I see the morning light…

It’s been a while since I did the “lights aren’t on yet, I’ll take pictures in the raking morning light” routine…the easiest target is the carving samples I keep out for display. 

raking on carving


raking on carving 2


I built about 5 of these white oak benches last week…we use them around the museum for folks to take a breather…but they eventually rot or get worn out, so every so often I make more. Last time was about 6 or 7 years ago.  I usually make them with white pine tops and oak legs, but we just had a bunch of oak sawn up for a building project, so were left with a bunch of flitch cuts – the benches are around 5 feet long. 

bench view raking light

I split & shaved the legs back in April or May. Then left them around to dry a bit. Bored 1 1/4″  holes with an auger, then reamed them from below. Shaved the legs, and wedged from above. 

bench end

My favorite legs for a bench or stool like this are “swept” or crooked/crook’d. These come from the butt swell of an oak log, something I reject for all else. But here you can use it to a slight advantage. The sweep or curve of the leg exaggerates your boring angle to add some extra stability. I bet it amounts to nothing, but visually it’s great. 

crook'd leg

Don’t forget the carving class at Bob Van Dyke’s place, Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking – Sept 14 & 15. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/carving-class-sept-14-15-connecticut-valley-school-of-woodworking/



4 thoughts on “I see the morning light…

  1. Peter

    The curved butt swell bench legs are nifty. Medieval
    manuscripts and pictures are full of examples. I see a lot of them used for tables outside for example at a Fair.The curves are really extreme. I made a stool this way but the bends are so subtle no one notices. But I like it. Also this approach gets even more wood out of the tree. This afternoon I was was writing the part of the Third Edition of Make a Chair from a Tree about using butt swells for posts. Nathaniel Krause called from West Virginia discuss the use of butt swells from the hickory he was sawing up and spitting as we spoke. And now your blog just arrived. Daniel O’Hagan would say ” It’s providential.”


  2. All this time and I thought a “butt swell” was probably an uncomfortable personal problem. Clearly there is much about woodworking I still need to learn :)

    That first carving, in the raking light, is particularly nice.

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