Designing for comfort

Maine furniture maker carries on his father’s craftmanship

By Kathleen Pierce
Globe Correspondent / July 14, 2011

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When furniture maker David Moser designed his latest chair, one he calls Drift, he invited passersby into his workshop in Auburn, Maine, to help.

“I have the good fortune of having all body types pass by my studio,’’ he said, “so I ask them to come in and try it out.’’

Because the motto of the family-owned Thos. Moser furniture company is form follows function, he wanted to be sure his new design would be a good sit for all.

The result is a handsome chair - in cherry or walnut - padded in memory foam that’s “deceptively comfortable,’’ said Moser, who visits his showroom at 19 Arlington St. from 6 to 8 tonight to welcome the new design into his line of handcrafted, distinctly New England furniture.

The son of woodworker Tom Moser, whose Shaker-inspired pieces were originally crafted in a Grange hall in New Gloucester, Maine, in the early-1970s, is now the company’s chief designer.

Carrying on his father’s approach, David Moser designs by hand, not computer, in a workshop similar to the one where he began his apprenticeship by sweeping the floors when he was 8.

“This isn’t fashion,’’ he said on the phone from his home in Harpswell, Maine. “I don’t design for fashion, I design for multiple generational use.’’

In an age where products are mass-produced and frequently designed to last until the next trend takes hold, American-made craftsmanship with a lifetime guarantee is a source of pride for the New England company.

“We need to educate people why it’s important to bind your life to something of lasting value,’’ said Moser.

That kind of longevity doesn’t come cheap. The new Drift retails for $3,200 to $3,680; matching ottomans are $1,000 to $1,150. But Moser contends that such pieces are an investment for the future.

“We still covet our grandmother’s hand-me-downs,’’ he said. “These are those heirlooms we are creating.’’

Kathleen Pierce can be reached at