During Robert Erickson’s last year of college, an article about an Appalachian chair-maker piqued his interest. Deciding to explore the world of the handmade, he would move from Nebraska to California but ultimately his work as a furniture-maker led him to settle in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Now, alongside his son Tor, his company Erickson Woodworking continues to design hand-crafted furniture with a focus on sustainably sourced wood with architecturally inspired shapes.
When Garett Awad of REVISIT mentioned collaborating with Tor and Robert Erickson, the idea for the Langhorne Stool was born. With Revisit’s focus on national parks, backpacking and camping, Awad liked the idea of a foldable stool that could be taken on adventures. Coincidentally, the Ericksons has also begun the initial plans for a stool. As the two companies began to research the concept, historic photographs of stools led to discovering a powerful theme: big ideas happen when one has time to sit on a stool to think and dream. “We started digging into the history of folding chairs. We found incredible photographs of Theodore Roosevelt in Yellowstone. Mark Twain on the deck of a steam ship. I saw that there was a history we could tap into,” Tor tells CH. The stool’s name is even inspired by Mark Twain—Langhorne being his middle name.
The Langhorne Stool folds flat with a carrying strap and the shape is based on the seating system Robert Erickson has been refining since the late ’70s. The carved shape on the top of the seat aims to gives maximum support for the back of the leg and behind. The goal is to take a wooden seat and make it really comfortable. “A folding stool, it is such a functional piece of furniture,” says Tor. “Everything emerged from the function.” Hence, the waterfall seat shape is carved to mimic the shape of legs, while the edges come up to conform to thighs and hips.
The Ericksons sourced sustainable American black walnut for the seat and legs—each piece of wood is hand-picked. The carrying straps are made from the Bison leather also used in many REVISIT designs, while the brass comes from near Nevada City. “When it comes to building furniture, a certain part of it is science,” explains Tor. “The jointery, the shaping—a certain part of it is art. The place where the art comes in is going through the lumber you have and selecting the wood you will use for that pieces of furniture. You are looking at the grain. You are looking at the color. You are choosing the perfect piece to go into that furniture. Those are subjective things. If there is one place in the furniture making process where it truly does become art. That’s where the magic is happening.”
Awad traveled to Nevada City to spend time with Robert and Tor Erickson and see their process in action and to met with locals. “The products we create are inspired by place and help preserve aspects of that culture for future generations,” says Awad. Indeed, all REVISIT products are created with the idea that they are part of a story. The company donates a quarter of their profits to National Park projects and 25% of the profits from the Langhorne Stool will be donated to the National Parks Ranger Education programs.
Workshop and portraits by Iker Basterretxea ©Pensandoenblanco, product images courtesy of Revisit