The quality of a drawer box reveals worlds about the craftsmanship of the piece and the values of its maker. The first indication of authenticity? Joinery; look for dovetail joints. “The drawer front is almost always the first point of failure due to the forces of opening and closing,” Gat said. “Dovetail joints interlock the drawer front to its sides and will essentially outlast any other joint.” When crafting drawer sides, Gat Creek uses solid ash, an extremely stable and durable hardwood. For the drawer bottom, another area of potential failure, we select 3/8-inch wood.
While it may seem like a magic wand invented by the auto industry, Lean Manufacturing is a process that encompasses a variety of practices depending on the trade. “Our business is particularly well-suited to Lean principles,” Gat explained. “With a piece of solid lumber I can make a bed, or a table or a dresser. Unlike a car manufacturer that is dealing with thousands of parts to source and manage.” Lean works for both industries, but for Gat Creek the complexity is vastly reduced.
“Really it’s as simple as listening to our customer and focusing on the things she cares about,” Gat said. “And our customers care about the finest material and craftsmanship.”
It seems there are two kinds of people in the world when it comes to owning beautifully made furniture. Those who want it to forever look like it just arrived from the workshop, and the rest of us.
We’re only slightly kidding. The truth is that all things in life will show wear and tear when used — leather goods, household appliances, even a diamond can be scratched by another diamond. But when we’re talking about your new Gat Creek dining table we know that seeing the first little scratch can be stressful.
To say that Chris Miller was born to be a prototype builder at Gat Creek might be a stretch. But it is safe to say he is a natural for the job.
The Baltimore native comes from a family of makers. His father, uncles and both grandfathers made their livings in residential construction — renovations and additions — and Chris himself joined the family business soon after high school. “I wouldn’t say I came into the family business kicking and screaming,” Chris recalled, “but I did try a couple other careers before deciding they were not for me.”