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

Some stuff I have been finishing up. Got to photographing it on Thursday.

A small carved & painted box. I did one like this before, when I was working on the cupboard for the MFA. This one is not a copy of an existing piece, but based on a couple of examples we studied while researching that project.

painted box Nov 2013

 

Open showing the till inside.

 

 

 

carved & painted box open

 

And a detail showing the wooden hinge – a pin on the extension of the rear board, fitting through a hole bored in the lid’s cleats.

carved & painted box detail till hinge

 

In keeping with the squiggle-painted decor – here’s a joined stool I built during the book project, but just painted this fall.

joined stool painted Nov 2013

 

Then next stool was a customer-request. Carved aprons.

joined stool carved fall 2013

joined oak stool carved fall 2013

 

I’m also finishing up the bookstand orders I got – one more to go. I keep hearing about “oh, you can use an Ipad on them too!” – I don’t want to know about it!

bookstand

 

 

nov spoon 020 overall

I posted a new batch of spoons today. Might be the last one for the season. I have more spoons underway; but I am not sure how much time I’ll have coming up. For those new to this; if there’s a spoon you’d like to order, leave a comment…then I can send a paypal invoice or you can send a check. Either way is fine w me.

shallow dof

I have also added the next frame & panel, this one in walnut. (I used this artsy-picture before, but no one noticed it’s not oak!) Again, maybe the last of the season. Two boxes and a joined stool round out the offerings. As always, I really appreciate everyone’s response to this sort of thing. It helps keep things going, and gives me a great boost to have so much support.

Here’s the link, and it’s at the top banner of the blog. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-late-november-2013/

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.

chest

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.

a bunch of things underway, as usual. What’s different is now I have to get them done & out of here in the next 2 months. They’re going ahead w rehabbing my shop, so I have to move stuff out…well, it’s some motivation to finish up stuff & organize.

here’s pictures, in no particular order. 

One of the projects is the chest of drawers I started last winter as part of the presentation I did at Winterthur. I picked it up again after about 6 months, and brought it to Historic New England last week. I really am enjoying this work; pretty new to me. I have only made a few examples of joined work with turnings & moldings for the decoration; and just one in the last 10 years. Matt’s planes & techniques are real winners. I’m slower than death, but give me 20 years of practice & I can keep pace with the carvings.

More to come on all these topics.

LINKS:

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/i-have-until-december-but-might-need-that-much-time/

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/getting-ready-for-winterthur-dalbergia-turnings-dovetailed-drawers/

Matt Bickford’s book & planes http://www.msbickford.com/

image for this event

I’ll be at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston this Wednesday afternoon/eveing, doing a demonstration much like my usual day job. Just a snappier venue…

Here’s the text from the website for the Four Centuries project http://www.fourcenturies.org/ai1ec_event/artist-demonstration/

Be sure to look around at that website = there’s lots going on in Massachusetts if you like furniture…

If you’re in town (maybe early for Game 6 of the World Series around the corner at Fenway) come by the MFA

 

Artist Demonstration


Peter Follansbee will be demonstrating some of the techniques he uses in making reproductions of 17th-century joiner’s work. Usually done in oak split or riven from the log, this furniture most often includes carved decoration. The carvings combine geometric, floral and architectural patterns, often in combination. Mr. Follansbee has studied New England furniture in the MFA collections for almost 20 years, and will show how these designs are laid out and carved with a compass, several carving gouges and a wooden mallet. He will have examples of his reproduction furniture for visitors to examine up close, as well as resource materials to explain the complete process.
Peter Follansbee began his woodworking career in 1978, learning traditional methods to build ladder back chairs. His study of 17th-century joiner’s work has led to numerous articles in the scholarly journal American Furniture, Popular Woodworking Magazine, as well as several instructional videos with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. In 2011, Lost Art Press published a book, co-authored by Mr. Follansbee, called Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to Seventeenth-Century Joinery. Since 1994, Mr. Follansbee has worked as the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Presented by Peter Follansbee, Master joiner from the Plimoth Plantation
Made Possible by The Lowell Institute

WHEN

October 30, 2013
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
WHERE

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Druker Classroom
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
USA

PRICING

Free with Museum admission
CONTACT

617-267-9300

 

Well, last week you saw what one student did with my carving lessons, (http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/this-makes-teaching-more-fun/ ) 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:

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

 

 

 

 

 

Well. I opened my email tonight & found one from Geoff Chapman, one of last year’s students in the carved box class I did at Roy’s place. This sort of thing makes all that driving worth while.  

We’ll start with an earlier note from Geoff, about some boxes he finished after taking the class.

“I  took the carved box class from you last year at Roy’s, and loved it.  I am the guy who wanted to get your help doing a strap work panel instead of finishing my box.  By the time Christmas came I’d made a bunch of them for my kids, and threw in some designs from a celtic cross, from an ancient icon of an angel, and a couple panels from designs from the Book of Kells (photo enclosed).  I have studied the Book of Kells a good bit, and also wanted to try a panel from the famous “8 Circle Cross” illustration (another photo enclosed) which I framed with draw bored joinery – you taught me how in the carved chest dvd..    I lurk around your blog often, and love the work you do.  I am about to try my hand at a carved chest, and have watched your dvd twice.  A friend took down an oak this winter that was 42″ wide in the lower trunk, 150 years old, straight trunk for the first 30 feet.  He gave me the trunk, so I split it accd to your instructions, got it down into 16ths, hauled it home in 2.5′ and 4′ ft lengths, did some preliminary milling to get the pieces ready for the chest and the rest of it – a lot! – is stacked, drying, and awaiting another run of boxes or maybe another chest.  

 

All of that is to say, Peter, that you have opened a wonderful door for me in carving and especially in 17th century green woodworking, and I am grateful.  I don’t do this for a living (I would starve!); I am a pastor of a very busy church here in Pittsburgh, and a full time dad and grampa.  Woodworking has been a 20 year hobby for me, a great balance to my life, and one that has taken a new and wonderful direction since I started carving and working with green oak early last year.  

 

Thanks again.  What you do matters to people like me!”

 

 

geoff's panel & frame

 

geoff's boxes

Then tonight’s really knocked me out – here’s his note & photos. 

“Peter,

 Well, I went after a three-panel carved chest using your DVD.  I took a couple vacation weeks in July to get it moving, then managed to get it completed this week.  It’s 20″ deep, 30″ high, 40″ wide (or close to that), all Q’sawn or rived oak from the tree trunk I got in January, except a pine floor and till parts.  No glue (never done anything close to that before!), but drawbored.  I copied the wainscot chest you have copied, and added a paneled top.  I love the design, and the way it came out.  Will finish it w linseed oil and turpentine in a couple of weeks.

 I was full of questions along the way, like ‘How dry does the wood need to be?” and “Why don’t you have to worry about wood movement in a pine floor if you drive the final board in?” and at least 30 others – but I muddled my way through.   Today I received a copy of your “Joint Stool” book and flipped through it.  I would have been wise to have read it before taking on the chest!  But most things seemed to work out well enough and I learned a ton from the DVD, the joiner’s notes that came with it, and from going back repeatedly to your posts on your blog – and then when I still had worries – just thinking it through and doing what seemed to make sense.  

 One of my other constant questions was “How exact do I need to be?”  Your repeated encouragement to pay attention to the things that matter and relax about a lot of the other stuff gave me permission to do the same.  I remember when I first heard you say, “The eye is very forgiving.”  So is this style of woodworking!  Drawboring is forgiving, for example.  I know where all the mistakes are on the chest, but no one else has noticed them yet and no one has pulled it out to look at the back or turned it over to look at the bottom.  Yet the result of the whole effort has a real beauty and strength that will last.  So, thanks for your attitude.  I will almost certainly do another one, and my kids are all eager to have me do one for them…

 I also had a thought on the small chest you did and took to Roy’s to film for a show (I look forward to seeing that!).  I was astounded at the amount of work that went into making my own first chest, and I thought over and again, “There’s no way I could do this in a week long class, even without the carving or the paneled top…”  Depending, perhaps on the readiness of the stock – and the pins (shaving 71 of them for my chest took a long time!! – don’t ask why it is an odd number ;-)  ).  But a small chest in a week!  Would be quite a challenge for me, especially if we were planing every piece to finished size.  I will look forward to seeing the episode w. Roy and whether you offer a class.

Anyway, the project was a genuine joy, and a further step along a wonderful path in woodworking.  I want to thank you again for what you are doing and what you put within reach of people like me. “

 

 

geoff's chest 1

 

geoff's chest 2

 

geoff's chest lid

 

Geoff – nice going. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, and for your outstanding work. Thanks for sending it along & letting me post it here. 

Now to follow up the Providential Fanback Story…

What happened to the spoons? some of you ask…Nothing happened. Literally. I drove & drove, (2 trips to North Carolina & 1 to Maine) and that cut into some carving time. Then when I was home, I was doing family stuff…and trying to catch up with yard stuff (failing badly at that…but if I have to let one thing go, that’s the one…)

There will be spoons one day, maybe soon. Maybe not. I am doing a session on how I carve spoons this year at Woodworking in America, Cincinnati, Oct 18-20. http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/woodworking-in-america-2013-october-18-20  – so some spoons I have to keep back so I can show the audience what the heck I am talking about.

knife grip scissors

 

knife grip 2

But I am picking them up again. I see about 5 of them here in the “finished” basket, and there’s a few in the in-process basket. There’s also the new carved book stand featured in the most recent Popular Woodworking magazine – I’ll put that up for sale soon, when I update some stuff. I have one carved box left, so time to mess with the for-sale pages here.

But the news – If you read the post about the impending fanback windsor chair, it’s not just the need for a new kitchen chair that has me twisting in the wind. I made a few baskets last winter/spring, but have yet to shave handles for them. And there’s the unfinished Swedish style carved wooden bowls. I’d really like to get more involved with this sort of work. These are just two more examples of some woodworking I’d like to tackle that doesn’t involve 17th-century joiner’s work.

I have actually been cleaning the shop. A lot. For real. I got news sometime this season that the museum plans to renovate the building I work in, possibly starting in December. That means I need to find a place to put my stuff while the rehab project goes on. I certainly have enough tools to outfit a home shop and one at work too, so that’s not the issue. It’s where to go. I intend to see about the town regulations surrounding building in the watershed, but expect to get shot down there. Even if I can go ahead, I need to find someplace local soon for short-term. I have one lead, but want to explore others. Any local (near Kingston, MA) readers with an extra outbuilding…I’d be interested in hearing from you.

Meanwhile, I have some projects to finish, and that big log to convert to boards. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/i-dont-have-time-for-this/

 

shavings

 I keep sorting & sifting stuff. 3 months & counting. Somewhere in that heap is a chunk of butternut from the Blizzard of ‘78. I find it every year when I clean up…when I see it this time, I’m going to make a spoon from it.

Nobody goes there anymore…” said Yogi Berra. 

so crowded

so crowded

today, I shaved & drove pins. Into a large joined table frame, then a wainscot chair (the one closest to the camera, no seat yet) , then a joint stool. (also the seat-less one in the shop). 

Then it was lunchtime…I knew I couldn’t keep that pace, so I went home & took the kids to their swimming lesson. 

More joinery next week. 

 

 

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