this showed up last week. 

birch logs

and this. 

birch logs 2b

so here’s one direction I’m headed – some large crooks in these piles. 

spoons

and more. Some baskets & bowls to finish…

 

spoons & more

And soon, some furniture work! Imagine it…

For now, some stuff left from the last “for sale” posting – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/

 

 I took a break from basket making last week to finally build myself a dedicated lathe for turning bowls. Mine is based on the ones we used when I was a student this spring in Robin Wood’s bowl-turning course at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/bowl-class-tip-of-the-iceberg/

I think I first saw this style of lathe in the book Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York, by Carole A. Morris (York Archeaological Trust/Council for British Archeaology, 2000), then in the work done by Robin Wood and others…

First off, I jobbed out the long slot cut in the 3″ thick beech plank. I traded Michael Burrey some carving work for his labor – I coulda done it, if I wanted to…

bench slot

 

Then came boring the hole for the legs. Legs like these angle out in two directions; to the side, and to the end. I mark out two angled lines off a centerline to help me sight one angle for these legs. Then use an adjustable bevel aligned on this line to get the other. This is based on the ideas I learned from Curtis Buchanan and Drew Langsner in making windsor chairs. (Drew is teaching a session at Woodworking in America that covers in detail this notion – setting the geometry to get these angles right. http://www.woodworkinginamerica.com/ehome/woodworkinginamerica.com/WIA2014/?&& )

In a case like a bench, or this lathe – I’m not too concerned about these being “just exactly perfect.” 

auger

 

This spiral auger is probably a nineteenth century one; it’s about 1 1/4″ or so…some now call it a T-auger, but it’s really just an auger. The ones that fit in braces are auger bits.

twist

 

A detail showing the bevel to help line things up. 

auger detail

 

Here’s a bird’s eye view – showing how the auger aligns with the scribed line on the bench. So you sight that, centered on the line, then the bevel takes care of the 2nd angle. 

sight

 

Here’s the two poppets set into the slot. One taller than the other, these could have been longer still, but I worked with what I had. These are oak cutoffs from timber work. 

big poppet little poppet

 

Now wedge from below. I just eyeballed the angled mortise, then made wedges to fit. 

wedges

wedge detail

 

The shorter poppet gets a bent pike inserted in the top. Then I slid this over to the taller poppet, to mark where I’ll bore for the straight pike. 

bent pike detail

 

Jumped ahead a step or two – here’s the tool rest arrangement. The tool rest support is just wedged into a slot cut in the outside face of the taller poppet. The too rest is pivoted into the top of the smaller poppet. Simple. 

tool rest

 

a 14′ sapling, lashed at its bottom end to a small tree on the bank above me, then resting in the cruck of two 2x4s – Now, the transition from the relatively still craft of basketmaking, to the aerobic craft of bowl turning. I need some practice. 

practice

bowl

 

When I announced that I was leaving Plimoth a reader commented “You could always do a brief stint working for Michael Burrey as so many of my (NBSS) classmates did for a while after working at the Plantation. ;-)”   – well, where do you think Michael came from? All the wood-eating organisms that leave Plimoth go to Burrey’s at some point. I have already worked for him a number of times, starting probably 20 years ago. I used to joke to each one who went there, “that was MY spot…”

 

Mostly I’ll be working for me, but Michael & crew get some interesting projects. So when he calls, I’ll sign on if my schedule allows. My first post-PP gig is some turned work for the Shakespearean stage they are in the process of building. Rick wrote about it last year, http://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/category/shakespearean-stage/ and now they are underway on phase 2. This part includes some turned balusters, similar to these installed at the reconstructed Globe Theater in London. These were turned by Gudrun Leitz http://www.greenwoodwork.co.uk/website/exhibitions.html . She did 500, I only have to do 45. Thankfully.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This job is last-minute, so I just set up my lathe out on the back patio/terrace. A stupid place for it; but there’s no time to get involved in anything more coherent. When these are done, the lathe comes down & goes back to storage, til I figure out my next shop. the pole is fixed to a dilapidated deck, that is slated to be replaced. Where’s PW? Following his wife on some whirlwind book tour, no doubt.

better than nothing

They say the sky starts at your feet. Another way to look at it is that this setup has an incredibly high ceiling.

high ceiling

It’s been over 6 months since I turned any spindle stuff, so to start off I just roughed out some cylinders. tomorrow I’ll get down to the details. There’s 45 of these altogether. Time to dust off the cobwebs on my legs…

overall by DRF

roughing out

Here’s what I’ll be following, Michael provided a turned bit leftover from Gudrun, so the story goes. It’s weird, the squared blocks are smaller than the cylinder. It’s not just weird, it’s stupid I think. I have seen this done on huge turned legs for large tables. But here the difference is quite slight…until it’s time to make them.

the model

And have it on Highway 61.

Wooden Bowl Turning with Robin Wood

Yup – i’m going to Minnesota this June to meet Robin Wood & learn some bowl turning. Got my packet from North House yesterday.

If you’ve read my blog awhile, you know I’m a fan. If you’re just getting here, be sure to read Robin’s blog. His was the inspiration when I started mine back in 2008.

Great stuff. Well done & very thoughtful. http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/

The school looks to be a gas, I’ve heard great things about it. http://www.northhouse.org/

Won’t that be something.

 

 

pole lathe

pole lathe

I know what you’re thinking…

What if Salvador Dali was a 17th-century turner…

dali 2

 

 

 

Dali Van Vliet

 

Here’s what you’d get…

penpoint stair

 

swash stairs

 

Here’s the machine. Now someone get to it, please.  Reference for this image is: Theatre des Instruments Mathematiques,

Jacques Besson (c.1571)

german swash

Snipe w its bill

Snipe w its bill

Got a new snipe photo today, so I will refer you to an earlier post about hinges…this snipe photo is better. Somewhere I have a great one- but no time to look for it now. We saw about 6 of these guys rooting through the grasses in Marshfield this morning. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/setting-gimmals-you-might-know-them-as-snipe-bills/

I’m all grown up now & I know right from wrong. And the spindle in the bottom of this photo is wrong. These are for a bedstead I have to make in ash. About 12″ long, there’s a row of them at both the head and foot of the bed. 

right & wrong

right & wrong

I blame Curtis Buchanan. I watched him turning his chair parts last week, and all those curves got in my head. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/how-to-make-a-comb-back-windsor-chair-w-curtis-buchanan/

The bottom one is more curvy than the piece I am supposed to be copying. With such short lengths, I can turn plenty of extras and pick & choose which I want.

skew

defining some shapes w skew chisel

lg gouge

using large gouge to bring it down

Here’s an original:

MFA bedstead spindle B

I need five large & five small, so I’ll turn a bunch and get there in the end. 

Meanwhile I carved some parts for a wainscot chair I’m building. My great big carved one finally sold & I miss having it around. I had some great wide quartersawn white oak to do the panel, 14″ x 16″ or so. I have carved these designs so much now that I make my own patterns by combining bits of this & that. Thus this panel is not a copy of any particular piece, but is firmly rooted in that Ipswich, Massachusetts/Devon England style.  (so yes, David Cawthray, air-dried timber is fine & dandy. Quartersawn is best, but if you must use flatsawn, don’t let that stop you http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/about-flatsawn-stock-again/

carved chair panel

 

carving raking light

OK first thing to tell you is that I have been thinking about writing blog posts, but haven’t made any good photographs lately, so not much happening here. But there’s been lots going on. 

Update on the rosewood applied turning project, (http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/this-aint-green-woodworking/  )  We’ve known the Boston joiners sometimes used tropical hardwoods for applied turnings for quite some time. Never having worked wood like this, I spoke to many woodworkers – and heard all sorts of nightmarish stories. It’s crazy expensive (nope, these are small bits I need,10 1/2″ long. bought blanks from Woodcraft. Maybe $12-15 each for Bolivian Rosewood and East Indian Rosewood), it will dull your tools something awful (the Bolivian rosewood was not too much of a problem in that regard), you’ll need to wash the surfaces w some noxious chemical to get the glue to hold the parts together prior to turning. (nope again. I even used the cheater liquid hide glue in a bottle, easy and it worked fine), and you’ll need to scrape the shapes on the lathe, rather than shave/turn them. This I assumed on my own, based on reading Moxon on turning “hard” woods like ebony. Nope one more time. My turning tools were pretty sharp, but nothing extreme, worked fine. It was the nicest piece of wood I have ever turned. I did wear long sleeves and gloves, just to be safe. I don’t want to find out that I am allergic to these weird woods. It’s clunky turning w gloves on though…I could hunt down some tight-fitting cotton gloves. It is a museum after all…

turning Bolivian Rosewood on pole lathe

turning Bolivian Rosewood on pole lathe

 

I had wondered, after hearing all the stories, if the pole lathe could handle the program. I never should have doubted – when I think back to the 17th-century challenges it makes sense that turning these things shouldn’t be much different from working other woods on the lathe. I doubt these joiners and turners were going to a lot of trouble. I usually operate on the assumption that there was a straight-forward way to get this work done…

 

b rosewood turning blank

using the skew to finsh the maximum diameter

b rosewood finished turning

just about done on the lathe

I used a polissoir I bought from  Don Williams to burnish the piece while it was spinning in the lathe. Great stuff all around. Now, for tomorrow – the East Indian Rosewood. 

sawing EI rosewood

sawing the blanks

planing EI rosewood

truing for gluing

glue up EI rosewood

glued up w oak filler

I can’t wait to turn it. Sawing it was weird – it felt like iron. the teeth of the saw barely left a mark. But it cut pretty easily. Very fine dust though…I carefully swept it up.

The other day I went to the MFA to research and study a turned bedstead in their collection. It will show up here later in the month of March…

Today I went to the North Bennett Street School http://www.nbss.edu/index.aspx  to give the furniture students there a dog & pony show – and then wandered around the shop looking at all their work. And took a total of about 3 photographs – I was kicking myself afterwards for not shooting a lot of stuff. That place is an amazing visit. Chock full of furniture, parts, woods, books, tools – it’s great. I hope to go back before too long. 

NBSS overall

wall o’ legs NBSS

box o ball & claws etc

box o;’ feet

 

I forget if it was last week or the week before, but I taught a carving workshop at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking recently. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/   We had a great time (I did at least, and I think the students did too) – here’s a few shots:

 

cvsww wall of samples

CVSWW wall of samples

designing w the gouges

using gouges to mark out the design

I thought I had a lot of carving tools

I thought I had a lot of carving tools

dedham panel

concentration

leslie diggin the posture

Leslie diggin the posture

 

I’ll be back there in September for another weekend of carving. Bob Van Dyke supplied near-perfect quartersawn oak. Amazing stuff.

In the meantime, I am still hoping for students out west at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Right now, it sounds like we need 6 more students for each workshop. Otherwise, these 2 classes will get cancelled. One is a week-long “make a joint stool” class… the other a 2-day class in carving. It would be a shame it we have to scrap it, the school and I have dedicated the time slot and can’t really make it up if it falls through.  I know time/money/logistics are all a concern for all of us. But I often get requests “When are you coming to X,Y, Z?” – I only get to come if we get students. I won’t harp about it again, just one last nudge if you know someone out that way, or wanting to visit out that way…dates are April 22-26 for the joinery class, and the 27th & 28th for the carving   http://www.ptwoodschool.com/Home.html  

 

I have 2 more days to prep for my lecture/demos at the Winterthur Furniture Forum… http://www.winterthur.org/?p=976  that’s what all the rosewood is about! 

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