"Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks..."
So begins the schoolyard rhyme recounting one of the most notorious and unsolved crimes in the U.S., the gruesome murder of Andrew and Abby Borden. Lizzie Borden, Andrew's spinster daughter, was tried and acquitted – but in the court of public opinion, she's a murderess.
Knowing Lizzie Borden to be a salacious scrap of history, Stephen Staples didn't hesitate when offered the opportunity to buy some floor boards from her aunt's house near Fall River, MA. A talented cabinetmaker and welder, he crafted the wide-board hard pine boards into a series of dining room tables, which were snapped up quickly by history buffs.
Stephen Staples makes furniture out of history, and that's why FCG is so excited to announce a partnership with this master craftsman.
This weekend, FCG will open small galleries featuring over 50 pieces of his functional art within our stores in Hanover and Natick. Every piece of his furniture has a backstory and every piece is signed and authenticated with details about its history. Among his most popular pieces are dining room tables, kitchen islands, coffee tables, benches, bookcases, hutches, and accent pieces such as hand-turned bowls and wooden boxes.
Steve seems to have a knack for finding extraordinary wood with a past, then crafting it into beautiful furniture. His sources are as varied as the history of New England: old barns, churches, homes, factories, camps and even stores from once-prosperous Main Streets. More recently, he's been harvesting planks of wood from another casualty of our digital age: bowling alleys.
"I don't stain anything," he says, preferring to allow wood to age naturally and show its distinctive grain, color, patina and, in some cases, markings. Some of his table bases are made from antique machinery, such as lathes and plows, or even old medical equipment.
A marine engineer by training, he took up woodworking some forty years ago and honed his skills for many years under the direction of a master woodworker. His passion for old things with a history led to a specialty in reclaimed lumber long before it became a fad.
Steve once acquired a shipment of lumber from Ted Williams' camp for kids in Lakeville, MA called Splendid Splinters, from which he made tables. The hickory and maple had spaulted, which means it had acquired a distinctive coloration from fungi. "The streaks of red, black, brown and blue in the wood gave each table a unique character," he said.
More recently, from the world renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, he acquired a set of old tables from its cafeteria, which was being refurbished. From those well-worn honey-brown cypress tabletops, using old-world craftsmanship, he is creating a series of dining room tables and large "tasting tables" for bigger kitchens or restaurants, which will be sold in our stores.
So stop by our stores this weekend and see the one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture created by Steven C. Staples. Steve's furniture will be displayed and sold exclusively by Furniture Consignment Gallery. If you love history, you'll love his work.
Merchandise by Steven C. Staples is continuing to arrive into our Hanover and Natick showrooms. Our web team is working tirelessly to load the product onto our site. Don't wait for it to post on-line. Come see it today in Hanover and Natick. All items are one of a kind. First one to the register wins!