the good thing about starting too many projects at once is that when you finally get around to dealing with them, it looks like you build stuff in record time, knocking off projects on a two-a-week basis.

Here’s what’s coming down the pike:

This chest – it falls in the House of the Rising Sun category – I started it in April or May, left it alone until July or August, then picked it back up in Oct. Only to leave it til now. So it’s all over the map. But it will work out. I have to panel the other end, then fit the till. That’s tomorrow.


I have a bunch of book stands underway. And this is the last joint stool to come out of this shop in its present configuration.

stand & stool

Here’s one that will fall by the wayside – it’s aiming to be a box; but it will have to wait. there’s priorities you know.

box on hold

This one should be do-able. Just some funny paint left to finish up.

box wants paint

Those are all I could get near with a camera today. there’s more in there, I think. Two more chests, the chest of drawers will wait – it’s a long-term project. And lots of stuff rattling around in my head.

I stink at keeping the blog’s extraneous stuff up-to-date. I fiddled with it a little bit tonight. I updated the “Carved boxes, etc” page – it now includes the carved bookstand I wrote about in the recent Popular Woodworking (Oct 2013) as well as the remaining boxes I have for sale. For some reason (I care not) the URL still says 2012, but the content is up-dated.)

carved bookstand

carved bookstand

- —–

The Wille film.


On the sidebar of the front page, I dropped the link to the kickstarter site for the Wille Sundqvist film.  The project reached its goal in spades,  – but I will keep everyone updated when I hear more about it. This is a project I am so excited about, I can’t stand it. For the record, here’s the link

I had a note a while back from Erik Buchakian (Country Workshops board member) about the tracking of where the donors came from:

“I thought you might like to know – Kickstarter does that creepy Internet thing, where it keeps track of where people “clicked” from in order to get to the site.  By far the most donors to the Wille film got to the Kickstarter site from your blog – something like 30%.  Good work!!!!”

To which I say to you blog readers – Thanks ever so much. Nice going.


my spoons -

basket of spoons

basket of spoons

I haven’t had spoons to sell for a while. You’ve noticed I guess. Many have asked. As you might have read, I spent much of July & August on the road teaching classes. I started in again on spoons last week & hope to have some in a few weeks’ time. But then I have to go to Woodworking in America where I need to have spoons for show & tell. So it might be late October when they are next for sale here. I’ll be posting some stuff about making them in the next few weeks, then will give a heads-up when I fill that basket again.


There’s lots of new readers subscribing, thanks & welcome aboard. If there’s something in particular about oak furniture of the 17th century you’re looking for, a reminder that there’s a search button on the sidebar. The posts go back to Jul of 2008, so lots of stuff to cover.

- —–

Birds – Ahhh. this one’s tough.

heron closeup

I have had zero time for birds. None. Kills me – ALMOST. My  free time usually spent birding has been spent pitching, so it’s worth it. Migration will come again, but Daniel will be a 7-yr old baseball fan only once.  I have no pictures, but Rose rides her bike now too – so I don’t know which way to turn.


daniiel at bat


Enough housekeeping. Woodworking tomorrow.


Well, last week you saw what one student did with my carving lessons, ( ) and now I have taught two more classes of carving in the past 2 months; I thought it might be helpful to show some period work here. All oak of course.

There’s a lot of new readers showing up, so I might do some review of stuff that’s gone before. I started by looking at photos that are already loaded into the blog’s till…it’s always nice to review, you might see something you missed before.

This one’s England, marked out with compasses to outline the framing; the panel is most likely freehand around a vertical centerline.



cupboard door, oak

cupboard door, oak

Some basic geometry behind this design, also England, probably the Lakes District, dated 1691.

carved panel nail holes lakes 2


Another carving from the same piece of furniture.

torn-up moldings on cupboard door panel, 1691

Some of my favorite English stuff, this is a pew carving from Totnes, Devon. Early 17th-c.


carved panel, Totnes pews


An old favorite from Braintree, Massachusetts – a panel from a cupboard. About 9″ x 12″.

door panel, attributed to William Savell, Sr.

door panel, attributed to William Savell, Sr.

This one a chest panel from the son of above; this time John Savell, c. 1660-1689.


panel, joined chest, c. 1660-1680s

panel, joined chest, c. 1660-1680s

Now, some of my own favorites – might help the new carvers with ideas.

crossed S-scroll pattern

crossed S-scroll pattern

box front, red oak

box front, red oak

carving detail

carving detail

PF carving strapwork

reproduction 17th-century furniture

carving “sunflower” chest panel

box b detail carving


The DVDs on carving are available from Lie-Nielsen…for more info on them and the joint stool book, see this page:






I had a great group of carvers & box-makers last month down at Drew & Louise’s place. There was so much to cover, I shot some photos, but didn’t really do it justice. Someone should just shoot the table settings/meals. I shot some of the opening night’s pizza, but after a while, it was time to eat, not photograph stuff.

A sample of photos follows. We had Axe night, when neighbor John Krausse came w his friend Josh (I hope I remembered that right) we tried about 20 different hatchets…Drew showed us his modern bowl forms one evening. And in the daylight these folks made great boxes.

what a time!




Here’s the link to Country Workshops – if you haven’t been, get down there next year.

see Drew’s bowls and read about them here

Louise’s blog is here


I have a lot of catching up to do with the blog. I got back from a fabulous week at Country Workshops on Sunday…and have written several posts in my head. Which does you no good now.


today’s very quick post is to tell you that we have some spaces still in the 2-day carving class, Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15 at Bob Van Dyke’s place, the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.


here’s some shots from last time -

leslie diggin the posture

I thought I had a lot of carving tools

dedham panel

The middle part of the box class at Country Workshops is the 2-day section on carving – those students aced it.  Here’s a few of theirs:

aug braid student

rebecca's scrolls detail




chris' lunettes



A few very quick things. I do make furniture, believe it or not. Too much lately in fact, the shop is jammed. I see daylight at the end of August. Here is a small joined chest that I am making as a test-case for a few upcoming gigs. More on that later…it’s about 20″ high, x 30″ wide. It is a mixture of riven & sawn oak, and I’ll use some sawn pine for the bottom and rear panel.  Just like the full-blown joined chests,  all the same steps, just smaller scale. Like for a workshop sometime?


tiny joined chest


tiny joined chest B


The other day I was out walking in the park (like Muddy Waters, I guess) and saw an uprooted tree cluster. The trees were gone, and the roots hauled up, soon to be chipped. I grabbed some real curved pieces. I thought it was maple, but it seems closer to ring-porous. but not quite…

anyway, the next spoon is brought to us by the letter J. Boy, are roots wet!

The letter J

The letter J

Here are two views as I worked this one up. I can’t shoot spoon work like I can joinery. The setup is trickier. I had Daniel shoot some last week, I have to load those and sort them.

rough root spoon

hewn root spoon

carved root spoon

initial carving root spoon

While on the subject of unknown spoon woods, I thought I’d take the easy way out & ask you folks what wood this is. It ended up in my pile, and it’s excellent for spoons. Tough, but not as hard as the cherry I often use. very white, no heartwood. I never saw the leaves, so only have this stuff to look at. I’ll take it to the shop and cut the end grain cleanly to see its structure.

spoon wood mystery

spoon wood question

spoon & wood


Just finished this version of the dragon box, or is it a serpent box? red oak, white pine. It’s about 23 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ x 7″.

dragon 2013 front view

M box end view




I’ve been spoon-mad lately (you could tell, right?) – carving lots of them. But it’s May, so there should have been warblers here. I missed most of them. This spring was lousy for me, birdwatching-wise. I think George Walker saw them all. I’ve been pretty busy with one thing or another. Most of which was not birds. My timing was way off, and when I was available – well the weather stunk up the place. We had yellowlegses in the river a bit, one in this photo, 3 came in another day…

I did manage some woodworking recently, just no photography to speak of. Here’s a joined form I’ve made for a client, along with the “half a pair of joint stools…”  The form is made just like what’s in the book, just stretched out. This one’s about 80″ long. In this case,  I beef up the long rails, these are about 1 1/2″ thick, to keep them from flexing.

joined form & 1/2 pair of joint stools

joined form & 1/2 pair of joint stools

The tops of the stools and the form are perfectly quartersawn oak. Beautiful stuff. I don’t usually get too carried away with the natural beauty of wood. But this stuff was great. These go with a table I’ve been building. I’m not assembling the table until it’s ready to go out. At 7′ long, I haven’t the room for it to hang around. Plus that large a flat surface would accumulate stuff quickly.


A wainscot chair got done recently. This replaces in my shop an earlier version of this iconic chair, my first version sold last fall. We’ll see if this one sticks around or not. I have to get in the shop and shoot some proper photos of it soon. Before it gets too dusty…


my version of a Thomas Dennis wainscot chair

my version of a Thomas Dennis wainscot chair

A few weeks ago I made a carved box for EAIA. They ordered it from the museum, and then it went in their auction. Someone ended up with it, I hope. This one was also made from quartersawn oak, with a pine bottom. It got away w/o real photos, or measurements. It’s about 7″ high, x 20″ wide. I try to keep up with a record of these things; and in recent years have not missed much. Previously, I made a slew of these carved boxes and never shot them at all. From time to time, I hear from people in the past who say, “I still have my box…” and I had forgotten I ever made them one…

carved box, May 2013

carved box, May 2013

Still have some slots open in Roy Underhill’s Woodwright School for the joint stool class in July. Fun will be had. Come on down…




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