“Things men have made with wakened hand, and put soft life into, are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years. And for this reason, some old things are lovely, warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.”
For centuries, furniture was made through a strict division of labor. Individuals specialized skills in service to a master, who would combine elements and finalize details imbuing certain pieces with enduring greatness.
Joiners cut joints; and carvers carved. Apprentices worked to create rudimentary elements of furniture—sawing lumber, hand-planing surfaces and sharpening tools—for four to six years. From the skills that they acquired working under their masters, apprentices would strive to leave and set up their own shops. In some cases, they became masters themselves.