspiring works of art, to say the least.
Posted: 10:51 am on December 21st

JeffB JeffB writes: Awesome! Love these videos.
Posted: 8:35 am on December 14th

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