I’m rendered in oils! It’s like having my name up in lights. While travelling this summer, I stopped to spend a day with my friends Heather & Pat in Pennsylvania. Heather posed me for this painting, part of her on-going teacup series.

Here’s the link to her blog; I’m always amazed at Heather’s work…

http://heatherneill.com/studio-blog/

http://heatherneill.com/

PF as tea cup series

 

Don’t forget box-making http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/make-a-carved-oak-box-sept-22-26/

We just had a cancellation in my up-coming class in making a carved oak box – so if you would like to tackle this sort of work, September 22-26 in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, Heartwood School is the place to be. http://www.heartwoodschool.com/

 

open, with till

open, with till

opposing lunettes

opposing lunettes

oak carving box side Sept

till

till

This is going to be a really small class – so we will be able to really delve deeply into these boxes. I usually do this with 10 or 12 students; this time we’re hoping for 5! Lots more attention to carving patterns, and come hell or high water – tills! Students always ask, “can we put tills in our boxes?” – and the answer is usually “maybe” which really means “no.” 

This time – yup. I bet we will. 

come on, fall in the Berkshires? Send Will Beemer a note – it’ll be great. http://www.heartwoodschool.com/coursefr.html

oak bolt

 

 

 

 

I greatly appreciate the notes & emails, etc that I get from readers, students and more. It’s nice to hear that my work inspires some folks to go shave wood. Woodworking has saved many a man’s life (woman’s too…) – and I am glad that my work sometimes gives others a nudge. Likewise, when I hear these things, it inspires me to keep posting my stuff here – someone might get something from it. Co-inspiration.

I’m very late as usual with this post. I owe some of you answers; and had promised to show your stuff to the blog readers. Keep ‘em coming, I like to show this stuff you folks are making. That way, someone else might be inspired to have a go at it. How hard can it be?

In absolutely no particular order – here’s a stool-in-progress from Jason Estes of Iowa. Look at his details; nice chamfers; and square “turned” decoration. Great work, Jason.

Jason Estes Iowa

 

Jason had a question about seats = it’s probably too late now (sorry Jason)  – but for next time here goes.

“If two boards are used for a seat, are they fastened to each other in any way, or just to the aprons or stiles?”

Alexander & I did them just butted up against each other in the book, but in period work, usually they are glued edge-to-edge, sometimes with registration pins between them. I have seen chest lids done with splines in grooved edges of mating boards. No tongue & groove in chest lids, table tops, etc –  they are used in chest bottoms, however.

When I make a wainscot chair seat, I usually edge glue two narrow riven boards together. sometimes w 5/16″ pins between them; maybe 2 in the whole seat.

“If I elect to go with a single board of quartersawn oak, it will likely be kiln-dried – does that require any accommodation, or can it go on like a tree-wet board?”

Nope – if it’s well-quartersawn, it should behave perfectly well.

 

Sean Fitzgerald (I think I got that right) of parts unknown made a joined & chamfered dish rack…why didn’t I make one of these? Here’s a case I often talk about – my work is 17th-century reproduction, but you can adapt these construction and decoration ideas in new formats; designs, etc – the mortise & tenon is timeless, as is oak.

sean fitzgerald chamfered dish rack

 

Here’s a bunch from Matthew LeBlanc – we finally met this past July up in Maine. We had corresponded many times, then finally connected. Matt’s made a slew of stuff – great going. For a teacher to have students like these, I’m a lucky person.

Matt stretched out his stool, made it wider side-to-side. Poplar & sawn oak. If you have no green wood, don’t let that stop you!

 

Matthew Leblanc stool_edited-1

 

Matt also made one of Jennie Alexander’s post & rung chairs – or maybe it’s from Drew Langsner’s book. either way, all the same gene pool. Nice chair. Looks like red oak to me.

 

Matthew leblanc JA chair

 

And then he sent along this trestle table w carved stretcher. & these were a while ago – I bet he’s kept on going. Nice work, Matt.

matthew leBlanc table

Here’s Matthew making a pile of shavings while we were at Lie-Nielsen this summer..

this showed up last week. 

birch logs

and this. 

birch logs 2b

so here’s one direction I’m headed – some large crooks in these piles. 

spoons

and more. Some baskets & bowls to finish…

 

spoons & more

And soon, some furniture work! Imagine it…

For now, some stuff left from the last “for sale” posting – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/

 

I might have confused some folks the other day with the post about the young Little Blue Heron that is white (Egretta caerulea) – and I wrote a note/comment to one reader to steer him towards some heron ID work. Most of the white heron-type birds we see here on the east coast are egrets – small ones are snowy egrets, and the large ones are great egrets. Used to be American egrets, so when I’m birding with Marie, I expect her to call them that…

(some Great Blue Herons are white – but I think mostly just in Florida. Reddish egrets are white sometimes too…but I’ve never seen either up here. Them’s southern. Generally, white heron-ish birds are egrets. Except when they’re Little Blue Herons, who are southern birds, slowly becoming more common up here in New England).

then today, my day was book-ended with a great egret (Ardea alba) fishing in the river. One of many nice things about working at home now is I get to see a lot of what goes on here on the river. While lashing & fitting basket-rims and handles, I got these shots.

down river

down river view

Egrets like to fish in the shade. Sometimes you can see them spread their wings to shade the water…but this guy just hung out at the end of the wall…for over 1/2 an hour.

up river

up river view

I saw him get a fish this morning, then one or two in about 6 attempts this afternoon.

great egret stalking

 

great egret profile

 

great egret poking

 

Great Egrets have black legs; Little blue herons have greenish-yellow legs. But snowy egrets can confuse you too… I found a page by Sibley about the distinctions

http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/08/distinguishing-immature-white-little-blue-heron-from-snowy-egret/

For some reason, I have always referred to these things as “ears” – musta heard that term somewhere. They are the bits that a swing-handle fits on for a basket. I make them from white oak or hickory, white oak is the 1st choice. Those on the right in this photo are semi-perfect; those on the left are perfect; the middle ones might make it, they might not. They tore up on the outside of the bend. Might be enough wood to shave away & still have something left behind. Bending white oak basket stuff is what I did today; after running around doing chores first. 

semi perfect ears

I didn’t take shots of the process – it’s too hard to do it & shoot it too. This photo shows some ears and other handles. I rive & shave them from green wood, then steam them in a steambox, a pretty simple one I cobbled together back in my windsor chair days. 

handles & ears

 

Here’s an un-bent ear; for an idea – these are 3/8″ squares; the shaved portion is 3″ long. Quite small. 

unbent ear

 

 

Here’s my newest swing-handle basket = a big one, about 14″ in diameter; about 10″ high to the rim. White ash & white oak. 

 

 

swing handle basket

This style of swing handle is one I learned from a book – The Legend of the Bushwhacker Basket, by Martha Wetherbee & Nathan Taylor

Here’s mine with the handle propped up, as it will be in use…

 

swnig up

And here are the ears in detail; they cross the basket from inside to outside; and fit in a hole bored in the handle. Then the ears are notched, and the rims fit into the notches inside & out. the ends of the ears are shaved thin, and slide under the basket’s weaving. Then the lashing binds it all together. 

installed ear & lashing

installed ear

 

As soon as I got the bowl lathe done – we finally got real summer weather; mid-to-high 80s, humid. So I’ll wait some on the bowls. Back to doing basket stuff – soaked in water most of the day, easy to do in the heat.

I’m about as interested in amateur video-making as I am in performing home lobotomies. But I have tried a couple times to get one particular basket technique on video – peeling the splints. I had written about it before – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/peeling-ash-splints/  with still photographs – but you can’t get how this really works without either seeing it or doing it. 

You can peel the splints bit by bit, between your knees, working it with your fingers – inch by inch really. In the earlier post, I showed a wooden jig that you pull the splint through to do it quicker. I have no idea what it’s called. I have seen old ones in photographs, usually of Native basketmakers. The old ones are configured differently; but the function is the same. I made this one to be held in a vise; the old ones were held between the basketmaker’s knees. Think of it as a mini-riving brake – there’s a groove in the middle of this 2-piece wooden jig. The splint slides loosely through the groove. 

pull

As I said in the earlier post, I soak the splint for a short while, score part-way through its thickness with a knife, and slide it up through the “brake.” Then pull the tabs apart, dividing the splint. Here’s a case where video really helps. You can’t believe how effective this is.  see how quickly you can pull the splint, dividing it into two perfectly smooth splints. 

[the video is one of those "press the button, walk into the scene bits" so wait a few seconds. then it's over in a heartbeat. But then you divide the next splint, then the next...]

 

 

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