Design ideas for new pieces of Prairie View Furniture might be inspired by special cast-off ag hardware, or I might start with a shape or idea from my sketch book. Most pieces begin with drawings—some full color, others just pencil on scrap wood—that allow me to work out proportions and balance.
Wood selection for the pieces usually comes from regional varieties, such as mesquite and walnut, but over the years, I have also used all kinds of salvaged wood. I am not afraid to paint or dye wood if I feel like it adds to the overall design. Those cast-off steel ag parts are often given a second incarnation on the furniture, or I fabricate new steel and apply special patinas.
Attention to detail on every piece of Prairie View Furniture—both outside and in—is of particular importance. Everything must work and be a pleasure to use. All surfaces—smooth or textured—feel good to the touch. Allowances for wood movement are figured into the designs. Final finishes are usually sprayed catalyzed lacquer or water-based lacquer.
When a collector or client requests a special piece, we start the design process by establishing what they need the piece to do, the size parameters, and what colors and materials they would like to use. I then work up some concept drawings so we can figure out a design direction. From there, I can turn out color drawings—oftentimes both elevation and perspective—so everyone is satisfied that we are in agreement on the final look. At that point, I can give a price quote and a projected delivery date. For most projects, I require a halfdown deposit with the balance to be paid on delivery.