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Paul Revere

Massachusetts Bay Trading Co.
Artist Profiles

Frank C. Hamm: Handmade Rustic Furniture

Frank C. Hamm: Handmade Rustic Furniture

The rustic style of furniture arose in the 1880s and was especially popular at the time of Teddy Roosevelt, when wealthy American families were building large summer retreats or Great Camps, especially in upstate New York. The style is often referred to as Adirondack furniture. All of it is extremely strong and durable, built using sturdy mortise and tenon joints. Rustic popularity ebbed during the 1940s, but has now come back strongly.

The wood used for indoor rustic furniture includes maple, hickory, oak, and elm. The outdoor rustic furniture is made with cedar. Each piece is unique. Rustic craftsmen carefully select each piece of wood to fit the furniture under construction. The wood generally has bark, but the furniture may also be ordered pealed.

Trees are almost never destroyed for rustic furniture. Frank Hamm uses fallen trees or wood that has been cut for other reasons. For example, local contacts give Frank a call whenever they know of appropriate trees that are about to be cleared.

Frank lives in Weston, MA and has been crafting rustic furnishings for fourteen years. His work has been written up in Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe, American Style Magazine, Design Times, Better Homes and Gardens and he has appeared on CBS This Morning, Chronicle, New England Cable News, and Discovery Channel.

Describing his vision for his work, Frank says, "I am inspired by the grace and beauty in the natural forms of wood. I endeavored to create harmonious, sculptural forms by carefully coordinating the complex shapes of individual wood cuttings. There is a special meaning for me in seeing the previously useful life of a piece of wood, seat material, or embellishment, and to now see it in a different form, with renewed life and integrity. I work with a flexible mind, a sense of humor, and a careful eye toward wood selection and joinery. I have always admired well designed, aesthetically pleasing and functional things, and I have resolved to include these qualities in my own work."

The rustic furniture from Massachusetts Bay Trading Company has the durability to last for generations.