I am not un-busy

Well. No sooner did I return from Alaska, and I had to prep for a trip to Lie-Nielsen in Maine. Taught 2 days of spoon carving,

018c3d1d843780f28aef41e81ece87198b00defca9

01722cf6494213847ba3d28e688600455dc7fb412f

then shot a new video for 4 days.

01ccdb51093001673335c661f3c71354970b3eb25d

Came home Thursday evening, and on Friday got organized somewhat for teaching today with Plymouth CRAFT http://plymouthcraft.org/ = a class in riving, co-taught with Rick McKee, of Blue Oak fame – https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/

Many nuances of using ring-porous hardwoods and splitting wedges and froes. (also helping us out was Michael Doherty, “the Source-of-All-Wood” – in the floppy hat. Thanks, MD)

overall splitting PAS CRAFT

015ba8f6ecac2510970cc6e39bc9383f7a38107ee8

Some hatchet work, some detours.

0179f0a3975272859512932ac7d9bde2b6dad0e695

010a4deeb34aac50480aec11b657fac894e641090e

It was held at the Harlow house, part of the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. http://www.plymouthantiquariansociety.org/ Our friend Donna Curtin gave us a tour inside the c. 1670s Harlow house during lunch. We almost didn’t come back to riving there was so much to see inside.

As usual for Plymouth CRAFT, we had a 2-ring circus today, there was spinning going on inside too. I missed that, but Marie shot many photos, I’m sure.

There were birds in Maine, but grey skies…

 

fishless
osprey no fish 
what does the fish think
what is this fish thinking?
magnolia warbler
magnolia warbler
b&w
black & white warbler

Time for some non-woodsy bits, before I hit Connecticut next Saturday.

new rides

easy rider

 

 

Alaska post

 matanuska trip

I’ve written before about how I consider myself pretty lucky. Mostly healthy, wonderful family, nice home – that sort of thing. On top of that, I get to make my living doing interesting and challenging work that I love. And, I have fallen into what I often call the Hand-Tool Circus (sometimes I call it the Lie-Nielsen circus, or the Roy Underhill Circus, the Lost Art Press circus, etc) – it’s a loosely defined band of traveling woodworkers who get to go places and teach classes. Traveling is hard, leaving the kids at home – there’s lots to it that’s like work; the planning, packing, unpacking…organizing the next trip – but it sure beats working for a living…

 This circus has taken me to some interesting places, and has introduced me to a cadre of new friends far and wide. So now you can tell this post is about Alaska. The Alaska Creative Woodworkers is a group of woodworkers, centered around Anchorage – and they bring woodworkers from down south here to teach various classes. This past week was my turn, following in the steps of Roy Underhill, Chris Schwarz, Mary May, Chris Becksvoort, and more…

 Chris and Roy had told me that these folks treat you very well. That was an understatement to say the least. Great hosts, great facility in the shop of club member Don Fall, and they leave out no detail. I had time off between the two classes, and had volunteers wanting to show me Alaska. Jonathan Snyder (blog here: http://www.alaskawoodworker.com/ ) made sure I got to every birding spot in the area, and other club members Tony Strupulis and Mike Weidmar each took a whole day to show me around, one on a whale watch out of Seward, in Resurrection Bay, the other for a ride up the Matanuska-Susitna region, looking at the Matanuska glacier and the formation of some of those mountains and valleys. This particular ride was in style, a 1941 Cadillac being the means of conveyance. An earlier trip was in a 1949 Ford Convertible. Alaskans think 50 degrees Farenheit is warm.

mike W 1941 caddy
In the Cadillac…a great car to drive after a war

 Everywhere you look there is an eye popping view, to my sea-level eyes anyway….and the woodworking! Yellow cedar for the carved boxes, and nice slow growing birch – more dense than the birch I know down in New England…for spoons. plus I was able to harvest some bark to practice learning how to work with that. (Thanks though to Jarrod for my first batch of bark and the inspiration and instruction in the first place.)

fresh bark from Alaska birch (Betaluna neoalaskana)

 

Eagles, ducks, geese, songbirds, owls (heard-only) grouse, cranes, shorebirds – I was really there just before peak migration, but got to see some birds I only know in winter plumage. And some I had either never seen, or had never seen well (also couldn’t get photos of them – the varied thrush, boreal chickadee, white winged crossbill.)

 

Moose (Jonathan found my first moose about 7 minutes into my visit, in the parking lot of a defunct club where ladies used to “dance” if you know what I mean. This is a family blog, so I’ll leave it at that) – Dall sheep, mountain goats, Stellar’s sea lions, sea otters -grey whales, Dall’s porpoises, musta been more.

strip moose
strip club moose, aka City Moose

 I read some travel guide about Alaska that should have been called “There’s Lots of Ways to Die in Alaska” – let’s see, you can walk out in the mud, get stuck, then drown as the quickly rising tide comes in to bury you. Fall in a glacial crevasse. Et by a bear. (The bear warnings are really something – don’t surprise the bear by walking around a blind corner – but the woods I walked were nothing but blind corners. I got spooked by a squirrel. You’re supposed to clap, sing, or ring bells as you walk. Makes birding tricky) You can get Stomped by a moose. Avalanche. Oh, yes, Anchorage is on a huge fault, and in 1964 was the site of North America’s largest-ever earthquake. Nobody said anything about just plain ol’ getting lost in the wilderness. Falling off some mountain road, tumbling thousands of feet.

lotsa ways to die

 

 

Ah, yes – falling in a crevasse – at least there’s little decay. Good for archaeology.

 

 

PF by Jonathan

See? It says “move cautiously along creeks, on blind corners and in heavily vegetated areas” which is all of the Alaska I saw…yup, there’s lots of ways to die in Alaska. But I’ll go push my luck again someday. It was great. Thanks to all my new Alaska friends. I’ll always remember this trip

 DSC_0489

Next stop – home of the circus, Lie-Nielsen.

 

I’m back

sea lions

I’m back from my Alaska trip. But I feel as lazy as these Steller sea lions look…so I’ll get to your emails & orders, some DVDs and spoons. Sorry for any delays. I wrote 2 blog posts about the trip, but need to sort the photos. It was great, I can’t wait to show you…

PF

May with Plymouth CRAFT

twisting the froe
twisting the froe

These days, I tend to be out ahead of myself a bit. While teaching the chest class in Connecticut a week or so ago, I was thinking of preparing the next class(es), in Alaska. Those are coming right up (still room) and while I’m planning, preparing & packing for that, I’m thinking ahead to a spoon class at Lie-Nielsen and then the video shoot after it. Those are in early May, so right in time for spring migration in Maine.

THEN – comes the next of my offerings with my friends in Plymouth CRAFT. Rick McKee and I are teaming up to show how to split apart logs for various projects. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=splitting-a-log-into-boards  This is a technique class, not a project. Rick has rived many thousands of clapboards over the years,and numerous other oak materials. We’ll look at how to “read” the log, what to look for, and what to look out for. Use of the wedges, mauls, froe & club – the riving brakes. It should be great. This is a one-day class, hosted at the Harlow Old Fort House, near downtown Plymouth Massachusetts. A rare chance to get together with Rick, you could even end up on one of his memorable blog posts at Blue Oak. https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/

riving stiles with a froe
riving stiles with a froe

I’m off tomorrow to scout out some wood for this class. If I find a suitable ash log, I might add splint pounding to the lineup. That’s more fun than you can stand.

The Plymouth CRAFT scene usually is a multi-ring circus,and this one’s no exception. While we’re busting logs open, Charlotte Russell and Denise Lebica will be teaching drop-spinning.

“In this class, you will learn to use a simple tool — the drop-spindle — to convert fiber into yarn. Spinning is at the foundation of most of the textile arts. The ancient, inexpensive, portable, drop-spindle allows you to spin almost anywhere.

 

This workshop with long-time spinner and teacher Charlotte Russell will focus on developing a feel for creating quality yarn, and will feature hands-on evaluation of fibers such as wool, alpaca, flax, cotton, angora, quiviut and silk. Participants will gain an understanding of  which of the various types of spindles are appropriate to spin which fiber.”  – whole story here: http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spinning-fiber-into-yarn

IMG_5479

for me, having other classes under the same umbrella adds a lot to the fun, it’s great being surrounded by more crafty people and we usually have some time to spend seeing what the other half is up to…it’s sure to be interesting. Come join us, Rick & I will bring the tools & wood, you just come show up. the lunch alone is worth it.

Even sooner than that is a weekend class that I wish I was taking – make a wood-fired oven with Paula Marcoux. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=build-an-earthen-oven Paula knows ovens like I know oak. Coming right up, May 2 & 3, 2015. This will be a life-changing class – really.

fitting the cupboard door

As promised – fitting a wooden hinge on a cupboard door. Again, I think I’ve never covered this on the blog. Here’s the cupboard, sans door: note the rabbet in the muntin beside the door opening.

assembly begun

To hinge this door with wooden pins is easy. Bore holes in the upper and lower rails’ inside edges. Here’s the top rail – I haven’t finished pinning the joints in the frame, but ignore that. See the hole bored in the upper rail’s lower edge:

top rail hole for pin

Corresponding hole in the upper edge of the door, note bevels on outer corners of door stile:

top of door

 

 

The wooden pin on the top of the door bottoms out in the stile, and protrudes up into the upper rail. Here it is in the stile:

top pin

 

here’s the bottom edge of the door – note the pin here fits (loosely) all the way up into the stile:

 

bottom of door

 

With my finger covering the hole in the bottom of the door, I tilt the upper pin in place, and then lean the door into its opening.

 

tilt in the top

 

Then knock it about some with a hammer, to jar the pin loose so it drops down into the bottom rail.

knock the bottom edge

The hole in the bottom rail is shallow, so the pin bottoms out in the rail and sticks up into the door’s hole –

open

 

I planed a rabbet in the door’s other stile, to overlap the rabbet in the frame. This stops the door from going all the way into the cupboard. You can (& I have sometimes) make rabbets on the hinge stile too – so the door is a little more snug = this one just butts up against the muntin.

door knob, couple of pins, linseed oil & this one’s crossed off.

Saw this guy this AM on my walk –

strut

 

 

 

 

joined chest class session 2

Last weekend was the 2nd session (of 5) of the joined chest class I’m teaching at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. These guys are working pretty hard…here’s pictures and captions –

mortising detail
mortising the front stiles – 6 mortises per stile
mortising from on high
mortising from on high

 

test fitting
test fitting a front frame
joined stool
a student tried to butter me up, showing me his joined stool (nice work, Larry)

The 2nd day we met at the yard where we’ve been splitting the logs into parts. Time for the students to do some heavy work.

beginning
I kicked it off, a 10′ log, nearly 30″ in diameter. We need lots of oak
you gotta watch them
as you can see, you gotta watch these logs.

 

 

 

 

open
the first split in a long one is often tough
now it looks big
this view shows its true size – it’s big.
laying out panels
marking out panels
half & half again
then split along the dotted lines
froe
later we got to some froe work

 

premium material
I guarded the wide panel stock closely. we need panels 11″ and 13″ wide at least

 

fragrant load
a whole bunch of stinky smelling cars left that site. Back in 6 weeks for round 3