Starting the next one before this one’s done

tip of the iceberg

As usual. An hour or two here & there, a half-day yesterday and I’ve begun the next project. These perfect oak boards I rived, hewed and planed from some bolts leftover from the joined chest I’m building. These are the beginnings of another joined press cupboard/wainscot cupboard – whatever you call it. The same as last time, but now I’m all warmed up. Plus I don’t have to photograph every blessed step of the way. So later this summer into the fall (& probably early winter) the blog will look a lot like it did last year. If you’re new here, this is what I’m talking about. I made that one during 2021, finished in early 2022.

joined cupboard

For those who want to see the shop as it really is – not tidied up for photographs – here’s the shot right before cleanup yesterday after working about 3 hours on planing boards.


While I was working, the chest sat where the camera is for this photo. Things got shifted into the chest and onto one bench while I worked at the other. Then it all got shuffled again so I could clean up. Seems the shavings pile is always bigger than the board-pile.

The chest got its first coat of linseed oil today. I always like the way the carvings get better definition from the finish.

oiled carvings

I spent a full day last week shooting video of carving the drawer front. So that will be the next installment in the chest-video-series. Probably a week away.

drawer front detail

While all that is happening Jeff Lefkowitz and I are plugging away at the drawings and plans for the chest.

Jeff’s work

That translates to I find stuff I missed and write to Jeff to tell him we (he, really) has to redraw this or that detail. And he does it without complaint. I don’t know how much you know about Jeff’s work, but it’s outstanding. He really puts a huge effort into these drawings, wanting them to be the best they can be. If you’re not familial with his work, he’s done plans for Curtis Buchanan, Pete Galbert, Tim Manney, Jarrod Dahl, Dawson Moore, Bern Chandley and others I’ve missed. And two series of carving patterns with me. He makes us all look good. He does this in addition to his own chair work and teaching. See Jeff’s sites here – and

There’s no timetable for the plans. They’ll be ready when we’re done. But we’re getting closer. You’ll hear about it.

11 thoughts on “Starting the next one before this one’s done

  1. Thanks for sharing the reality. Sadly missing from most pictures. Do you use hardware store boiled linseed oil, or raw linseed oil? If raw, do you boil it yourself?

  2. Those oak boards look perfect! And that pile of shavings, a lot of work went into those. What do you do with the shavings?

  3. The previous person already asked the question about the fate of all those shavings. Over the course of a year you probably produce enough shavings to bury your shop. I have heard about some uses, kindling (But how much kindling does anyone really need).
    My granddad gathered any beech shavings and sawdust for smoking meats – but he frowned on oak shavings. One more use I’m familiar with: bedding for rabbits, but there must be a litany of other uses?
    You may ignore the questions if you already answered them before which is very likely.

    • The shavings are the second-biggest problem. We live in town, so an open fire to get rid of them is not an option. Some I strew about the yard here or there to fill in some holes – but they take forever to break down. I do burn some in the stove in winter, but as you note, how much kindling do you need? Some I haul to the transfer station where their eventual fate is to be burned, trash-to-energy. If you can trust them…
      The bigger problem is the chips from the axes. they’re heavier, so I’m less likely to bag them up to get them out of here. They’re the worst.

  4. The carving with the finish is absolutely stunning! Really brings out the light and shadow. Is this one of the alternatives to paint 350 years ago?
    As far as shavings and chips, I have been converting most of my lawn to garden. I sheet mulch everything that is not actively being planted with cardboard and a layer of wood chips. The thicker the better. Besides suppressing weeds, it shifts the soil from a bacterial to a fungal dominated community better able to access nutrients and hold water.

    • That makes sense. If I’m not mistaken, permaculture garderners bury copious amounts of small and large wood pieces in trenches or berms to improve soil.

      • Yes, that is a technique called Hugelkultur in which I’ve used waste wood (mostly logs) on a slope to slow run-off but right now I have truckloads of wood chips in my yard. As long as they’re on the surface, they don’t deplete the soil of nitrogen.
        So I’m re-siding a portion (back) of my 17th century house with white oak boards and trying to figure out what finish I want. Clapboards are painted dark brown but I would guess a mostly unseen wall like this would have been just left ? I was thinking I’d probably just try linseed oil to start?

        • I don’t recall the details, but I have heard a lot of cautions about using linseed oil on exterior wood. There should be a good amount of information available somewhere. Using a premium wood like white oak, one wouldn t want to make a mistake with the finish.

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