Design: Giving a Second Life to Trees

The popularity of handcrafted wood furniture is booming

The first impulse is to touch. People like to feel the sensuous smoothness of hand-worked wood and trace the grain with their fingers. Handmade wood furniture, says George Nakashima, 77, the foremost master of the craft, "seems the second life of a tree."

Nakashima and a growing number of followers enhance this second life by working with, nature rather than imposing willful shapes, let alone metal, paint or varnish on their material. They carve the natural color, grain, burls and organic forms of selected wood into useful...

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