Stupid me – I forgot Tim Manney!

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he’s not holding a cricket, he’s carving a spoon!

Sorta. Tim will be an integral part of our Greenwood Fest next month, and way back when I was posting bios about the presenters, I asked Tim for a blurb. One thing he stinks at is self-promotion. So I asked for more info, and somehow it got past me & I once in a while kept thinking “I gotta write up Tim…” – So sorry, Tim, it took so long. Look forward to seeing you in Plymouth next month. 

Tim makes excellent chairs, tools, and spoons. He’s particularly passionate about spoon-carving.

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I’ve written before about one approach he uses, which is to steam-bend blanks for spoon carving. Don’t dismiss this as some whacky notion – it’s another example of using spoon carving to learn some further-flung techniques applicable to many woodworking tasks. Tim knows wood technology very well, his chair-making is top-notch. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/what-if-a-chairmaker-made-spoons/

At the Festival Tim will lead some students through the process he uses for steam-bending spoon blanks, and demonstrating some ladderback chairmaking techniques. Make sure you get to see Tim in action.

Here’s what he wrote:

“I started carving spoons on a stump behind my college dorm, quickly got obsessed, and started tracking down everyone that I could learn anything about spooncarving from.  After meeting Curtis Buchanan at Country Workshops, he invited me to live and work with him in Tennessee and learn to make Windsor chairs.  Working with Curtis in his small chair shop gave me a model of how to run a small production workshop and I’ve been building my life around that model ever since.

After leaving Tennessee and moving to Maine I started making chairs, but with the help of another Windsor chairmaker, Pete Galbert, I found a niche for myself making hand tools.  Pete and I collaborated on the design of a reamer and an adze and I have spent the last four years producing those tools to order.  The tools are a product of the combination of our experience in building chairs, prolific prototyping, and endless experimentation.  It’s a fun process.  The results are tools that are easy to control and, we hope, intuitive to use.

I currently work out of a small workshop in Maine where I produce the tools that Pete and I designed, make Windsor and ladderback chairs, and continue to obsessively carve spoons.  Spoon carving is the foundation of all of my woodworking and it continues to provide a playground for shape, form, function, and aesthetics that informs everything else.”

a gallery of some of Tim’s work:

His Instagram page is here: https://www.instagram.com/tim.manney/ 

carved panel depicting tools

Seeing the recent post on Lost Art Press’ blog about misericords was great. https://blog.lostartpress.com/2016/04/28/a-gallery-of-misericords-the-woodworkers/  Suzanne Ellison has rounded up images of a bunch of woodworkers – nice to have them in one place. Misericords are always an eye-opener. The thing about them that gets me is the piece of oak they come from…really large pie-shaped chunks. Makes me think riven. makes me wonder why these large pieces have no checks & splits in them. Nobody ever talks about how they were made, only about the carvings and the irreverence of them. Her’e’s a photo I shot on our 2005 trip, so maybe Yorkshire, or en route.

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misericord

Another thing her post did for me was to remind me that I wanted to show this carved panel to Roy Underhill. He & I were boring end-grain recently (shrink pots), and were crowing about how lucky we were to not be boring water pipes.

Dutch blockmakers sign

This carving is thought to be a shop sign for blockmakers in Amsterdam. I think it’s late 1680s/90s if I recall correctly. A friend gave me the photo years ago, and I never have posted it. Was waiting for him to publish it…but time moves on. It’s in one of the Amsterdam museums, I forget which.

I broke it down into 2 detail shots too – this one with the lathe, skew chisel & gouges, planes, drawknives, calipers – great detail.

Dutch blockmakers sign_lathe etc

 

Here’s the other half.

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The dog; the kid putting shavings in the basket,  boring tools, hatchets, saws – it’s all here in great detail. Enjoy it.

openings at Greenwood Fest 2016, a few spaces became available

Link for late registration:

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=greenwood-fest-2016-late-registration

 

4 hatchets

Time to get the tools all sharpened & primed – Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest is coming up before you know it. As it turns out, we have a few slots open as of today (April 13) – maybe 4 or 5 spaces. So if you missed out, or hesitated and now wish you didn’t – here goes. Dates are June 10-12, 2016. Jump on them here:

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?wpsc-product=greenwood-fest-late-registration

Line up includes spoon carving, bowl carving & turning, furniture work (me, and Tim Manney on chairs) riving & hewing – on & on. Presenters include:

Jarrod & April Stone Dahl,
JoJo Wood
Owen Thomas
Jogge Sundqvist
Beth Moen
Dave Fisher
Tim Manney
me & my Plymouth CRAFT friends, Pret Woodburn & Rick McKee (last seen on this blog working on my timber frame)

Details here:

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=greenwood-fest-2016

Once these few spots go, it’s still worth getting on the waiting list. You won’t get in if you’re not on it, and you might get in if you are. Many have in the past couple of months. Things change.

 

axe & club

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=greenwood+fest

the summer of Fests

It’s quite a festive year for some of us – Going in reverse chronological order, the circus I’m in has expanded so that I’ll be travelling to Sweden & England this summer, in addition to my usual East Coast wanderings.

The last one is Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. Among the many participants are Del Stubbs, renowned knife-maker to the spoon world, working on his fan birds; Jögge Sundqvist, inspiring us all with his extraordinary work, Beth Moen, carver of giant bowls, (her favorite tools is the axe!); Anja Sundberg, whose work is almost as colorful (more colorful?) than Jögge’s; and Jojo Wood. (it’s the Year of JoJo).  There’s more craftspeople to come, too. It’s my first trip to that part of the world, I’m beside myself with excitement. I cant’ believe I get to be a part of this. https://www.facebook.com/taljfest/?fref=nf and http://www.saterglantan.com/evenemang/taljfest/ 

 

 

The middle festival for me is Spoonfest in Edale, Derbyshire, England. http://spoonfest.co.uk/

It’s the reverse British invasion, four Americans coming for the pre-fest courses; me, Fred Livesay, Jarrod Stone Dahl, and Alexander Yerks. Among others are Magnus Sundelin- I’m thrilled to be in such company. that’s just the sessions beforehand, then the whole thing kicks off for 3 days…with Robin Wood, Barn Carder and I-don’t-know-who-else. Spoonfest is the legend, and this is my first time getting to it. I’m looking forward to meeting all those spoon-crazed people!

 

Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest is the first, coming up in early June. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?page_id=2189

Plymouth CRAFT

Spoonfest was our inspiration; some common threads are JoJo Wood, Jarrod Stone Dahl, Jögge Sundqvist, Beth Moen – but we have Owen Thomas, Dave Fisher, Tim Manney, April Stone Dahl and others coming too. Later this month, I’ll be getting some lists of wood needs, and other preparations. It will be here before you know it, and before I’m ready. Thankfully, CRAFT is in better hands than mine, so I just have to show up & introduce some people and cut wood…

the wainscot chair panel & more

Some catch up about the wainscot chair underway. First off, the back of the panel is decorated, unlike most (all?) New England wainscots – in this case a raised/tabled panel. The raising is quite distinct, leaving a high rectangle (the table) that is then set off by scraping a molded edge to it. Here, I have the panel on the bench, pausing in mid-bevelling.

raised tabled panel

Here it is, test-fitted into the rear stiles & crest rail. The stiles still need moldings scraped along their long edges. This section is leaning against the front section, so you see the scrolled apron peeking through behind. I can’t wait to work in the new shop, where I hope to have some room for photos!

back of the back

 

The front of the panel has 4 “crop circles” (I had to give them some name…) – you might have seen an earlier post where I showed a couple of period examples of this decoration.

front of the back

I had no evidence regarding what tool might have made these shapes – I’ve only seen the circles a few times… so I made a tool much like a wooden brace, or “wimble” as it’s sometimes called. But instead of a boring bit in the bottom, I inserted a scraper, like we use on scratch stocks for molding.

crop circle wimble

Here’s the head. I left it loose, thinking I might like to use this head for an actual brace (that’s what I cut it for ages ago, was just lucky I could find it now, & thus didn’t have to make it)

head of wimble

Here’s the scraping profile, and the result. If I had time to spend, I would have rounded the end of the tool, and installed a ferrule to keep the cutter in place. I tried a screw like I use on scratch stocks, but it split the maple. So I temporarily clamped the end closed, cut the circles & moved on.

crop circle & cutter

Our neighbor Sara invited us to see Sara & Brad, fish monitors from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries checking the smelt coming up the river. We had quite a time. Birds I know because they fly right around where you can see them, but the fish rarely poke their heads out of the water…

here’s the fyke net:

fike net

Here’s one of the smelt. I think I heard them say they caught 190 overnight, and over 400 in 4 days this week. They told us it has been the best year (out of 14 or so) they have had for smelt. they do the whole “record-them, measure them, toss them back” thing.

smelt

some chair making in between all the excitement

crest

In between the raising and moving & stacking roughly 160 white pine boards I got some work in on the wainscot chair(s) I have underway. Soon, I’ll set up my lathe (yes, even before the shop is closed in) and get on with turning the front stiles in these chairs. But before that, I can do all the joinery and other decoration. There’s some rather pedestrian carving, some scroll work on the lower edge of the aprons, and top of the crest, and some scratched moldings on the rails and stiles.

The scroll work on the aprons is simply a matter of boring a few holes, connecting some dots with a turning saw, and clean-up with a chisel. One nice feature almost every time I see this detail is that the scroll work is cut into an angled rabbet on the bottom of the rail. This tilts the scroll work upwards to the viewer’s eyes, and thins out the piece to be pierced. Those old guys knew what they were about.

scrolled apron
One detail on the carved panel of the original chair is something I have only seen a few times before – these little round bits (bottom corners in this photo) – they look like turned decoration, but that’s nuts of course. They aren’t carved, that’s for sure. They seem to be made like “scratch stock” moldings, but around an axis.

back panel

Here’s a detail of some on an English box I saw years ago:

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Carved box detail

After some head-scratching, I decided I’m going to make a wooden brace fitted out with a molding scraper, like a scratch stock. Now that the pine boards are all stickered, I can go back to working  on the chairs. If the brace does the job, you’ll hear about it