published Friday, February 25th, 2011

Get it here: Signal-based furniture maker produces heirloom quality

• What: Handcrafted furniture

• Company: Crewe's Handcrafted Furniture

• Address: 1908 Taft Highway, Signal Mountain

• Website: www.crewesfurniture.com

• Telephone: 886-5464

• Owner: David Crewe

• What's special: Unlike outlet store furnishings, Crewe's Handcrafted Furniture is made using a minimal number of nails and screws, said Crewe. A hands-on approach and Old World-style joinery yield heirloom-level quality, Crewe said.

• Price range: From $80 (bowls) to $15,000 (Queen Anne-style secretary desk)

• The origin story: Although his degree is in mechanical engineering, Crewe said building furniture is a skill he acquired from his father. "My dad loved Williamsburg, colonial-type furniture but couldn't afford it. He was an engineer and an artist, so he figured he'd build his own furniture. He started in the basement, and I learned from him," he said.

• How long does it take to make: Simple pieces, including coffee tables and hand-turned bowls, can take a few weeks. Larger pieces such as armoires or Queen Anne-style furnishings can require months.

• Where it's sold: Crewe's gallery is at Area 61 (61 E. Main St.).

• How long has he been making them? Crewe said he and his father built their furniture shop on Signal Mountain about 25 years ago. After growing tired of engineering, he decided to leave the field to turn his hobby furniture shop into a company in 2000.

• Expansions planned: Recently, Crewe said he has begun building casings for stereo speakers. "They have a pretty cool shape. It's something that works," he said. "It's a piece of art that makes sound."

• Lessons of the trade: "It's a tough road," Crewe said, laughing. "People aren't willing to spend as much on furniture as they used to. They are looking for throwaway stuff like from IKEA. It's tough fighting that, [but] there are people out there who want originality and quality, rather than something that they will throw away in four years."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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