Rick Stein, handbuilt custom furniture

About me

Rick SteinI've been building furniture in Lawrence Kansas since 1994. I spent most of my working life in the bicycle business. In 1994, two things happened. I traded a treadmill for a table saw, and I sold the store.

I didn't sell the store to become a furniture maker. But I did have a burgeoning interest in woodworking and after twenty-one years in retail, knew that a change would be good. I now spend much of my time in my shop making tables, boxes, and cabinets, both functional and decorative.

I took furniture making classes in 1995, 1996, and 1999 at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockland, Maine, where I studied with Peter Korn, James Krenov, John Reed Fox, and Michael Puryear. These teachers and local furniture builder Will Orvedal have had a strong influence on the way I work.

How I work

Favorite toolsMy work as a furniture builder is quite different from my 20-plus years in retail, where the ebb and flow of a typical day was frenetic, to say the least. Then, I managed eleven employees. Now, I manage only myself. I have no employees, nor will I ever. I am solely responsible for every step in the production of my furniture.

From the beginning of the design phase to the final delivery of a piece, the process of building furniture is challenging and almost always rewarding. I work quietly and methodically. Each step requires full concentration— developing a design, selecting the best wood, cutting the joinery, preparing the surfaces (frequently hand planed), applying the finish. Each stage requires me to work to my fullest potential.

What I believe

dovetail jointIn a world driven by instant gratification, honest craft stands out as a counterpoint to the frenzy rampant in our culture. Whether it’s furniture making, painting, jewelry making, or any other tangible craft or art, the process inherently requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to demand the best, most consistent effort from the creator.

Furniture making demands my best effort, my most skilled and practiced work, and all of my concentration. I can’t rush, work casually, or accept less than my best. As in all craft, some of my pieces are better than others, but the effort remains the same. I hope that my work reflects the effort.

 

phone (785) 842-5407| email: rick@thunderworksinc.com