Museums are full of stuff. objects, art, artifacts, documents – things I don’t even know about. But when you go to work in a museum, it becomes about people. It’s never about money. The people who work  in museums are there because of their interest and passion for study, for their collections, history – all that intertwined educational vibe. When you get involved with folks like that, it’s contagious. And memorable. I’ve made connections with people in museums that will stay with me always…

I read the news about Jay Gaynor’s sudden death today. http://anthonyhaycabinetmaker.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/in-memoriam-jay-gaynor/

I have known Jay for over 20 years, and always enjoyed our visits and work together. Jay knew tools, tool history and their relationships, forms, makers – he was a tool history fountain. Like many museum professionals I have known, what always struck me about Jay was even after decades of research and study, he was still passionately excited about the subject – in this case, woodworking tools.

 

plow plane, early 18th c

plow plane, early 18th c

 

One of my most memorable visits to Colonial Williamsburg, Jay, Jane Rees, Alexander & I, Mark Atchison and maybe Nathanial Krausse all spent a whole Sunday morning poring over the tools in CW’s storage collections. Jay kept pulling more & more tools out, telling us each one’s story, where it was made, by whom – how he got it…great stuff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I can still see him & Jane Rees, sitting in the front row while I bantered away at Plimoth when EAIA came there not too long ago. All the while, I kept thinking, “what am I doing, lecturing these 2 about tools?” – but they were both encouraging, friendly and engaging. We’ll all miss Jay – even the jokes.

Reggie Shaw, a left-handed blog reader, (he doesn’t read left-handed blogs…but is left-handed…oh, forget it)

sent a note that this right-handed J R Fuchs hatchet is for auction on ebay. I already have 2, and don’t have the money to get in a bidding war…but someone will get the best hatchet going. Lose that godawful red paint, and it looks ready to go.

here’s the link. maybe one of you?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/J-F-R-FUCHS-CANNSTAT-GERMANY-TIMBERFRAMERS-HEWING-AXE-/291191647602?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43cc5fed72

 

Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is a mecca for period furniture makers. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ Great classes, great instructors – it really is a first-rate place to learn the ins & outs of period style furniture in depth.

Follansbee frame and panel UPSIDE DOWN

But Bob himself doesn’t know which end is up – to some of my carvings, I mean. He sent me this picture, asking “where’s the top again?” He’s notoriously freaked out by the images he thinks he sees. I see a vase of flowers and leaves – he sees faces, faces & more faces. But in his twisted mind, he thinks the above photo is right-side up. What torment!

Oh, well. He doesn’t have to know how it goes – but I’ll show the students when we get together there for a 3-day class in early October to make an oak frame & panel. This course was designed to be a crash course in the basic elements of 17th-century joinery. We’ll use a combination of riven and sawn oak, plane the stock, cut the mortise and tenon joints, and carve designs on the panel (and frame perhaps, if you are inclined). Plowing grooves, beveling the panel, fitting the whole thing together with drawboring and tapered wooden pins. it’s the whole show, compressed into 5 pieces of wood.

Sign up with Bob. Tell him you’ll help him to understand.  http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes

 

fitting door panel

carving oak panel

carving oak panel


drving pegs in drawbored joint
leslie diggin the posture

Today I posted a page with a couple of hewn bowls, and what spoons I have ready to go. I have several spoons nearly ready; but those I’ll take with me to Roy’s place, & finish them down there. So what I have now is on the blog, then there’ll be more in mid-August. As usual, leave a comment if you’d like to order something. Any questions, send an email to Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/a-few-spoons-and-bowls-late-july-2014/

Meanwhile, here’s some of what I did yesterday. 

 

A day like this:

summer's day

distractions galore

mallards

redtail juvy

But I persevered and roughed out one of the last bowls from the stash of birch I have around here. Most of the ones I’ve been doing are upside-down. I start like this:

hewing the bottom

hew the broad inner face of the split bolt flat. This becomes the bottom of the bowl.

Then mark out the saddle-shaped interior of the bowl. Now the bowl is held down to a low bench with three pegs and a wedge. (well, take my word for it that there’s 3. You can only see 2 in this shot) Simple, but it works pretty well. If I end up doing these bowls regularly, then it might be time to look closely at Dave Fisher’s bowl horse…

3 pegs & wedge

 

 

I then make a few saw kerfs to help break stuff up when the next hewing begins.

 

saw kerfs

 

I just begin chopping into the midst of these kerfs to remove the excess material. Now it’s a double-bevel hatchet, not the joiner’s hatchet I used to flatten the bottom.

axe work inside

axe work inside 2

 

Then comes adze work. Just like the hatchet, you want to keep the tool’s edge out of your leg.

adze stance 1

adze stance

I do some standing, then some seated. All in all, about 15-20 minutes of hewing ought to get me there.

braced adze work 1

braced adze work 2

adze detail

Then it’s on to gouge & mallet work, then more hewing.

gouge & mallet

more hewing

 

then it rained.

 

 

I keep plugging away. Yesterday I got to use some planes!

planes gauges

 

What a blast – the spoons and bowls are great fun, challenging, etc…but no planes. I need to make a molding to run around my most recent frame & panel – it’s one like this, all I have left is to make the molding & cut & glue it in. 

frame & panel

frame & panel

I keep a stash of riven Atlantic White Cedar, just for this purpose. First, I planed the stock to the proper thickness, in this case 1/2″

planing w jointer

Then I dig out one of those special wheelie gauges to mark out the rabbets, a la Matt Bickford. You already know I’m a fan; his book & video show you how to tackle this work easily. http://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/mouldings-in-practice  & http://www.lie-nielsen.com/dvds/moldings-in-practice/

The gauge I got from the Alexander collection – thanks once again JA. 

wheelie gaiugethen rabbets. 

rabbet plane

and bevels, then hollows and rounds. 

round

 

Then it was time to pack it away & off to the Cape Cod League Baseball – we went to Wareham to see the Gatemen take on the Falmouth Commodores. We were there early, so Daniel watched batting practice – I carved spoons. Then we watched the game. Gatemen blew the lead in the ninth – took it on the chin. 

gatemen 1

gatemen 2

 

One of many great things about working at home is that I get to see stuff I only used to hear about. Here’s a marble game from yesterday:

marble game

That then turned into a painting by Daniel, who was learning about shadows and light sources this week.

daniesl watercolor marbles

Daniel’s watercolor of marbles in dirt

This one’s just thrown in there – it’s part of an ongoing series of raking light shots.

ongoing raking lght series

 

 

I got home from Maine trip #2 on Sunday night. Monday kinda floundered, then on Tues it was off to a small island off the coast of America to see Heather & Pat. Heather’s show was outstanding as usual. Here’s one of my favorites, but the web doesn’t do it justice by half. The light in it is amazing. 

Coat-Guard-Crow1

 

(go to Heather’s blog and click on the paintings to see ‘em larger, then click the quill/feather in the teacup to read the notes) http://heatherneill.com/studio-blog/ 

here’s the gallery’s page of Heather’s work http://www.granarygallery.com/searchresults.php?page=1&artistId=11674&artist=Heather+Neill&start=1

kids & HN

we had a great, whirlwind one-day trip. Then back home to attempt to develop some routine or the semblance of one. Wednesday I mostly worked on hewn bowls; then Thursday spoons. today some of each.

bowl day

bowl day

The great part about spoon day is I can take it outside, and have the kids with me. The river, the birds – what could be better? 

spoon day

spoon day

I have used ring-porous woods like oak, ash and hickory all my working days. I rarely have made spoons or bowls from ring porous woods because they split so easily. But sometimes I throw the rules out the window & see what happens. Catalpa is a very light-weight hardwood. I have made a couple of bowls from it before, and I had one small one kicking around ready to be finished.

catalpa end grain

catalpa end grain

 

Here’s the one from way back when; and the post it came from. One of the horrible things about keeping this blog is all my unfinished stuff is still there, taunting me:  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=catalpa

catalpa bowl back at the museum

I remember southern visitors to the museum telling me about the fishermen who loved catalpa trees for the worms that ate the foliage – great bait. some said the best. They called it “catawba” – but it’s the same tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa    I am lately reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and it’s in there, “…the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms…”  Turns out that Catawba is a name of both the tree and a group of Native people in the Carolinas, and someone made a mistake with the tree’s name, and we ended up with catalpa. I always knew it as the cigar tree, because of the long seed pods. we used to whip them around when we were kids.

catalpa bowl

catalpa bowl 2

The other ring-porous wood I have to sample lately is really rare – American Chestnut. Or so I’m told. It was a tree planted about 15 years ago; and got some trimming done recently. It’s healthy now…but time will tell. Chances are it will succumb to the blight that all but wiped out the American Chestnut. http://www.acf.org/

It’s not a great wood for spoons, quite the opposite I would expect, but I have some small limbs and will see what happens. It’s high in tannic acid, turned my tools black as quick as you please.

chestnut end grain

 

The first birch bowl I was making sold before I could really get it here on the blog…but now I have finished the next 2 birch bowls, just applied flax oil to them today. I’ll post them for sale in the next day or 2. The first one is the most common orientation of the bowl in the split blank – the rim of the bowl is the inner wide surface of the halved log. Then I carved some gouge-cut decoration along the upper edge of each side. 

birch bowl right side up overall

birch bowl right side up

The next one is what I call “upside-down” – you hew the split face of the log and make that the bottom of the bowl. I learned this from Drew Langsner, who learned it from his Swedish friends. Smaller bowl, but lots of fun with the shapes. 

birch bowl upside down overall

birch bowl upside down detail

 

There’s still a few spoons left on the etsy site – don’t be daunted by Etsy. it’s easy to sign up, free too.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee

 

 

Just back from Maine – the class was great. Lie-Nielsen is right up there as one of my favorite places to be. here’s a bunch 0′ carvers hunched down at work.

bunch o carvers

I’m home now til Roy’s in 2 weeks. Lots to report, but first I must un-pack, then get to work on spoons & bowls & more. In the meantime, I posted most of what spoons I have left on the etsy site – and Maureen posted more felted stuff on hers as well. the whole house is a little crafty rabbit warren…I think I have the Is crossed, and the Ts dotted, or something like that. If you have a problem with the etsy stuff, let me know. it’s all new to me.

14-78 overall

 

mine – https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee

Two hand knit and felted bowls, woodsy green and natural brown colors, natural Waldorf inspired toys, summer home decor

hers - https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

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