The Woodsman Mixes Art with Craftsmanship
The Sandoval Signpost, Placitas, NM, July 2002
reprinted with permission
John Ricca has been in the business of designing and building custom furniture and cabinets for over twenty-two years. He started in Jemez Springs in 1980, moved back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, then on to Sedona, Arizona, and finally to Jemez Springs again. John does business as the Woodsman, and says that his home near Gilman Canyon offers a tranquil setting for the creative process of furniture making.
You might think that there could be nothing tranquil about a shop full of power saws, lathes, and drills, but the Woodsman doesn’t just mass-produce furniture. He prides himself on old-world craftsmanship, using no nails, screws, or staples–relying instead on joinery that employs mortise and tenon, dovetails and grooves. He does use whatever technology speeds the process and keeps his furniture affordable. John says, “My furniture is built to last for generations. I learned these techniques during an apprenticeship with my father, but a lot is self-taught. Experience is the best teacher.” His portfolio is impressive.
The Woodsman offers free in-home consultations to discover the needs of his clients by seeing what needs improvement or correction. He says, “My designs have won awards in major home shows for innovations in which I make space work for you by moving wood around that space with flow and continuity. I tailor my work to according to my clients’ specifications and build something beautiful that will last, specializing in storage and concealments in a way that makes life easier. I use a variety of woods in designs and styles that range from contemporary to Shaker to Mission.”