changing horses in mid-stream. new carving

MFA cupboard door #1
MFA cupboard door #1

This is the door frame & panel I made for the MFA cupboard project. The carvings are based on related examples; the frame carving is essentially a copy of that on the cupboard at the MET in NY.

And while it’s been hanging around my shop, I decided I didn’t like it. So I carved version two – below.

new version MFA cupboard door
new version MFA cupboard door

This one has S-scrolls that relate to the lower case in the MFA. Here is a detail of the scrolls I used to arrive at the new pattern.

S-scroll MFA cupboard
S-scroll MFA cupboard

The addition of the open circles & half-circles shortens the S-scrolls. I like them better that way. The cupboard base also has S-scrolls without the open circles; so either door frame is conceivable; but I lean towards the 2nd one. There will be no Door #3. It’s not Let’s Make a Deal.

A couple of tweaks; I have to decided whether to cut out the background of the full-circles, or cross-hatch them. Also, add some nail-holes-as-a-punch.

Then pillars. Then applied moldings. Then paint. Somewhere in there the pine top boards, soffit, etc. A zillion details, and this is only the upper case. Imagine if I were making the whole thing.

sketched on a napkin

S Doggett round plane
S Doggett round plane

Many years ago, Rob Tarule showed me this plane at the museum where I work. I don’t remember if Rob bought the plane when he worked there. It’s an unsuspecting enough example. It’s a 7/8″ round plane, probably birch, about 10 1/4″ long.  Made between about 1770s and 1820s; according to A Guide to the Makers of American Wooden Planes by Emil & Martyl Pollak.

 Here is the stamp, reading “S Doggett  Dedham”; probably for Samuel Doggett, Jr. (1751-1831) of Dedham, Massachusetts.  

S Doggett Dedham
S Doggett Dedham

 So that makes it a reasonably old plane, but the reason that I took pictures of this plane is the sketch scratched in the side of it. It looks as if someone scratched a house frame’s “bent” with a knife in the side of the plane, now very faint. well, it takes a bit of raking light, some imagination, etc to make it appear. but I like the idea that some carpenter/housewright took this plane & made this sketch…like we might sketch on a paper napkin…

sketch of house
sketch of house

one thing leads to another

Well, I’m not much when it comes to carpentry. I knew the old aluminum screen door had to go; and that I couldn’t abide a factory-made modern wooden door. So I made one, and then of course had to struggle through framing & hanging it.  And that led to new shingles…& on & on.
But today I had help.
willing helpers
willing helpers
As is often the case, the help often has a mind of its own. Apparently, Daniel did not warm up to the chip carving, and thus decided to shingle over it.
so much for chip carving
so much for chip carving
Meanwhile Rose had decided that there was more pressing work elsewhere, and was ready to go.
ready with the tool kit
ready with the tool kit

The kids work at a faster pace than I do; making photography a little trickier. Plus they were smart enough to work in the shade.

home repairs full-speed
home repairs full-speed

a couple of photos

box stool, oak
box stool, oak

 

Finally getting around to photographing some stuff I’m finishing up. First is this box stool. It’s a form I’ve only seen in passing in England; but its construction is pretty straightforward. I have used some carving patterns from Devon, and the turnings are generic enough. Here’s a view of it open:

box stool, open
box stool, open

While I had the paper set up, I shot this detail of the interior of a joined stool’s upper rail, or apron. The hewing hatchet’s traces are evident, as is the tapered cross-section of the other rail, resulting from the riven stock used in the stool. Barely visible in this shot are two Roman numerals matching the mortise & tenon. (there’s a “I” just above the longest protruding pin, the corresponding “I” is washed out on the surface of the stile.)

tool marks, joined stool
tool marks, joined stool

Sorry I haven’t been keeping things coming too much here lately, been short on chances for photos, and without them, it’s just blather to me…my goal is to get it going again. Stay tuned.

Woodworking on the road

This year I have been on the road a bit…when I started scheduling stuff last year, it seemed like a good idea. Then more & more proposals came along & each one was too good to pass up.  The winter & spring got the Colonial Williamsburg & Winterthur presentations wrapped up…

 

You're Almost There!In August, I will be at Country Workshops to teach a class in making a carved box. That class is full, it will be a pretty busy week. I am really looking forward to it, Country Workshops is where I really cut my teeth at green woodworking. www.countryworkshops.org  So, I will pack up the family, drive ’til I’m cross-eyed, then look for this mailbox, and then the fun begins. Drew & Louise run a great gig there; well worth a trip sometime. The CW website has the lowdown on the whole show, as well as tools, books, etc for sale, and a forum for information & inspiration. 

CW workshop view
CW workshop view

I just learned this weekend that the registration for the Woodworking in America Handtools & Techniques Conference 2009 is now underway…I have never been, but I gather that these things are really something. I was quite pleased to be asked to participate, and as soon as I get home from Drew’s, I’ll unpack, re-sharpen and start getting stuff ready for October in Valley Forge. Whew. Look at the line-up, it’s impressive…including Roy Underhill, thus you know it’s going to be lively.

http://handtools.woodworkinginamerica.com/GeneralMenu/

new kitchen cupboard door

Well, after a 3 1/2 year interruption (the twins) I have resumed my work at re-facing the cupboards in our kitchen…

Perhaps you could guess, but I am doing them in oak, frames & panels. Here with some accents in black walnut & Atlantic white cedar. The whole thing, if it ever gets done, will be a total mix-up of patterns and styles, all falling within the general outline of seventeenth-century stuff. This pattern is copied from stuff from the Connecticut River Valley, c. 1675-1700 give or take.  The panel was a practice piece a while back, so I made the frame this past week or so…and fitted the walnut & cedar the other day. Now some more finish, then start to figure out how it will fit in the scheme of things.

next kitchen cupboard door
next kitchen cupboard door

new use for joined stool

In joined stools, it’s pretty common for there to be a slight gap between the upper rails’ top edge and the seat. This stems from the fact that the stiles (legs/posts) don’t shrink in length, but the rails shrink a bit in width. Not a big deal, but it leads to a use I had never considered before. The kids have taken to using it as a mailbox…
new mailman
new mailman

Sometimes, though, you have to check to make sure the mail got in the box…

where'd it go?
where'd it go?

carved panel

the June 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking includes an article I did about the carved work in my joined furniture. I was quite pleased with the treatment I received there, and the printed result.

 I carved two panels in photographing the stuff for the article, thus decided I was well on the way to another chest. So it is now one of the too-many projects I have going.  It’s been a while since I made something for the house, so we’ll see if there’s room for it here. 

Here is a detail of the central panel and some of the framing; it’s further along than this now, but I haven’t had much chance at photos. The muntins are made from quartersawn white oak, the rails are riven white oak and the panel riven red oak. I am planning on painting the carvings, and in time the various oak pieces will all blend together…

center panel, new chest
center panel, new chest

Otherwise, another extra-curricular woodworking that I sometimes do is spoon carving. These days, I keep a few spoons underway in a basket that I take with me when the kids & I go to the playground. It has taken a while for the moms to get used to that guy with the beard and the knives, but so far no one has called the police. I learned spoon carving 15-20 years ago at Country Workshops (www.countryworkshops.org) from Drew Langsner, and Jogge & Willie Sundqvist. This batch contains a few woods; cherry, apple and some birch. The thing I like about spoon carving is that you can take it most anywhere, and do much of it in your lap. I hew the rough shape at the shop, then do the knife work in bits & pieces as time allows.

a few spoons
a few spoons
My interest in spoons got re-kindled by the work of Robin & Nicola Wood http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/spoon-carving.htm and their posts (and others) on the forum at the bodgers’ site http://www.bodgers.org.uk/bb/phpBB2/
Country Workshops’ forum also has a lot of information about woodenware, it has been a staple there since Drew & Louise started the school in 1978…