I’ll have some woodworking stuff here next week. Back to that chest with drawers, some carving and hewn bowls. Meanwhile, here’s the hawk again. He successfully got a rabbit, but didn’t really do much with it. So I chucked it over the bushes, and he was back later in the same spot. Was he looking for his leftovers?
Well, it’s stupid to assign these human attributes to these guys…but we got great views of him in the afternoon. He was back the next day as well.
On the beach, we saw this live crab re-digging itself into the sand.
Almost hidden all the way now…we got out of the way before the gulls got to it.
This batch of books is sold out. There are 3 orders that are international, so I have to get quotes for shipping there. Thus, those books might fall back into circulation. But as of right now, if you want to order this book, go to Lost Art Press (some of its retailers also carry the book). Then just find me somewhere & I’ll sign it. If the international orders fall through, I’ll re-post them. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate it. I’ll get these in the mail this week.
Here’s the Lost Art Press link, and its international ordering page too:
I’m so far behind I’m doing spring cleaning. And, a box full of the joint stool book came to light…
There’s a continuing stream of new readers to the blog (thanks & welcome folks) and I thought I’d remind people of this book. For many years, Jennie Alexander & I were immersed in studying the background and techniques of 17th century joined furniture. We hit upon the joined stool as a means for students to learn the ins & outs of this craft without getting too crazed, like you do with a joined chest or cupboard, or chair for that matter. We worked on the book off & on for many years, then it languished a while after that. Then someone told me I should meet Chris Schwarz…and things unfolded from there.
We were thrilled when the book was published by Lost Art Press a few years ago. I’m pleased as can be with the result, and have a second book on joinery underway. I just had a look through this book now, and I like it a lot. It’s a how-to book with lots of the research behind how we arrived at our techniques. So you see how we do things this way, and why.
I don’t usually sell the book, but as I said, these just poked their heads up. If you’d like them signed, say so & I’ll scribble in it. Then it’s up to you to catch up to Alexander. So from here, they’d be half-signed.
No woodworking photos lately, too busy. I lost a bunch of time to car-shopping, I finally gave up on my 1999 edition and got a new used car. But as we have been working around the house this summer, we’ve been treated to seeing the red tailed hawks that nest somewhere near here. I have never found the nest, but every year, we meet a new hawk or two. They are particularly visible once they are out on their own, screeching & yelling as if to say “why aren’t you feeding me?” One of the juvies showed up tonight as we sat outside eating our dinner.
One of the parts we dealt with the other day in class was the drawer construction. In the chest we’re making, the sides join the drawer front just with a nailed rabbet. It’s stupid that I wrote “just” – as if I’m apologizing for some 2nd-class approach to drawer-making, because it’s not dovetailed. The fact is most English (including New England) drawers in this period are rabbeted and nailed. Even when the side-to-front joint is dovetailed (and nailed) the rear is rabbeted. And they work just fine. No more excuses and apologies. here’s some period drawer details.
Because I’m going to show some rough & tumble sort of drawers, I thought I’d compensate by showing some nicely-made ones too. We’ll start there. A drawer from a chest made south of Boston, c. 1660-1700. Half-blind dovetails join the side to the front. Nailed too, those aren’t added later, they’re the real thing. Bottom nailed up to the sides and rear, toe-nailed into a rabbet in the drawer front. Groove in side engages a runner let into the inside of the chest framing. “side-hung” is what this drawer construction is called. All of the drawers I’m showing you today are side-hung.
Even with dovetails at the front, the rear is rabbeted & nailed. Same drawer.
A rabbeted side-to-front. Nailed. Bottom in a rabbet too.
Now let’s get to where it’s at: these 2 drawers I photographed at Yale University’s Furniture Study. the cupboard they come from might be New Haven or Guilford, CT. Bottoms run parallel to the drawer front. Single board on one, multi-board on the other. Drawer sides were too thick for the nails, so were cut down where they rabbet into the front. Drawer front is thicker at its bottom edge than at its top edge, remnants from riving wedge-shaped pieces from the log. Turned pulls fit through the front and are wedged inside.
These drawer backs are thin, really like a riven clapboard. Dressed (planed) on the inside, rough outside. Nailed & pegged in some cases.
for contrast, here’s the front of one of those drawers.
These two are from a Boston chest of drawers. Showing the contrast between the front & back. Finished molded decoration on the deep drawer front, the back of the shallow, smaller drawer is almost just as it came out of the log.
Here’s a chest with drawer from Ipswich Massachusetts, same time frame. No drawer pulls. No rail below drawer. No framing on the side of the chest covering the drawer. How’s that for simple?
Usually the drawers are full-width of the case. Here’s two side-by-side drawers. With one removed, you can see the runner set in the muntin in this case. The other runner is set in the stiles at the other end of the drawer.
These runners are not anything special. Notches are cut with a saw & chisel, the runners set in. Often toe-nailed too. (this one is not)
As I was picking out pictures, I saw this one & don’t remember seeing drawers done like this before. The drawer front/side is notched – you can just make it out in the top right in this photo. No drawer rail below. I’ll have to go look at this one again, it’s right down the street from my house. Make locally, same period, mid-to-late 17th century.
Last 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:
Phil’s watching his closely, making sure it doesn’t make any sudden moves.
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.
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.
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…
Here’s his finished 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.
here’s some posts from earlier in the series on this class.
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
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:
I can’t find my shot of the finished repro right now, but here’s an in-progress shot:
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
Here’s my copy, which I think is on display in the town library in Hingham:
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.
Rear panel carving. Eight divisions on this one, the crest rail is divided into 7s.
How’s this for brackets? Amazing they have survived.
Molding detail, front apron
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…
A detail, including an early repair, iron braces nailed on.