Northwest Timber
Robert Erickson
Robert with chair

Robert Erickson



How did you get your start in woodworking?

I was an English major in college and had dabbled in art and design. When I read an article in a Foxfire book about a chair maker I began to think about woodworking and furniture. I searched around my hometown in Nebraska and someone suggested I visit Denver to find someone to work with. 

I moved west.


Tell  about your chair start and design. 

I started making seating and chairs in 1969. I now make a group of chairs that I describe as "the Handmade Ergonomic Chair Series". I prefer to work in domestic woods and learning about each wood's idiosyncrasies and strengths as they relate to chair making.

Although chairs are my specialty, I enjoy design challenges of most kinds.


What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Marketing is both a challenge and a satisfying part of this work. You need clients and since I chose to live in a very rural area all of my work goes elsewhere and I must go out in the world and peddle my wares. As a furniture maker I now realize how much of a service job this is. When I started out I thought you designed good pieces and people would buy them if they were good enough. I now think you try to design good pieces and you meet people and provide lots of interaction and work toward fulfilling their expectations.


How many different hats do you have to  wear as an artist/craftsman?

 Designer/artist, craftsman, laborer, photographer, salesman, boss, fix that which is broke, mentor


What is your advice to someone just starting out?

Design and make things that you really like and figure out a way to sell them. Work with someone established if you can find someone. And most importantly, make things for your family and relatives and try to convince them to pay for the materials and allow yourself some time to develop a sense of personal style. Go to a school like the College of the Redwoods in California if you can get in.


Quilted maple cabinet

Quilted Maple Cabinet


Blog Links 


Solar panels 2


Robert Erickson lives in the remote community of Nevada City, California, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's. Erickson operates his shop and home off of solar power and generators. Solar provides 80% of the power to his shop.


Erickson's place


Walnut desk and chair

Claro Walnut Desk and Chair

Walnut Crotch Table

Curly and Crotch Claro Walnut Table

Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack Chairs

Quilted Maple Cradenza

Quilted Maple Cradenza 





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