A Bit About Me

Charles Phillips - Custom Furniture CraftsmanMy name is Chuck Phillips.  I started CL Phillips Fine Furniture in 2008 after leaving a career in the pharmaceutical industry and completing a two-year program in traditional furniture design and construction at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts. (www.furnituremakingclasses.com)  Following my formal training, I relocated to New London, Connecticut and completed construction of a new shop in 2011.

I consider myself a craftsman in the finest traditional sense of the word.  I have a particular fondness for Seymour Federal period furniture and the work of the Townsend and Goddard families in Newport, Rhode Island, but also enjoy exploring the work of other outstanding early American furniture makers.  By studying the work of these early master craftsmen I strive to continually develop my own skills in the craft.

custom-furniture-craftsman-wood-and-toolsAbout the Furniture
Traditional techniques and materials are used throughout the conception, design and construction of each piece of furniture that leaves the shop.  Solid wood is used throughout every piece of furniture, with the highest quality veneers used where appropriate to the period and design of the piece.  Hand cut dovetails are used for drawer fronts and case sides; mortise and tenon joinery is used to join legs to rails, whether in a chair, a table or a stand.  Carving and final shaping are done by hand, as are turnings on the wood lathe.  Bandings and inlays are made in the shop if commercially available products are not of the highest quality.

How It’s Made
It all starts with thoughtful design.  I am definitely of the “classical proportions” school when it comes to design, an architecturally based practice where the overall dimensions as well as the dimensions of individual components are all related to one another.  Design is followed by careful material selection and milling.  I use air dried lumber whenever possible in order to retain the best color and durability the wood has to offer.  Milling starts with rough cut boards – this ensures I can select appropriate stock and that it will remain true.

custom-furniture-craftsman-woodTo my mind, the human hand improves overall quality and imparts a distinctive look and feel to surfaces that will be seen or touched – something that cannot be duplicated in commercially made pieces.  Traditional tools and techniques are used where it matters; machine use is limited to “rough cut” operations that do not affect the quality of the fit or finish.  All surfaces that will be seen or touched are smoothed with hand tools.  Final fitting of all joinery is also done by hand.  Finishes are applied by hand with select pieces being French Polished, a time and energy-intensive process that produces a finish unsurpassed in beauty, depth and feel.

The Fine Print
Each piece is designed and built to customer specifications.  Pricing is dependent upon the piece, materials selected, amount of ornamentation and the number of pieces commissioned at any one time.  Payment is generally one-half of the estimated total at acceptance of design, with the balance due at delivery.