If your wife comes to you one day and tells you that she wants to go to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC to see how the Vanderbilt’s lived, tell her “sure, let’s go.” Then while strolling the Biltmore Village below the mansion, shopping at all the retail stores, head a block East and take a right on London St. There you will find the studio of chair maker Brian Boggs.
My wife and I visited his shop this past weekend while in Asheville. The building he operates out of is nothing fancy. In fact without noticing his sign out front, we almost passed it up. When we walked in, I looked at one of his chairs and sat down. His wife Melanie looked me up and down and asked “are you a woodworker?” I said I was and asked her how she knew. She said that most woodworkers will walk in and immediately sit in one of his chairs.
Melanie was nice enough to spend a few minutes with us and explain some of Brian’s furniture. She even took us into his shop area where we were able to sit in his new Sunniva outdoor swing. The thing was impressive and very comfortable. You can see the swing here on his website. http://www.brianboggschairmakers.com/product/sunniva-swing/
I don’t have any photos of his shop because I thought it would have been rude to do so. All I have to say is that it is worth the time to stop by and swing in for a visit if you’re in the area. The amount of 16/4 mahogany he has in stock was probably worth more than my house. However, if you do visit, don’t expect to have a long conversation with Brian about woodworking. He was extremely busy while we visited. One of the things that I noticed about his shop is that I didn’t see a table saw. He may have had one, but considering a lot of his work is curved, him not owning one doesn’t surprise me. He does have a sweet Old Iron band saw that looked like it was the staple of the shop.
After the tour, I asked Melanie if Brian would like some hemp oil to try out. She went into the shop and asked him if he did. It must have peaked his curiosity because he came out and asked me about it. I told him it’s made from hempseed, is solvent free, contains no VOC’s, is environmentally friendly, but is not readily available in the US. I gave him a small 4 oz container of the oil and wrote down the website where he could buy it. Whether or not he will use the oil on his furniture in the future remains uncertain, but being able to give him something he was unaware of was pretty cool.