Carl Huth has been an avid woodworker all his life. As the son of a contractor and as the retired executive director of Habitat for Humanity affiliate, he has worked with wood in many forms. In 1999 he wanted to build two bentwood chairs for his wife and asked his son, who had just taken a Shaker box-making class, to show him how to bend wood.
Although he made a few mistakes in his initial effort, Huth thought his first set of boxes turned out well. But he wanted to make the next set of boxes perfect. Nineteen years and 2,200 boxes later, he says he is still trying to make that one perfect box
In 2001, Huth met John Wilson, the man credited with reviving the dying craft of Shaker box making. Since that meeting, Huth has been Wilson’s box-making assistant for all the classes John leads, both at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, and at his shop in Charlotte, Michigan. In the process Carl has learned so much about the Shakers and what these boxes meant to them.
Huth also teaches his own classes at the Woodcraft store in Toledo, Ohio. Each year his wife asks him when he will start the chairs. He always tells her “soon.”
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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