I’ve been living in my head…

well there’s a lot going on here, it just doesn’t look it according to the blog. Much of the activity is in my head anyway. Let’s see…recently I’ve been preparing to teach classes, or teaching them. The spoon class at Plymouth CRAFT went very well, at least I think it did. some of the students thought so too. It was a hoppin’ scene, and I’m too out of breath to run it all down. here’s some pictures I swiped from Marie Pelletier who shot a bunch for us. One or two are mine. spoon carving, knitting, sausage-making (well, my shot was cooking some…) and egg-decoration. And lunch. http://plymouthcraft.org/


At the same time as that, I was (with help, thanks to Michael Doherty) prepping material for the upcoming chest-building insanity coming up at Bob Van Dyke’s. I hear today the first 150 or so pieces have been delivered and are ready for students tomorrow to begin planing them. when Roy Underhill & I tried a chest class last summer, we both said within 15 minutes of being underway, “this is nuts” and we’d never do it again. Then Bob called, cooked up his scheme, and the log piece fell into place…so here goes again. Impromptu riving brake:

makeshift riving brake

Half of 10 or 12 chests’ worth:half of 12 chests


but all the while, I’ve been thinking about workspaces. it’s 8 or so months since I left my shop at the museum. Luckily I was lent a shop where I can work & shoot photographs for the upcoming book on joinery. That’s a great space, but it’s not mine…

trimming scraps

and then the winter struck. I loved it, but one thing that much snow did here was make anything you want to do take longer. So I stuck close to home, and worked at the workbench I have in the basement here. That space is multi-purpose to say the least. Effectively the part I work in amounts to about 7’ x 10’ – with a little extra if I move stuff out of the way…but then it’s in the way for something else. I counted one day – I needed a chisel, and it was 9 steps to the tool chest, 9 steps back. I know I’m not alone in this regard, but it sure is crazy-making.

that’s one reason why there’s been so little on the blog – no room to take decent pictures. Here’s one I shot with an Ipad, of a chest test-fitted. I’d have to go out the window if I had to move quickly. And I had to move stuff just to shoot this with an Ipad!

chest test fit

I’ve been busy with Instagram and Facebook, but to me those aren’t as satisfying as this. to me, this becomes like a journal or record of my work..

but I’m cautiously optimistic that 2015 will change some of that. Sounds like I might be able to build a shop (whoops – not a shop, an “auxiliary building”) – I have more checking to do, but the first round with the town sounded hopeful. I did not tell them what it was for, just a “tool shed”. so in my mind, I’m designing a 12 1/2’ x 16’ building. I already am thinking of what to carve on the frame! I know – “nothing’s for certain, it can always go wrong” – but I said cautiously optimistic.

I always wanted to be this guy:

Carl Larsson


Or the joiner-equivalent of this British chair maker:

british windsor chair maker

We’ll see how it goes.

Maureen has moved onto Spring, just like today’s calendar. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts  lotsa colors…

Spring green felted wool bowl, small Easter basket, spring decor,

18 thoughts on “I’ve been living in my head…

  1. Hi Peter,

    Busy is good. Is the class at Bob’s place full? Maybe I’ll check in with them and find out.

    I give up on “I’ve Been living in my head” as I don’t think your into Foo Fighters! I know I’m not.

    Be well my friend.


  2. PF-Nothing’s for certain, it can always go wrong
    Go in when it’s raining, go out when it’s gone
    We can have us a high time….
    Livin the good life

    You are very good at this.

  3. I’m cutting a couple of 12’x16′ Sobon sheds right now. They squeak in under 200. Might have to drop the eaves height to get it down to 10′ to qualify as unpermitted in MA.

  4. Peter, I have built myself a 17x24x10 “toolshed” 12/12 roof with a 8′ peak loft. Added a 7×17 porch porch on the front with crooked green riven white oak railings. All store bought lumber,but done by hand, except for a drill and screws. Built up on piers to keep moisture and condensation out. My neighbors call it my “love shack”. If only they knew what went on in there with a hatchet and axe,ha,ha.

  5. Hello Peter,
    I was thinking of trying to build a chest and was wondering if there is some convention for marking your chests so people don’t think they are 400 years old. Do you do anything special?
    – JLF, South Florida

  6. Peter, have you thought about contacting Heartwood to see about having them cut a frame for your new workshop? If you buy a frame from them, I believe you get a free course tuition.

    • David – that’s a good route for some…but my friends are the guys who framed all the houses at Plimoth Plantation for the past 20+ years…so I have pretty good access to timber framers. Done some myself…only as a student though. I can cut the joints, once they refresh my skills. I’m hoping to recruit the gang…

      • I’ve met some of them. Michael at a few different Guild events and Pret at a TTRAG meeting on Nantucket. I thought of them after I posted, and realized you probably had everything you need right there.

  7. the picture of the English Windsor chairmaker; love the shop shot, especially the rack of braces hanging from the beam over his head.
    I want to be him when I grow up (I’m about the same age as you)

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