Fuller Craft Museum this weekend

It’s going to be a busy weekend at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. I’m heading there Saturday as part of the audience, to see Terry Martin & Zina Burloiu. http://fullercraft.org/event/deep-collaboration-demonstration-show-and-lecture-from-terry-martin-zina-manesa-burloiu/

I remember reading about Zina’s spoon carving and her chip carving, way back when in the old Woodwork magazine. I still have the article, it tells a fascinating story about her first trip from Romania to the US, where she took part in a turning conference. Must have been the 1990s, if I remember right.

The next time I saw her work in “print” was on Robin Wood’s blog about the first Täljfest at Sätergläntan. There she is, showing Wille Sundqvist her chip carving…and when I saw this, I remembered the Woodwork article.

http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/2013/10/26/wood-carving-festival-saterglantan-sweden-taljfest/

Then, when our friends at Fuller Craft began talking to Plymouth CRAFT about an exhibition, I was barely paying attention – “yes, of course I’ll be a part of it…”  Then my friend Denise Lebica mentioned that the same weekend, Zina Burloiu was going to be there. I jumped at the chance to see her & her work in person. It’s not just Zina’s work, of course. I don’t want to short-change Terry Martin, her collaborator for many years. Here is a link to Terry’s site, which includes the background of their collaboration: http://terrymartinwoodartist.com/new_direction.html

Terry kindly sent me a couple of shots of Zina’s chip carving:

 

Then on Sunday I’ll be back as a participant in the opening of the Plymouth CRAFT exhibition, “Living Traditions: The Handwork of Plymouth CRAFT” – http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/

The day includes a reception and a panel discussion in the afternoon:  http://fullercraft.org/event/opening-reception-for-living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft-and-ellen-schiffman-the-52-box-project/

So a couple of round trips to Brockton. I’m spoiled with my new commute of 15 steps outside the door. I’m going to have to get in the car for this…

 

some birds & others

The workshop is proving to be a pretty good blind for photographing the yard birds. and in between the rainy days, I’ve got a few walks in, to check up on spring arrivals.

Even with all the rain, this robin felt the need for a bath – (if you’re in Europe, think thrush. This is Turdus migratorius.)

This resting red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) shows the red breast pretty well. there’s been several around lately, chasing the smelt up the river.

Awake from his nap:

Downy woodpecker, (Picoides pubescens)  male. The most common woodpecker around here, smallest too.

 

female:

Here’s what buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) look like flying away from me:

The common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  shows great color this time of year.

This male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) must have been wet, his crest is smooshed down…makes him look funny.

Across the river, two red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) sitting side-by-side. Another indication of spring, it’s a nesting/mating sign.

On our walks recently found a few things:

Turkey vulture, (Cathartes aura) a sign of spring around here

This red-tailed hawk  is particularly tolerant of people. Probably not a good thing, but I often find him/her around the same area, un-skittish.

Out of range of my camera’s lens, but had to snap one of this coyote. They’re around here a lot, but usually out of sight.

I must have been right behind this raccoon, but didn’t see it anywhere.

There was a bunch of deer, (well, not by Minnesota standards) – looking at this it’s no wonder people think reindeer can fly.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) too – looks like he’s herding that Canada goose.

 

 

a few new spoons for sale, March 27 2017

I’ve been slowly working my way through a pile of cherry spoon wood. All but one or two of this batch is from the same tree. And most all are crooks, bent/curved sections which lend the spoons their shape.

A couple of these got picked by people on a waiting list for spoons. I never intended there to be such a thing, but sometimes I get requests between postings of spoons for sale.

spoons listed are here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2017/  or at the top of the menu on the blog’s front page. Leave a comment here (the page for some reason doesn’t accept comments…) if you’d like to order a spoon. Paypal is the easiest way, or you can send a check. Let me know which payment method you prefer. The price  includes shipping in the US, otherwise, we’ll calculate some additional shipping costs.

All the spoons are finished with food-safe flax oil. If for some reason, anyone is not happy with their spoon, just contact me & we can do a return/refund.

thanks as always,

PF

photos from this week

We got out early on the vernal equinox, to see the sunrise over the trees on the riverbank. While we waited, these red-breasted mergansers came along, chasing the fish along the river.  The other fish-chaser, great blue heron left the scene, water was too high for him.

The sun hit the workshop before it hit us down at the river.

Inside, I’m a sucker for raking light.Now that I finished the chest with drawers, this one is next. Needs some trimming here & there, and fitting the lid. Then when someone buys it, initials carved in the blank area on the center muntin.

Here’s the first 2 (of 8) panels I carved for a bedstead I am making for a customer.

A couple of boxes underway. The front of this one was a carving sample for my recent class in North House Folk School.

Here I’m working on cutting the rabbets for another, smaller box. 

Here it is, test-fitted. Next is to make the till parts, and assemble it.

we went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston the other day. the kids are studying Greek myths, and we went to look at Greek art, mostly sculpture & pottery. I saw patterns everywhere. I probably hadn’t been in those galleries since the 1980s. Amazing stuff.

rear post for a wainscot chair

The next couple of weeks will feature some chairmaking here. As I said earlier, I’m revisiting the ladderback chairs I began my woodworking career with…I shaved some posts & rungs and chopped slat mortises – but shot no pictures. But today, I had some wainscot chair work to do; and what a world of difference. I had to fashion one hewn rear post for a wainscot chair like this:

wainscot chair, side view

The “cant” or “rake” to the rear post is hewn, not bent like in Alexander’s ladderback. This post starts out as a split billet 3″ x 4″ x 48″. That’s a lot of oak. I hewed it oversized; a few weeks ago I worked one and it was too close to the finished size. When I was done hewing and planing, it came up “scant” – i.e. too small in cross-section to match the first one. Here, you see the template laying on the riven and hewn piece:

Thinking about the JA chairs – this one billet had enough wood to maybe make 3 or 4 posts for a JA ladderback. This is a rare case where I work primarily on the tangential face first. I want the front face of these posts to be the radial surface (it’s going to be carved, & I like carving that face better than this one). So the cant gets laid out on the growth-ring plane.

Once I hewed and planed that face pretty flat, I scribed the template and began to hew the shape. The front is easy enough to hew, because of the way you’re cutting down the grain. In this photo, I have the front faces planed, and I’m cutting the thickness of the post above the seat. I decided to saw, rather than split this, so I can use the piece that’s coming off – it will become either a stretcher or one of the carved figures that is applied to the side of the chair. I made a relief cut at the seat height, and am sawing down to that cut. In the photo, this saw cut is nearly done. Then the stuff below the seat will get hewn away, there’s nothing worth saving there, so hewing is quicker than sawing. Easier too. You can see relief cuts there too, I stood the piece up on its top end and hewed down to the mid-point. 

Cleaning up these rear surfaces is pretty easy. They don’t have to be dead-flat or true. I shim under the end, and shove the post against my bench hook/planing stop. A holdfast keeps it in place. I’m only planing as far as the plane will fit. It gets close to, but not up to, the angled spot where the post leans back. I skew the plane to get close…

Then switch to a spoke shave. it’s one of the few times I use this tool in joiner’s work. That’ll sneak right up to that junction.

I have to let it dry out a couple of weeks, then I can cut the joinery in it & continue on with the chair. I have another to start in the meantime, so there will be more chair work on the blog soon.

chest with drawers; pulls and more

First off, nice going to those who pitched in to help that Vermont school teacher with the fundraiser to buy spoon tools. They met their goal quite easily, I think thanks to you blog readers here. These on-screen connections can be alienating sometimes, but at times like this one, it truly is a community feeling. I really do appreciate the feedback I get from this blog, it means a lot.


Tomorrow I’ll deliver this chest with drawers to the Fuller Craft Museum for the exhibition about Plymouth CRAFT. http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/

I did the bulk of the last-minute junk last week, and a good thing too. Just been knocked out with a flu-ish thing for 5 days. All 4 of us have had it in various forms – so it’s felt like a long time since we’ve had our heads above water.

After watching all the bowl turners at North House a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to come home & turn bowls. But instead, I turned drawer pulls in white oak.

The drove them through the hole I bored in the drawer front, and split the tenon with a chisel.

and drove an oak wedge into the resulting split.

Here is the wedged tenon, just prior to trimming.

These pulls are about 1 1/4″ in diameter.

I made some adjustments to the drawer runners. These things are always fussy…they fit into notches in the stiles, and often I toe-nail through them into the stile. You can see one of those nails out at the rear stile in this shot:

Here you can see one of the drawer runners in the drawer opening above, and the groove in the drawer side below. When all goes well, this is a nice way for a drawer to slide. Especially these heavy oak drawers. There will be a pine panel behind these drawers, but that will have to wait til the exhibit is over. Mid-June I think. After Greenwood Fest…

a worthy cause

I got an email from Tara Alan, pointing me towards a crowd-sourcing fundraiser that seems a worth cause. A school group looking to raise money for spoon carving tools! I’m not involved in any way – I don’t know the people, etc… But Tara  thought my readers might be willing to help. There’s worse ways to spend a few dollars…

here’s the blurb –

Pre-Industrial Spoon Carvers!

My students need knives so they can learn to carve spoons!

My Students

I have an amazing group of students! They are curious, hard working, and love hands on projects. We live in a small Vermont town in the Connecticut Valley. My students farm, build race cars, and play basketball so they no strangers to hard work. We study the Industrial Revolution in 8th grade and are fascinated with how people lived prior to the machine age. They made everything! If you needed a chair- you made it, if you needed a spoon- you carved it.

Kids these days get their spoons too easily.

People used to have to carve them by hand! I want to teach my students how to be spoon self-sufficient. I’d like for them to understand and appreciate how much work goes into making things by hand.

My Project

Most kids don’t think twice about grabbing a plastic spoon to eat their lunch and then tossing it in the garbage when they’re done. I want to teach my students to appreciate the spoon and how much work used to go into making them.

We often overlook the smallest things that make us human.

We are tool makers and users. I want to teach my students the practical and timeless skill of carving spoons.

They will learn how to select the right wood, practice safe tool use, and come to appreciate the value of doing things by hand, the slow way.

Your donations will pay for spoon carving knives and finger guards to keep them safe. Your donations will also get us a couple of books that will inspire us to create beautiful spoons.

We have an outdoor classroom in the woods near our school that will serve as a source of wood and a place where we can sit and carve together.

——-

Just follow the link if you’d like to help… https://www.donorschoose.org/project/pre-industrial-spoon-carvers/2470192/?givingCartId=5653247

I’ve been wiped out with the flu this week, so it felt nice to find some uplifting item in today’s inbox. Good luck to all involved…