White pine furniture

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I posted this one on Instagram recently; making some pitiful excuses for having brought those awful plastic clamps into the shop. It’s a settle that I’m test-assembling. About 5′ x 5′. It’s for the Old House in Cutchogue, Long Island. But I can’t build it here, I have to assemble it in the house. So I copped out & bought two of those pathetic tools to help hold it as I worked out the ship=lapped boards across the back. It’s all painted now, and stacked in the corner. I’m onto the next thing; a large dresser for the same house. This one’s even bigger – 6′ wide, and 7′ high. Shelves above, shelves, drawers & cupboard below.

The page below is from Russel Kettell, Pine Furniture of Early New England – this is not the dresser we studied as the basis for what I’m making, but it’s not much different. I’ve had this book almost as long as I’ve been a woodworker. It’s a wonderful book, somewhat dated now, but still excellent.

Here’s some work on it I did on mine today –

You can just make out that this is a 7′ high side board to the dresser. The scalloped bit just behind my back is the upper end, where the shelves for plates/dishes fit in.  I’m jointing the front edge, this will be the cupboard section. The board is held in the single screw, pinched against the bench. Resting on a holdfast in the near leg and a wooden pin in the far leg.

I don’t have a router plane; here I’m chopping a stopped dado for a vertical partition that is part of the cupboard. Using a chisel to chop out the waste, then cleaned up with a bevel-down chisel.

Test-fitting the partition in that dado. I’ve got the long shelf pinched onto the bench with 2 holdfasts and a strip of scrap pine.

I shoot most of my photos with a tripod and a remote shutter-release. I forgot to hold still for this one. I’m rip-sawing a 6′ piece to make the kick-plate that fits under the lowest shelf. I’m not sure I’ve ever pointed it out, but I keep a large open bag at the end of the bench. It doesn’t catch all the plane shavings, but it catches a bag-full.

I’ve started jointing the kick-plate and here I’m checking with one of the most accurate tools in our arsenals – eyeballs.

I don’t work from drawings. I do best when I get the piece started, then I can easily see where to go next. This is my end-of-the-day, “what was I thinking?” look. I’ve got one upright, the vertical partition and the mid-shelf mocked up across from my bench, and I’m trying to figure out the next piece to cut. The cupboard door is standing beside the bench. This picture is here because the camera was set to shoot every-so-many minutes. Building big stuff in this small shop, and setting up a tripod makes it tricky sometimes…so I just stuck it in the corner and got lots of photos to delete.




7 thoughts on “White pine furniture

  1. Although you are admired for woodwork without any modern conveniences, the sale of plastic handled, quick release clamps are one of the many modern conveniences whose sale allows people the financial opportunity to purchase your creations.

  2. The tedious expression “one-armed paper hanger” comes to mind, but I suppose that is “armist.” Don’t you think everybody underestimates what goes into one of these things? A lot of bull work, sure, but a lot of layout and conceptualization. The English and Welsh18C ones are huge, intriguing, and much heavier than this. Still, I am appalled at the amount of labor involved.

  3. I know that “what was I thinking?” look. In my shop, “what was I thinking” is usually followed with “how am I going to salvage this?”

  4. I find the “seat of the pants” type of woodworking to be the most enjoyable, for me. I start out with a rough idea of what I want then make a crude drawing so I know how much wood to purchase. Then I just wing it and make adjustments (fix mistakes) as I go. That stare over the glasses I know very well.

  5. Thank you, Peter, for this post. I don’t know which image stirs me more, the your faraway thinking look, or your use of the inexpensive clamps to get the job done. All of us share kinship to that look. And I grew fonder of my plastic clamps today.

  6. I had to save this for the weekend…Another great post Peter!

    I love your version of, “the 1000 yard stare.” As an inactive (now old) Marine, I’m expected to routinely “stare off” like this when contemplating a plinth on a stone foundation or an Anchor Beam within a frame. You Sir have it “mastered”…LOL!!!

    P.S. Brother…???…why don’t you have a Router Plane?

    Thanks again…

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