Journeyman: D.R. Dimes & Co.

Doug Dimes of D.R. Dimes handcrafts classic furniture and custom kitchens.

Like his father before him, Doug Dimes turns table legs by hand on a lathe.

Douglas P. Dimes was practically born a craftsman. His great-grandfather was an English silversmith who arrived in the United States in 1881 and started the hollowware line for Towle, the prestigious silver company. Later, Richard Dimes founded his own company and re-created early American silver masterpieces by Paul Revere and others.

When Doug’s father, Douglas R. Dimes, walked into the workshop of Windsor chairmaker Leroy Partridge, he immediately knew he had found his calling. He established his own one-man shop in 1964, remembering his mentor by naming his son Douglas Partridge Dimes. As a 10-year-old in the 1970s, young Doug ran home after school to sweep up shavings in the shop. D.R. Dimes was then virtually the only American company making museum-quality Windsor chairs, putting it a unique position to thrive during the Bicentennial.

The ‘Master’s Rocking Chair’ is based on a Windsor chair designed years ago by D.R. Dimes himself.

D.R. Dimes still offers select reproductions of Windsor chairs, tables, servers, and beds made between about 1700 and 1810, along with period-inspired and custom designs. Doug Dimes believes that 18th-century furniture was the finest ever made in America. Museums, hotels, filmmakers, and collectors think so, too: clients include Phillips Exeter Academy, Williams College, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Dimes’s furniture has appeared in films produced by both Sony and Paramount Studios, including the 2016 release “The Magnificent Seven.” Vintage D.R. Dimes furniture frequently turns up at auction, sometimes marketed as antique.

This period-inspired kitchen was recently completed by the company. bottom: A hanging wall cupboard in tiger maple has a dovetailed case.

A fifth-generation master craftsman, Doug P. has been president and chief designer of the company since 2005. While some mechanization has been introduced, the company still builds furniture in much the same ways as 18th-century cabinetmakers. Wood is hand selected and kiln dried, then shaped, carved, and finished by hand into exquisite furniture made of tiger maple, oak, and cherry. Everything is created in the New Hampshire workshop. The company also designs and builds kitchens and built-in cabinets, all to the same high standards as the furniture.

D.R. Dimes Northwood, N.H. (603) 942-8050

Tags: cabinets EH Winter 2017 Furniture woodworking

By Mary Ellen Polson

Mary Ellen Polson is a writer and Senior Editor for Arts & Crafts Homes, Early Homes, and Old House Journal.

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