There are some out there that equate George Nakashima with slab furniture. While it is true he promoted the form, he did much more that just stick legs on a slab of walnut like you see at an Appalachian craft fair. (There are a lot of nice things at an Appalachian craft fair.) He had a sense of design and proportion that is not seen in many before or since. He was not only a imaginative designer, but also an highly skilled and trained craftsman.
Even if he only did free-edge furniture that would be enough. He might not have invented slab furniture, but he raised it to an art form and did it better than any of his contemporaries. He created a new way of seeing, designing, and building furniture.
The comment was made that “My neighbor who was a farmer, had a chainsaw and an electric sander. He made pieces that were essentially identical.” That’s like saying you don’t get Shaker furniture. You have table saw and a router. What’s the big deal…
George Nakashina did it first and did it better.