Joy In Wood
business sustained by word of mouth
Mari Maxwell, Times Record Staff
The Times Record, Brunswick, Maine, Wednesday, July 28,
Richard Csenge calls himself a self-educated student of
period furniture design, primarily American and English
the owner of Joy In Wood, Furnituremakers, he says his pieces
are crafted with 20 years of on-the-job experience, a careful
eye, loving hand and high quality joinery and materials.
lot of value here. One of the challenges for a craftsman is to
help educate the public as to where they can obtain real
value." he said. "These are future antiques. They're
an investment up front."
Not so with a
new car that lasts a few years before its owner has to
reinvest is some new wheels, he says.
that a wider crossection of American consumers will begin
to see the value of a well-crafted piece of handmade
furniture built to last hundreds of years as compared to
investing in the few years a new car will last. There is, he
said, a certain joy to living with a piece which has been
created by hand. While perhaps more costly than the
off-the-shelf items many consumers are used to,
craftsman-made furniture is durable and beautiful.
also the aspect of the pleasure of living and living with
refinement and style" he says. "My furniture designs
are from an era when grace and dignity, slower pace of life,
appreciation for life and culture were more central to the
lifestyle. I'd like to see that return and grow again in
Joy In Wood,
which is housed in the old Topsham Fire Station at 38 Main
Street, has been in business for 20 years and is marking this
year's anniversary by joining the local chamber of commerce.
In that 20 years Csenge, 47, says his business has thrived by
word of mouth with only yellow pages advertising.
Joy In Wood
The first floor
showroom is where Csenge showcases his finished pieces by
appointment only. Along the walls of his second floor workshop
saw blades, chisels and clamps are neatly stored.
where Csenge lives with his wife Debra, a set of weathered spruce cabinets he made adorns the kitchen-dining area of
their newly remodeled living space. Soft lighting reveals
hand-buffed finishing and finessed detailing on more than two
dozen furniture pieces that Csenge has created. Items
displaying a price tag are for sale in his front showroom: all
others are their own which he invites potential customers to
view to gage the quality and breadth of his workmanship.
Not for sale is
a blanket chest featuring gothic arched panels and made of
aromatic cedar and chestnut, a present Csenge made for his
wife Debra with her initials and the year 1989 incised
into its front.
and dates every item he is commissioned to create or has built
to furnish his home because he feels its an important step to
ensure that each piece becomes a valuable antique in the
virtually anything; tables, chairs, desks, chests and
accessories to order. In fact, he has two areas of
specialization, the other being fine antique restoration.
working in several American furniture styles dating from 1680
to 1820. The reason ,he says, is because after the Victorian
era furniture designs became less original and more a mix of
previous styles. He works with all domestic woods including
walnut, cherry, oak, maples and mahogany.
interest really lies in creating beautiful things of lasting
value," he said. "What's important to me is the
design and meeting my customer's expectations. I try to exceed