After a hiatus from the shop, I like to work back slowly. I just had two weeks pretty much with no shop time. So I didn’t want to come in today & cut some important detailed work… When I can I try to go right back to the beginning, working with logs. Today I spent some time splitting a section of red oak into 1/8ths. It was just a two-foot long leftover, from the bottom of a clapboard log. Diameter was 29”. The butt of a tree is never the best stock, but it is the widest, so it has some appeal. Stool seats and panels are what I look for from this sort of wood.
The one today wasn’t worth photographing, pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. Some wind and other problems to boot. There was some iron in the log higher up, so some staining. Come to think of it, I will shoot some of it tomorrow, just to show what medium quality logs look like. There’s more work in getting useful stock from it, but it beats burning it.
In the shop, I tinkered a little bit with a project I started in early December, a wainscot high chair. These are challenging, and this one even more so, because it’s made from a wood I almost never have used – black walnut. It’s quite a departure for me, not-oak, not-riven, not-green. This stock was supplied by the museum’s customer. I requuested straight grain, and no knots – and it’s mostly straight, I guess. It is clear, which is nice.
All I have worked out so far are the front stiles and the corresponding rails. Today all I was making was some scratched molding on the piece of stock from which I will make the side aprons. So far, it’s nice wood to work with, but I’m so fixated on oak that anything else feels weird.
Walnut was used some in 17th-century work; the best book on the subject of English furniture of that period is still Victor Chinnery’s Oak Furniture: The British Tradition. I think I have mentioned before on this blog that Vic put a walnut chair on the cover of his book – and an ash chest of drawers on the spine, Chris Currie pointed out. (Yup, here’s the link to that post: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/works-in-progress-practice/ )
Here is a fragment of an English box with drawer made of walnut; really quite nice work. This piece has been restored incorrectly, and now lives as a deep box. The drawer has been incorporated into the body of the box. Related ones with dates in iron escutcheons are from 1600-1610.