Barry Bennecoff is a self-taught craftsman with an intense love of American history. His simple tastes in furniture design, enhanced by visits to Old Sturbridge Village and Hancock Shaker Village, inspires him to create functional pieces compatible with today’s appliances and technology. He strives to imbue each object with clean lines, sturdy construction, and an aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye.
Bennecoff builds his furniture from pine, the same wood chosen by New England furniture makers in the 1700s and 1800s. He obtains the lumber from local sawmills that harvest the timber and dry it to eliminate insects. Then he planes the wood in his shop to meet the specifications for each piece. Occasionally he uses reclaimed wood.
Bennecoff uses traditional construction methods—mortise-and-tenon joints for frames and doors and half-blind dovetails on drawers. Hand sanding and hand scraping are key to achieving a period-appropriate look, finished by historically accurate paint. He also uses hand-forged hinges from a local blacksmith. Bennecoff&requo;s intent is to make furniture that our colonial fathers would recognize but that is functional in the 21st Century.
Bennecoff is a juried member of the Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen and a member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. Like other members of these groups, he hope to pass on to future generations the joy of creating with one’s own hands.
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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