recent work, oak, oak & ash

Some work from the shop recently. I finally finished the white oak rabbet plane I started some time ago. (there was a maple version that got scrapped) . Atchison made the iron, and I fit the body to it. I think the iron is about 1″ wide, maybe just under. Yesterday, I fine-tuned this one, and it seems to be running alright. I gave it to Rick, one of our carpenters at work. He’ll use it for doors & shutters in the repro period houses. We’ll see how it goes…

rabbet plane, white oak w beech wedge


I took some liberties with the shaping. Shavings were getting jammed, so I took a gouge and opened up the area right ahead of the wedge.

bottom view of new rabbet plane


Then I was able to cut rabbets in both green wood & dry, and it worked well. So off it went this morning.

rabbeting chest bottom boards


Last week I took some of my own time for the kitchen door project. Got this one done at last, had the panel, made & carved the frame for it.

white oak door c. 14" x 19"


One more picture for tonight. I gave away the last of the applewood for bowls, so now I am officially done with that batch of bowls and back to turning chair parts, like it should be. the bowls were fun, but it’s time for chair stuff. I have an ash log that won’t last thru the summer, so I split it open the other day & started in on a three-legged turned chair. This is the sort of chair that I wrote about when this blog was very new…

enough with the bowls already

7 thoughts on “recent work, oak, oak & ash

  1. I look forward to seeing the 3 legged chair build, I’m researching some of that area right now.

    I’ve ordered some hook tools for bowl turning on a pole (bungee) lathe, but I’m still working out what sort of tools I need for spindle turning.

    From what I’ve read it’s similar to powered lathe turning tools, but with different angles of sharpening.

    My research into all the available pictures from books of trades focusing on 1450 – 1650 rather than later periods. I see a few gouges, and a lot of flat chisels, some squared, and some that look like skew chisels.

    For your spindle turning tools, what do you use most frequently? And how are they different from powered lathe turning tools? Sharpened with angles? or just off the wrack from Woodcraft?

    I’m hoping to turn a simple three legged stool with all hand tools/power by the end of the summer. That’s my goal anyway.

    Have you seen the Scupstoel drawing (1447-1450) with all the chairs in it?
    (it’s hard to link the page, but it’s at – Artists – W – WEYDEN, Rogier van der – Graphics


    • Badger
      I use a large gouge for roughing work, it might be 2″ across. I’ve had it 20 years or more. the other tools I use are small gouges & two skews – large & small. The small one is maybe 3/4″ and the large one maybe 2″ – the bevels on all of these tools are long. I have seen modern turning tools with blunt dumpy bevels. I don’t see how it matters whether the wood is spinning electronically or foot-powered, the cutting should be the same. but what do I know? Frank Pain has a good book on turning, it’s old by now, but still valid. Might be called the Practical Turner. I’ll check.

  2. Hi Peter
    I’ve just been commissioned to make a three-legged stool for a reenactor in York.
    What diameter do you suggest for the legs – I was going for 2 1/4″?
    Also interesting to see the joint you use for the rails… I guess I’ll be using 5/8″ tenons and trimming the corners off where they meet inside the mortices.
    Got some quite good info from this site –

  3. Robin

    2 1/4″ would be a minimum. I was trying to think where there might be some old ones near you – I have never been to Essex yet; but there has to be a few of the 3-legged chairs not far from you. they are everywhere in England. Some have legs nearly 3″ in diameter, some even more. the tenons don’t meet, the seat rails intersect! the stretchers below are at staggered heights – thus no interference. I look forward to seeing how you get on…

  4. Peter: Haven’t these people read the article by Alexander and myself? Should you cite it them? Do you still have three-post chairs you made? I recall one you made for Teddy Kennedy?

    • Thanks Trent. No, generally I would say the people reading this blog do not read the journal American Furniture. I am always surprised & disappointed, at the number of woodworkers who don’t read it or even know of it. It’s worth it for Gavin’s photos alone. But Robin, who asked about the diameter of the legs, is from the UK. Even fewer there know of the journal and I doubt it sells well over there.

      Here’s the citation

      American Board-Seated Turned Chairs, 1640–1740
      Robert F. Trent and John D. Alexander in the 2007 issue of American Furniture; edited by Luke Beckerdite. that issue might be the last one with the University Press of New England. Hanover, NH.

  5. Peter, thank you for pointing out to petulant Robert that there is a World outside America that, God forbid, may not have heard of an obscure publication with an ultra-niche article … no matter how fascinating that article may be.

    What is a shame is that the article is almost impossible to get hold of, so all that valuable information is locked away, accessible only to an elite few … what a shame.

    Regarding your work Peter, marvellous, keep it up and keep sending me your e-mails, they are fascinating.

    Thank you.

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