well, tomorrow’s a day off, but I’ll get to make some spoons maybe. Meanwhile, happy holidays to all you folks out there who take part in that sort of thing. Here’s what I found recently – Talk about Ode to Joy = this is the best 6 minutes I’ve spent on the web in ages.
chair here, spoons there – Plymouth CRAFT
A while back, Paula Marcoux, Denise Lebica & I went to Overbrook house in Buzzards Bay to see how it would work for some of our Plymouth CRAFT workshops. I had been there before, Paula & Pret had legendary parties there…while there, I stumbled upon this chair – sort of a cross between a brettstuhl and a Welsh chair like those popularized by John Brown. I didn’t have my camera, but Paula had Jake shoot it the other day, during the inaugural workshop…
Meanwhile, after this little holiday this week, I’m gearing up for spoon carving there, a month from now or so. Wrote something on the blog at Plymouth CRAFT about it…here it is: http://plymouthcraft.org/?cat=9
2 or 3 spaces left for that class. I can’t keep track…
Some bits & pieces
It’s been about 6 months that I’ve been “out on my own” (I think Roy Underhill called it “free at last”) but I still haven’t really settled into a woodworking routine like I once had…Today, I picked up where I left off over a year and a half ago – finishing a small joined chest I made for Roy’s show in 2013… http://video.pbs.org/video/2365021510/ and http://video.pbs.org/video/2365079634/
I’ve only had it kicking around for I don’t know how long, and it took all of an hour to finish it off. Needed to drive four nails, trim the floor boards, and set one hinge.
How stupid that I left it so long! It’s been on the blog in pieces a number of times, I even took it back to Roy’s this past summer, where it was the model for our week-long chest class. Now – it’s done. I copied its proportions from some English examples, it’s quite small. 30″ w x 20″ h x 17″ d. A mixture of sawn and riven oak, with pine floor boards and rear panel. No decoration other than the bevels around the panels. Paneled lid, interior till. It’s for sale if anyone’s interested; send an email if you’d like to talk about it. $2,000 plus shipping. or pick it up.
I finished this carved rail for the upcoming wainscot chair – started this carving as a museum demonstration at Historic New England in early December – at least it’s not waiting around 18 months. I’m working now on getting that chair moving along steadily; doing some joinery on it tomorrow. The panel is mostly carved, that should be done tomorrow too.
Updated the teaching schedule – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015-teaching-schedule/ a couple of additions,
a hewn bowl class at Lie-Nielsen in late August, https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/71
a splitting & riving class with Plymouth CRAFT in May in Plymouth Massachusetts; http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=splitting-a-log-into-boards
and we’re adding a 2nd 3-day class at Roy’s (it’s not posted yet) the first one sold out so quickly that we figured let’s add one…so mid-June in Pittsboro, NC. http://www.woodwrightschool.com/spoon-carving-w-peter-f/
Here’s some bowl shots from the other day.
While on the subject of classes – I was talking to the fellow who’s lining up the oak for the joined chest class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking – this is oak like you won’t believe. If you’ve seen the posts I’ve done recently about the extra-wide oak – same source. Wow. This class is maybe half-full, or nearly so. A time commitment, but a project that will really be something. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/one-of-next-years-projects-a-carved-chest-w-drawers-at-cvsww/
Maureen is still willing to mail stuff in time – https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
One of next year’s projects, a carved chest w drawers at CVSWW
Bob Van Dyke sent some photos of the seventeenth-century chest we’ll be working from in the “one-weekend-a-month-for-five-months” joined chest class we’re holding at his Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in 2015. The first session is in March, (these are the weekends we have booked: March 21 & 22, April 11 & 12, May 23 & 24, June 27 & 28, and August 8 & 9.)
The chest (above, peeking out of a tight spot) is at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. There will be a field trip sometime during the class to examine the chest in person; but Bob & I will go to measure and photograph it before the class begins. It’s not one I know well, but it has many relatives. Usually these chests have carved panels, and moldings and applied turnings on the framing parts, the drawer fronts are usually carved, with a surround of applied moldings. Here’s a center panel and the muntins of one of these creatures.
Here’s a two-drawer example, with applied decoration from the Yale University Art Gallery collection http://artgallery.yale.edu/
The CHS example has a vine motif all around the framing, like one that’s at Historic Deerfield, that I have copied before. Here’s my first version – I have another underway now.
One big difference that I see right off the bat is the vine’s layout. On the CHS chest it is a full-half-arc that then reverses direction every time it hits the centerline. So the centerpoints for these arcs are on the centerline. I used a compass, then wiggled when I darkened the lines with a pen. But you get the idea.
On the HD chest, the centerpoints for the arcs are not on the centerline; these are segments of arcs that flow into one another in a different way than the CHS examples. This one gives you a broader area for carving the various flowers/leaves. Either one works, no big deal. one requires a bit more thought in planning.
Here’s a detail showing this version:
The lid on the CHS chest with drawers is replaced in oak, the HD one is yellow pine if I remember right. We’re going to truncate the chest some, ours will have only one drawer below the chest instead of two. Our secondary wood will probably be white pine – floor boards, drawer bottoms, rear panel, & lid. All else is oak we’ll split from the log. Then plane each board – by hand. About 35-45 boards, somewhere in that range. Eat your wheaties. Sign up now, this is the one where you’ll learn and execute all the steps in making a joined chest from a log…
Bob has an article in the new SAPFM journal about his school’s collaboration with the Windsor Historical Society – this chest is a continuation of that collaboration. If you’re not a member, you didn’t get the journal – here’s their site: http://www.sapfm.org/
10 minutes, 20 dollars. An ideal shopping experience
I have another chair to make, like this one. I thought I photographed this one with its rush seat, but I can’t find it.
People often ask “where can I get green wood?” – one thing I tell them is for short lengths/small projects, check with firewood dealers/tree cutters…we’re home-schooling our kids this year, but they attend a 2-day program about a 15-minute drive from here. On the way is a yard where some tree folks cut & split their firewood. I stopped today, needing some maple for the next chair. Maple doesn’t store well as a log, you gotta use it up quickly, so I never have it on hand. I found a very helpful fellow in this yard, explained what I needed & why, we looked over the newest pile, picked one out, he crosscut it to about 3 1/2 feet, loaded it in the car & away I went.
I hate shopping. Avoid it like the plague. But this was a great shopping experience – 10 minutes, 20 dollars – we both were happy. I saw lots of other nice wood for small stuff – bowls, spoons & more. I’m all set for much of that sort of thing right now…but I’ll be back when things run low.
But before I get to have fun like that, it’s boxing & shipping – for me & Maureen. She still has stuff on her site; even on sale! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
I have a couple of things left, if you want to send me back to the post office – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/
what’s happening to my monoculture parts 2 & 3
well, I never really was a true monoculture anyway. But close. Mostly oak, lots of white pine, ash. some maple (mostly turned), but there’s even mention in the back pages of this blog of Spanish cedar, East Indian Rosewood, Atlantic white cedar – and the spoons are a range of woods that never include oak. That’s where you’ll see me use cherry and apple – not in furniture.
But my recent foray further into walnut is really out of this world, for me anyway. Riven, radial, high moisture content. Now I have run the gamut with this wood, from my first experience with that awful kiln-dried randomly sawn lousy stock, to air-dried straight-grained clear stuff – now to the true beast – riven radial stuff. Wow. Hewing it is so much fun I almost just chopped it all up just for the thrill. It’s going to be a joined stool, which I need like a hole in the head – but the book needs joined work that’s not oak. And…the walnut was a gift. Thanks, Michael D.
Here are the stool parts, planed. Why 5 aprons & only 3 stretchers? Because I had just a little bit of extra wood. This way, I’ll make the aprons. If all goes well, apron #5 will get chopped down to a stretcher. Something goes haywire, I make #5 an apron & return to the wood pile to hopefully scrounge a stretcher. Timid, I know. But I don’t usually have riven walnut around. This is New England, not the mid-west.
Part 3 of the “what happened to my monoculture” is really out of this world – this wood was like nothing I have ever seen. I got a sampling of it in the mail – to test it for a carving class. 11 1/2” wide quartersawn stuff – with over 360 growth rings!
Alaskan yellow cedar – is not a cedar and might be from British Columbia…but it is yellow. http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/alaskan-yellow-cedar/
I just could not wrap my head around the growth rate of this tree. Turns out as I read more about it, the tree grows for upwards of 1,000-1,500 years. That’s old. It’s a tree that has been in decline for 100 years, dying off due to climate change. Seems it’s so warm these days that the trees are freezing – sounds like Stephen Foster wrote the story of it. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/climate-change/yellow-cedar/yellow-cedar_and_climate_change.pdf
We’re hopefully using this for the box class I’m teaching in Alaska next spring. Thanks to the guys up there for sending it down…
It carves very well, planes to a beautiful finish, except for some tearout difficulties. I’m mesmerized by it. Density is a bit softer than the black walnut; specific gravity is .42, as compared to the walnut at .51. I did much of the carving without the mallet. Once all the V-tool outlining was done, I used hand pressure for a great deal of this design.
But I have been working up some oak stock recently to replenish what I have used. I only have about 6 or 8 more of this crazy-wide oak panels to prep…the offset handle on this hatchet is especially useful when working wide stuff. this one’s 14” wide. That’s knuckle-scraping wide if you’re not careful.
Couple of spoons left, the bowls, etc. The wainscot chair video too – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/
over at Plymouth Craft – if you’re thinking of the spoon class, it’s about half-full now. So don’t delay… http://plymouthcraft.org/ (3PM – Eastern time, that website is having a problem. We’ll get on it, or it will fix itself miraculously…)
Spoons & more, December 2014
The other day I wrote about links, to Maureen’s site, Plymouth CRAFT, etc. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/links/ – and plum forgot to plug my own stuff! Someone wrote recently asking if I had boxes for sale – they said my etsy site was empty. I had no idea those things expired. So I renewed that, though as you can tell – I don’t watch it very closely. Here’s that link – for what it’s worth. https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee
But I’ve kept the spoons here on the blog. that way, I only really have to watch one place. “Keep all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket” said Twain. I’ll have lots to get back to in the next week or so, but for right now – some more spoons for sale. This is the last (though small) batch for the season…the link will take you to them, or the menu at the top of the blog. As always, thanks to everyone who has made this work possible – I truly appreciate all the support from the readers of this blog. Can’t thank you enough. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/
I have a few things underway right now, yesterday I wedged the bretstuhl. Too dark to shoot the finished result today. The kids approve, and it’s in use at our kitchen table now. Before I go further, some house-keeping. I had two presentations last week, and am now cleaning & sorting some bits before I get back to the wainscot chair project.
Today’s subject is links. Maureen has been knitting away, and has new stuff on her site. Felted & not. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
Next, Plymouth CRAFT. http://plymouthcraft.org/ We’re underway, with some workshops scheduled and sign-ups begun. So if spoons, succotash or card weaving entice you, head over & click the buttons…
My spoon class is 2 days in January, winter is a perfect time for spoon carving. Along the lines of “give a man a spoon, or teach him to make his spoon…” or whatever that quote is. After these 2 days, you’ll be spoon-mad. The same applies for succotash or card weaving of course. We have started a blog there too…so sign up for that is you don’t have enough stuff to read as it is. http://plymouthcraft.org/category/blog/
Every year about this time, I write about the Regional Furniture Society http://regionalfurnituresociety.org/
Their annual journal comes out (or gets to me in the US) in December. I always look forward to it, and this year’s issue is just great. Maybe 6 articles on oak furniture – how could I not like it? their newsletters are even better. If you listened to me last year, then you’re reading yours now…if not…click the link.
That’s the links – there’s one other thing. A reader wrote yesterday and asked for more pictures of some 2-panel chests from Devon that I once posted. I have few shots of these creatures – I’ve seen 2 of them. I plan on putting one my versions of these in the upcoming (a year from now) book. Here’s some of what I have:
this one just exists as a chest-front…now separated from the rest of the object. I first saw it in England, then it sold to an American collector. Dated on the 10″wide center muntin “EC 1669”.
Here’s one of the panels; these are over 12″ wide.
The other one is still a chest, still in England. “R A P 1682” on the muntin. These are both made from flatsawn stock, or varying quality. This one retains some of the pained background; photos are not as good as what I got above, no tripod on that trip. To my eye, these are the same maker.
When I made one, I changed a few things, as I often do. I hate the carved lower rail – I think it’s ugly. So I never do that one.
Here’s an oldie that got away, I think the same guy. We’ve never seen it. Also initialed “EC 1669” – food for thought. Anyone sees this one, let me know. I’d love to see it.
2015 teaching schedule thus far, more to come
Posted the 2015 teaching schedule, as far as I stands now. I have one or two more to add that I know of…
here’s the link, or the top of the page
Finished building a box the other day; red oak, white pine. The original this is mostly based on had no till, but I’m shooting this one for the joinery book, so added a till. This box has a wooden hinge; a small extension is made on the rear board, so that it overhangs beyond the sides. Then this “pintle” is shaved round, and fits in a hole bored in the lid’s cleats to form the hinging action. Some shots of the process:
Here, the rear board’s rabbet is double-long. Much of this excess length will be cut away, leaving the pintle. This shows the saw cuts that define the pintle.
Then I split the waste off. Red oak splits very well.
The result. Next is just gets whittled to roughly round.
I jumped ahead and here I am nailing and clinching the cleat to the underside of the box’s lid. You can see the extended and rounded end of the cleat; with a hole bored in it.
There’s a little fumbling around to get the lid in place and nailed on. But here is the side view of the end result.
This box is a custom order, complete with initials. You can tell it’s modern, because the period way to render a “J” is to make it as an “I”. But the customer was leery of having this box read “IT” – so I made up a modern-ish “J”.
Then I went back to my carving