This past weekend was the wrap-up to the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ One weekend a month, for five months, with homework is a tall order.
In addition to the outlay of cash, these students made the commitment of time – that is really striking to me. I appreciate them signing on for this class, and Bob Van Dyke for making it possible. We had some struggles, mostly related to wood supply; and also had a lot of fun making these chests. When I was a student many years ago, Jennie Alexander used to have us all make the same ladderback chair in the class, there was no deviation. I remember once JA suggested just making the chairs, piling them in a heap, and each student taking one home. That didn’t fly, but it illustrated the general notion of a class project.
My workshops are usually nothing like that. I seem to be dumb enough to say to each student, yea – you could add this or that, make this change – why not carve the side frames and panels – so there’s a lot of variation in these projects. And because of the amount of work involved, each student was at a different point in their chest. The way the class worked, I’d cover two topics each weekend, – layout, joinery/carving, decoration/tills, floors, etc.
Then I’d wander from bench to bench to see where the students were, and what they needed. In between classes, I’d often send them blog posts that served as notes for what we just did, or what was coming up. When it ran smoothly anyway…here’s pictures. Some awful. some ok.
A pile of chest parts; ready for test-fitting
White balance out the window – but framed now, & panels cut to size.
Stock prep. Dwight lays his planes on their sides, I see.
what are these guys doing rooting around in my chest?
Oh, trying to suss out the till lid scenario.
Tidy bevels on panels.
Rick’s tool box – dynamite from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Pine lid installed
Back home in daylight again. Started linseed oil. A few moldings left, some drawer pulls & done. then it goes to Fuller Craft Museum for the exhibition about Plymouth CRAFT.
I have two more oak classes at CVSWW – a weekend of carving in May, and later in the fall, a 4-day class in making a carved oak box. Link at the top. Box dates aren’t set yet, but I think it will be late September or early October. I forget…
In addition, I hope to offer one-on-one instruction here at my new shop. I still have a few bits to finish off first, but just wanted to let people know. there’s 2 benches, and lots of tools. As I think about format, it could be pretty flexible. Students could come for technique-based sessions, like the spoon carving or furniture carving I do. Or we could focus on a project, like the carved boxes. If anyone is interested, email me to discuss your ideas. Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net I’ll post more about these when I am closer to being ready. Hopefully within 2 months.
Meanwhile, here’s the classes & more at the usual schools…
Teaching Schedule for 2017
The beginning of this year got away from me, so I am just now posting my teaching schedule for 2017. In addition to these classes, exhibition, and other presentations, I hope to offer one-on-one sessions here at my new shop. I have a little fine tuning to finish up, then I can sort that out. I picture these being either techniques, like spoon carving or carving 17th century patterns; but maybe these could be project oriented too. If anyone is interested, they can email me ( Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net ) & we can tailor something to suit, and go over specifics.
Here’s the schedule as is stands now – there will likely be things added here & there. Right now, there’s nothing with Plymouth CRAFT other than the Greenwood Fest, and I know that we’ll do a few classes during the year. So, more to come.
I’ll take part in Wood Week at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. It will be my first time teaching there, I was a student a few years ago, and found the school and the people to be great. I’ll be working on carving 17th-century style designs for furniture decoration and also giving a talk.. http://www.northhouse.org/programs/events/woodcarverweek.htm
March 18-June 25, exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum
April 21-23, Fine Woodworking Live, Southbridge MA
I’ll be part of the group at Fine Woodworking Live in Southbridge, Massachusetts. http://www.finewoodworkinglive.com/ I’ll be doing presentations about oak joinery, including the carving. It’s quite a line-up, my first time with Fine Woodworking…
May 20 & 21, 17th-c style carving , CVSWW
I’ll be back at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking to do a 2-day class in 17th-century style carving. This one is always fun, because we carve patterns that give Bob the creeps…he sees faces in every design. Very unsettling.
June 6-11, Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest.
It was such a big hit last year, we were dumb enough to do it again. Still some spaces in some pre-fest classes, and a waiting list for the festival. many got in from the waiting list last year. https://www.greenwoodfest.org/
We haven’t set the dates yet, but this will probably be a four-day class, around a weekend in September. We’ll carve and assemble a box typical of the 17th-century work I have specialized in for all these years. My only box class this year…details soon.
Oct 6-8Spoon Carving, Woodwright’s School.
I’ll be teaching spoon carving down at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School. Fun happens there.
First off, the Greenwood Fest http://www.greenwoodfest.org/ sold out in just about 1 day. There are still spaces in several of the pre-fest courses; scroll down on the link to read about those offerings. If you missed a ticket to the fest, do get on the waiting list. June is a long ways off, lots can happen between now & then. Last year, many on the waiting list got in. Maybe all. Thanks to all who support Plymouth CRAFT’s programs, we appreciate it. A special hearty thanks to Paula Marcoux, who runs Plymouth CRAFT, organizes the festival and created the website – and answered every question sent to Plymouth CRAFT …and on & on. The rest of us just goof around, Paula does all the work.
In the workshop, I’m getting prepared for this weekend’s edition of the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ I’m going to assemble the chest I’m working on, so the students can see what happens when they get to that step. First, I make a lot of tapered oak pins. Shaved, not driven through a dowel plate. These pins are the most critical part of the joinery. They need to be straight-grained, and cleanly cut.
And I need a lot of them. I think 56 in this particular chest. Some are already driven; the front is mostly assembled.
the photo at the top of this post shows me scribing the pin hole on the side rails’ tenons. Here, I’ve knocked those joints apart enough to get in there & bore the holes in the tenons.
Then drive the pins home.
The shoulder pulls up nice & tight.
I’ll cut & fit the till and install the floor during the class. I’ll try to get shots during the weekend.
I carved some spoons recently – one a shape I’ve carved many times – here is the new spoon alongside one about 10 years old. Similar shape, one with a nice broken-in feel, the other brand-spankin’-new. Both birch, both flax oil finish. that’s what using them does to them…I like the look of time & use… I think it also helps to know as you’re carving spoons that what the color & grain look like today is not what they will look like down the line.
I did some carving today, in white pine, for window trim in the workshop. The pattern I cut was inspired by the students in the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. This design has been evolving for a while now, I wrote about the basic version of this pattern five years ago https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/patterns-patterns/ This one has the additional step of hollowing the surface, and then doubling up the design.
We carved single rows of this in the class, then first one, then another student asked about doubling them up. So I copied them in this case…Here’s some of what I did. The outline is based on margins and horizontal centerlines. I mark off the spacing with a compass, and strike a punch to give me a starting point for the pattern. Then I strike the arcs with a large, #7 gouge. For the doubled braid, the first rows of strikes look like a stack of curved Vs or seagulls…
Then I turn the gouge around, and strike going the other way, toward the outer margins.
After the vertical strikes, I angle the tool downwards a bit, and remove a crescent chip.
After this step, it now looks like a stack of handlebar mustaches.
Then I go at it some more with the large #7, and begin to connect the arcs…
A shallow #5 gouge snips out some areas between the arcs, making space for some shadows.
Then I used a #8 gouge to hollow the flat parts that remain…this cut is a pivoting quarter-arc…over & over.
some go this way, some go that way…
I shot some short video of carving some of this pattern. No edits, some fumbling around is included.
carpentry, carpentry, carpentry. I’m thrilled to be making my own workshop, but I’m sick of it. I decided that carpentry is a lot like joinery, just done in uncomfortable positions, and I drop stuff more in carpentry. I can’t wait to be back at the bench full-tilt.
Meanwhile, I got to go with Bob Van Dyke to the Yale Furniture Study recently in preparation for the joined chest class we’re doing at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to get to handle a lot of period furniture; studying the details. It’s still always fun to go over these things. It sounds like an old cliche, but you really do see new stuff with each visit. The Furniture Study is a great place, one of my favorite stops on the early oak circuit. http://artgallery.yale.edu/furniture-study The staff there are very helpful, great scene altogether.
We focused on two chests, the one above and this probably related one.
Typical frame & panel format, all oak in both cases. No secondary wood. Here’s some details:
The panels and muntins on the first chest. Scratch-stock moldings; interrupted where the muntins meet the rails.
This one features a paneled lid. The long rails on the lid alternated how they meet the “stiles” – at the back of the lid, the rail is between the stiles, at the front, the stiles join into the rail. Trickier to layout than one that’s symmetrical.
Nobody spent much time working the backs of these chests. Hatchet, and a little bit of planing. Not much.
The other chest is quite similar, but has some distinctions too. Narrower framing parts for one. Here’s the interrupted molding again, and the panel carving using the S-scroll rather than the “double-heart” motif.
This lid is 3 boards, edge jointed together. Very heavy. 2nd set of hinges. Note the molding around the panels on the inside of the rear framing. You don’t see this once you fill the chest with linens. Till is missing, you still see the trenches and hole for it on our right…
I often find holes in the carved panels, which are presumed to be for nailing the panel down while carving it. (on the double-heart motif detail, if you click that photo to enlarge it, you can see some of these holes) This one has a broken-off nail still in it. See, something new all the time…
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.
Here’s a version I carved maybe 5 years ago:
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.
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…