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Welcome To Modern Week | Popular Woodworking

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The iconic Tage Frid 3-legged stool (1982), made from walnut.

Many woodworkers have mixed feelings about modern design in woodworking. Traditional style plans outsell our modern furniture plans by at least 3:1, and the appearance of modern furniture in our magazine is sporadic at best. Take a look at current home furniture trends though, and modern is all the rage. Whether is Mid-Century Modern, Scandinavian, or just plain contemporary appearance, it seems to be ubiquitous. So why the disconnect?

The fact that modern furniture is directly tied to the industrial revolution and mass production probably explains why it elicits a tepid response from many hobbyists. Dovetails and hardwoods were replaced with glue and plywood, and the design of the furniture itself was focused on easy assembly and later the ability to flat pack for transport. It seems a bit unfair to wrife off all modern furniture for those reasons though, especially when many great woodworkers of the 20th century worked in the modern style.

So this week we’re going to highlight some of the best modern furniture projects and designs we’ve enjoyed over the years. Some will be very simple, like the address planter from this morning, while others will test every bit of your woodworking skills. If you already love modern furniture, then you’re in for a treat. If you’re not a fan though, maybe this is a chance to reconsider and see what you’re missing.


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