It’s coming on a whole year I’ve been building the workshop. I hope to finish just under that measure.
Lately it’s been windows – 15 windows in a building 12 feet by 16. It’s like I’m Tom Lie-Neilsen or something. They’re all in now, keeping out the dreadful wind and rain.
I’ve been making frames, (Justin Keegan made the first batch) fitting old sash to said frames, and trimming them inside & out. Work I know nothing about. Once I got going, I only had to re-do a small percentage of the work each day…Still more battens outside, some trim framing here & there inside. The battens need doing, the trim can wait til a bit later.
I did get to use planes a good bit, a relief from hammers, screwdrivers, etc. Reminded me of joinery.
With that many windows, there’s lots of light. Here’s an old box, fresh out of a 2-year stint in storage.
More pictures. The place is still a jumble, but each day it looks different. After this next photo, I cleaned it out. The floor is next, so I needed to get stuff out of there. Here, looking past the lathe, towards the river. In this photo, the lathe is just a place to pile junk.
Turning around, looking the other way, towards the door. Loft above. Main bench on our left.
more raking light.
begun hanging things here & there. Some will move when I find out they’re in the wrong spot.
As soon as the loft was done, it got filled. A couple of times. Here’s loft-left:
There’s carvings scattered around the outside too. Mostly under the window frames, but the red-painted one got temporarily hung above where the door will go. When the door goes in, it will come down to get trimmed, then re-hung.
A recent one under one of the front windows.
Today I started working on the floor boards. Two layers of 7/8″ white pine. Insulation underneath. First, I’ve been cutting tongue-and-groove joints on the finish floor boards. Bought this really nice pair of planes from Patrick Leach. All I had to do was sharpen them.
The floor boards are 16′ long. Got to work both edges of 18 boards. I’ll walk some ways in this task, but what fun. The near end of the board sits in a notched stick held in the end vice. It works.
the winter is gradually letting go around here; my workshop is almost all-cut & ready for raising. (Then the real work begins of finishing it off so I can use it!) – and soon I’ll be travelling out & about to teach classes. Here’s a reminder of the upcoming classes –
On May 7 & 8, I’ll be back at Lie-Nielsen, with two days of spoon carving. May is my favorite time to be in Maine. Spoon carving is, as you might know, sweeping the world. Come see what it’s all about, or if you’ve already carved a lot of spoons, come & we’ll explore some of the finer points of spoon design. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/126
June is mostly taken up with Greenwood Fest, but right after it, I’ll pack up again for Warren, Maine. This time at Lie-Nielsen we’re making a carved box. Last year we developed a short version of this course; jumping right to learning the carvings, then designing the box’s patterns. We’ll assemble the box with wooden pins securing rabbet joints, then nail the bottom on, following 17th-century practice. A wooden hinge engages cleats under the lid. Come join us and eventually your house will be as full of boxes as mine. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/129
In the “classes that ain’t mine” department, I want to bring your attention to two at Plymouth CRAFT –
Tim Manney’s coming down from Maine to Plymouth to show a different take on spoon carving – he will show you how to steam-bend a straight-grained piece of green wood to a shape that is perfect for a well-designed spoon. Don’t be mystified by the steam-bending – it’s a simple process that will take you in new directions with spoon carving, and other woodworking too. Tim is part of the Greenwood Fest this spring in Plymouth, but here’s a chance to spend some concentrated time in a small group exploring spoon design, tool use and more.
One offering from later in the season – After Greenwood Fest, Dave Fisher is coming back to Plymouth to lead 12 students through the process of bowl-carving. If you’ve seen his work – (you have, haven’t you?), you know Dave’s a master at this. He puts a lot of thought into his bowls, and will show you how to really advance your visions in this engrossing workshop. I’ll be peering in the windows for this one for sure, unless he sings some Barry Manilow songs…
I have been slow to post my schedule for 2016, and now I see that it’s almost upon us. So here are some dates for classes and presentations that I have nailed down thus far. this list is through July, then there will be more later. I have classes at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Lie-Nielsen and Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School. Also a couple of weekend classes are on the books with Plymouth CRAFT. Links will take you to the details, if there are any.
FEBRUARY 13 & 14, 2016. At Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, I’ll start off with a furniture-carving class,
“Carving in the 17th century style with Peter Follansbee”
This class runs through several exercises, learning about layout, tool selection and use. Over the course of 2 days, we’ll carve a wide range of 17th-century style patterns in oak. Some of the text from Bob Van Dyke’s website:
“In this two-day course, students will learn the steps and processes used to recreate carving patterns from seventeenth- century furniture of England and New England. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will focus on technique and posture. Also considered are proportions, spacing and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design. Each successive practice pattern builds upon the previous example, adding more tools and concepts. We will incorporate hand-pressure, mallet work, and the use of the V-tool in outlining designs. A compass, awl and marking gauge are used to layout the geometric basis for each pattern, but freehand work is included in each as well.”
FEBRUARY 20/21 – Plymouth CRAFT has had quite a first year! And we’ll just keep rolling into year 2. I’ll start with – what else? Spoon carving! We just confirmed the booking, so not on the website yet – http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events – but it’s 2 full days of hewing, knife work and spoon design. At Overbrook House, Bourne Massachusetts. Legendary lunch included.
I’ll spend the weekend presenting some green woodworking (spoons, bowls & what else?) at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Goosebay Sawmill, Chichester, NH. I did this show last winter, what a great venue. All those Lie-Nielsen tools, and a sawmill with timbers galore.
APRIL 1-3, 2016, back at CVSWW. a 3-day class in making (and carving) a frame & panel. Think of this as a crash course in joiner’s work, using oak, mortise & tenon, and frame & panel construction. Come help freak Bob Van Dyke out with the carvings –
“Build- and Carve- this Frame & Panel with Peter Follansbee”
In this three day class with joiner & carver Peter Follansbee, students will explore the fundamental aspects of 17th-century joiner’s work. This frame-and-panel project has all the elements of a larger joined chest, but in a scale that fits the time frame. We’ll use oak we rive and plane for the framing parts; and quartersawn stock for the wider panels. Drawbored mortise and tenon joinery and carved decoration will be the a major focal point. A true crash course in joiner’s work. Now, where’d I put that axe?”
[much later in the year, September – Bob & I are planning to repeat out “one-weekend-per-month for X months” joined chest class. The full project, log to chest. Homework, travel, a museum field trip to study originals, this is the whole show. We did it last year with about 9 people whose scars have mostly healed. Dates to be announced as soon as we figure it out. I’d like it to be 5 weekends, but we’ll see. No drawer this time, so fewer pieces to rive & plane.]
“Your instructor, Peter Follansbee, (free range at last!) gnaws woodworking down to the marrow! Celebrate the liberation of our foremost man of organic woodworking with three days of Scandinavian, “upside-down” bowl carving. Starting with a walk in the woods you’ll learn shaping and carving technique from bole to bowl!”
[there is a spoon-carving class before it, but I guess it’s filled. there’s other spoon classes – (Plymouth CRAFT & Lie-Nielsen) or get on the waiting list.]
APRIL 30/MAY 1, 2016 : Plymouth CRAFT again, this time ash basketry.
We did this class this fall, and I was astounded at the students. They whomped on some ash logs and everyone wove a couple of baskets. The baskets are perfect to keep your spoon-carving tools in.
May means Maine – up at Lie-Nielsen we’ll be carving spoons. I’ll be watching birds in the earliest hours, but class doesn’t start til 9. I think I spent 5 weeks in Maine this year, can you tell I like it at Lie-Nielsen?
JUN 10-12, 2016 GREENWOOD FEST – http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=greenwood-fest-2016 well, this one’s sold out – but there’s a waiting list. A 2 1/2 day lovefest with green woodworking in the pinewoods of Plymouth MA. I’ll be presenting my oak furniture game, but there will be heaps of stuff to do. 8 out of 9 of the instructors carve spoons furiously…
What’s missing on the blog lately? Birds for sure. Just haven’t had much time to find them lately. The bay has been filling up with winter ducks, and these brant geese.
Also shot this photo – made me think of the song “Twa Corbies”
The other missing thing is spoons. I thought I’d carve a lot this summer, but didn’t get to it. Too much travel, etc. But I finally got around to finishing a few, along with the first of the baskets and more. So if you’d like to have a look – here’s the page, or the top of the blog will get you there too.
24 just doesn’t seem to be enough. Here’s some things un-finished around here.
This little box is most significant for what is it not:
a. NOT English, b. NOT oak, c. NOT 17th century, d. NOT rabbeted & nailed. It’s from a detour I took here: http://digitaltmuseum.se/search?query=l%C3%A5da – but it’s made from leftover Alaska yellow cedar. But that’s as far as I got when I had to put it down for some paying work…still needs its bottom boards, and a drawer.
More of the yellow cedar – this time a mixed metaphor – a spoon rack based on some I’ve seen (in photos) from the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area, carved with 17th century New England patterns in wood from British Columbia/Alaska area. Needs some oil finish, and some spoons.
Both these got shelved for the walnut carving job I have on the bench these days – here’s the newest panel from that project. 5 done, 4 more to go, plus a few extra bits. But I’m off for Indiana this week, teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, where I hear the soft serve ice cream is legendary.
and of course, I just spent 2 weeks w Jogge Sundqvist, so I’m overloaded with inspiration – and have a bunch of spoons underway.
When I get back Oct 24, I’m home for the rest of the year. I’ll be teaching two classes with the Plymouth CRAFT crowd – basketry and spoon carving. Here’s their latest offerings – not just the woodsy stuff, but others too.
I’ve been working this week on prepping the carved chest with drawers so I can teach the final session of that class this weekend at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Thanks to the group who made that class possible – it’s a huge commitment of time & resources (polite-speak for money) to come there for a weekend-per-month for 5 months. I appreciate it, guys, Now get back to work!
My teaching schedule is still going, and there’s spaces left in these classes. If you’re inclined, follow the links:
I missed going to Maine this July (pesky England got in the way!) so I am glad to be headed back that way in a couple of weeks. We have a 2-day class in carving hewn bowls. Dave Fisher is going to have to go back to school soon, so come learn my way of making these bowls. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/71 I’m looking forward to trying a Nic Westermann adze. We did these bowls (& spoons) at Roy Underhill’s earlier this summer, and the bowls were a huge hit. People carved excellent bowls in that class.
Beyond that, September is my turn to be a student, I’ll be part of Jogge Sundqvist’s class at Lie-Nielsen. So I’m not teaching that month. Then other than the Marc Adams gig, my classes are closer to home for the remainder of the year. I have a few at Plymouth CRAFT –
We did an introductory riving class a while back, now we’ve expanded it to 2 days. We’ll rive open some oak logs and learn how to coerce them into garden hurdles – (think moveable fencing). It’ll be Rick McKee & I, and I bet Pret Woodburn will be around to join us as well…splitting, riving, hewing, drawknive work & more. Great food, perfect fall weather. Come to Plymouth. October 10 & 11: http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=riving-now-two-days
I’m back from teaching two classes with the New English Workshop. It was my first trip to England to do woodworking, my previous visits had been for furniture study. It’s an amazing place, a rural little island filled with hobbits and badgers and twitchers and train spotters.
The classes were held at two colleges, my first at Warwick College in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Jamie Ward of the College was very helpful and the students there were quite flexible as we worked out the kinks. The first of which was some oak logs that looked like bad firewood. Poor Paul Mayon – he picked me up the first morning, brought me to the school, and we’d known each other for all of 20 minutes when I was telling him that the oak bolts they had were next to useless. Undaunted, Paul trucked off in his typically British tiny car and bought a new section of giant oak (2 really, the 2nd arrived the next day.) installed into Paul’s car with a forklift, I wasn’t sure it would ever come out. Paul’s car was riding low, for a 2-plus hour drive. Meanwhile the students dove in & split what we had so we could get started at least. They were great.
Our class was at one end of the room, while Tom Fidgen’s was at the other end. It was diffuse porous vs ring porous (cherry v oak) all week. You could hear our shavings hit the floor, while theirs floated down to the bottom.
Lots of camaraderie in the evenings, we even had a token American who had been traded to the RAF…
Boxes got made, carving patterns all over the place. Tricia was adamant that she would finish her box, I think her first woodworking project.
The English oak,which by habit I kept calling white oak, was different than our white oak. I know it’s sacrilege to say it, but it felt lighter weight, a bit softer, and certainly easier to split. Even the better logs had knots in them and we were able to split right through them like I never can in American white oak (Quercia alba)
On the weekend, I met up w Mr & Mrs Underhill of Graham, NC, who were there for Roy to teach week 2 in Leamington. We had dinner one night, then the old switcheroo was scheduled for that Saturday – Paul was bringing Chris Schwarz who had been teaching down in Somerset up to Leamington, then turning around to take me down to Zummerzet so I could do week 2 there at Bridgwater College. A too-short round-table lunch was had by all before we headed south…the only other times Roy, Chris & I had all been together had been WIA events, in which case we never saw each other. Hand tool freaks unite!
Bridgwater also boasted a great & helpful staff…and a group of students who were serious about carved oak. Ringers Jon Bayes http://www.riversjoinery.co.uk/ and Richard Francis http://www.flyingshavings.co.uk/ represented England well… I barely had to teach this crew any English terms at all. Like rabbet/”re-bate” or clamp/cramp. The first group insisted that some are clamps, and I insisted that you’re British dammit, call it a cramp.
One thing I was missing was old oak carvings, and the students took care of that. Joel, hewer extroidinaire, scouted out several churches and even arranged for us to get in them after 5 pm…130-odd steps up a circular staircase afforded us a heck of a view of somerset. One pulpit wasn’t oak, I said I wanted my money back. we saw three churches, carved pulpits, bench ends, a chest, and who knows what else. This pulpit is oak:
Tim came down from County Durham, and lent me binocs and a good bird book…I had a simple little bird guide book with me…I saw some nice birds, some well, some fleeting. This’ll be the only time you’ll hear the word tit on this blog. As in blue tit, long tailed tit, willow tit, etc. I didn’t see a great tit. Then of course the day we drove over/down to Heathrow we saw several kites, much larger than I thought…musta seen 6 of them. No pictures, highway driving…
I was invited by Robin Wood to be part of Spoonfest, but that would have meant another week & 1/2 away from home. So, another time. Thanks to all who made my trip a success, especially the ones who waited at home. Why did it take me so long to get hip to Skype?