The full suite of Prowell’s offerings are developed with a recognizable style and methodology that might be looked upon as an aesthetic keystone to your overall landscape. Your designer’s eye grounded by the introduction of a few succinct elements we might consider the jeweler’s milestone.
Introducing our Wooden Porch Swings and Outdoor Garden Benches to an appropriate setting becomes the radius from which successive decisions are made. A cornerstone has been established. The surrounding vicinity is approached to compliment the front porch benches without the bench itself upstaging the supporting landscape.
A similar approach to the Outdoor Porch Swings and Benches, where we establish both a sense of workmanship and physical poetry to the featured approach, but also the connotations of leisure and conversation associated with porches and swings.
All Wooden porch swings and porch benches, exposed to the elements, whether on your porch or within your landscape, are going to expand and contract at a much greater degree than those furnishings inside the insulated conditions of your home. It is going to be exposed in a way unlike your front door, or the siding on your house, or the planking on your deck–none of which is exposed to 360-degrees of nature. If for no other reason, this constant dimensional shift of the wood requires a methodology other than screws and bolts. As the wood shrinks, you see, the screwhole expands and the threads lose their grip. When you sit on the bench, shifting your weight, the screw / bolt has room to wiggle and with each wiggle the widening hole grows wider. You replace the screws and bolts with longer or larger screws and it holds tight until the following season when the wood shrinks again and the process begins a new.
There are principles of construction required for the structural integrity of outdoor furniture intended to last interminably. Those principals involve joinery, which involves understanding those principles, which traditionally involves an apprenticeship that requires slightly longer than a weekend. More like years, or in Charles’ case, and Ben’s, decades. Learning the multitude of joints and how to cut them perfectly and snugly, and learning which of those joints is best suited for any given application and from there, innovating new joints not found in any manual, anywhere.
Principles that apply to our custom wood porch swings and benches, but also to virtually every product offered by Prowell Woodworks. And how a garden gate requires a different joint than a fence panel or a pergola or an arbor or even the post caps.
You see, it goes far beyond the designer’s eye, which we’ll add requires the same decades-long apprenticeship as does the workmanship. The design itself is apparent– it’s aesthetic appeal to you and your neighbors and all those who encounter a first impression of these products–whereas the joinery responsible for that work surviving as an inheritance to your heirs remains unseen. Invisible. Easily fudged by supplanting this art with a few store-bought screws and screw gun.
Let’s pretend you’ve managed to corner Charles, or Ben, and in the hard-hitting conversation over a cup of tea, you ask:
So is there anything that robs you of sleep at night?
Are we on this same page? Wooden Porch Swings and Benches? Or have we moved on, generally speaking?
Same page, technically. But yes, we have moved on, delving beyond the pleasantries of front porch conversations to something more concrete. Sleep, or the interruption if it.
Hmmm. When someone calls to inform us they have come across our recognizable work in Atlanta or Pittsburgh or Vermont and how, sadly, it is not holding up. That it’s in fact appearing rather shabby. We ask for an address, or a street, and check the database to learn no such work was commissioned at such an address and how the work has been compromised by a 3rd party replication. How the mimicked design falls apart and to others, such as the caller in question, assumes it is ours and equally associates this with an unwarranted reputation. Works that fall apart. This, oddly, robs me of sleep.
Design is important. Design is the result of talent, education, apprenticeship, and experience and when it works, we have the likes of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Chrysler Building or a power plant dam tucked deep into the north fork of the Feather River designed by someone employed in 1934 by the New Deal’s WPA with little expectation of it being seen and appreciated. Good design is good art and good art is beauty and the impact of beauty cannot be discounted.
But we often overlook the engineers and workman responsible for building the bridge or high rise or power dam, and the principles they employ to insure that the Golden Gate Bridge performs for generations thereafter.
So that’s it? That’s the only worry you have that might keep you up at night?
Sleep comes easy and quick. You’re exhausted. You’ve put in a day of being absorbed from start to finish, like any day, and sleep is like spilled molasses; it starts with your legs, spreading up the length of your legs until your legs are numb and then your chest until your chest is numb and then your arms and all the while the brain is more or less waiting its turn, waiting for the inevitable with no intention of resisting the inevitable and when it comes, when the molasses spreads, the brain has emptied itself with a readiness to go nightie night.
Finally, every product is accompanied by a stamp authenticating the work. The actual location of that stamp varies as per the year it was built.
Lastly, because Google frowns on tangental asides, our wooden porch swings and outdoor garden benches can make for a suitable afternoon nap. Weather permitting.
Late in the summer we would sit on the back porch of our sprawling old farmhouse, fanning ourselves, talking. Mother standing over a chair, bobby pins pursed between her lips, setting Mariah’s curlers. Aunt Dee and Verity on the far swing. Aunt Bim and myself sharing the opposite swing and if it was a Saturday night, the twins, Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Madeline sharing the living room couch in matching floral frocks, yelling at the radio, at the ref for missing an infraction, an illegal full nelson by a wrestler in a cowboy hat.
Countless evenings passed like this. Father standing at the screen, his trousers hiked up over his boots, staring into the changing light as the sun dropped down behind Kickapoo Ridge a mile off and every so often flicking the screen to send a fat clinging june bug somersaulting back toward the yard. Back where it belongs with the fireflies and the mosquitoes and those black flies big enough to choke on.
Uneventful is what mostly comes to mind. The sound of the chains riding against the ceiling hooks while from the barn Horse talking to Cow and Cow responding, followed by Sow #1 and Sow #2 and for a few moments a flurry of snorts and whinnies coupled with a thousand crickets in a cricket symphony along the river punctuated by a holler from the living room and Aunt Bim making funny sounds to mimic a good scalp rubbing while running her fingers through my hair as I leafed through a photo book of Civil War battles. And from the opposite swing Aunt Dee grazing her open palm along Verity’s arm as Verity leafed through one of her horse books and when she found something she liked Dee would nod and because Dee ran the Alterations shop in town, yet another likeness of yet another horse photo would show up embroidered on yet another one of Verity’s identical white blouses.
At some point we would be rewarded with a breeze. It would come up slowly once the sky had gone from blue to blood red to a fluctuating purple hanging off the horizon over the ridge like a changing kaleidoscope. Working its way down off the gorge and along the river to carry over the lower dell and up the rise of the lawn and onto the screened-in back porch to graze our cheeks with the relief of a swamp cooler. We would turn collectively toward the canopy of cottonwoods along the river, turn head-on toward the breeze as darkness settled in and as a lone car might approach the bridge from Snead’s Corner, creeping up onto the elevated bridegboards and then the clap of the loose oak planks before dipping back down onto the roadbed with the headlights bobbing to the sound of shifting gravel and if I remember any one of those hundreds of identical summer evenings it would be when we first heard proof of the albino’s voice. Singing up off the river, lifting out from the cover of the thicket and the river canopy to wend its way up over the lower pasture like the Messiah. A clear, sustained medley of alternating octaves that silenced the crickets and the bullfrogs and had us all on our feet, pressed to the screen, knowing for the first time how it was more than a mere rumor, more than fanciful exaggerations appearing sporadically over the past 185 years in the hand-written planting logs stashed in the attics of every single one of the forty-seven farms situated along southern Illinois’ Salt Fork River.
Although I can’t say what the others were thinking, I myself imagined running down to the river, in the dark, barefoot over Slave Hill and through the cool basketgrass below and along a riverbank pocked with snakeholes to rout the legend from the thicket and lock it into a full nelson and drag it up into civilization, into the light of the moon and thereby, at eleven years old, accomplishing something magnificent. Something legendary.