Daniel Mack

Rustic Furnishings

Questions and Possible Answers

Dan Mack at work on site

Q: Who are you?

Daniel Mack Rustic Furnishings, Inc., is a small design and production studio in Warwick, New York, about 60 miles from New York City. Daniel Mack, the principal designer-maker, started doing this work in 1978. At present, all work is commissioned, but there are always a dozen or so finished pieces on hand.

Q: Do you really sound like you come from Rochester, NY?

Well, judge for yourself. I left there in 1965.

Q: What do you make? How much does it cost?

Custom Residential Furniture:

Chairs, tables, beds and accessory items which reflect both my style and the vision of the client. Often this work contains allusions to other furniture styles and periods.Chairs from $1400; Counter Stools, $1000; Beds from $2800; Tables from $5000.

                                                                          What are you doing!

                                                                                      Have your knees been replaced?

Art Furniture:

I have developed several series of chairs which are visually more complex than the natural form work. They often end up in museum collections or used in private homes in important focal spaces. One is the Mnemosyne Series, which combines natural forms with found objects to tell a story about the history of people, nature and objects. summer vacations, fishing, golf.. These are priced from $2500.

Architectural Expediting:

Besides making things, I work on architectural projects as a consultant and expediter for natural form work. I have a supply of unusual natural form materials: trees for newels, driftwood rails, peeled wood, flooring etc. Handrail and Banisters cost from $400/lf.

I have a broad range of contacts in all the woodworking-related fields. I can put together estimates, budgets and crews for the most unique jobs. My rate for this work is $100/hr for design assistance, site visits, supervision, etc.

Q: What kinds of tools do you use? What tools might I use?

I use some traditional tools and techniques, along with some invented ones. Here is a list of tools for those new to rustic work, and here is a more complete list of suppliers of tools and materials. To learn more about how to put these tools to work in the service of a rustic sensibility, take one of my rustic workshops.

Q: How can I Learn More?

Books and Workshops:

I have written four books on the charm and technique of building with natural forms. I write essays on the interplay of people and their things. and I teach a few times a year.

Woodlanders Gathering:

This is a yearly get-together of rustics and people interested in natural materials.

Hungarian edition of one of Dan's books

Q: I've read all your books in English. And I want to read more. Are they available in any other languages?

Yes: German, Hungarian and Chinese.

Q: What kind of rustic might I be?

from Dan's book, Simple Rustic Furniture

The Hunter: You are active, moving, dynamic seeking the unknown.You have a short intense attention span; you want results. You enjoy the search and the discovery.You need the chance of utter failure to be a success.You can search the local woods for new materials to add to your storehouse. Odd shapes, supple branches, more driftwood, mosses. You remember where things are and how to get there; you might make a map. You like to create, extend and defend

The Magician: You study the sticks and hold the sticks and decide what sticks are right for being special. You reveal and release the power in sticks by choosing, placing, sanding, whittling, coloring and giving the sticks to others. You might tell about secret places and ways. You are compelled to make things special. You understand the unseen and unspoken around you. You see how sticks can become part of something else. You have a sense of patience and a sense of experimentation. You have a broad view. You know that things never stay the same

The Bodger: You use the tools in cooperation with the trees. so that both the tree and the maker can be recognized. You saw, drill, whittle, sand, glue, peg. You come from the line of Hephestus. the inventor, the craftsman. who was kicked off Olympus and kept trying to invent ways back. You know ways of protecting and providing comfort. You build chairs, tables, tools. and shelters, huts, lean-tos

The Muse: You find the trees to fit the air. You make music with trees. You make dance with branches; you make sculpture and shadows. Your work is beautifully insubstantial. You have come from Mnemosyne. the source of deep memory, so time, slow time is a part of your work. You use the musky smells of the forest in your work