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.
I feel like I’m moving. I guess I am…I’ve been sifting through boxes of stuff that I stashed almost 3 years ago when I moved out of my old shop. The new one is nearing completion, so I keep sorting boxes…
People give me stuff every now & then, and somewhere along the line I got these small drawings. I forget who gave them to me. I scanned a few of them tonight. I don’t usually work from this sort of drawing, but I appreciate the skill that it takes to make them. They’re quite nice.
this first batch are all (except the cane chair) about 5″ x 7″ – but they’re not from one notebook, so the sizes vary. one seems like it says “drawn by C. M. Bill. I scanned them & darkened them a little…some are marked either “Albert & Vic” or “Al & Victoria” – thus the V&A in london…others are unmarked as to what collection they’re drawn from…
the cane chair drawing is 6 3/4″ x 10 1/4″.
There’s about 10 more. I’ll scan those some point soon.
more pictures. the floor to the shop is more than 2/3s done, today I moved the main tool chest into place. I made this chest after Chris Schwarz’ book came out about his tool chest. There are links at the bottom of this post about building it, and painting it.
I took some photos as I put some of the tools back inside. Here is the chest in its new place, to the right of my workbench.
when I fitted the interior drawers, the runners I made were leftover carvings. Perfect quartered oak.
the bottom drawer is the deepest, has some backsaws & a plane on one end…
and a box-within-a-box of gouges on the other. Back in 2012 when I made this chest, I had cut some dovetails, but not enough to get efficient. This chest and its related tool trays/boxes got me plenty of practice. Here are the bowl-gouge boxes – the small one fits into the larger, deeper one:
and then the whole thing fits into the deep tray in the chest:
shallower trays go above this one. Starting with this chisel-tray. Some spokeshaves in it are bound for new placement soon…once I finish working on the shop.
my main carving gouges go in the top tray, along with some small stuff that fits there alongside them…
molding planes went in before the trays – bench planes will fit in the front floor…
There’s a saw till in front, this Disston saw, made for A.J. Wilkinson Co, sits in there, with others…
Later, I added some junk to the underside of the lid – marking tools, squares, some bits:
Then, the door-hanger came, so I switched gears. More later. Tomorrow, threshold and spandrels.
I mostly watched, as Pret hung the door. so I got out the camera & shot some raking light…
and Daniel’s sign he put on the shop’s peak:
It was going to say “Workshop” but he ran out of room…
Here’s more about the chest, back when I was making it.
I am often telling readers of the blog to remember there’s a search button on the sidebar of the blog, to help you find stuff buried in the mists of time. But don’t search for “sharpening” because I almost never write about it. Today I was sharpening some chisels for this weekend’s session in joinery at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Lately, I’ve been using a honing guide from Lie-Nielsen and experimenting again (after 20+ years) with water stones.
I use a broad range of sharpening stuff – still use natural oilstones for many things (drawknives, hatchets, turning gouges). I never teach sharpening as a stand-alone course for several reasons. Principally, I feel like I’m a student of it, not an instructor. And there’s people better qualified than me to teach sharpening.
One of whom is Tim Manney, and he’s coming down to Plymouth Craft to teach a 2-day class in grinding, sharpening, honing – the works.
I remember seeing Tim at Woodworking in America one time, and he was cutting end grain pine with a drawknife – it was as smooth a surface as I had ever seen. Tim isn’t magical, just methodical. And good. Good teacher, good craftsman. Come join us November 12 & 13 – bring your derelict and dull tools. You’ll be amazed at what can be done with them. I’ll be peeking over some shoulders to see what I can learn…
It’s coming on a whole year I’ve been building the workshop. I hope to finish just under that measure.
Lately it’s been windows – 15 windows in a building 12 feet by 16. It’s like I’m Tom Lie-Neilsen or something. They’re all in now, keeping out the dreadful wind and rain.
I’ve been making frames, (Justin Keegan made the first batch) fitting old sash to said frames, and trimming them inside & out. Work I know nothing about. Once I got going, I only had to re-do a small percentage of the work each day…Still more battens outside, some trim framing here & there inside. The battens need doing, the trim can wait til a bit later.
I did get to use planes a good bit, a relief from hammers, screwdrivers, etc. Reminded me of joinery.
With that many windows, there’s lots of light. Here’s an old box, fresh out of a 2-year stint in storage.
More pictures. The place is still a jumble, but each day it looks different. After this next photo, I cleaned it out. The floor is next, so I needed to get stuff out of there. Here, looking past the lathe, towards the river. In this photo, the lathe is just a place to pile junk.
Turning around, looking the other way, towards the door. Loft above. Main bench on our left.
more raking light.
begun hanging things here & there. Some will move when I find out they’re in the wrong spot.
As soon as the loft was done, it got filled. A couple of times. Here’s loft-left:
There’s carvings scattered around the outside too. Mostly under the window frames, but the red-painted one got temporarily hung above where the door will go. When the door goes in, it will come down to get trimmed, then re-hung.
A recent one under one of the front windows.
Today I started working on the floor boards. Two layers of 7/8″ white pine. Insulation underneath. First, I’ve been cutting tongue-and-groove joints on the finish floor boards. Bought this really nice pair of planes from Patrick Leach. All I had to do was sharpen them.
The floor boards are 16′ long. Got to work both edges of 18 boards. I’ll walk some ways in this task, but what fun. The near end of the board sits in a notched stick held in the end vice. It works.
Each time I’m at a museum to study furniture, I ask permission to post my shots of the objects here…some say yes, some say no. I feel like I’ve been very lucky to have so much access to 17th-century furniture, and I know many folks either haven’t got the time or inclination to go search it out. (it’s also heavily skewed to the east coast here in the US…)
I thought I could review some stuff that’s been over on the blog before, there’s always new readers, and it never hurts to see details – even ones you’ve seen before. The following objects are from a group that I studied many years ago with Jennie Alexander and Bob Trent. These were the first oak chests I ever learned about…so I always enjoy looking at them again.
When I think back on the leg-work to find this – staggering. I also searched for who might have been the original owners in the late 1600s. From our research, we knew the group of chests came from Braintree, Massachusetts, so I had to do some genealogical research stretching back from the 1880s to the 1680s – eventually found some likely candidates, it’s in the article somewhere.
Here’s the same chest, scanned from one of my color slides. Until this one, all but one of the joined chests we had seen had one (sometimes two) drawers underneath. I’ve built copies of this chest many times….
Here’s the other w/o drawer-chest, with brackets under the bottom rail. Lost some height of its feet, and has a horrible replaced lid.
One distinctive feature of these chests is the way the floor fits into the chest. Instead of a higher rear rail that the floor is nailed up to, these guys use a lower rear rail, and sit the floor on it. And nail it. Here’s one I restored, with some white pine floor boards, sliding over the lower rear rail, and fitting into grooves in the side and front rails. The back panel is not yet installed, making it easy to see what’s going on. Tongue & groove joints between the floor boards.
Same thing on a repro I did, better view of the lower rear rail. sorry for the garish light. (just think, when my new shop is done soon, only-daylight)
Then the back panel slides up from the feet, fitting into grooves in the stiles & upper rear rail. Here’s an overall view of one lying on its face. A white pine panel, (glued-up to get enough width to fill behind the drawer) – bevelled on its ends and top edge to fit the grooves. Slides behind the lower rear rail(s) – and is nailed to the bottom-most rear rail.
Here’s a detail. It requires some careful layout of the joinery for that/those rear rail(s). The tenon is “barefaced” – it has only one shoulder. Fun stuff.
Since the 1996 article there have been maybe 6 more of these chests that have shown up in auction houses. etc…I never saw this one, from James Julia Auctions in Maine. Clearly weird drawer pulls, something funny about the lid, but otherwise looks great.
and one with two drawers – we saw only two of those in our research, there might be four now
I’ve written about these chests and boxes many times…here’s a search for “Savell” (the name of the joiners who we think made them) https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=Savell – there’s other stuff mixed in there, but lots of stuff about the chests and the carvings.