It’s raining instead of snowing today. No fun watching rain fall, thus time to learn this carving design, so I can teach it later
Very little woodworking tonight. Some pictures from this week thus far.
When you have 2 young kids in New England, there should be snow in winter. Took a while this year, but we got it.
The river’s been full of slush and ice floes for 3 days. Maybe tomorrow we’ll see ducks.
This is where I have done a lot of my work since June of last year, there’s 3 long benches there, for working at & on…but you can’t see ’em. Beside the stump is a large pile of hewing chips, and I think some bowls under there.
A stake-legged bench, shot it just for Chris. One of 5 or 6 in the yard. Range in height from 12″ to 20″ – lengths from 15″ to 5′. This is a small one the kids use for something.
I’m trying to learn sparrows this week. It was great, for 2 days, not an English sparrow in sight.
a lead-up to a great leap of faith – that there’s no logs under there!
Earlier, I had shoveled the car out, even though I hope to go nowhere in the near future. All that work gave the kids a great place to play.
Inside, I got to catch some more winter light. Our napkin holder.
I shuffled some stuff around earlier this week, and before it all went to wrack & ruin, I shot this chest of drawers I made back in 2003.
My mother’s clock. Inside the covered pot is a slip of paper with a quote from my mother “Oh, dear, bread & beer; if I was dead, I wouldn’t be here.” But it’s not really true…
Here’s where I have carved spoons since the snow fell… with a view of the river & feeders.
The big fish eat the small fish. Late day visitor to the yard, one of the local red tail hawks.
The end. (quite a way to start a blog post, huh?)
On a piece of case furniture, some call it the side. I think of them as ends, as in “help me move this chest, grab the other end.”
I’m not one for measured drawings, but I am working some up for this chest project. Today I was laying out the end view of the chest we’ll build at the CT Valley School of Woodworking this season. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html
In the class, we will delve deeply into the period chest we’re studying/copying, but will also look at numerous variations. These chests (Wethersfield/Windsor/Hartford area of CT) often have one large horizontal panel over 2 vertical panels. the upper panel is glued up in every one I’ve seen and made notes on… but the students will be making single-drawer versions. So that changes how we format the end view. I’ll offer them 2 versions & they can decide which to use.
There is no typical arrangement – but there are several that we see over & over. Like these:
a joined chest, one large horizontal panel on the ends. This panel is about 14″ wide (top to bottom) It requires a tree in the range of 36″ in diameter, straight as can be.
One way around that issue is to divide the end with a muntin, and use two narrower vertical panels. Two more joints, but not a big deal. I do this most commonly. Note here the side top rail and the front top rail are different dimensions.
This next one is a chest with a single drawer. So two side-by-side panels above a single horizontal panel. In some cases, these panels all end up the same width – nice & neat for stock preparation.
Here’s a chest of drawers, and I have found this arrangement on chests with 2 drawers too – two sets of vertical side-by-side panels. or 2 over 2 if you want to phrase it that way. You can cover a lot of ground this way.
How these side views relate to the front view and more interestingly, to the rear view is a study in itself. Come take the class – we’ll be able to really explore joined chests in excruciating detail. You’ll be well-versed in joined chests by the end. The End.
some pictures, spurred on by Chris Schwarz’ last 2 posts on his blog, and my earlier one from today.
A stool. common as can be, but early ones (16th/17th centuries) are less common than hen’s teeth. This one’s from the Mary Rose (1545)
Joined stool. simple, you’ve seen this sort of thing here hundreds of times.
Its cousin – the joined form. same thing, just stretched out.
While we’re at it, let’s get the wainscot chair out of the way.
a variant – the “close” chair, “settle chair” of Randle Holme, although his illustration might be a different version.
This is what Holme illustrated, I can’t imagine a more difficult way to build a chair.
Turned chairs. Ugh. these get weird. First, the “turned chair” “great (meaning large) chair” “rush chair” – lots of names could mean this item.
This is the one Holme said made by turners or wheelwrights, “wrought with Knops, and rings ouer the feete, these and the chaires, are generally made with three feete.’ = I would say, except when the have four feet.
Like this one: the real kicker here is that these chairs have beveled panels for seats, captured in grooves in the seat rails. Thus, sometimes called: a “wooden chair” = chairs often being categorized by their seating materials.
Now we have a “wrought” chair, “turkey-work chair” – and so forth. I mentioned in a comment on Chris’ blog the other day, forget the construction here, (joiner’s work, w turned, and in this case, twist-carved bits) it’s the upholstery that makes the splash. These were top-flight items in the 17th century.
Same gig, only leather. (this photo is I think from Marhamchurch Antiques)
Randle Holme’s turner’s chopping block looks a lot like Chris’ image today from Van Ostade, of a “country stool” – I’d have a chopping block in my kitchen if I could…but we’re out of space.
That was fun, I never get to use much of that research these days.
Back to spoon stuff tomorrow…there’s a mess of them available here = https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/
I hate to do posts without pictures, but this one’s easier that way. I’ll do pictures in a separate post.
if you read Chris Schwarz’ blog, http://blog.lostartpress.com/ you’ve seen his posts about Randle Holme’s seating furniture, and today a discussion between Chris & Suzanne Ellison about stools in particular. Randle Holme’s work has always been one of my favorite resources when studying 17th-century stuff. Another is probate records, particularly the household inventories compiled at the time of a person’s death. One reason these are so helpful is that they are the work of many people, thus we get a wider snapshot than just Randle Holme’s ideas. When you study inventories from a wide geographic range, you get various uses of terms. Once you study New England records, they’re even more mixed up, because you have immigrants from all over England thrown together in a small area. The language gets funny.
here’s some terms I have noted about seating furniture. These go way beyond the limits of Chris’ “furniture of necessity” but are still worthwhile.
My comments in brackets.
Chris – note: “beere stoole” and “ale stole” –
This first set I compiled from J. H. Wilson, editor, Wymondham Inventories (Norwich: Centre of East Anglian Studies, date?)
Two little buffett stooles
Litle old stoole
Old close stoole
Three footed stole
Framed stooles [not sure how or if a “framed” stool is different from a “joyned” form…the form is long. Framed & joined are usually thought to mean the same thing, joined w mortise & tenons]
Cushion chayer with a back
Great back chayers
A forme of joyned worke
Plymouth Colony, (New England) :
1 old brodred stoole [I think “boarded” in this case, not “embroidered” – but might be…]
2 busted stools 1s6d
3 bossed stooles [I think this is an upholstered stool, trimmed w large headed tacks…]
a close stoole 8s [not just a stool or ease, but any stool w a compartment in its bottom]
a large stoole Covering and many borderings for stooles 10s,
2 wrought stooles [wrought is upholstered]
2 Cushen stooles
six buffitt stooles 10s
Essex County, Massachusetts:
3 Leather stooles 5s
a brewing stoole 1s6d [“brewing stool” which might clarify the English “beer” and “ale” stools above.]
6 cushion stooles & 2 chaires £2
6s a great stoole or table 3s
an old stoole table
4 Lowe cuchin stools
Back in England, from A. D. Dyer, editor, Probate Inventories of Worcester Tradesmen, 1545-1614 (Worcestershire: W. S. Manley & Son LTD, for the Worcestershire Historical Society, 1967)
Gyne/geynyd stoole [think phonetic, thus “joined”]
Small settell of waynscote with a bench
One bench with a back of waynscote
Waineskott benche [in all of these wainscot means either oak, or frame & panel work.]
Peter C. D. Brears, editor, Yorkshire Probate Inventories 1542-1689 (Yorkshire: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1972)
Long furram [form?]
Seald/seeled cheare [this is “ceiled” a term meaning “joined” – joiners were sometimes called “ceilers”
Wanded chaire [willow/wicker]
Francis W. Steer, editor, Farm and Cottage Inventories of Mid-Essex, 1635-1749, (Colchester: Wiles & Son, Ltd., 1950)
great joyned chayer
Joyne inlaid Chaire
one Chaire with turn’d pins
Russia lather Chairs
blew cloth Chaires
chaires bottom’d with rushes
turkey worke stooles
bucket stools [seen paintings of chairs made from barrels. never seen an old one surviving]
Joyned stooles/ joint stooles
2 foote stooles
join’d stooles buffeded
one settle with 3 boxes in it
long bench joyning to the wainscot
Great Wicker Chair
low Wicker chair
Michael Reed, editor, The Ipswich Probate Inventories 1583-1631 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press for the Suffolk Records Society, 1981)
Frame for a stoole
Stole of easment – [this one’s clear – a chair w a chamber pot. a shitter]
Lowe ymbrydred stooles
Footestooles/ Ould footstooles
Two round stooles
Green frindged high stooles
Lyttle stoole with a green cover
Ould stooles covered with blue cloth
Three footed stooles
A brasse foot stoole
Small wyndd stooles
6 heigh stoles covered with lether
Old tressell stooles
Six wrought stooles
heigh stooles covered with lether
6 joyned stooles covered with scottish work
5 heigh buffet stoles
One high bench with a backe
Chayers litle and great
Wicker chaire with a back
Matted chayers [chairs w rush seats]
Six old segging chayers
18 chayers of seg cist 7s (?) [are these serge chairs? i.e. upholstered ?]
Wooden chayer – [Wooden? aren’t they all wooden? This means a wooden seat, not a woven seat.]
Three green turned chaires
Great turne chayer
One turnors chayre
Old turne chayer
hye turned chayer
hipp turned chayer (?) [I assume bad transcription]
one hopp chayer
Old backt chair
Joyned chaires great and small
A small Flanders chayer with a backe of green cloth
Great joyned chaire covered with lether
Lether backe chayers, 2 heygh and 2 lower
One chaire covered with scottish work
One great green frindged chaire
One high green chaire
One settworke chaire
chayers covered with greene kersye
1 couch as it standeth
Well, lots going on & not going on around here. Let’s get one thing out of the way. “where are the bird photos?” some have asked. I haven’t been out birding since I-don’t-know-when. Haven’t been to Plymouth Beach for owls at all…it’s frustrating, but time is in short supply all around. maybe this weekend…but it’s been feeder-birds for me. Cardinal in a holly tree, a rather cliche picture. Juncos were around this morning; they’re winter birds here.
What’s really been missing is oak. But that’s about to change. I have all of a sudden several joinery projects coming up. So yesterday and today I have been splitting & hewing oak prior to planing. some of my work-sequences have changed some since the workshop shuffle of last summer. More hewing at the outset, and then planing. I used to do it back & forth between the hatchet & plane. I shot none of this work, but here’s a view of the off=cuts, meaning another job to clean up behind! Some stock there for pegs certainly…you can never have too many.
The hewing has produced some really amazing chips – this one somehow became a photographic platform for Saruman, who is in the shop to have his broken hand removed from his arm socket. If he weren’t an Istari, we could have just pretended this character was Beren.
My first batch of spoons are now released from their task last weekend = and are available for sale here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/
while at Overbrook house the other day https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/spoon-carving-at-plymouth-craft-last-weekend/ I took a few minutes to shoot some more takes on the little carved chair there. I could find out little about it, other than “Europe” – dated 1947.
Back in early December, Frederick, one of the readers here, sent this link to some brettstuhls (Oh, no – I’m trying plurals of words in foreign languages) he’d photographed in an open-air museum:
Last weekend was my first class with Plymouth CRAFT, helping 12 intrepid folks carve spoons. What a time we had. (the facebook crowd can see some pictures here https://www.facebook.com/CRAFTPlymouth )
It was held at Overbrook house, http://www.overbrookhouse.com/ a large rambling joint with something interesting around every corner, both rooms we were using were set with a fire in the hearth. On the first day, Denise Lebica was teaching a knitting class in the next room, and on day 2, Paula Marcoux was in the kitchen, teaching a strudel-making session. This was after she had fixed a stellar lunch for everyone both days, cooking parts of it in the hearth. Like her book come to life… http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Fire-Rediscovered-Techniques-Wood-Fired/dp/1612121586
The spoon carvers took over a very large main room, essentially a living room! We shoved the furniture to the walls, moved in some mats & chopping blocks, and had at it. We started with the knife grasps, then moved to actually roughing out spoon blanks. These people were so dedicated they almost missed the lunch bell – until I yelled at them to get away from the tools & go eat.
I was kept pretty busy going from one to the next, checking on the tool use and the emerging spoons. For me, one highlight was that we were given permission to take a cherry sapling that was growing right outside the door. This meant that every student got a chance to carve a spoon from a crook. some were small, but in many ways that’s a good thing. working a small crook as a beginner means you learn the particular demands and challenges without a great outlay of effort and time…cherry can get pretty hard if it dries ahead of you..so good to get through it in short order.
Overbrook is large enough to include accommodations for those who needed overnight lodgings, and Anne Phelan did an outstanding job at the breakfast end of the B&B, as well as a slew of overall helping-out. So many of us had worked together at that un-named museum for years & years, it was fun to be back together again; Pret, Paula, Denise, Anne, Keith, Marie, me – and we had two other alumni, Bryan (spoons) & David (knitting) were signed on as students.
It went so well & we all had such a great time, that we signed up to do it again, both the spoon carving & knitting. Dates are March 14 & 15. Go to Plymouth CRAFT’s site for details, and to sign up: http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events is Paula adding a foodie workshop? I forget.
I see Mark Atchison’s first class is now listed too – http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=the-fundamentals-of-blacksmithing-a-traditional-perspective You’ve heard me go on about Mark’s work before, without his work, my furniture work would suffer. Great chance to learn some blacksmith work from one of the best.
Today I spent a good deal of time on my hands & knees. I was with Bob Van Dyke, Will Neptune and Christina Vida collecting information for the joined chest class we’re doing at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking this year. (to read the class description, follow this link,
We’re building a version of this Connecticut chest with drawers. For the class, it will be “chest w drawer” – it’s a crazy enough undertaking as it is.
Here’s some of the materials, Michael Doherty took me to the wall of wood. These were maybe 12′ high, I’d say 10′ long logs, maybe longer.
Some of the larger oaks had been pulled out for us already. Michael had picked out more too. I’ve never ordered wood for so many full-sized chests before. But if we need more, it’s there. Below are some of the oaks (the red cedar top right is Michael’s):
So if you want to see how to turn those logs into a chest, sign up to take the class. It’s a time commitment; one weekend a month for 5 months. But you’ll get to go through the whole process, and learn all the details of a chest like this. (our plan is to start with a field trip – we’ll go to the woodyard, and work the logs in the picture just above – the students will split the logs apart to begin gathering rough stock).
I taught a chest class at Roy Underhill’s last year, but it was a scaled-down simple frame & panel chest. This one is full-size, carvings and molding. All the bells & whistles. There will be at least one field trip to examine the original chest in detail. (Hopefully a 2nd trip to see other 17th-c chests at Windsor Historical Society…) I’m not going into detail on the whole chest now; but it has a lot of interesting features. Of course the carving is a big part of it – almost no blank space at all.
The 2-birds-1-stone reference is the chest with drawers I’m going to make based on this 0ne. This repro will be part of the Strong-Howard house interpretive re-installation underway at the Windsor (CT) Historical Society. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/strong_house.html
Bob Van Dyke and Will Neptune, among others, have been involved in this project from its inception. Her’es a blurb Bob put on the CVSWW site about their work = http://schoolofwoodworking.com/projects.html
Here’s the project Bob & Will were planning – http://schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/533-build-an-oval-tavern-table-with-will-neptune.html