John Pavlik sees his work as woodworker as a continuation of the tradition remarked on by Adam Smith in his 1776 inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations—“A country carpenter deals in every sort of work that is made of wood. He is not only a carpenter but a joiner, a cabinetmaker and even a carver in wood, as well as wheel wright, a plow-wright and cart and wagon maker.”
Much like Adam Smith's county carpenter, Pavlik has accepted commissions for building
period furniture, facades for historic store fronts, parts for horse-drawn wagons, and architectural
details for many historic structures—including the Johnson Hatfield Tavern, Colonel Edward Cook
house, Mount Washington Tavern, Gallatin house and numerous log structures. For these historic
structures he has manufactured window sashes, doors, paneling, fire place mantles, chair rails, baseboards
and even wooden shingles (split using a froe, dressed with draw knives, and felled by his conservation
corps crew using axes). Pavlik even accepted a commission from a museum to manufacture
a wooden carriage for a cannon from the Revolutionary War period—even though Pavlik is not a plow-wright or wheelwright.
One of Pavlik's most popular specialties is carving folk art items such as vintage-style woodpeckers, duck decoys, shore birds, owls, roosters, and fish decoys.
In all of his work, scholarship has been an essential part, and his reference library continues to grow. Although Pavlik prides himself on the ability to duplicate the details of the old, in finishing decoys he has not attempted to use the same paint patterns as seen on Wilson, Hudson, Holmes and other decoys but is rather developing his own techniques. Even so, he works with period tools and methods of construction.
Pavlik offers his handiwork online at the Wooden Hatchery. In addition to his folk art duck decoys, fish decoys, and other wooden sculptures you may also find a hanging cupboard with uncommon mouldings, a miniature blanket chest (document box), or a root head or two. Just like Adam Smith's country carpenter, Pavlik believes he brings a naive vigor to the craft of woodworking.
The deadline for submitting entries for the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts has past. All entries we have recevied are being processed and will be submitted to the jurors for anonymous judging. The 2021 Directory will appear in the August 2021 edition of Early American Life. Please do not call us. We cannot report on the status of any particular entry until the Directory is published..
1,943 days until America's Sestercentennial
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