A native of Virginia, John Shumate has been a woodworker and carpenter for 35 years. He acquired some large walnut and cherry logs a number of years ago and located a sawmill that would cut them to his specifications. Inspired by the work of George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, and Greene, he began making coffee tables, benches and dining tables. His goal has always been to build objects that evoke feelings; pieces to which people form attachments. Each piece is a handmade work of art that will hopefully become future heirlooms.
The wood John uses comes primarily from trees that are blown down in storms or from fence lines that are being cleared. The wood from these logs would be rejected in many cases by the commercial furniture industry. There can be insect damage, knot holes and metal deep in the wood. It is not unusual to find nails, fencing wire, and even bullets during the sawing process.
Many of the boards crack and split as they dry. Butterfly inlays of contrasting wood are used to stabilize these cracks and as a design feature in joining two or more pieces of wood. Multiple coats of hand rubbed oil are applied, resulting in a finish pleasing to the touch as well as the eye. A wonderful feature of this finish is that it can be wiped down with a moist cloth, and only needs a reapplication of oil periodically.
John works alone in building the pieces, from the sawing of the logs to the final coat of finish. He has great love and respect for the trees and strives to honor the richness and beauty of each piece.