…it’s just that I haven’t made any lately.

But I have been sticking my nose into some furniture books.

 

books

Every winter, it’s time to re-new membership in the Regional Furniture Society. I have written about their organization before, it’s a great one. Their journal goes back more than 20 years – while you’re poking around, look at their website http://regionalfurnituresociety.org/

RFS journal & newsletter

I like the newsletter as much as or more than the journal – it’s there I found out about this next book – “Coffres et coffrets du Moyen Age”. What a book. 2 volumes, great photos, including details of construction, decoration, wood ID, tool marks – it’s all there. In French! It’s mostly chests and boxes (I know that much) but also includes some trestle tables, a folding chair & other bits. These pieces are, as we say in southern New England, “wicked” old. How’s 13th century? They go up to the 17th or 18th century as well. The objects are Swiss; just astounding stuff. I forget where I eventually bought it, but found it on the web somewhere. It took some doing. 

coffres etc

 

detail coffres

detail coffrers face

 

Remember it was through RFS that I found out about a similar book last year http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/der-henndorfer-truhenfund/

Another annual journal that is a stand-by is American Furniture, edited by Luke Beckerdite. I got the most recent one the other day, & it’s not brown! A first. It’s the usual production that we’ve been spoiled with since 1993. I always urge furniture makers to buy their copies of this journal, don’t be lulled into reading it on line. Even when it’s furniture I don’t particularly care for, I read it & keep it. You never know…

American Furniture 2013

The big one at the bottom of the pile is the Lost Art Press edition of Roubo’s book. If you missed it, where’ve you been? I read this one standing up, but they have a smaller version, for a smaller price too. http://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/to-make-as-perfectly-as-possible-roubo-on-marquetry

roubo

For those keeping track, there will be spoons for sale this coming week…I’m aiming for Tuesday.

axe & club

 

AND, here’s a red-shouldered hawk I found the other day, just up the road from the house.

red shouldered hawk

 

I keep thinking about Richard Nixon. I don’t want to, but it happens. Remember when he famously stated “I’m not a crook.”? Well, of course he was lying…

but I have  been splitting & hewing crooks into spoons lately. Right after that cherry haul (and another cherry haul) I got 2 small piles of birch.

crooks

crook-y

Most of these are just one spoon in each bend; there’s knots underneath the crook. splitting them is a combination of froe & hatchet work.

top yes bottom no

birch crook

axe & club

 

 

Then I start in hewing to begin to “see” the eventual shape.

axe work

 

Placement of the bowl is the hardest part to wrap your head around. The mistake I usually make is to place it too far forward. Here you see how the bottom of the bowl flows along the curved grain.

outline

 

Then it’s back to more axe work. The more you take off here, the easier life is later.

more axe work

quit there

 

Megan Fitzpatrick swiped a photo of mine from last time; here’s her teaser about an article I did for Popular Woodworking:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/spoon-carving-next-hot-thing

 

 

We had some heavy wet snow a week or so back. I found  a broken cherry limb down by the river & made some spoons from it. Then the other day I found 2 more, but way up high. I borrowed a pole saw & cut them down. Then started to cut them up.

expect cherry

Around here cherry is the most common wood useful for spoons. It’s quite hard though, comparatively speaking. Birch for instance is much softer & more cooperative. but I love the cherry spoons. They are worth the extra work. I cut a few crooks out of this stuff to get started; but left lots in the limbs, to be dealt with later.

Here’s a whole mess of pictures; not the whole spoon – I didn’t finish it yet. Started some others instead. To really see where the spoons are in crooked timber like this, you have to view them from all around. More than once. This is 2 limbs, twined around each other in this heap.

crooks in waiting

I started here; there’s one good sized ladle/serving spoon between that end grain & the small branch in the bottom of the photo.

one at a time

After cross-cutting, I hew away the bark to see where the piece wants to split.

trimming side bark

The bottom of this crook is trash; it has a large broken-off limb, & resulting knot.

one's a spoon, one ain'

After some initial hewing, I like to start these large deep bowls with a gouge & (borrowed) mallet. Borrowed shop too.

gouge & mallet

The gouge can also be “hand” pressure, but it’s much more than my hands driving it. Here’s the top of the stroke, then my whole body moves to bring the gouge across the spoon’s bowl.

top stroke

(hat courtesy of Maureen. She’s working on her 2nd custom hat-knitting project. Contact her for next year’s winter hats… https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts )

bottom stroke

More hatchet work.

hatchet work

 

 

Then knives from there. I’ll get it on the blog at some point.

——–

Went walking at one point – going to leave this one alone for a while, I’ll stop back when the eggs hatch, then we’ll see some owl action.

leave it alone

Out to the beach in a bracing wind. Dunlin & sanderlings in flight.

in flight

 

Took one last haul out to the end of the beach to see the snowies; only found one, but didn’t look hard. Soon, they will head north again.

 

 

 

 

one more visit before shoving off

 

Back home, the local redtails are keeping company. Time for them to nest too.

 

 

 

mr & mrs

 

matt video

Poor Matt Bickford. There I was, gobbling up his new DVD from Lie-Nielsen about how he uses hollows & rounds to make moldings, when the video about Wille Sundqvist arrived. Eject, went Matt. In went Wille.

Now, some time has passed & I’m back to Matt’s disc.http://www.lie-nielsen.com/dvds/moldings-in-practice/

As you can imagine, I’m partial. I’ve got to know Matt & his family through Lie-Nielsen events; took a weekend class with him once to boot. His teaching method is excellent.  The way he breaks down these moldings is simplicity itself. Things are presented very clearly on this disc, you’ll find it a great companion to his book of nearly the same name. It’s almost 3 hours’ worth of instruction. Makes me itch to get out some planes & make moldings…

here’s an earlier look at Matt’s work:

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/ive-always-known-they-were-good/

The book: http://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/mouldings-in-practice 

 

carved panel overall

Having my stuff stashed away in a few storage sites is a bit rattling. I have some tools here at the house, and one workbench. It’s tucked tight into a mixture of kids/grownups/and general clutter; snow-boots, the “shipping” department -(a mass of re-used cardboard boxes and misc materials) the path to the bathroom, and this desk where I write, pay bills, and read about woodworking, birds and a tiny bit of news. I finally decided the other day to quit waiting until I get things “set up” and instead just shoved junk aside & carved an oak panel. It was like riding a bike.

carved panel detail

It being winter, I have dipped back into some of Henry David Thoreau’s journal. Somehow winter is when I read this book; “I to Myself” is the edition I’m using. Got to the part about firewood heating you twice, an oft-quoted section. But reading before and after that part was a treat:

 

“One-eyed John Goodwin, the fisherman, was loading into a hand-cart and conveying home the piles of driftwood which of late he had collected with his boat. It was a beautiful evening, and a clear amber sunset lit up all the eastern shores; and that man’s employment, so simple and direct, – though he is regarded by most as a vicious character, – whose whole motive was so easy to fathom, – thus to obtain his winter’s wood, – charmed me unspeakably. So much do we love actions that are simple. They are all so poetic. We, too, would fain be so employed. So unlike the pursuits of most men, so artificial or complicated. Consider how the broker collects his winter’s wood, what sport he make of it, what is his boat and hand-cart! Postponing instant life, he makes haste to Boston in the cars, and there deals in stocks, not quite relishing his employment, – and so earns the money with which he buys his fuel. And when by chance, I meet him about this indirect and complicated business, I am not struck with the beauty of his employment. It does not harmonize with the amber sunset.”

He goes on, then comes to this one:

“As for the complex ways of living, I love them not, however much I practice them. In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth.”

words to live by.

—————

Meanwhile, the other day I ordered a new bowl/drinking cup from Jarrod Stone Dahl.

JSD bowl

Did you see his feature at Popular Woodworking? http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-daily/green-woodworking-linking-past-future

His work would harmonize with an amber sunset for certain.

 

The box with drawer that I posted the other day is a great survivor – the only New England one of its kind. I have seen a corrupted English one – so I dug out the photos of it while we’re on the subject.  I have had it on the blog before, but ages ago.

Here we have an English box with drawer, c. 1600-1610, in walnut mostly. This one got wrecked way back when, then incorrectly restored. The lid is new, and the piece has been turned into a very deep box, the drawer being re-fitted & fixed in place.

box w drawer, walnut & inlay

box w drawer, walnut & inlay

There’s I think 3 surviving relatives, one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in their European Decorative Arts collection. One in a private collection in the US, and one that was featured in Percy MacQuoid’s Age of Oak book…

The others have dated iron escutcheons where the blank square panel is here between the inlaid panels. Dates (from memory) are 1603 and 1610? Something like that. I don’t have MacQuoid’s book.

Here’s the only image I have of the Met box

MMA box w drawer

A couple of exterior detail shots:

 

walnut box w drawer inlay detail

arcading

arcading

There are remnants of block-printed paper lining the inside of the box. Also scribed compass work from an abandoned layout scheme for carving? In the first photo below you can see the wooden pin for locking the drawer from inside the box.

printed paper lining

paper lining & wooden pin for locking drawer

 

compass-formed spiral

compass-formed spiral

Now to someday see the other examples, so we can suss out what really went on with these things.

The other box with a drawer, without its drawer. How’s that for confusing?

Here’s two shots I got years ago from Trent of the “other” Thomas Dennis box w drawer. But it’s been chopped down & its drawer is missing. This one’s in Historic New England’s collection, published in one of the books I mentioned last night - Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture: the Colonial Era (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1984)

box HNE

 

HNE box overall B

 

 

What’s even better is that there is documentary evidence that Thomas Dennis made this furniture form – there’s a deposition in the Essex County Court Records, cited in the Irving Lyon articles also mentioned last time:

“March 28, 1682 Thomas Dennis deposed that Grace Stout bought a carved box with a drawer in it of him in 1679 and it had two locks, ” for which he was paid 2/6.

(2 shillings, 6 pence – more than a day’s wages…but not 2 days’ wages. Then there’s the price of the locks to consider…) 

Here’s a detail from the Bowdoin one just so we can have them both in mind. For me, the exciting stuff about Dennis’ best carvings is the great variety. Never repeats, even thought the “vocabulary” is clearly evident.

Dennis - 193

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