May with Plymouth CRAFT

twisting the froe
twisting the froe

These days, I tend to be out ahead of myself a bit. While teaching the chest class in Connecticut a week or so ago, I was thinking of preparing the next class(es), in Alaska. Those are coming right up (still room) and while I’m planning, preparing & packing for that, I’m thinking ahead to a spoon class at Lie-Nielsen and then the video shoot after it. Those are in early May, so right in time for spring migration in Maine.

THEN – comes the next of my offerings with my friends in Plymouth CRAFT. Rick McKee and I are teaming up to show how to split apart logs for various projects. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=splitting-a-log-into-boards  This is a technique class, not a project. Rick has rived many thousands of clapboards over the years,and numerous other oak materials. We’ll look at how to “read” the log, what to look for, and what to look out for. Use of the wedges, mauls, froe & club – the riving brakes. It should be great. This is a one-day class, hosted at the Harlow Old Fort House, near downtown Plymouth Massachusetts. A rare chance to get together with Rick, you could even end up on one of his memorable blog posts at Blue Oak. https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/

riving stiles with a froe
riving stiles with a froe

I’m off tomorrow to scout out some wood for this class. If I find a suitable ash log, I might add splint pounding to the lineup. That’s more fun than you can stand.

The Plymouth CRAFT scene usually is a multi-ring circus,and this one’s no exception. While we’re busting logs open, Charlotte Russell and Denise Lebica will be teaching drop-spinning.

“In this class, you will learn to use a simple tool — the drop-spindle — to convert fiber into yarn. Spinning is at the foundation of most of the textile arts. The ancient, inexpensive, portable, drop-spindle allows you to spin almost anywhere.

 

This workshop with long-time spinner and teacher Charlotte Russell will focus on developing a feel for creating quality yarn, and will feature hands-on evaluation of fibers such as wool, alpaca, flax, cotton, angora, quiviut and silk. Participants will gain an understanding of  which of the various types of spindles are appropriate to spin which fiber.”  – whole story here: http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spinning-fiber-into-yarn

IMG_5479

for me, having other classes under the same umbrella adds a lot to the fun, it’s great being surrounded by more crafty people and we usually have some time to spend seeing what the other half is up to…it’s sure to be interesting. Come join us, Rick & I will bring the tools & wood, you just come show up. the lunch alone is worth it.

Even sooner than that is a weekend class that I wish I was taking – make a wood-fired oven with Paula Marcoux. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=build-an-earthen-oven Paula knows ovens like I know oak. Coming right up, May 2 & 3, 2015. This will be a life-changing class – really.

fitting the cupboard door

As promised – fitting a wooden hinge on a cupboard door. Again, I think I’ve never covered this on the blog. Here’s the cupboard, sans door: note the rabbet in the muntin beside the door opening.

assembly begun

To hinge this door with wooden pins is easy. Bore holes in the upper and lower rails’ inside edges. Here’s the top rail – I haven’t finished pinning the joints in the frame, but ignore that. See the hole bored in the upper rail’s lower edge:

top rail hole for pin

Corresponding hole in the upper edge of the door, note bevels on outer corners of door stile:

top of door

 

 

The wooden pin on the top of the door bottoms out in the stile, and protrudes up into the upper rail. Here it is in the stile:

top pin

 

here’s the bottom edge of the door – note the pin here fits (loosely) all the way up into the stile:

 

bottom of door

 

With my finger covering the hole in the bottom of the door, I tilt the upper pin in place, and then lean the door into its opening.

 

tilt in the top

 

Then knock it about some with a hammer, to jar the pin loose so it drops down into the bottom rail.

knock the bottom edge

The hole in the bottom rail is shallow, so the pin bottoms out in the rail and sticks up into the door’s hole –

open

 

I planed a rabbet in the door’s other stile, to overlap the rabbet in the frame. This stops the door from going all the way into the cupboard. You can (& I have sometimes) make rabbets on the hinge stile too – so the door is a little more snug = this one just butts up against the muntin.

door knob, couple of pins, linseed oil & this one’s crossed off.

Saw this guy this AM on my walk –

strut

 

 

 

 

joined chest class session 2

Last weekend was the 2nd session (of 5) of the joined chest class I’m teaching at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. These guys are working pretty hard…here’s pictures and captions –

mortising detail
mortising the front stiles – 6 mortises per stile
mortising from on high
mortising from on high

 

test fitting
test fitting a front frame
joined stool
a student tried to butter me up, showing me his joined stool (nice work, Larry)

The 2nd day we met at the yard where we’ve been splitting the logs into parts. Time for the students to do some heavy work.

beginning
I kicked it off, a 10′ log, nearly 30″ in diameter. We need lots of oak
you gotta watch them
as you can see, you gotta watch these logs.

 

 

 

 

open
the first split in a long one is often tough
now it looks big
this view shows its true size – it’s big.
laying out panels
marking out panels
half & half again
then split along the dotted lines
froe
later we got to some froe work

 

premium material
I guarded the wide panel stock closely. we need panels 11″ and 13″ wide at least

 

fragrant load
a whole bunch of stinky smelling cars left that site. Back in 6 weeks for round 3

 

 

 

 

oak and birds

This weekend we worked on the joined chest project at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ll write a post about it tomorrow, but in the aftermath of that weekend, I had a few wide oak panels to rive out for planing this week. As they were busted from the log, they were grossly thick for one panel, but most were too thin at the inside edge for two. This calls for some tricky froe-work.

these bolts were 22″ long or so. and in this photo, just over 13″ wide. This one was thick enough to split in two, one panel might come out just narrower than 12″ = once I hew & plane them, they’ll be in the range of 3/4″ thick.

two wides

 

The others weren’t quite the same original thickness, so I had to split them off-center. This gets one wide panel, and one narrower panel. It saves wood, saves hewing, and is all-around well worth it. When it works. Below you see I’ve driven the froe in parallel to the wide face, but it doesn’t reach all the way to the inner edge. To split successfully this way requires the straightest grain, and most agreeable oak. This inner, narrow panel will finish about 6″ or 7″ wide.

extra splits

 

Here’s a detail of how the two panels lie in the oak:
wide & narrow

 

 

I did about four of them this afternoon, while unpacking the car & tools from the weekend. Here’s a detail showing a 14″ panel and its 12″ neighbor.

two parts of one

Once I drive the froe into the split, I jam the bolt in the riving brake – I wouldn’t like to attempt this without one. When it goes right, you hear a SNAP when the froe is twisted and the oak breaks free. I’d only try this on short lengths in these widths.

 

 

off splits

Earlier in the day, look who I found – the redtail hawk from the other day:

flight

 

If we hadn’t seen him drop down to the ground, we’d never have found him among the beat-down grass –

 

 

brunch

 

He caught something there, and we watched him for a while. Then decided to leave him to his brunch… (or her…we don’t know. It is a good size bird, might be female…doesn’t really matter, to me anyway.)

well matched

Later, a kestrel, lousy photo though. Can’t get anywhere near them.

kestrel

ditto for a bluebird.

bluebird

But almost every year about this time, I photograph & post a picture of a snipe. Usually I pair it with photos of the hinges I use for boxes and chests. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/setting-gimmals-you-might-know-them-as-snipe-bills/  (Ahh, that post was from Dec, but I found photos of snipe from April 5, 2013. everything is late this year)

Maureen found this one (then a 2nd one) right in front of us in the blind at the Audubon place where we were walking…

One snipe.

snipe

Two snipes. they blend in more than the hawk did.

snipes

 

 

 

Finally something I haven’t already covered on the blog

Often when choosing a subject for the blog, I sound like a broken record (we can use that expression now, because people are using vinyl again) – spoons, carved oak, chests, boxes, chairs. Birds. After 7 years, it’s pretty rare when I have a woodworking project that I haven’t covered before on the blog. I tend to make the same things over & over. Mostly. But I know I haven’t made one of these cupboards in all that time, so here goes nothing. These are simple affairs; a combination of a carcass like a six-board chest, but with a joined front. Here’s one I did 12 years ago, when we worked on PBS’ Colonial House.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the new one, I had worked the oak frame up last week, then took it to the shop to saw out & fit the pine ends, shelves and back. I have some nice wide pine boards to use, here I’m ripping the sapwood off, to bring it down to 18″ wide. I tend to do ripping like this, at the workbench, upright. 2 hands. Easy to see my line this way, and I like not being hunched over.

2 handed sawing

 

then I marked out the cut-outs for the feet. These are just based on looking at several board chests, but aren’t specific copies of any one foot pattern.

you do it like that

 

The resulting end board.

feet

 

This photo goes backwards in time; I’m rabbeting the inside face of the front stile, to insert the edge of the end board. rabbetThis cupboard will have a central door, opening on wooden pintle hinges. Here’s the mortise for a muntin; and to the left of it, a hole bored for the pintle the door will swing on. To the right, a panel groove.
rails

 

The other muntin with a rabbet planed in it, to stop the door from swinging into the cupboard.

muntin

 

I cut notches in the inside faces of the ends, for shelves at the bottom & halfway up the height of the cupboard. I rarely make these, so don’t have a router plane. I just make two saw kerfs, and pare out between them with a chisel. You can see I lean the chisel this way & that, to come down to the saw kerf, then I’ll remove the peaked middle. Not as neat as a router plane…

trench

Here’s the cupboard front and one end leaning side by side while I worked on the other end.

front & one end

 

Then I bored pilot holes, and nailed the front to the edges of the ends. You can either assemble the front frame around the door, or insert the door afterwards. Because I haven’t made the door yet, I chose option B. All in all, a little bit of joinery, a few rabbets, and a bunch of stout nails.

assembly begun

Later today I got the shelves in, and cut out the board for the top. I’ve had to change the way the back will fit, because I cut one shelf 1″ too short! So had to switch some stock around. I had zero extra pine boards. Friday and next week I’ll finish this up & show you what happened.

On the bank’s green edge…

Saw a book at the library the other day – Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do – but I didn’t take it home. I already know I like living within sight of  the water.

Looking down the Jones River

 

As an added bonus, the borrowed shop I’m using has a water view as well. As you might know, I had a great time this winter. But…I’m not sad to see it going away now…today was the first day I could sit outside and feel warm enough in just a sweater. So I sat by the edge of Town Brook and ate my lunch. And watched the water.

Up the Town Brook

 

For ten minutes, I was transported. I was Huck Finn, drifting down his Mississippi. Then I was Henry David Thoreau, philosophizing beside Walden Pond. I heard Garcia singing Brokedown Palace.  I was that red-tail hawk, floating above the Brook…then I was me, thinking of the Jones River at home…was the tide low or high?

that way to the sea

 

Then an emergency vehicle came screaming down the road, my reverie was snapped. Water view or not, it was time to go back to work. But it sure was a great ten minutes.

sawing

some leftover photos & more

I took today off, which means I only did woodworking for half the day so far. A few things rambling around during the last week. We made it out to the beach the other day for the first time since the winter hit hard.

first beach trip

The usual beach-combing, sand-building, and scenery-viewing. Then on the walk back, Daniel noticed this skull. I put the keys in the shot for scale.

skull scale

My what lovely teeth you had…really small, but fierce teeth. I woulda brought it home for the skull & bones collection, but it was still fleshy in places…

what teeth you had

 

Saw this in the yard today, it was cause for excitement.

first one

 

The view up the river, no ice.

up

 

 

I finished this bowl yesterday & today. Mostly finished, I’ll carved some stuff along its rim. Butternut, (Juglans cinerea)

bowl

Here’s one way I hold it for final shaping of the rims’ edge. Just some scrap blocks inside the bowl, to keep the vise from pressing against the upper edge.

trimming sides of bowl

Like the spoons, I lean towards odd-ball shapes. This one’s a bent limb, which results in the pith being off-center. So I made the centerline of the bowl ever further out-of-whack. That results in some unusual shapes. Which can be good, or can be fatal. Worked this time, I think.

top view bowl

If you are at all interested in hewing bowls, two things. I’m teaching it this August at Lie-Nielsen, https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/71

and otherwise, you might if you haven’t already look at Dave Fisher’s new blog about his carvings. Dave’s stuff is really inspiring. https://davidffisherblog.wordpress.com/

One other Lie-Nielsen thing – we have decided to try something new(ish) for my carving class this June. Usually we rive and plane some oak, and carve patterns based on the 17th-century stuff. This time, we’re attempting to carve and assemble a small box.

So instead of riving the stuff, it will be riven & prepped ahead of time. Then we’ll concentrate on carving and cutting & assembling. 2 days – whew. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/61

I’ll be doing the whole-soup-to-nuts version of the carved box at Marc Adams’ school as well as the New English Workshops in England. I’ll write in detail about those workshops later this week.

http://www.marcadams.com/available-classes/handskills/1679/

http://www.newenglishworkshop.co.uk/