Steve Strouse, Wood Craftsman State College Magazine August 31, 2009
“I started out with a couple of local furniture manufacturers, but I’d always wanted to be self-employed at woodworking, so I started my business building custom furniture in 1993. At the time, I would agree to make just about anything and I was asked to build some Shaker-style boxes.
I wasn’t even familiar with the Shaker box, but I got a few books, did some research, and just became fascinated by the history of the Shakers. I was also fascinated with the woods that you could use in the boxes—which woods would bend and which ones wouldn’t. The wood has to be soaked in hot water and bent then dried for three or four days. They’ll hold and take on that new shape. Most of the logs are salvaged. I have my own mill, so I cut the logs, then I take it to a friend that has a kiln and he dries the wood for me. I’m involved in the whole process, from picking up the logs, cutting them, drying them, and then cutting the pieces and laying them out for the boxes. It took three, maybe four years, but the Shaker boxes sort of consumed my business. Now I make them about 10 months out of the year. The other months—January and February—I still build custom furniture."
ARTIST: Steve Strouse, wood craftsman (specialty—Shaker boxes) HOMETOWN: Bellefonte, Pa. INSPIRATION: “The simple elegance of the Shaker box being combined with the grains of the wood from Central Pennsylvania.”