well. I’ve been swamped lately. Just back last Sunday night from a week in Maine at Lie-Nielsen,


PF at LN

PF at LN

Here’s their tiny blurb about it:

Just finished shooting our fourth DVD with Peter Follansbee, “17th Century Great Chair.” Details coming soon…”

Because it is May, I got some osprey shots in Damariscotta.

osprey May 2013

osprey May 2013

Then finished up there with a two-day class in riving, planing & carving. First thing Monday morning it was off to work, trying to get the shop organized, then jumped right into prepping for a talk I gave today to EAIA whose annual meeting was at Plimoth. It was simple enough to do the lecture; but then all day in the shop there were toolies who stuck around and asked questions that were more in-depth than some of my usual fare. It was great, but now the lawn needs mowing, we’re trying to fence out some groundhogs; the kids’ weekend activities – (horse-back riding & baseball) are coming up and the ordinary dump run, etc.

daniel infield


Rose & Patrick




Oh, and it’s been still almost sweater weather at some recent points, but now it’s hot. so out with the woolens, find the window screens, etc.

so that’s why no blog lately. I hope to get back to it pronto.

here’s photos from the class at Lie-Nielsen, it was a great group of people – I always have a good time there. Also a  link to their facebook page about it. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151424181563016.1073741844.100708343015&type=1

carving long view

carving too much light

carving 2

carving 1


Recently, I got photos from two students showing the boxes they’ve made. First, Dennis Liu sent this shot of a box he started in a class we had at Country Workshops. He ended up taking his box apart at home, so he could add a till. His note said “it was a bit fussy to fit…” – Which is why I don’t do tills in the workshops! While he had it in for surgery, he decided on oak for the lid & bottom. Great look. Extra work, but well worth it. 

carved box, Dennis Liu

carved box, Dennis Liu

Then came Seth Kelley. He took a 2-day carving class at Lie-Nielsen in which we split apart an oak bolt, planed our stock & carved some patterns. Afterwards, Seth wrote to ask me about a desk box in an article I wrote in 1996 about furniture from Braintree, Massachusetts. So I sent some notes and a couple of shots of the desk box. Nice thing about these is junk doesn’t pile up on the slanted lids as easily as on a flat-top box.

seth's box open

seths' box daylight

seth box side veiw

Buried somewhere on the blog is the article about making these boxes – http://pfollansbee.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/pf_box_articl.pdf 

Thanks for sending the photos  guys. Seth wins the real estate prize by sending more photos than Dennis. But both are nice work. Next carving class is coming up at Lie-Nielsen in Warren Maine, May 11-12. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/?pg=35


Hope to see some of you there. 





Lie-Nielsen Weekend Workshops

Lie-Nielsen Weekend Workshops

worm eating warbler

worm eating warbler


Isn’t it a coincidence that my next workshop at Lie-Nielsen just happens to fall in early May, when the warbler migration will be hitting down-east? http://www.lie-nielsen.com/documents/Workshop13_Follansbee.pdf

If you’d like to come to Maine to rive, hew, plane & carve some oak for 2 days, I promise we’ll have great fun. I was just a student there myself last weekend at Matt Bickford’s class on using hollows & rounds. It was great.

PF molding


First-rate facility, nice group of people and as you know from reading this blog, I’m a fan of Matt’s work…so it was a winner all around. He’ll be back there teaching later in the summer, I think. https://www.facebook.com/lie.nielsen.toolworks/photos_stream

My class last year made the largest pile of shavings I have seen in some time, and even got a bunch of carving done too. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150825497703016.396964.100708343015&type=3 


So – May 11 & 12. Will I see some of you there? Here’s some stuff I have carved this past week…

lunette detail

s scrolls

chair panel etc

chair carvings


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


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


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…


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″

carved chest, paneled lid, 2012

carved chest, paneled lid, 2012

Now that the Joined Chest DVD is out & among us, http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/new-dvd-is-back-again-make-an-oak-joined-chest/ In the video we included a photo gallery that has a paneled lidded chest, but I don’t go into detail about how to make one…Now I am shifting back to work on the accompanying book. In the book, I plan on having variations that were beyond the scope of the video. One variation will be detailed discussion and illustration of paneled lids. I wrote a bit about them a while ago http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/joined-chest-till-parts-paneled-lid/ but I finished this chest a couple of weeks ago & got some final photos of it yesterday. 

detail paneled lid

detail paneled lid

This one I made with the front and rear “rails” full-width of the chest. Sometimes the left & right “stiles” run the full depth of the chest, so the long rails fit between them. There is no right or wrong on the formatting of a paneled lid like this. I recall one which has the rear rail full-width and the front rail fits between the stiles. That’s complicated when it comes time for layout. 

I used chamfers around the panels, moldings on the framing parts. Then a thumbnail all around the lid. 

another view

another view

It wasn’t’ until I was viewing these photos that I noticed some carving details that I guess are mistakes….but I can live just fine with them. Notes on this photo:

carving details picked out

carving details picked out

(Agghh – WordPress switched gears on me & now I have to go re-figure how to make photos able to click & enlarge…I like the pictures to go BIG. My apologies) – THANKS TO ERIC IT’S FIXED. YOU CAN NOW SEE THESE PHOTOS LARGER IF INCLINED. JUST CLICK ‘EM. THANKS, ERIC. 

I bought a new hatchet a  few weeks ago….this lightweight model from Hans Karlsson. In the US, Hans’ tools come from Country Workshops, the school where I am sometimes student, sometimes instructor. see www.countryworkshops.org

Hans Karlsson hatchet

Hans Karlsson hatchet

I used it some just to test it out. I bought it as a spoon-and-bowl-carving axe. It’s quite nice for that. Karlsson’s tools are extremely well-made. Drew Langsner tells me it weighs 24 1/2 oz, and is 15″ long overall. Blade length is about 4 1/2″.

A few more shots of it:

blade length & curvature

blade length & curvature

The handle on this one is ash, some are listed in the Country Workshops’ site as birch. Hardwood either way I guess. This one has a tooled surface, along the idea of some of the Wetterlings and Gransfors Bruks axes. It’s not a hand-made handle of course…but not smooth.  Here’s the text Drew wrote about it for the Country Workshops brochure

“The axe (head with handle) was designed by Wille Sundqvist. Overall length is about 14-inches. Bevels are symmetrical and flat; there no need to touch up the inner bevel. The balance is excellent and it has a lively feel during use.”

Note that the bevels on this axe are flat, unlike the Gransfors Bruks axes, which have slightly convex bevels. This axe really is ready to go when you unwrap it.

hatchet eye

hatchet eye

new hatchet from Country Workshops

new hatchet from Country Workshops

The hatchet is listed at $172.25 in the Country Workshops brochure…write to Drew if you need one. It’s a fine tool…

Now – going back to the most-common axe question I get – where does one get a single-bevel hatchet like the one I use in joinery work? Answser – I don’t know. Many tell me GB makes one, but I have only seen their single-bevel axe listed as a heavy, (about 7 lbs.) tool. As far as I know, their hatchets for hewing are double-bevels. Oxhead makes one, I have never tried it. I am dis-inlcined.
BUT – you can hew flat surfaces with a double-bevel axe/hatchet. The single-bevel tool is better, but the double-bevel will work. Here’s a video Chris Schwarz shot of me showing a few options, a large Wetterlings I got from Lie-Nielsen, another older Hans Karlsson, my standard German one, and a modified one by Alexander. (along with plodding old-timey music!)

Here’s Chris’ post about it, with comments. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2012/07/23/peter-follansbee-on-hatchets/

UPDATE – Ha! Shows you what I know. Highland Hardware lists a Gransfors Bruks broad axe, righty & lefty, that weigh 3lbs, cutting edge 7″ – very similar to what my favorite axe is. The GB axe is over $300. So you have to mean it…  here’s the #s from Highland Gransfors Bruks # 4823. Model 1900

I get regular updates from some auction and antique sites, and this one is one I always look it. http://www.marhamchurchantiques.com/current-stock/all/

Paul Fitzsimmons specializes in oak 17th-century furniture… if you like oak stuff, don’t miss his website. 

You might recognize some of my carvings being based on patterns I have seen on his website. Here’s a joined & carved chest he had the other day. Looks great, right?

Devon chest, front view

Devon chest, front view

Well, let’s look around the corner before we jump to conclusions…

rear stile - wood movement

rear stile – wood movement


Note the wriggled shape of the rear stile! How’s this for green woodworking? Or as a testament to the power of drawbored mortise & tenon joinery? Imagine, they pinned those joints, then the thing took off…but didn’t bust the joints.Imagine working stock of this quality…it’s enough of a challenge when I use good timber…

Here’s a panel’s carving:

carved panel

carved panel

I have seen some related pieces in the flesh, and noted they were made of poor quality flatsawn wood. This one has oak and elm in it. Elm is notorious for not staying flat. Yet they have held up & held together. A rather extreme example, but worth seeing because the lesson is, if you don’t have perfect, rive-able green oak – don’t hold back. Dive in, no glue, no clamps. Mortise & tenon, and drawboring. It will make a believer of you. Have no fear….

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


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