the week in pictures

Just photos, and some captions.

mortising a joined stool frame

 

I bore the peg holes to mark it “done”

 

shaving rungs for JA ladderback

 

Mortised these posts, then shaved with a spokeshave to finish them

 

joinery tested for the 2nd joined stool frame

 

some spoon carving at the end of a day

 

new old shop stool by JA; pre-1978

 

unrelated – two scrolled & molded table rails and two bed posts

 

stile for joined table; 2 3/4″ square

 

turning one of the stiles

Thinking about self-taught turning – “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

turning detail

 

Jones River this morning

 

Nice to see the sun today
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A new red oak log

No matter how busy I am, when the right log comes along, I try to hop on it. Our friend John Scags had a great red oak that I knew would not be there in 4 weeks when I get back from my trip. So even though I’m too busy to think straight, I took the time today to split open this log. I had John crosscut a couple sections; one five feet long, the other 3 1/2 feet. I even got some stuff from the “butt swell” that I had planned on discarding.

This oak split open so nicely; it was a treat. Very slow-growth too. That represents a diminished strength; but for my joined work it’s fine. The stuff is overbuilt anyway. For the JA-style ladderback chairs, it’s probably not the best choice, but will work…

In this first photo, I’m working on the top end of the 10-foot log. This section was trimmed to just under 4 feet. It opened with two wedges, and barely any muscle. There’s some lousy stuff right near the pith, but the straight wood out near the bark is perfect. Flat, straight and easy to split.

These quarters are split, just with some fibers hanging on. I went in with a short axe and snipped them open.

The main section was five clear feet, just above the flared bottom of the log. I bit more trouble inside, but nothing too difficult. Here I am using one of the heart sections busted off the top bits to pry it open after splitting.

I tried to shoot some video with the new camera. It seems mostly to be me fumbling around and dropping stuff. But I do get the wood opened too. It wasn’t as windy as it sounds, the Nikon has a setting I need to go in & adjust to cut out all that noise…

https://youtu.be/KduuYy499Ps

 

I can do that…

I spent two days recently ferrying around Long Island with my friends Bob Trent and Mack Truax. We were researching furniture for a project there in Cutchogue. More later about that, but I wanted to get this picture out into the world.

The back of a joined chest with drawer. Never touched by a plane at any spot, it’s all riven or hewn. And the hatchet had a run-in with some iron object, chipping the cutting edge. Blow the photo up and you can “read” each stroke of the hatchet based on the tracking made by the notch in the edge. This surface is not un-heard-of; but is a somewhat extreme example. Rougher than most…I love it.

Here’s a detail from the front. The arch fits in like a framed panel, then below it the columns, with their capitals and bases, are thicker, reaching back behind the plane of the arch/panel. (the column/base/capital on our right is original, the others replaced). THEN – the carved bit with the leafy-flower shape is nailed from inside to the backs of the frame. A pretty involved series of moves to create a great deal of depth. Needs a thick bottom rail.

Shooting in the tight spaces was hard, I didn’t even try to shoot inside the chest with the camera. Used an Ipad to shoot this grainy photo, but it gives you the idea of what is going on.

Not the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s not far off.

Bonus item was this New Haven box, with S-scrolls running all one way, rather than opposing/symmetrically. Trent files this under “Plan ahead!”

Carving the next wainscot chair stile

I’ve got my joinery book just about finished, I have a few things to photograph, and a couple of paragraphs to write. This carving pattern came after I was done writing, so it goes here instead of in the book. It’s a rear stile for a wainscot chair, 3″ wide.

After striking margins and a centerline, I struck the outline of the diamond shape with a broad chisel & mallet.

The inner part of that design is outlined again with the chisel.

These half-circle bits get 2 strikes of this deeply curved gouge. These are stuck to the margin…

Next, I took a large #5 Swiss-made gouge and used it to outline the large rosette. These photos are too close to see, but just about all of this is mallet work.

After outline, then I use the same tool to relieve the bits right around the rosette. Then a smaller #5 to finish removing background.

Inside the rosette, a small circle right in the middle, defined with 3 strikes of a small curved gouge.

Then remove a chip right up against that incised outline to begin hollowing the shape.

Then I can step back and use a large tool to remove more of that hollowing. By cutting the bit right near the center first, I’ve decreased the chances of knocking the middle out with this gouge. 

Once that rosette is hollowed, I use a very narrow gouge to define the outline of the petals.

Then remove a chip behind the 2 cuts that form the intersection of 2 petals.

Then a straight chisel to connect the parts, to define the edges of the petals.

A narrower chisel makes a straight line through the petal, followed by a punch (a fine nailset in this case) at the tip. 

Here’s a short (amateur) video done with the ipad, warts & all. It shows me carving the diamond/lozenge part:

strapwork carvings

I’ve been carving a lot of oak lately. Boxes and drawer fronts in this pile.

As I mentioned the other day, I have a box with a drawer underway; for a descendant of William Searle, one of the Ipswich joiners. These pieces get big and heavy – about 15″ tall, 26″ wide. Maybe 16″ deep.

I’ve only seen one & 1/2 period examples of this form, this one is based on the full example. The 1/2 example has lost its drawer; got cut in half at some point. Both were by the same maker(s); sometimes attributed to William Searle, sometimes to Thomas Dennis.

Lots of layout involved, and the outlines are struck with gouges and chisels, not cut with a V-tool. Centerlines, margins, arcs – all measured off with a compass. In this case, I’m trying to make a close copy, usually I make my own versions of this “strapwork” design.

 

But I got ahead of the story. While I had the box with drawer underway; I got an email asking if I would make a copy of the “other” one, the one that’s lost its drawer! And it had nothing to do with my having the first one on the bench. What are the odds that I’d get that note while working on a related box? I’ve got the first one to the point where all the hard parts are left – the drawer, applied moldings around the middle and base, and turned feet for underneath. Then the lid. I need to shoot some of that for the book I have underway, so rather than get involved in that right now, I got out a board to start carving the next box front.

It’s fun to see how the strapwork designs relate to each other, and how they are different. Scale is quite similar, about 5 1/2″ to 6″ high x 25″ wide.

 

I wrote in detail about strapwork back in 2013 – I found it by searching “strapwork” on the blog’s sidebar. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/strapwork-carving-designs/ 

Update, oak furniture & spoons for sale etc

I started some blog housekeeping today. I never get around to cleaning up the pages on the blog. First thing is there were spoons and a bowl left last week. So I made a page for them and posted it in the header. I added two pieces of oak furniture for sale as well. Certainly not an impulse purchase like some of the spoons – but better they’re posted here than just collecting dust. This chest is one of them – and it’s at a slightly reduced price; $3,600.  Here’s the link to the page. The chest, a large box, spoons & a bowl.    https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2018/

 

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The other thing I am working on, woefully late, is my teaching schedule. I created a page for that as well. I’ll update it as I get my act together. There will be the usual Plymouth CRAFT stuff in the fall; and more at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. The page is also in the blog’s header and here’s the link:  https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/teaching-schedule-2018/ 

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For those inclined, a reminder that I take custom orders also. I’m chipping away at my list. Among them is this box with a drawer, for a descendant of William Searle, the joiner in Ispwich, Massachusetts. This afternoon was one of those days in the shop where everything went exactly as planned. No hitches anywhere, smoothly flowing all day long. But… I shot no photos in the shop as I worked. I planed and cut the end boards, rabbets front & back, made the till, bored all the pilot holes, fit the hinges in the back board, and assembled the box.  All red oak, except the till side & bottom, Atlantic white cedar.

The drawer front caught some raking light as I was leaving the shop.

And while I was outside hewing, this cooper’s hawk strafed the mourning doves. Missed.

Spoons and more for sale

Some stuff for sale this time. Box, book stand, bowl & spoons. Just leave a comment if you’d like to order any of these; all of these prices include shipping in the US. Further afield, we can figure out a shipping charge. Paypal is simplest, but I’ll take a check too , just let me know. The bowl and spoons are finished with food-grade flax oil. Thanks to all for the support, past and present.

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Oak box, SOLD

S-scroll carving. This box is mostly based on a period one I studied many years ago. Rare to see a New England one this small. It’s based on the work of Thomas Dennis, the joiner from Ipswich, Massachusetts. I carved the ends, which was not the case on the old one. Iron nails and hinges, red oak box & lid, which oak bottom. Till inside.

H: 5 3/4″  W: 14″  D:  9″

$525 includes shipping in US.

Here is the inside, showing the small till within. It’s made of Atlantic white cedar, with a chestnut lid.

The oak lid to the box.

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Carved Book Stand; black walnut.  SOLD

Not a stand for carved books…you get the idea. I’ve made a few of these. I based the dimensions on a turned one I studied once. The idea of this is from an English one I saw only in a photo. So I made up some of the format; the joinery around where the shelf meets the stiles, that sort of thing.

I keep one on my desk and it holds papers, etc that I work with as I’m writing…some people even use them for tablets. (there’s no stopping progress)

H: 16 1/2″  W: 15 1/2″ D: varies – about 15″

$450 including shipping – this doesn’t fold dead-flat so I make a wooden crate inside a box for it.

 

 

 

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Bowl – butternut. This bowl has been around a while. I carved it from a large butternut limb; bent and twisted. Once I finished it, I chip-carved around the rim. Then here it sat for quite a while, something was always a bit off about it. I showed it to Dave Fisher and he said, “easy, just carve away this bit & that bit & it’ll be fine.” I did, and it was. Then it went in a chest and I forgot about it until a cleaning of the shop recently.

H: 4″-5″  L:  13 1/2″  W:  6″

$350 including shipping in US.

 

 

SPOONS –

A few months back, I began to carve my spoon handles with designs derived and adapted from furniture carvings. I have never shown this process yet on the blog, but shot a couple photos of this one underway…  I’m going to write and shoot more of this soon, but thought this was a good place to introduce the subject.

I always start with margins. These I incise with this knife by Del Stubbs. He stopped making it, and I’ve never found anything as good since.

Then I use a gouge to begin incising the pattern. This is an old gouge with a very short handle, maybe 3″ long. I found it that way & it’s perfect. I can’t drive these with a mallet like in furniture work. It’s all hand-pressure. I oil the spoon first, that helps. So I’m pressing down and rocking the gouge side-to side.

Then an angled chip behind that incised cut.

This one I further highlighted with a punch. It was a bit scary whacking it with a hammer to punch those dots. But I haven’t broken one yet.

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Here’s the spoons for sale:

spoon 18-01; cherry. Very pronounced crook; I love making this kind of spoon.

L: 9″ W: 2 3/8″
$125

 

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spoon 18-02; Cherry, crook. This is the spoon I like to make the most of all. A curved crook, this spoon has shapes and angles in several directions. This one still works, I’m known for carving some “challenging” shaped-spoons.

L:  7 1/2″  W:  2″
$125

 

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spoon 18-03: Cherry crook again.

L: 7″  W: 2 3/8″
$75

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spoon 18-04; Almost a pie-serving shape, but quite narrow. A small slice of pie. American sycamore crook. Very flat “bowl” to this one…
L: 9 3/4″  W: 1 1/2″
$75

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spoon 18-05: SOLD

a long, cherry serving/cooking spoon. Lefty, mostly.

L:  13 1/2″ W: 2 3/4″
$100

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spoon 18-06: SOLD

a big spoon. A deep bowl. Cherry again.

L: 13 3/8″  W: 3 3/4″

$100

 

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spoon 18-07: SOLD

Large cherry server.

L:13 7/8″   W”  3 1/2″
$125

 

spoon 18-08:  Ornamental cherry

L: 10 3/4″   W: 2 1/4″

$90

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spoon 18-09: Small birch spoon. Straight grain.

L:  7 1/2″  W: 2 1/4″
$85

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spoon 18-10; black birch serving/cooking spoon. This one is straight-grained. I based it and the next two on one I made years ago that gets frequent use in our kitchen.

L:  10 1/2″  W: 2 3/4″
$85

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Spoon 18-11; Another black birch. Same story as above

L:  10 3/8″  W:  2 3/4″
$85

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Spoon 18-12; One more as above

L:  9 5/8″  W:  2 3/4″
$85