You’ll remember I used to constantly badger people about a blog called “The Riven Word”. Well, it is no more. My friend Rick McKee is no longer at the museum, as they say. But the good news is he has landed with some old cohorts of ours and is up to some pretty interesting hijinks. And has started a new blog about it. Right now, it’s off to a slow start, but I know he’ll bring some interesting stuff to the web…so sign up and drop Rick a note. Maybe we can guilt-trip him into writing frequently. Of course, I should speak, with my one-post-a-week of late.
Recently, I got photos from two students showing the boxes they’ve made. First, Dennis Liu sent this shot of a box he started in a class we had at Country Workshops. He ended up taking his box apart at home, so he could add a till. His note said “it was a bit fussy to fit…” – Which is why I don’t do tills in the workshops! While he had it in for surgery, he decided on oak for the lid & bottom. Great look. Extra work, but well worth it.
Then came Seth Kelley. He took a 2-day carving class at Lie-Nielsen in which we split apart an oak bolt, planed our stock & carved some patterns. Afterwards, Seth wrote to ask me about a desk box in an article I wrote in 1996 about furniture from Braintree, Massachusetts. So I sent some notes and a couple of shots of the desk box. Nice thing about these is junk doesn’t pile up on the slanted lids as easily as on a flat-top box.
Thanks for sending the photos guys. Seth wins the real estate prize by sending more photos than Dennis. But both are nice work. Next carving class is coming up at Lie-Nielsen in Warren Maine, May 11-12. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/?pg=35
It’s in pretty beat-up shape, lost its feet, top is trimmed and patched here & there, etc. But so what? The carving is all there. What fun. This is listed as attributed to the Mason/Messenger shops in Boston, but that’s a mistake. It’s Thomas Dennis from Ipswich, Massachusetts; 1660s-1700. It has never been published before in any of the numerous treatments on Dennis’ work…this one literally came out of the woodwork.
I noticed they have added a few more pictures from when I first saw it two weeks ago. These two show each end of the chest. Clearly one set is oak, with the ray-fleck pattern from the riven quartered stock. The first pair here seem very plain for riven, quartered oak. Now it’s really difficult to judge a piece by the photos; and these are snapshots rather than the good quality shots above..but if I had a chance to see this chest, I’d look at these end panels to try to understand why they are different from one set to the other. It almost looks like the figured set are sycamore/plane tree.
Someone will get a nice chunk of New England joinery history at a discount price. The condition will keep it from getting into the stratosphere. Me, I’ll have to carve my own – after the wainscot chair I have underway now.
First off, I want to thank all those that ordered spoons last summer and fall. It is a great pleasure to have something I make reach so many folks. I appreciate your interest. I didn’t have much time for spoon work in the past few months, but did manage to collect some branches. Many branches. Too many went into chippers, I’m afraid, but I could only handle so much wood…so I have been carving spoons again for a while. I got some cherry and apple, two favorites of mine for spoon carving. It’s especially nice to have the apple, I don’t often get it. Now that I have a few finished, I posted them here – I kept a couple new ones for the kitchen, but there’s some serving/cooking spoons, and a couple for eating.
As before, the finish is food-grade flax oil. I soak the spoons in it for a week or so, then wipe them down and let them dry. With use, they become a bit faded, you can brighten them up with another coating of flax oil, or some other edible finish. Or just watch them change and get broken in…
If you’d like to order any of these, use the comment function. That way others can see what’s available and what’s spoken for. I can send paypal invoices or you can mail a check. Shipping in the US is $6.
any questions, drop me a note. email is Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net
here’s the link, the page is listed at the top of the blog home page too.
Out at the mill, we’ll split out an oak, and get to use a lot of wedges, hatchets and other big tools.
Maybe the owls will come out to watch.
Next, we’ll take the pieces into the school’s bench-room in town and get to planing.
If we make enough shavings, the Bag Man appears.
Mortise & tenon joinery, drawboring, chamfering (turning for those full-tilt crazies) – it’ll be like the book come to life. I don’t remember what’s in the book, so I’ll be making it up as I go along.
There’ll be tools galore, I’ll bring mine, Roy’s school has tons, then there’s Ed’s store upstairs!
If you wanted to know about green woodworking, then a week with me & Roy ought to do it. It reminds me of Twain’s quote about Kipling: “Between us, we cover all knowledge; he knows all that can be known, and I know the rest.”
Seriously, it’s a great week there. if you are interested in learning the craft of oak joinery with old-style tools, here’s your chance. My box-carving class at Drew Langsner’s is full, with a waiting list – so this is the only other week-long class I have this summer. Unless you’re in Germany in June! http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/course/KU1631301/Carved-Box.htm
If you’d like to come to Maine to rive, hew, plane & carve some oak for 2 days, I promise we’ll have great fun. I was just a student there myself last weekend at Matt Bickford’s class on using hollows & rounds. It was great.
I drove home from Maine last night, (507 miles round trip) and was thinking about many things. One was my upcoming trip this summer to Drew & Louise Langsner’s, and what that connection means to me. Then this morning I got the Country Workshops newsletter with the official announcement about this project; …a film about Jogge’s father Wille. So before I go to work, I wanted to let you know about it. Drew Langsner and Jogge Sunqvist told me the gist of it last fall. You can read it from this link. willeproject
When I know more about the fundraising, etc I will post again. This is a film I really am looking forward to.
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.
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.
Here’s an original:
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 https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/about-flatsawn-stock-again/
I haven’t been just goofing around. I have started several things in the shop. One of which is resuming my dovetailing practice. It’s not a joint I have used much over the years; but I have done several in the past two years. The 2nd toolbox is well underway; I started the sliding trays the other day. This time in pedestrian tulip poplar. Oak clapboards for the bottoms.
Cutting dovetails is much different than my usual mortise-and-tenon work. Much less physical. Here’s the deep drawer for the chest of drawers I’m working on. I pin the drawer front to the bench with a holdfast in the bench’s leg.
Last year I bought a knife & awl from Dave Jeske at Blue Spruce Toolworks http://www.bluesprucetoolworks.com/ . When I ordered the tools, Dave asked me what wood I wanted for handles. I said it didn’t matter…but was pleasantly surprised when I opened them and saw oak!
But dovetailing ain’t like mortising. The chopping is about the only time I sit in the shop. Feels funny. Back to mortising next week…
speaking of joints “blind in one eye.” It’s a big drawer, about 10 1/2″ deep, by 36″ wide. I’ve made smaller chests! Pine front, oak sides. The front gets moldings & turnings. First, it’s off to Matt’s class this weekend…to learn moldings from someone who actually knows what they’re doing. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/documents/Workshop13_Bickford(April).pdf
Here’s the help, laying out carving designs on the next batch of spoons. They were like a hurricane; blew in, a bit of a concentrated frenzy, then gone to the next thing. Spoons soon.