things finished – the box w drawer (mostly, just needs one more board in the drawer bottom.) and a birch bowl.

done

drawer open

sliding DT

side

 

This birch bowl has been around a while, but I just finished carving it yesterday, then chipcarved some of the rim last night. It’s big – maybe 20″ long or more. Great fun. It’ll be for sale soon, no paint – don’t worry. 

bowl side

bowl end

 I added a link on the sidebar to Plymouth CRAFT – where you can sign up for spoon carving, card weaving, lace making & more. http://plymouthcraft.org/

Maureen tells me there’s new felt stuff on her site too. So that’s what she’s doing while I’m here doing this…  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

glyphs

It becomes a funny diversion; what are these called – both today & in the 17th century. The old name is easy – we have no idea what the joiners who made ‘em called ‘em. Furniture historians often call them “glyphs” – but most architectural definitions call a glyph a vertical groove or channel. 

whatever they’re called, here’s how I made some today for the carved box with drawer. This batch is walnut. Essentially I make a run of molding that is peaked, then cut it up. I took a scrap about 15″ long, by about 9″ wide. Planed a straight edge, then marked the middle of it, (this board is just over 1″ thick.) also marked the thickness of my glyph – 3/8″. Then planed two bevels down almost to the scribed lines. I needed about 4 feet of this stuff; so I did this to both edges of the board, a couple of times. I made extra so if something went wrong in trimming I wouldn’t need to start over. 

planing edge

Here’s a close up view of the planed result. 

more detail

here’s how I held the board – the single screw is next to useless – it just pinches the board while I get a mallet to whack the holdfast. Then I sawed down both edges, I sawed in the waste area, leaving stock for planing the backs of this molding. 

holdfastSawing. simple enough. 

sawing

This is one of those rare instances when I will say to you – be careful if you do it this way. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but I’m pulling the molding to plane off the saw marks – much like a cooper will plane the edges of his staves. Need a sharp plane, set fine. And focus. One slip…and you feel real stupid. 

planing upside down

Then saw the pieces to length, and use a chisel, bevel down at first, to shave each end of the glyph. Or whatever it’s called. 

chisel

 

Here’s some from a chest with drawers made in Plymouth Colony, c. 1680s or so

molding detail, Plymouth Colony chest

I have mine cut and glued onto the box with drawer. so that’s the first piece built for the next joinery book. Next week I’ll apply a finish & photograph it. 

No sooner did I mention making a wainscot chair, than I got an email from Lie-Nielsen’s youtube channel – they’ve posted a preview of the new DVD, (as well as a couple of others)

here’s the chair one – you can order it from them, or I have a few left as well. But from them, you can get the disc and all that other good stuff too.

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/

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

I needed some oak today for the drawer bottom for my box.

drawer w bottom half done

 

Something in the range of 7″ wide, 22″ long. So I went out to the collection of oak bolts in the yard to get something to work with.

DSC_0016

I picked out a few panels; and brought them in to rough-plane them. These had split so well they needed little hewing. Here’s some…

a good problem to have

 

But the problem? Most of the stuff I had on hand was too wide! That almost never happens – it’s usually quite the opposite. The narrow one in the photo above is almost 10″ wide at the bottom end…

narrow one

the wide ones are over 15″ wide and flat – great stock. (thanks, MD for setting me up with it…) -

wide one

I’ll save these for the rear panels to a wainscot chair I have to make. Like this:

 

TD chair overall

Most of the time, I don’t have such wide stock; the one above was similar width, but quartersawn, not riven. You can make a wainscot chair w 2 panels & a muntin too -

PF design three quarters

to make such a chair, see http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

Now I have to go find some narrower oak.

half carved

 

A while back I mentioned that I had 2 visits to Connecticut recently. One was at the Yale University Art Gallery Furniture Study, which was a great time. I wrote about that visit here; http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/yale-university-art-gallery-furniture-study/  and included some oak furniture made in Connecticut in the 17th century. The other was a 3-day class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been working with Bob there for a few years now, this time we did a frame-and-panel – carved of course. So some joinery, plow planes; beveling the panel – all after carving the panel and in some cases, the frame too. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/

laid out Thomas Dennis pattern

shaving of the week

 

test fit

another Massachusetts pattern laid out_edited-1

 

For both of these trips I had been thinking about Connecticut examples, there’s lots of them in captivity – one of my favorites has always been this one that I recently did as a frame-and-panel offering in my October-stuff-for-sale page. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/

sunflower panel & frame AUG

Some of the other patterns I know pretty well from Connecticut are these coastal chests; like what I showed from the YUAG Furniture Study – maybe Guilford, maybe New Haven – it really doesn’t matter to me – I just want to carve them.

guilford out front

 

I had made some examples for teaching that were partially carved, partially left as layout. (top photo)

Today I went to the shop to work on the carved box with drawer – it was sliding DTs day you might recall. Except I forgot my glasses. Not wanting to tackle a joint I rarely make with diminished eyesight – I opted instead to do some carving. I have a (Massachusetts) box to make for a customer up next, so I carved the front of that – room left for initials; needed to double-check my notes before taking that plunge. 

box begun

 

then had a little time left over, so finished two other partially-carved box fronts. Then it was 1 pm, time to go home for lunch…so one full, two half-box fronts, w photos. One is a whacky design that I think relates to the cupboard I did for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; also copied from Massachusetts work..

middlesex box front

But I finished this one, is derived from the Guilford or New Haven, Connecticut work –

done

 

I’ve seen boxes from this group – they are noted for their use of dovetails, a rarity among New England boxes of the 17th century. I did one once, long time ago. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

all this Connecticut stuff must have been in the air – because then I heard from Bob Van Dyke. He & I are working on plans to have a joined, carved chest-with-drawer class at his school in 2015 – it will be a “one-weekend-a-month” for X# of months. Maybe 5. The notion is that we work together for a weekend, you go home & do homework, come back a month later – and so on. Stay tuned. this will have riven oak, carving, joinery, a side=hung drawer, some moldings, a till – this one will be something! It will be based on a Windsor, Connecticut chest w drawers now at the Connecticut Historical Society. 

The crash course in sycamore this morning got me out to the back yard to photograph the neighbor’s tree – note at the edge of the photo, the river just in view. American sycamores like wet ground. This one is a beautiful tree. 

american sycamore 2

sycamore leaf

 

 

Figured wood??? 

sycamore sample figured wood

sycamore figure

Sliding dovetails?

sliding DT

sliding DT 2

I remember when this blog had integrity…what’s happened here anyway? 

Nah…I haven’t sold out – it’s just another day in the 17th century. 

 

box with drawer, Ipswich, Massachusetts, made between 1663-1706

box with drawer, Ipswich, Massachusetts, made between 1663-1706; Bowdoin College Museum of Art

The 17th-century work of Thomas Dennis – and to some extent William Searle, but it’s a long story that I think might involve murder…has long been a huge inspiration to me. 

[Oh…what did I mean, about murder? You see Searle was a trained joiner from Ottery St Mary, Devon, England, living in Ipswich Massachusetts in the early 1660s. Then, 1666 or so, he died. Thomas Dennis then moved from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Ipswich, married Grace Searle, widow of William, and practiced joinery there until his death in 1706. There’s a group of maybe 4 or 5 pieces, all carved, that descended from Thomas Dennis – but were some of them his wife’s from her first marriage to Searle? When Searle died, his estate included the following:

“one bedsted & Cupboard £5  a trundle bedsted & a box & a little box £1  3 stooles & 3 little boxes —-   one Chaire £1  one table & 3 Chaires & one Cradle £1-5  2 wicker basketts 4s  one settle one meale trough & a Chest £2  one Cupboard £2-12  a box 5s  Tooles & Timber & board, 2 pikes £3-19”

Furniture scholars have tried to divide the group into Searle’s work & Dennis’ work – and some that are probably apprentices of Thomas Dennis – and on & on. I gave up years ago. But I have often wanted to write a murder mystery involving Dennis & Searle, and the widow Grace Searle…]

I went to Bowdoin College Museum of Art http://www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum/  to see the pieces from the Dennis family, including the wainscot chair that is the inspiration for the one in my new video. There’s a segment in the video where we look at the original; and hear its story from the curator Laura Sprague. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

bowdoin chair B

On another trip up there, I got a brief look at the carved box with drawer (above) that is the basis for one I am making these days. I had known this box from publications ever since I began studying 17th-century stuff. but had never seen it in the flesh. First thing I noticed upon walking into the gallery – the lid is sycamore (you Brits, think “plane tree”). There are very few instances of this wood in surviving works from 17th-century New England. Maybe two others? One I know for sure is a cupboard at Winterthur Museum that uses sycamore boards for drawer bottoms – a horrible idea if, as in this case, they are flatsawn.

Bowdoin box w sycamore lid

The lid of the Dennis family box is sawn very near the heart of the tree. In this shot, you can see splits running down the middle of the board. Mine are 3 quartersawn boards, edge glued together. I got the sycamore from the website http://www.curlymaplewood.com/ – the boards were just as described, arrived in just a couple of days, and all around a good experience. Thanks, Kevin. Now you know why the figured wood in the opening photo.

lid done

We’ll save the sliding DTs for another day…(quite a term, sliding DTs…)

more work on the box with drawer. I’m making some of it up as I go along – when I saw the original, I was not really doing a thorough examination like I would need to actually build one. Like I need now… Here goes, just a bunch of photos, with brief captions. 

installing the middle board for the box section’s bottom

installing bottoms middle board

the last one you gotta give it a bop

give it a bop

in a groove in the rear, nailed to a rabbet at the front

1st bottom done

I turned the feet from green wood, left the tenons large. Trimmed now to fit. Here’s a test fit to see where to trim it

turned feet testing tenons

boring the holes for the feet, in narrow oak slats. An auger bit, nice clean hole. 

auger bit

 

Cross-thumbs grip to trim the tenons
cross thumbs

Then line it up over a hole in the bench, and knock it in

feet go in

Split the protruding tenon for a wedge. 

split

said wedge. 
wedge

The feet assemblies

feet ready

The bottom of the drawer opening is a pine board, planed to 5/8″ thick. Nailed to the sides & rear. 

2nd bottom on

Then nail on the feet assemblies. 

feet go on

Here it is with the drawer front mocked in place. Some applied moldings will cover the pine bottom. Applied decoration on the sides to come…next time is the drawer. then moldings & lid. this thing weighs a ton…

feet w mock drawer

 

a few things left for sale - http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/

Maureen tells me the felt is going quickly too - https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

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