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Vermont furniture maker, master craftsman John Lomas' new workshop sign
New Sign For Vermont's John Lomas Custom Furniture
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Sign Is Up

Stop by and see what I’m making.

Next time you’re driving around Chittenden County and have a free afternoon, or you’re looking for a unique field trip, visit my completed workshop. The new John Lomas Custom Furniture sign is up!

My logo is by Sally Stetson Design in Stowe, Vermont, and my wife, Laura, helped with the design of the post. Now passing traffic will know what is going on in the blue barn by the side of the road! Just make sure you check in with my canine receptionist and VP of Employee Morale, Peanut...if she’s awake!

John Lomas Custom Furniture_Vermonts Finest Furniture_Local Sourced Wood_Curly Cherry Desk
John Lomas Custom Furniture-sustainable practices using locally sourced wood from Tommy Lathrop's Maple Supply
Monday, November 5, 2012

Locally Sourced Lumber-Exclusively Vermont Wood Products

There is a growing chorus of individuals and companies striving to buy local products. I’m pleased to be making a contribution by buying lumber for my custom furniture projects from Tommy Lathrop Maple Supply of Bristol, Vermont, also known as Exclusively Vermont Wood Products. Tommy cuts, saws and dries his own lumber, logged from forested land around the Bristol and Starksboro area. He takes great pride in the careful management of his forest that has been in his family for generations. His logging practices ensure that the forest remains a healthy habitat for the local flora and fauna, and an active resource long into the future. His sustainably harvested lumber can be seen in most of my handmade furniture.

Fountain Brook Media Cabinet
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Veneering Versus Solid Wood

Veneer on fine furniture? This can sound like a contradiction in terms, but I would like to set the record straight. So often we see cheap, mass produced furniture, made from poor quality materials, with thinly veneered surfaces that chip and peel over time. But there’s more to veneers than that. From the 1600’s to today, much of our legacy of fine furniture has been veneered. The truth is that some of the best quality logs, in a bewildering variety of species, are saved for veneer. The logs are sliced, thicker than production veneers, and sold in flitches, which means the leaves are kept in the order in which they were cut. This provides the furniture designer with the opportunity for matching: Bookmatches, running matches, quartering and sunbursts to name a few. The effects can be stunning and, combined with technologically advanced adhesives that are available these days, they don’t peel.

I recently completed a suite of office furniture, comprised of a desk and two printer tables, in which I used a flitch of curly Cherry, the like of which I have not seen before. The tops and panels of this custom made furniture were veneered in bookmatches and running matches. I could not have achieved the same effect with solid wood and I have no doubt that these surfaces will hold up just as well.

As a custom, Vermont furniture designer, I love working with solid wood, and have also enjoyed learning the skills needed to work correctly with veneers along with the decorative opportunities they provide. If you’re interested in learning more or discussing a project using veneer, please let me know.

Still going strong- my
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Used Machinery

Most of my machinery has been purchased at auction and over the last few months it has been arriving from all corners of the country; a sander from Georgia, a 1965 jointer from Oxford, PA (pictured here) and a shaper from Northern Vermont. Periodically, I’ll be highlighting various pieces of machinery I use in my trade.

So, what’s a jointer used for? The machine is used for flattening the first face of a board, then squaring the first edge to that face. These become the control surfaces from which all other work to the board is tied to, and is ultimately influential in the final look and design of hand-made piece. My jointer came from William Kerfoot in Oxford PA, a respected dealer in used and vintage equipment. As you can see, this is a sizable piece of equipment, and with help of a few ready neighbors, we were able to smoothly unload and set up. (Not like the sander from Georgia which is another story!) I had to do some work to square of the fence to the table, but it is in amazing shape for it’s age, and a welcome addition to my Vermont workshop.

Chalford Farmhouse Coffee Table
Thursday, September 20, 2012

First commission

A few weeks ago the first commission produced in my new workshop shipped to a very happy customer. Our inaugural project was from the Chalford Farmhouse Collection. We also added a new design to this collection, a Farmhouse Coffee Table, ideal for a large family room or living room. The Chalford Collection is one of my favorites, and being able to use my new workshop, finally run the machinery, (most of the equipment was purchased at auction, more to come in future blogs) and wield my tools to create these pieces was a pleasure.

Our customer “was thrilled” to have received the Chalford Dining Table a set of Chalford Chairs and the new custom coffee table. She said, “the quality and craftsmanship of the pieces definitely exceeded my expectations”! She even sent along a picture of the table in action — John

New Workshop Coming To Life-Almost There
Friday, August 10, 2012

Building The Workshop

Sawdust and shavings are flying, furniture is being built. The new workshop is all that I had hoped it would be, and my third commission is reaching completion. I’ll let you know more about these finished pieces in a subsequent post.

Plans for the shop were formed during the chilly Vermont winter. We broke ground in May and completed construction by the end of July. I was recently going through some of the construction photos, and have some wonderful shots of the project in various stages. I thought you might enjoy this small album of photos that show the whole process from pouring the slab to applying the last coat of paint.

You can find images in two places. I've updated my Facebook page with 10 images, and also have a Picassa album offering the full bunch, from green field to completed workshop building. I hope you enjoy them. John.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome to John Lomas Custom Furniture

Welcome to the first blog post on my much anticipated new website, johnlomascustomfurniture.com! I’m thrilled about the site’s launch, because it represents many hours of hard work and dedication, as well as the beginning of a new episode in my life, in which I am returning to my roots as a craftsman and furniture maker. My hope for the new website is that you will be as excited as I am to work together to create the perfect piece you’ve been searching for, which will become a showpiece for your living space and that will bring years of pleasure. My new blog will keep you up to date on the latest news, product ideas and designs from JLCF. We also plan to offer helpful tips and lifestyle ideas, from myself and many others, plus practical suggestions on beneficial use of your living space.

I’ll also have some fun with this blog by adding an occasional personal thought of life in Northern Vermont versus my native England, news of my favorite rugby team, the best Vermont skiing and sailing, a recipe or two from my wife (she’s a much better cook than I), decent brews I come across, and of course, my thoughts on traditional woodworking and master craftsmanship. I look forward to it. As always, please feel free to get in touch, I truly enjoy hearing from you. John

Magic enjoying a summer evening of racing on Lake Champlain
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Magic-Vermont sailing on a calm day

Building my new workshop in Hinesburg, Vermont was a big part of my summer. Even though it kept me very busy, I still found time to get out and enjoy summertime in Vermont. As a relocated Brit, I’m very happy to live and work in northern Vermont. Close by is Lake Champlain with its sailing, fishing and beaches. The Green Mountains are 30 minutes away offering challenging skiing and hiking, and now that fall is here, blazing colors and fall foliage. For me, my summer relaxation (when not on the construction site!) is sailboat racing on Lake Champlain.

I grew up sailing in Baltimore Ireland, and used to race with my sister in a small dinghy called a Mirror. We didn’t do very well, and I really preferred to cruise the magnificent coastline of southwest Ireland in the old 1920’s wooden boat we owned. It was when I move to Vermont that I found the love of sailboat racing, and now crew on a 37ft Pearson called Magic. For the past 18 years, I’ve been spending my summer evenings and weekends racing at our local yacht club on Lake Champlain. There’s tough competition, serious racing but all good natured, and of course, sometimes a beer or two. With fall officially here, we’ve wrapped up the sailing season, and went out with a blast a couple of weeks ago. Thirty knots of wind and bright sunshine, it was quite a ride! Next up for my fun, waiting for the snow to fly, and skiing!

p.s. If you look closely, I can be found on the boat just above Magic's name.