Well, I just got March pt 2 in under the wire. But tonight I posted a bunch of birch spoons, with one or two others besides. If you’d like one, leave a comment about which one you’d like. Then we can do the paypal business. I will accept checks too, if someone wants to go that way. Here’s the link, and it’s at the top of the blog front page.
There’s always more coming, so don’t worry if you miss out. I keep on carving. Some folks have asked about ordering spoons, and if you’d like to do that, we can work it out.
Thanks as always,
Our friend Martha is studying local ceramic history for some degree or other. She sent this note the other day. Me, I’m a vegetarian. But I do use a fore plane from time to time, so in the interest of tool-use, I will post it here…
“I was reading in an 1851 New England Farmer journal (as they frequently preach against the evils of lead glaze there). There was a sausage recipe submitted by “a subscriber” who makes sausage meat by freezing it, then “I take a fore plane, set rank, and plane it to shavings” Apparently the meat needs very little chopping after that. It wouldn’t hurt the blade, only add some grease- rust prevention through sausage! Yikes! They didn’t actually leave a name so you don’t really know if it’s by a man or woman, but they put the recipe in the “Ladies Department.” What exactly is a “fore plane” ?
So – we all use Moxon’s description to understand this tool:
It is called the Fore Plain because it is used before you come to work either with the Smooth Plane, or with the Joynter. The edge of its Iron is not ground upon the straight, as the Smooth Plane, and the Joynter are, but rises with a Convex-Arch in the middle of it; for its Office being to prepare the Stuff for either the Smoothing Plane, or the Joynter, Workmen set the edge of it Ranker than the edge either of the Smoothing Plane or the Joynter; and should the Iron of the Plane be ground to a straight edge, and it be set never so little Ranker on one end of the edge than the other, the Ranker end would (bearing as then upon a point) in working, dig Gutters on Surface of the Stuff; but this Iron (being ground to a Convex- Arch) though it should be set a little Ranker on one end of its edge than on the other, would not make Gutters on the Surface of the Stuff, but (at the most) little hollow dawks on the Stuff, and that more or less, according as the Plane is ground more or less Arching. Nor is it the Office of this Plane to smooth the Stuff, but only (as I said) to prepare it, that is, to take off the irregular Risings, whether on the sides, or in the middle, and therefore it is set somewhat Ranker, that it may take the irregularities the sooner off the Stuff, that the SmoothingPlane, or the Joynter, may afterwards the easier work it Try. The manner of Trying shall be taught, when I come to Treat of the use of the Rule.
One of my best moves in recent years was to finally make the time to go visit Bill a couple of times. They are having a celebration of his life in May. I’ll miss it, my schedule is full-tilt already. But you might be able to fit it in…
I have much to write about, but this one’s easy for tonight…
Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just get over to Roald’s blog & see the Skoklosters Slott tools in detail like you’ve not seen them before. If you are new to the story, it’s about a castle built in Sweden 1650s-1670s. They ordered a slew of woodworking tools from Holland, and they are still there. with the paperwork.
Roald Renmælmo posted his photos from a recent trip to study the tools. I have linked before to his workbench blog; along with his colleague Tomas Karlsson. Good stuff, they’ve even posted some stuff in English for us uni-linguists!
I’m out the door in the AM heading off to MESDA (the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, that is)
so I had no intention of posting a damn thing tonight. Until I opened the physical mail & in it was a tube from Curtis Buchanan – more chair plans. This time his continuous arm chair. I made one of these (I made quite a few of them, but we only have one) in 1992 following plans Curtis gave me then. This photo’s his –
For those of you keeping track of this sort of thing – I didn’t order these from Curtis. He just sent ’em to me. We’re old friends, and he’s a generous guy. So yes, he sent me freebies, and I write about them so you can know about it. BUT he did’t ask, “hey will you write these up?” – he’d never do that. But, I figure you want to know about great hand-tool woodworking. that’s why you’re reading here. If you don’t know Curtis, you will enjoy getting to know him. By now, many of you have seen his home-made videos on Youtube. He just added a slew of them about sharpening. Curtis’ approach is real straightforward. His work is outstanding, just beautiful.
“Abe said, Man, you must be puttin’ me on.” An overmantel in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Time to give another nod. Maureen’s felted stuff is getting going. She’s added new bits, stop by & get yourself some knitted and/or felted goods. More coming soon she says. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
Thinking about turner’s work, for the upcoming visit to MESDA this week. Here’s a few rather rough photos of one of 2 examples of great turned chairs from either Wales, or the west of England, late 16th/early 17th century.
Look at the detail of the back – all those horizontal connecting bits had “free” (sometimes called “captured”) rings. How can they be captured & free?
Imagine how good this photo below would be if it were in focus. This chair, badly restored in its bottom half, and another from the same workshop are at Cothele, a National Trust house in Cornwall. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele/?p=1356297446549 – if youwant to see their mate in America, go to Harvard University’s commencement. They have one they used to use for the Prez to sit in at commencement.
Here’s a simple version, this I shot up in Yorkshire years ago. It might be all-shaved, might have some few turnings. It would be nice to learn more about this chair and its kind.
If you want to see carvings, get some raking light. MFA, Boston.
This house (torn down 1890s) is reputed to have been William Savell’s in Braintree. His 1669 will mentions, “house, shop, etc” – if that’s the shop on the right, I hope there’s windows in the back wall…
Here’s a “road-kill frog” hinge…1630s in Derbyshire.
“We’ll see summer come again…gonna happen every time…we’ll see summer by & by.”
well, this is stupid, but how much time am I going to spend doing this over & over? The blog wants to flip this photo (the one w paint below) on its side…might be why it’s never been here before. (HA! Joke’s on me – I had given up, wrote that sentence – added it one more time. It came in right side up & brought another with it. So you get 2 for 1, right side up) The first one’s from Marhamchurch Antiques – http://www.marhamchurchantiques.com/current-stock/all/
Well, I gotta finish my lecture for Friday. Then look at flight & bus schedules…
If you’d like one, leave a comment & we’ll get it sorted. Payment through paypal is easiest; but you can send a check if you’d like. Just let me know. Woods this time are birch and cherry, and one each of apple & lilac. Flax oil finish. If for any reason a spoon is not as you envisioned, you can return it to me for a refund. No questions.
Well, I’ll get to do some woodworking at least – I’m going down to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) on the 20th of March, to get set up for the Furniture Seminar on the 21/22 of March. The subject is turned work, so I’ll be taking a shot at the lathe from Old Salem. It’s a nice lineup, 2 days’ worth. Includes my friend Brian Weldy from Colonial Williamsburg/North Bennet Street and once from my shop too!
But I have been sticking my nose into some furniture books.
Every winter, it’s time to re-new membership in the Regional Furniture Society. I have written about their organization before, it’s a great one. Their journal goes back more than 20 years – while you’re poking around, look at their website http://regionalfurnituresociety.org/
I like the newsletter as much as or more than the journal – it’s there I found out about this next book – “Coffres et coffrets du Moyen Age”. What a book. 2 volumes, great photos, including details of construction, decoration, wood ID, tool marks – it’s all there. In French! It’s mostly chests and boxes (I know that much) but also includes some trestle tables, a folding chair & other bits. These pieces are, as we say in southern New England, “wicked” old. How’s 13th century? They go up to the 17th or 18th century as well. The objects are Swiss; just astounding stuff. I forget where I eventually bought it, but found it on the web somewhere. It took some doing.
Another annual journal that is a stand-by is American Furniture, edited by Luke Beckerdite. I got the most recent one the other day, & it’s not brown! A first. It’s the usual production that we’ve been spoiled with since 1993. I always urge furniture makers to buy their copies of this journal, don’t be lulled into reading it on line. Even when it’s furniture I don’t particularly care for, I read it & keep it. You never know…