I shot some more stuff today…

I have been carving up the last of 2013′s spoons – some serving spoons in cherry heartwood. When cherry logs lay around too long, the sapwood goes off, but the heartwood is still good in this log after 8 months -

I shot these two spoon bowls together to show the variation in the grain pattern inside the bowl. The centerline on the spoon on the right is mostly centered on the piece of wood – so you get a nice, even concentric pattern as you cut into the succeeding layers to hollow out the bowl.

The one on the left was a bit whacky, I forget why now. Some defect caused me to line up the centerline of the spoon to one side of the centerline of the split billet. So now the grain pattern inside the bowl is one-sided. I like this effect; but I like the other one too. All this becomes horridly small details that matter to few…but it helps to know how & why different patterns emerge.

cherry spoons underway

cherry spoons underway

All the spoon blanks have to be split in such a way that the central section of the tree, the pith, is avoided. Usually it is hewn away. Leave it in, and the spoon will crack, probably more than 99% of the time.

But do you then hollow the side towards the bark, or towards the pith? Well, you can do either – one will get this pattern, one that. Here is a 3rd spoon dropped into the photo above, showing the pattern resulting from hollowing the face towards the pith. Usually I hollow the wood near the bark side, like the middle spoon.

3rd spoon

3rd spoon

When you hollow them in green wood (almost always the case) – the bark side bowl gets narrower, but deeper upon drying. The other gets wider, but shallower. This is the effect of differential shrinkage in the wood. More minutiae, though. The amount they shrink & distort is not great, to my way of thinking. I’m more concerned about the grain pattern, or quirks of the individual spoon blank. I generally work them all bark-side up, but if the tree has another idea…I’ll follow the tree’s lead.

 

Here’s some furniture that made it to the background paper today. First is the chest I made for the museum. Every year they have a raffle for one of these. This is the one I made piece-meal – started in April, finished in Oct/Nov. Never again. Finishing it up in the last few weeks was an ordeal.

raffle chest 2013

joined carving chest, 2013 – oak & pine

Here’s the little 2-panel chest I made for the Woodwright’s Shop episode. It still needs its hinges installed, but that’s manageable. A combination of red oak, with 2 white oak sawn panels in front. Pine floor boards.

two-sie chest

small joined chest, red & white oak, white pine

Here’s a detail of the next version of that little chest…I just couldn’t leave all that blank oak around. This one’s for me…riven matched panels in front.

next two-sie chest

gouge-carved chest in progress

The gouge-cut carvings. one tool, two moves.

next two-sie detail

detail carving

a joinefd form, red & white oak. A little more than 5 feet long, I think. I forget. The seat is quartersawn white oak.

joined form

joined form, red & white oak

rear view joined chest

rear view joined chest

Got some photography done the other day…this one’s a joined chest that I have had around a while. I was waiting to hinge it until I could photograph the process. This is the one with the wooden hinges. Here’s the front view

joined chest

joined chest

You can see this chest in process during the Lie-Nielsen video I did on making a joined chest.  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/new-dvd-is-back-again-make-an-oak-joined-chest/

First the wooden hinge; then the interior view, with the till.

chest open hinge

wooden hinge

chest open till

till

Finishing up a couple of customer’s boxes at the same time…

box 2013 finished

box 2013 open

box 2013 B open

box b detail carving

 

Tool-selling is making me crazy. If you hi-hosied a tool, you will hear more from me early this week. I packed 20+ boxes today, with about that many more tomorrow. so hang in there. 

Meanwhile, here I am, back to actual woodworking. I have made wooden hinges on many of my boxes over the years. I over-represent them based on 17th-century surviving examples, but people nowadays are drawn to the idea of a wooden hinge.

pintle-hinge-detail

I have rarely used them on joined chests, but shot the process this week for the book I’m writing about chests. I might have mentioned them in the DVD but didn’t show one. So here goes.

First, here it is all done. The turned bit goes loosely through a hole bored in the enlarged end of the cleat. Then it fits tightly in a corresponding hole bored in the rear stile.

wooden hinge

They require a bit of fussing. First, you need to plane or shave a rounded edge on the top rear rail’s outside arris. This is to allow the lid to slide by when it’s opening & closing. You can use a plane, or a spokeshave. I worked with both tools the other day. I start with a bevel then continue to round it over by eye. There will be some adjustments made when you test-fit the lid. I just tilted the chest up on its front feet, and jammed it against the bench to get at it. 

planing bevel

spokeshave bevel

I have made cleats to fit the lid, with an enlarged end at the back. This will have room for the hole bored in it, in this case I made the hole 9/16”. To bore pilot holes in the cleat, I clamp it in the double screw, to lessen the risk of splitting the cleat.

boring the cleat

Then, I set the whole shebang upside down on the bench. Set the chest on the lid, check the amount of overhang this way & that, then set the cleats in place & mark the lid for the nails that fasten the cleats.

locating cleat holes on lid

Then I nail the cleats to the lid, but don’t clinch them yet. Set the lid in place, mark where the holes go in the stiles. bore these.

boring

I turned the pintles, and tested the fit in the hole in the cleat. I want the end of the pintle a very tight fit in the stile, but the part near the pintle’s head loose in the cleat…so more fussing this way & that. 

turning pintle overall

turning pintle

Here, I am testing the pintle end in the hole. It burnishes a mark that shows me where to shave with a knife to get the fit I need. I don’t want it so tight it splits the stile or the cleat. 

DSC_0051

DSC_0050

Then a test-fit with the turned pintles in place. Try the lid. Watch for any rubbing of the lid on the rear rail. Fine-tune this, making clearance for the lid to swing by. On & off with the lid. It’s annoying, but if the lid binds anywhere on the rear rail, it will get ruined in time. It’s tempting to say “good enough” – but anything less than totally cleared is not good enough…it has to be right. 

it opens

 

Once I was satisfied, I took the lid back off, clinched the nails, then put it back & glued the pintles into the rear stiles. 

final assembly w pintle

 

I added some things to the static pages on the blog tonight.

white oak box, detail

white oak box, detail

This box I just finished photographing the other day, I had finished the box up in Maine when I taught at CFC in Rockport last summer. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/carved-boxes-fall-2012/

a few spoons

a few spoons

I had great plans to make a slew of spoons for Christmas presents…but that didn’t happen. The road to hell, etc… As a result, there are only a few spoons available this month. Here’s the sampling:  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-the-only-ones-i-will-have-this-month/

BK-MAJSFAT-2T smallA reminder about the Joint Stool book, and the DVDs, including the newest one from Lie-Nielsen about making a joined chest…

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

This one doesn’t need its own page, but I have another turned book stand for sale. Once again, it’s part of the “here’s the end of that walnut stash” department. This one really is the end, unless you count the four wide but short quartersawn pieces I found while cleaning the other day…

I end up crating these inside a cardboard box to protect them during shipping. So the total is $180 shipped in the U.S. Email me with questions if you are interested… SOLD

walnut book stand walnut book stand w owls walnut book stand rear

H: 18 1/2″   W: 14 1/2″  D: c. 15″

Chris Schwarz has it easy writing about how to make six-board chests. Cut four joints and get out a bunch of nails. Simple enough to make several for a book and video. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2012/11/04/help-build-the-furniture-of-necessity/

But a joined oak chest is another matter. 

carved chest fall 2011

When I went to Maine last spring to shoot the DVD on making a joined chest, (here: http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/new-dvd-is-back-again-make-an-oak-joined-chest/ )  I had a finished chest, two partially-built ones and then as part of the shoot, I split out some parts for another. Even the smallest one has about 35 pieces of wood in it! Not counting the till, so make that 38. Oh, brackets on this one, make it 40. 


And now I’m in the midst of shooting more stuff for a follow-up book on the subject…which means another batch of joined chests. Hewing and riving all those pieces, planing it…trying to remember which stock is for which chest. It’s a tough life.

stacked riven & planed oak

I just finished one, and am wrapping up the smallest one from the video shoot. But I just started one with two drawers like this one I built a few years ago. It’s based on one from the Connecticut River area, around 1650-1680 or so.

chest w drawers

This one is going in the book to show the framing and construction of basic drawers. Another key feature of this chest is that the carving is wrapped around the framing parts, continuing from one piece to the next. Most carved chests are like that in the top photo, where the carved elements are stand-alone designs.

So to layout the design on this one, I had to test-fit the chest’s front frame, then use two compasses to mark the undulating vine that winds its way around the chest front.

test-fit & carving layout

compass layout

Here’s a sample of some of the carving. Each flower/leaf shape is free-hand, determined by the gouges used to outline it. No two are alike, and there’s no symmetry to the design. You can’t go wrong. 

sample carving

I’ll be starting the carving this weekend at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Phil Lowe’s Furniture Institute of Massachusetts. If you’re in the area, come by…. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/?pg=98

New DVD from Lie-Nielsen

The Joined Chest DVD I did with Lie-Nielsen is back from being reprinted after a glitch was found in the first batch. I’ll send out replacements to those who jumped on it earlier…

So, if you have a few hours to watch me thrash an oak log apart and build a joined chest, you can do so from the comfort of your own home – otherwise, you have to stand at the railing in my shop at the museum.

We shot the DVD last spring in Maine, it includes splitting and riving the stock apart, hewing and planing, then layout, joinery and assembly. I cut notches for the till, and show how to install that, and make a tongue-and-groove white pine floor. The lid is also white pine, a single-width board. For the finale, I attach the lid with iron “snipebill” hinges, (what I call “gimmals” – the 17th-century term for them.)

The disc runs over 200 minutes and is broken into 18 chapters so you can get around to the segment you nodded off at. There is additional content accessed through your computer; some measurements, photos and other bits and pieces.

I have some of these discs for sale, you can order from me by emailing me with your mailing info. Price is $42, shipped media mail in the US.

17th-century New England Carving: Carving the S-scroll

I also have some of the 2nd DVD I shot on carving patterns. This is called “17th-Century New England Carving: Carving the S-scroll”.  A long-winded title about a disc that shows several different ways to lay out and cut a design that is combined many different ways to different effect. This one’s about 100 minutes. Price from me is $27 shipped in the US by media mail. 

If you’d like to order both of them from me, the price will be $62 shipped in the US by media mail. 

My email is peter.follansbee@verizon.net. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can mail a check to me at this address:

Peter Follansbee

3 Landing Rd

Kingston MA 02364

Let me know if you’re sending a check so I can hold a copy for you. 

Of course, as always you can buy these DVDs directly from Lie-Nielsen too, while you are there buying tools and other goodies. They have my first DVD on carving, too and they also sell the joint stool book.  http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1320

Trent sent a note tonight about a joined chest with 2 drawers coming up for sale soon in New York. 

It’s an old favorite of mine, made in Braintree, Massachusetts between 1650-1700. Look:

braintree chest w drawers

Here’s the link to the auction - http://www.doylenewyork.com/asp/fullCatalogue.asp?salelot=12AM02+++313+&refno=++907166

 

In an article of agreement in connection with William Savell, Sr.’s 1669 will, the sons of William Savell, Sr. agree that the widow, Sarah (Mullins Gannett) Savell shall have “…her whole estate returned to her that she brought to Our ffather for her own use & to dispose of forever with a chest with drawers & a Cubbert…”  

the distinction here is “chest with drawers” – plural. Most of this group had a single drawer below the chest compartment. 

Back when I was doing the legwork research chasing these chests down, I saw two examples that had 2 drawers instead of the more typical single drawer. One of those is now in the Chipstone collection in Milwaukee, WI. This might be the other one, or now a third. I did see a piece of 20th-century homemade furniture that incorporated two drawers from one of these. That piece descended in the Hayward family from old Braintree. 

The article from years ago is:

Peter Follansbee and John Alexander, “Seventeenth-Century Joinery from Braintree, Massachusetts: the Savell Shop Tradition” in American Furniture, ed., Luke Beckerdite, (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England for the Chipstone Foundation, 1996) pp. 81-104

You can look it up on Chipstone’s website, but often you don’t get all the pictures there - http://www.chipstone.org/framesetAFintro.html

Fun stuff. 


[i].) for the will and inventory for William Savell Sr. see Suffolk County Registry of Probate (SCRP) #501, Massachusetts State Archives, Boston. 

New DVD from Lie-Nielsen

 

Got this note recently from a reader of the blog, about the Joined Chest DVD

“At 3:05:16 in the chapter on Making and Installing the Top there is a big red error screen that says Media Offline #15067 for a short while, like 15-25 seconds. It looks like a small section of video is missing when they compiled the video. ”

 

I wrote to Thomas Lie-Nielsen, and he replied:

“Yeah, … It is true.  We’ve pulled them and will reprint. Sorry!”

When I get new ones, I’ll send out clean copies to those who bought from the blog. I’ll keep you posted when I hear more.

 

 

New DVD from Lie-Nielsen


I went down to Manchester, CT the other day for a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. As always, I had more fun than I could stand…and just as I came in the door, Ted Dishner of LN saw me & told me, “we have your new DVD…”

So, if you have a few hours to watch me thrash an oak log apart and build a joined chest, you can do so from the comfort of your own home – otherwise, you have to stand at the railing in my shop at the museum.

We shot the DVD last spring in Maine, it includes splitting and riving the stock apart, hewing and planing, then layout, joinery and assembly. I cut notches for the till, and show how to install that, and make a tongue-and-groove white pine floor. The lid is also white pine, a single-width board. For the finale, I attach the lid with iron “snipebill” hinges, (what I call “gimmals” – the 17th-century term for them.)

The disc runs over 200 minutes and is broken into 18 chapters so you can get around to the segment you nodded off at. There is additional content accessed through your computer; some measurements, photos and other bits and pieces.

I have 10 of these discs for sale, you can order from me by emailing me with your mailing info. Price is $42, shipped media mail in the US. Of course, as always you can buy the disc directly from Lie-Nielsen too, while you are there buying tools and other goodies. They have my two previous DVDs on carving, they also sell the joint stool book.  http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1320

till closed

Fitting the till parts inside a joined chest is one of the most time-consuming aspects of making these things. It takes a good deal of test fitting and fussing to get it right. there is a tendency to rush this part, many times I have made tills that I wasn’t happy with in the end. All in the name of impatience.

The sequence I use is to do the bottom first, then the side, then the lid last. I often make the bottoms and sides from white pine, and always make the till lid from oak. Almost always.

Here is a view of the till bottom fitted into notches in the front and rear stiles, and scribed and fitted against the beveled panels and muntin on the chest side. I made a two-part template from matboard, one part scribed to fit the front stile, and one for the rear. Then I overlaid them on the pine board using the muntin notch as a benchmark.

till bottom scribed & cut


The till side is easiest, and I didn’t scribe it to perfectly match the contours of the chest interior, close enough is OK.

For this till lid, I decided to notch the inner corner of the front stile so that the end of the till lid is a square cut, other than the pintle. I sawed and chiseled the notch, and bored the hole for the pintle. This hole is above and tangent to a line struck from the top edge of the till side.

front stile notched for square-ended till lid

For more about cutting tills, here’s an earlier take on the subject. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/tills/

Now, this chest has its rear finished face inside the chest.

inside the chest, rear framing

 

I really like this format, it makes a nice surface in the chest when you’re rooting around in there. And it leaves all the scruffy bits against the wall, where no one sees them. But one challenge in this arrangement is that the rear stiles bump out beyond the back face of the upper rear rail.

rear stile thicker than rear rail

When it comes time to hinge the lid, you need to deal with these stiles. One way around this problem is to make rear stiles that are the same thickness as the rear rails. I have seen English chests do this, but not New England examples. Another way around this is to cut a notch in the top end of each rear stile. Like this: 

 

We’ll see this again when I install the hinges on this one. This chest is going to get a paneled lid. When I first started reading about 17th-century joined chests, paneled lids in New England work were perceived as being indications of “first-generation” workmen, those trained in old England. That might be so, but it’s a difficult notion to prove. What I can say for certain is that paneled lids take up a great deal of labor. A single-board pine lid is the quickest thing on earth. Plane it, cut it to length and width, and run a thumbnail molding along its perimeter. A multi-board oak lid is a lot of work too, riving and planing usually three long narrow oak boards, edge-jointing them & gluing it up. Then planing it as a whole. 

But the paneled lid is the most labor of all three versions. 

This one requires riving and preparing all those framing parts, cutting the joinery, test-fitting it, drawboring, and then cutting the panels, beveling them, and so on. Maybe those old guys were faster than me…it still takes me more than a day to make this lid I bet.

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