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A Real Master Carpenter - Through Observing Wood Grain, He Can Know The History Of A Tree
Nov 09, 2016

A Real Master of the Carpenters - He Can Know the History of a Tree by Looking at its Grain

Born in 1905 in Washington State, as a Japanese descent, George Nakashima can be called a real master of the carpenters, his achievements made him become one of the representative of the first generation of American studio furniture designers. As to the study on wood, he has come to a superb state, he had veneration for trees, believed every tree have their own soul.

"I have collected to many big logs, which are all big trees. They are naturally dead or felled because of exploiting. I'm in no hurry to do anything, I am watching them for many years in the rain or snow, where they will decide what they want to become, I'm just complying their willingness to bring the inside soul back to life."


He can tell the history of a tree by looking to its wood grain, just like a fortune teller practicing palmistry. Such as in which year the tree had suffered floods or hurricane, etc. Because he understood so much about the wood, he knows how to respect each piece of material, do the design according to every wood material, and show the natural beauty of the wood through modern designs.

 His carpenter career began after World War II, The attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II, when his family was sent to a Japanese concentration camp in Idaho. There, he learned the traditional Japanese carpentry techniques from a Japanese craftsman master, and then buy a plot of land with the money he earned by working in a remote farm in Pennsylvania.


He started everything over at that place, using local resources, and built his own house and studio. After decades of accumulation and efforts, he not only built his own house, studio, exhibition halls, also established a museum (Minguren Museum). This place has now become a historic preservation point of America, and also become a famous attraction in Pennsylvania.

George Nakashima (George Nakashima) though has died, but his daughter Mira inherited his father's tradition, continued to preside over the studio. In many of his representative works, the original shape of the trees are completely reserved in a large area, the annual ring of the tree, the tree wart, all have become the main features of the chair just like a sculpture.

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