Making Furniture: Berea Student Crafts

Student CraftsA long history of fine, traditional woodcraft at Berea College inspired us to invite Student Crafts to make custom furniture for the new residence hall.

(Did you know that students designed and built much of the furniture in Boone Tavern?) As a result, 123 sets of desks and two-drawer chests have been fabricated for student rooms, in addition to 40 end tables and coffee tables for the building’s common areas.

Led by Tim Glotzbach, director of the college’s Crafts program, students and staff worked closely with foresters to source the best materials for the project – selecting white, red and chestnut oak for the Shaker-style desks and chests. Sugar maple, hickory and ash were also chosen to make up the common area tables. In addition, several of the larger diameter trunks of red oaks harvested from the construction site were cut into slabs for the table tops. Once all elements (sawn, shaped and kiln-dried) arrived back from the mill, Student Crafts teams began assembly and finish work – completing 10 to 12 pieces per week – with the goal of constructing all by July 2013.

As part of their learning experience, Berea students also participated in an on-site, portable sawmill demonstration: cutting the logs into boards, which were then placed in storage for air drying or in a solar kiln. Poplar was also sawn into boards to be used as “stickers” for stacking the wood slabs.

Thanks to the recent Forest Stewardship Council certification earned by the college, all Berea Forest wood used for college-produced crafts now bear the FSC label, promising consumers that materials are sustainably harvested.

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