Spoons & more for sale, Jan 2016 – proceeds towards workshop project


chisel waste

Some of you have seen that I have a workshop-build underway. This is a momentous happening for me, as perhaps you can imagine. After leaving my museum job, where I had my workshop for 20 years, I was drifting around a bit, thinking I’d “find” something suitable. It’s now been 2 full years since I packed up my old shop & moved my stuff to storage. I had a loaner shop that I used to shoot the last batch of photos for my upcoming book 2 of joinery. I also tucked a 6’ bench in typically cramped basement quarters here at home. And that’s what really spoiled me, because I got used to, and really liked, being at home.

This story is already getting too long, so I’ll skip ahead. For about a month now, my friend Pret & I have been working part-time cutting joints for the timber frame that will be my 12’ x 16’ workshop. It’s fun, and is going great. The hardest part for me is keeping my head in the present – in my mind, I’m in the shop, working out what goes where, and wandering around inside that space. But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Over the years many of you have written to thank me for the blog and its stories, ideas, etc. I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to send an email or comment, it means a lot to me. The new shop will allow me to get back to photographing furniture work the way I like to, (the basement shop has no room for me, much less a tripod, etc) so you can look forward to more of the “old” posts, maybe by springtime. We have some more joinery to cut, and a lot of details to work out. In the time not working on that, I’m trying to get some stuff made so I can earn money – to buy insulation, siding/sheathing, flooring, shingles, and all the other miscellaneous bits to bring the shop to completion.

So – the fundraising bit –

bowl & spoons Jan

I have a few spoons for sale, and will have more coming soon. There’s also some odds and ends; hewn bowls, and a carved panel in Alaskan yellow cedar. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-bowls-more-for-sale-jan-2016-shop-build-fundraiser/

I still have a box or two, and the baskets. Those are found here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/furniture-sale-winter-2015/ and here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/baskets-furniture/

I’ve had a couple of complaints about selling stuff here on the blog, one of those I wrote back to & talked about how much free stuff there is here, and always will be (as long as the blog lasts, over 8 years right now). The writer & I worked out the situation, and it all ended well. The reality is I now make my living making things & selling them, and travelling around teaching. Some months are better than others, just like everyone else. After thinking it over long & hard, I decided to add a “donate” button here, while I build the shop. The button will disappear when the shop materials are all set. If anyone is inclined to help out that way, I’d greatly appreciate it. I hesitated to include this option, but I decided that people might want to help out, and my yard is too small to have you all over, so here’s a different way. On the page for spoons, and on the sidebar.

Email  if you’d like any of these items. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can mail a check. Just let me know. Thanks as always. Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net   



furniture carving & spoon carving classes in February

I have several blog posts underway, but tonight I’ll interrupt my ideas just to give a nudge to some folks looking for classes in carving. My season kicks off in February, with a class on the weekend of the 13/14th at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes  (scroll down, there’s an April class of mine listed first, but the carving-only one is mid-February)

We’ll be working for 2 days learning the ins & outs of carving 17th-century style patterns. I have just been working on some new old designs to add into the mix – here are some drawings I’ve been working on, these patterns are part of the huge inventory of designs found on oak furniture from Devon, England, with their offspring in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

carving sketch

Here’s a version I carved maybe 5 years ago:

carved in oak

There’s carving, and there’s spoon carving –




so for the would-be spoon carvers – come down to Plymouth CRAFT for a weekend of spoon carving. We’ll split, hew and shave spoons from freshly-cut local woods. Learn about the tools, the grips and the design of the spoons. The whole world is spoon-mad, so you might as well jump on board.

spoon carvers


Greenwood Fest June 2016

I’m home. For a good long while now. I have lots of sorting to do, so I can get ready for some woodworking, and some local workshops with Plymouth CRAFT. http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events

While trying to catch up on a few things, I noticed this on their Facebook page:



Plymouth CRAFT created an event: June 10-12, 2016:  Greenwood Fest

Paula Marcoux included a little snippet, in effect just trying to get you aware of the dates. Then meanwhile, you’ll have to take our word for it that it will be worth your time.

“Three days of hands-on learning, with a dreamteam of international instructors, in a beautiful piney woods camp setting. Okay, so we don’t even have a website up for this event yet, but it’s time to mark your calendars. Much more coming soon.”


I’ll let you know more when things are ready, should be pretty soon. Worth the wait…




I made a quick trip out West

Well, west for someone from eastern Massachusetts. Delivered this chest with drawers to the Windsor Historical Society, Windsor, Connecticut. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/  I stained it red with iron oxide mixed in linseed oil. Added drying medium from artist’s supply store, and some raw umber, which also speeds up drying. If I had been ahead of the deadline, things might have been different.

chest w drawers

Here’s a view inside the upper drawer, with its dividing slats. Not sure what these little cubbies would be used for…It was based on notches cut in the drawer on the original that is the source for this repro. but the dividers are gone on the old one.

one drawer w dividers

I also got to install one of Mark Atchison’s locks on this chest, because curator Christina Vida wanted everything just exactly perfect for the Strong Howard house opening. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/strong_house.html

Here I’m cutting away the top rail inside the chest for the lock recess.

lock excavation 2

And the finished excavation, just needs some chisel work for the keyhole. This one gets no escutcheon.

almost cut

Mark’s lock & key:

mark's lock

Mark’s mark, MMA, on the inside face of the lock:

mark's mark

This chest was the model for the class we did at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. If you want to see the chest, and the other pieces made by the school’s instructors and students, go to the open house at the school this Saturday. I can’t make it, but a gang of folks will be there, with bells on.

here’s the blurb Bob sent out the other day:

Don’t miss it!
Saturday, September 12, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking 15th Annual Open House

 Come celebrate CVSW as we enter our 15th year of great hands-on furniture making, woodturning, cabinetmaking, blacksmithing and more!

Furniture Exhibit- See Some of the Spectacular work from Students, including furniture made for the Windsor Historical Society Strong Howard House/ CVSW collaboration

Get in on the fun. We will be demonstrating furniture making, woodturning, blacksmithing, inlay, sharpening, guitar building and more, all day.

More than 22 tables of Antique Tools for Sale!!!

6 different antique Tool dealers

The whole idea of the event is to get a bunch of people who are interested in woodworking together and have a good time!

A partial list of demonstrators/ exhibitors is below:

CVSW Gallery of Student work

Central Ct Woodturners

Mystic Woodcarvers
Tico Vogt- Shooting boards

Mike South, Windjammer Instruments
Matt Cianci- “the Saw Wright”
Isaac Smith- Blackburn Tools
Mike Mascelli- Traditional Upholstering

Bill Rittner- Handmade replacement knobs & Totes for handplanes

Greg Massicotte- Behlen Finishing Products

Catharine Kennedy- engraved handplanes

Walt Scadden – Blacksmithing

Windsor Historical Society

Cape forge carving knives

Ben Barrett- Berkshire Veneers

Mike Pekovich from Fine Woodworking Magazine

CVSW Instructors:

Bob Van Dyke, Will Neptune, Mickey Callahan, Walt Scadden & more



Joined chest class, final session

overviewLast weekend we finished up the chest-class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Five months, one weekend per month. It’s a great format for tackling a complex project, but requires a serious commitment of time & money from the students. I am very thankful for the 9 folks who signed on for this ride. Thanks, Leo, Larry, Chris, Phil, Dwight, Matt, Bill, Dylan, Russ and sometimes Michael. And of course Bob Van Dyke for being willing to take the project on in the first place. We’re talking about doing it again next year. Set aside some time…

here’s photos. It was fun to see so many chests coming together. Students worked at their own pace, I showed the steps, and then went around to see where each person did or didn’t need my help. Here’s one chest, next up for it is the panels:

panels next

Phil’s watching his closely, making sure it doesn’t make any sudden moves.

phil takes a breath


Matt was able to put in the time for the homework, so his chest moved ahead of some others. He’s pinning it together here:




His bottom boards are inserted, and next he trimmed them from behind.


bottoms up


trimming bottom


There was a lot of carving for this chest, every piece in the chest front: rails, stiles, muntins, panels, drawer front.



some sub-assemblies. Lots of parts to keep track of, from back when they were coming out of the log to now.

sub assemblies

For me, a fun sideshow was watching Bob Van Dyke driving nails into a trestle table he’s built. Out of his element for sure…

bob w nails



Here’s his finished table:bob's trestle table

The reason he was uncomfortable nailing table tops – this is his usual sort of work, in this case all done with mirrors (he’s using 2 mirrors to compose the inlay decoration for the table top.) the top will not be nailed on from above.

it's all done w mirrors


here’s some posts from earlier in the series on this class.










another wainscot chair project

some years ago, I had two projects making copies of wainscot chairs. Both were projects based on chairs from Hingham, Massachusetts. First, a copy of a wainscot chair at the Brooklyn Museum, here’s the original:

Brooklyn Museum wainscot chair, made in Hingham Massachusetts, 1650-1700

I can’t find my shot of the finished repro right now, but here’s an in-progress shot:

wainscot chair detail b

I called this chair the Edvard Munch chair, because these designs on the vertical panels reminded me of “The Scream.”

That led to making a chair for the town of Hingham. This one stood for much of the twentieth century in the Old Ship Church. Last I knew it was on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Hingham wainscot chair
Hingham wainscot chair

Here’s my copy, which I think is on display in the town library in Hingham:

Lincoln chair, red oak, walnut & maple
Lincoln chair, red oak, walnut & maple

Now comes another project, copying the well-known King Philip chair, or the Cole family chair, depending on what legend you believe. Maybe it’s southeastern Massachusetts, maybe it’s Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve known of the chair for many years, but had never seen it in person. It was published in Robert Blair St George’s book The Wrought Covenant in 1979, and Trent discussed it in the 1999 edition of American Furniture. I went yesterday to the Martin House Farm in Swansea, Massachusetts http://nscdama.org/martin-house-farm/ to see the chair and take notes & measurements. here’s some shots of it.

Front view, feet chopped/worn down. The bottom-most turned bits added at front.


full view of chair

Rear panel carving. Eight divisions on this one, the crest rail is divided into 7s.

back panel

How’s this for brackets? Amazing they have survived.


Molding detail, front apron

molding detail

I find the back of this chair more interesting than the front. “Tabled” panel, sort of a variation on a raised panel. The field is then run with a molding around its perimeter. Molded edges to the framing as well…

rear view

A detail, including an early repair, iron braces nailed on.

back detail

symmetry schm-metry

I can usually swing with some general symmetry, or “approximate symmetry” as I often call it. This chest of drawers I’ve been building just fooled me, almost knocked me off my feet. I knew it was 2 different designs on the drawer fronts, but for some stupid reason I expected the carving on each drawer front to be symmetrical left-to-right. What was I thinking?

here’s the original – I didn’t even notice how random it is until I began to lay it out today.

full drawer fronts


Here’s a detail of both, one half each.