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Mails Woodwork

Ryan Mails's passion for woodworking started before he was ten years old. "When I was eight, I begged for a first pocket-knife and carved a model of the Mary-Rose, the English warship that sank in 1545," he says. The North Carolina–based craftsman began his studio, Mails Woodwork, about four years ago and produces pieces that celebrate traditional furniture-making methods. Through pursuing a career in academia Mails began to track the early architecture of the south. He also had the good fortune to apprentice with a relative who was a master of architectural wood working. "I learned to use the sorts of tools they had used, and fell in the love with a way of working wood that was visceral and ultimately dependent on the body and a sharp edge," says Mails. This led him to devote his time to craft. Below, we share four of his designs that reflect a modern sensibility with time-tested building techniques.
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Here's the Gullwing Bench ($1,400), a Danish-influenced design featuring a cord seat woven to conform to the gull-wing shape of the frame. Made from solid ash, its members are held together with mortise and tenon joints.

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"The seat of the Henry stool ($900)is shaped from the linear grain of quartersawn ash wood, and both curved and decisively beveled for comfortable sitting. The curving seat, assembled the way a cooper makes a barrel, is shaped by hand," says Mails. We like the gentle curve of the seat and the beveled edge.

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"Built from quartersawn red oak, the Floating desk mounts easily to the wall and provides a compact but ample work surface with a dovetailed, zero-hardware drawer. A good deal of joinery is required to support the drawer while leaving its dovetailed side entirely exposed," says Mails.

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"The Springboard table ($1,100) borrows joinery from Windsor chairs to achieve the same end of strength with slightness of structure," says Mails.

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