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

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

and miles. Over 10,000 of them.

Cooper’s hawk

I guess if you’re not early, you’re late. So the schedule for workshops in 2013 is cooking all over the world right now…

I have a few dates I can post right now, others are being finalized & I”ll put them up here soon. I have to strike some sort of balance if I want to stay married (yes) and employed (mostly), so I have a few full weeks of classes, and a few weekend sessions. I hope to add some as I can…

First is a semi-woodsy bit. I am one of a host of speakers at the Furniture Forum at Winterthur in early March 2013. My talks are easy, I get a workbench and tools, so I just do my usual thing. Only in somewhat nicer clothing, probably. I am also listed as doing some “workshops” but Winterthur means something different from what I think a workshop is…so I look at these as more like a demonstration – like my day job. Here’s the whole brochure. FF Brochure 2013_Web (2)

 

Now – do you want to make a joined stool?

joined stool, chamfered not turned

Want to make a joined stool way out west?  I have been to the west before, having lectured and done research in Hartford, CT. But this is even further west than that…April 22-26 at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.

http://www.ptwoodschool.com/Home.html

Here they are riving some stock, but wait, what woods do they use there? Not oak?? There’s woods other than oak?

Port Townsend WA

Yup, it’s experimentation time. But it should be fun. There’s a weekend class following it in just the carving patterns. I am really looking forward to these workshops, I have never been to that part of the country. The carving class info is not up yet, (I was late getting stuff to Tim, sorry Tim.)

http://www.ptwoodschool.com/joint_stool_from_a_tree.html

 

June 7-13. I don’t drink beer. I don’t eat meat. And I don’t speak German. But still, because of Thomas Lie-Nielsen and Chris Schwarz, the folks at Dictum in Germany want me to come teach a class how to make the carved boxes I do. Me? Teach carving in Bavaria? Has the world gone nuts? We’ll see in June. Info is not up yet…  http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/page/kurse-in-metten.htm

how could I say no

 

July 15-19 I’ll do the joined stool in honest-to-goodness oak at the Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro. Roy hasn’t got the schedule together yet. But he will. It will be a gas.

many shavings

 

Then in August (12-16), I’ll be back in North Carolina at my long-time favorite woodworking school – Country Workshops. http://countryworkshops.org/ We’ll make the carved boxes -

“been there so long he’s got to callin’ it home” is how I feel about this place.

up towards the workshop

and if enough of us show up, I bet Louise will make pizza that Drew will fire in their outdoor oven. Don’t miss it. Have a look:

pizza at Country Workshops

Here’s Louise’s blog, in case you’ve missed it when I posted before http://louiselangsner.wordpress.com/

 

This coming Friday I’ll be at the Lie-Nielsen Event at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Bob Van Dyke’s place in Manchester, CT. While I am there, Bob & I will figure out a winter date for a weekend class in carving. So that will actually be first of the season for me…the lineup this weekend is really something. Come by if you are around the area.  http://www.lie-nielsen.com/?pg=93

 

Enough. It’s not like I’m Chris Schwarz or something.

 

 

 

I saw this announcement from Lie-Nielsen the other day in their newsletter. I almost forgot I shot it!  There’s no carving how-to in this one, it’s how to open the log, rive the stock, plane it, do the joinery, etc…

I guess when you concentrate on 17th-century stuff, that means you go first. So although others shot their discs before me, mine’s out soon. This is the beginning of project-based DVDs for LN. There’s more in their pipeline. Here’s their picture and text.

 

new video coming

Over the past nine years, we’ve produced woodworking DVDs focused mainly on hand tool set-up and techniques. In our next release, we turn the focus to applying these skills to a specific furniture project.. “17th Century Joined Chest,” featuring Peter Follansbee, is the first DVD in our new Master Workshops series, which are hand tool based furniture projects with master craftsmen. With only a few hand tools, Peter shows you how to get your stock from an oak log and build a frame-and-panel chest using 17th century joinery methods. Available on our website at the end of October.

One thing Jennie Alexander knows is drawknives for chairmaking. After a brief stint at turned chairs many many years ago, JA switched to shaving chairs at the shaving horse. Like this:

I don’t know the date when the turned chairs were done, & shaved chairs begun, but it pre-dates the 1978 release of Make a Chair from a Tree. And all the students (me included in 1980) made them that way…

When Tom Lie-Nielsen was researching drawknives to make for sale, he got a hold of Alexander. Jennie sent some Witherby 8″ knives up to Maine for testing – and now look at the drawknives Lie-Nielsen makes. They are based on the Witherby drawknife courtesy of JA. 

We have a small batch of drawknives for sale, these are not your ordinary antique clunkers, neglected in barns and garages for decades. These tools are in great shape. Tuned & sharpened for the most part…so go get the DVD on chairmaking, grab one of these knives and off you go….

the video is here:   http://www.greenwoodworking.com/MACFATVideo

the drawknives are here:   http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/tools-for-sale-drawknives/  or the menu at the top of the blog

I know it’s hotter elsewhere, but for southeastern New England, it’s been pretty hot & humid. That’s what has slowed down my blog. But I have done some woodworking now & then. After returning from the class at CFC, I finished a couple of carved boxes.

carved box, July 2012

This one I had in the class with me, although that pattern is a bit ambitious for students at first. One student tacked it this spring at Roy Underhill’s class, but he just carved, didn’t make a box….

Here’s the side view, showing the carving, wooden hinge, and pine lid:

wooden hinge

I was moving stuff around in my shop the other day & found parts for two small boxes. So I finished them up last week. Here’s one:

 

It’s small, about 9 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ x 5″ high. A handy size around the house.

 

open

There was a larger one that I just finished, this time with an oak lid. Two boards, edge-jointed & glued.  Iron hinges.

carved box, oak lid. Aug 2012

 

There’s more. These will all appear on the static pages of the blog here when I get around to them.

Meanwhile, my friends at Lie-Nielsen need to tighten up security, it seems.

the thief

 

 

 

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