By Bob Heafner © 1983-2012
Issue: October, 1983
Kim Warner is not your average young artist. He is soft spoken and a true individual, as most young artists are. He is creative and ingenious and his works are truly works of art. His creations are wood and he is meticulously dedicated to his work.
Originally, Kim was a resident of Pennsylvania but his search for a pollution free environment brought him to the Heart of the Blue Ridge, four years ago. He has been building furniture for eleven years and he is truly a master craftsman. The day I met Kim for this interview, I went to his home near milepost 186 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Home for Kim is 5 acres and an old farm house which he is remodeling and which also serves as his shop.
Kim is a stickler for details and efficiency and his home reflects it. Most of his door latches are wooden and each door gently glides open and shut due to a counter-weight system which he built. The examples of his work at his home are flawless as is all the rest of his work that I have seen.
As a woodworker myself, I’m not easy to fool with rough joints or sloppy workmanship, no matter how well hidden. Kim Warner’s work can withstand the most thorough examination. The next time you are at The County Whale at Meadows of Dan, Virginia, take a look at the bakery display case. It is a good example of Kim’s workmanship.
He builds cabinets and furniture, including the most comfortable porch swings I’ve ever sat in. As a matter of fact, we sat beneath a pine tree in one of his swings during my visit. From the vantage of his backyard swing, he can see Pilot Mountain, Sauratown Mountain, Hanging Rock State Park and on clear days, even the taller buildings in the Greensboro, North Carolina skyline.
He was first inspired to take up woodworking by his brother, who is also a woodworker. It seems his brother had built a table for a family in West Virginia and Kim thought it was beautiful and how wonderful it would be to create such lasting and serviceable beauty.
He builds only on order and he does not have a show room. Usually, when he’s asked to build a particular piece, he likes to visit the home where it will be placed. This way design and the finished stain will match the existing decor.
He finishes all his work with a hand rubbed finish requiring many coats. He told of once asking a cabinet maker if he hand finished cabinets to which the cabinet maker replied, “I do but these are just kitchen cabinets.” Kim considers kitchen cabinets as furniture and he applies a lustrous hand rubbed finish to all cabinets he builds. He also minimizes the use of nails or screws by joining his work together with tongue and groove as well as dove tail and other such joints. All of his work fits! There’s no putty in the corners and no gaping cracks. Much of his work is assembled with wooden pegs only.
He is often asked to duplicate discontinued lines of large furniture companies. On one such piece, a French Armoire, he even made the brass hinges to match the original. I asked if he could take an old 1902 Sears and Roebuck Catalog and duplicate a bedroom suite or kitchen cupboard and he assured me that he could. I’m sure Kim Warner could make anything out of wood that he set his mind to and from what I’ve seen of his work, it would be perfect when he was finished.
From free flowing, free form coffee tables to French Armoires, Kim Warner is building the heirlooms of tomorrow.
He prefers the woods which have a depth of character such as walnut, cherry, chestnut and oak but he does not limit his work to these alone.
The day I met Kim, he was preparing to travel 75 miles to get measurements and room decor information for some folks who wanted a parlor table built. In this way he would be sure of matching the stain with the balance of the room decor.
Kim Warner signs all of his work and they are truly masterpieces. Instead of paint and canvas, Kim uses stain and wood to create beautiful works of art.
If you are ever in the market for a special piece of furniture or cabinetry, you should get in touch with him. His work speaks for itself in both its soundness and its beauty and it is competitively priced with other quality furniture. He strives for and achieves a quality that is akin to the European craftsmanship of many years ago.
Anyone wishing to contact him should write: Kim Warner, Route 2 Box 313, Hillsville, VA 24343 or call: (703) 398-2090.
[Update 2012 - Kim Warner, Hillsville, Virginia. 276-398-2090 http://warnersculptures.com]