carved and painted

Right before Christmas, I threatened to finish a carved box with an oak lid. I came close, but at the last minute decided to take a break instead and leave that box for 2020. Once I let it slide, I decided to add painted background to the carvings. It’s been a while since there’s been paint on the blog, so here goes.

To paint a box like this requires a tiny amount of paint. I poured a bit of linseed oil/mineral spirits mixture into this shallow dish. Then squeezed a dollop of some vermilion artists’ oil paint. Next I dipped a wood shaving into a jar of iron oxide dry pigment. The vermilion is just a touch to brighten up the iron oxide. By itself it can be too brick-ish. Red lead was often used in the 17th century, which would be brighter too. If you have some Japan drier that will help the paint/oil combo dry quicker than usual. Mixing in a bit of raw umber can help in the same regard…I had neither the day I decided to do this. So my paint will dry VERY slowly.

Then mush them all together. I often use a glass muller and a piece of plate glass (sort of a flat mortar & pestle) if I have a lot of paint to make. But with this small amount there’s no need to get too carried away. The iron oxide is ground so fine that it dissolves pretty well.

Then it’s like an oak coloring book. A narrow round brush, thin paint and easy does it.

I did all the red first, then shifted over to black for the other color. A standard color combination for that period. Easily sourced colors. The black can be bone-black, lampblack and other sources too. All charcoal/carbon derived.

It’s easy to over-think the paint scheme. It’s pretty casual, just alternating the black and red as much as you can. Without getting too picky about it. This is the front, painted and now waiting to dry.

The ends of this box are carved too, so I painted them at the same time.

Clean-up is a pain. Rather than find a way to dispose of leftover paint, I have been highlighting the carvings in the shop. I had some red leftover and got up on the ladder and painted part of this tie-beam above my bench. I only made it halfway across the room. So next time I’m using red paint I’ll get at the other end.

here’s some earlier clean-up work.

Many art supply stores carry dry pigments for people who want to mix their own paint. The web has plenty of them, I’ve used this site before https://www.dickblick.com/products/gamblin-artists-grade-pigments/

I painted that box on Dec 24 and it’s not dry yet. Patience. I made the oak lid today and will fit it next week. If the paint’s dry.

Jennie Alexander & I wrote a bit about making & using paint like this in our Joint Stool book. https://lostartpress.com/products/make-a-joint-stool-from-a-tree

 

 

Carved arcading photo sequence

Here’s the end of another year. This blog will keep chugging along, going into its 13th year. Today, carving an arcading pattern along the apron for a joined stool. I’ve never done this design in print or video. The rail in the photos is about 3 1/2″ high, with a small molding down on its bottom edge.

Here’s one of the carvings:


The layout is all done with a marking gauge, square & awl, and a compass. Oh, a ruler too. Then I do the chisel-work first. It probably doesn’t matter whether you do chisel or gouge work first.

The first set of strikes define the peaked area between the arches.

Then I come in with the chisel very low, and bevel up. Mallet work at first – to chop down to the depth I scored above.

Further along, showing the “peaks” defined now.

Now comes gouge work. This first one is a large #7 (according to the Swiss numbering system, but it’s an English tool.) Might be about 7/8″ wide.

After striking two arcs outside the arches, I then tilt the gouge over a bit and relieve behind the strikes.

Then with a narrower #7, I struck small, somewhat pointed arcs meeting at a centerline on the top margin, between the arches. Then relieve behind these cuts.

Now for inside the arches. A more deeply curved tool defining a small rounded button at the bottom margin, inside the arches.

Switched to a slightly wider gouge, again with more curve than the #7s – I just begin hollowing right near that incised mark, removing wood carefully.

Then I back up further, and go over what I just cut. One of the few times I carve little-by-little. Most everything I carve is to the full depth on one shot.

Now I concentrate on tilting the gouge over to cut along the scribed line. First on one side, then the other.

A little more…

Then the other side gets the same treatment.

Then I blend those surfaces by cutting down the middle of the arch.

Then there’s just a bunch of details; punches, chisel-incised marks, etc.

I shot a video of carving one of these aprons & was mostly pleased with how it came out. But, I continue to be video-challenged. I uploaded it to youtube so I could copy it here. But it looked like crap on youtube. The video itself here on my machine is quite sharp…I’ll try to figure it out & add it later.

PS: well, now it says “HD” – seems better. I don’t know what happened.
One camera, so sometimes my mallet or hands is/are in the way.

Chairs, stools, boxes – for sale; some on sale

The house is full, the shop is pretty full as well. So I went up in the loft and here goes a few things for sale, a couple on sale. Some prices include shipping, in the smaller and/or lighter stuff. Heavier & bigger, shipping is additional. Come pick them up if you’re nearby.

If you’d like something, leave a comment. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can send a check.

thanks, PF

Ladderback chair

The latest version of my JA chairs; this one I started last month during Plymouth CRAFT’s chair class & finished it up right after. Red oak, some ash rungs. Hickory bark seat.

H: 33 1/2″ seat is 17″ wide at front, 13″ deep. Seat height about 18″
$1200 plus shipping; which runs around $150 here in the US.

 

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Post & rung stool

Related to the above; I made this for a recent article in Fine Woodworking; when that photo shoot was over I stashed it in the loft & promptly forgot about it. Found it today in a pile of chairs and things. I own a John Alexander version of this item; so this one’s extra. The bark seat will last decades; but it’s just a step or so off from what it should be – strips vary a bit too much in width; and are spaced a bit too far apart. There – I’ve told you what’s wrong with it; but it’s a perfectly fine stool really. I’ve priced it to reflect my take on it –

seat height:  18″ frame is 14 1/4″ x 17″
$500 plus shipping

 

 

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Joined stool; oak with red wash – SOLD

H: 20 1/2″ top is 14″ x 15″
I had it at $850; now $750 plus shipping

This stool is like a pair I made recently for an historic house museum in that the stiles/legs are plumb, not canted in one direction like many joined stools. I added carving to the aprons of this one; two different, but related patterns from Connecticut.

 

Single-board quartersawn oak top.

Carved oak box; pine lid & bottom  – SOLD

I made this box earlier this summer; took it with me to Lost Art Press when I taught my first box class there. It’s not a copy of an existing box, but the carvings are based on some work from Connecticut.

It got a bit battered in transit; then back here in the shop something fell on the pine lid & scarred it. So a ding or two. It’s either make a new lid or lower the price. This one works just fine, and now you don’t have to worry about banging it around. Been done for you..

H: 6 1/2″  W: 18 3/4″  D: 12″
was $850, now $750  including shipping

 

Below are the two main detractions on the lid – right dead center on the end molding something fell on it. Looks like it was a chisel! Out along the back edge is some minor denting…

Desk boxSOLD

This one’s been around the block a few times. Most recently it’s featured in my book Joiners’ Work – (get the book here & make your own desk box, https://lostartpress.com/products/joiners-work )

I really like this box, but am seriously jammed for room in the house. Plus I have a very large chest of drawers to bring in the house soon, so I’d be pushing my luck to get this & that in. It’s a copy of one I saw many years ago, made in Braintree, Massachusetts about 1670-1700. Red and white oak, white pine bottom. Hand-made iron hinges. 4 drawers inside, two tills and a tray. Great thing about it is your family can’t pile anything on top of it, so you can get at its contents easily.

H: 11 1/2″ W: 24 1/2″  D: 16 1/4″  height at the front is 6 1/2″

Was $2,000. Now $1,600 plus shipping.

 

 

Carved panel; Alaskan Yellow cedar – SOLD

I’ve said it before, but this is really & truly the last piece of this wood that I have. Working this wood was like nothing I’ve ever seen or felt before. Or since. There wasn’t enough wood to re-saw and make a small box, so I carved this large panel with a design found in a room at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The room came from Bromley-by-Bow; maybe early 1600s.

If you’d like, I can put some screw eyes & wire on the back, or you can decide on how to display it when you get it.

H: 21 3/4″  W:  10 1/2″
$450 including shipping

 

the week in pictures

Just photos, and some captions.

mortising a joined stool frame

 

I bore the peg holes to mark it “done”

 

shaving rungs for JA ladderback

 

Mortised these posts, then shaved with a spokeshave to finish them

 

joinery tested for the 2nd joined stool frame

 

some spoon carving at the end of a day

 

new old shop stool by JA; pre-1978

 

unrelated – two scrolled & molded table rails and two bed posts

 

stile for joined table; 2 3/4″ square

 

turning one of the stiles

Thinking about self-taught turning – “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

turning detail

 

Jones River this morning

 

Nice to see the sun today

JA & PF joined stool demo 2007 part 3

Here’s the 3rd snippet of the demo John/Jennie Alexander & I did back in 2007 at Colonial Williamsburg. This, together with parts one & two that I posted the other day, completes the first of two sessions we did during that program. I’ll load the rest as I get it sorted.

 

 

Here’s the first two in case you missed them –

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/ja-pf-joined-stool-demo-2007-pts-1-2/

JA & PF joined stool demo 2007 pts 1 & 2

I’m video-challenged. But every so often I take a stab at dealing with video files. I have started converting and posting a multi-part video of John/Jennie Alexander & I doing our joined stool demonstration at Colonial Williamsburg in 2007. In the early 1990s, Jay Gaynor was one of the students in our first-ever workshop on joined stools, yet he still hired us to present at the 2007 Furniture Forum.

Here’s part 1:

And here’s part 2:

Clean-up time at JA’s

a sea of chairs

Well, that was quite a trip. I usually take pictures when I travel, but this past weekend I was far too busy to get near the camera much. A group of us descended on Jennie Alexander’s home & shop to begin sifting and sorting the shop/woodworking-related books, papers, and what-have-you.  For me the absolute highlight of the whole weekend was a spontaneous 20-minute examination of about 25 chairs, maybe more. Me, Geli Courpas, the first “apprentice”, Nathaniel Krause, the last-apprentice and Bob Trent. “Which one’s older? Which one’s turned, versus shaved?” And more.

Geli Courpas, Nathaniel Krause & PF

JA & I sold off many of the “extra” tools many years ago. That’s a good thing, because there were so many books, magazines and papers it isn’t funny. But there still were a few tools to gather, then disseminate.

a few tools left

Trent did an amazing job sorting the stacks. Many of the notebooks, including the correspondence between JA & me, were donated to the research library at Winterthur Museum a while back. But there’s lots of stuff still there. I haven’t read the older notebooks, but I plan to next time I’m at Winterthur, Trent says they go back to 1973, five years before the book Make a Chair from a Tree.


I brought home lots of books, maybe 5 or 6 boxes. Many are ones I’ve known all these years. I spent lots of time in that study. Some are to keep, some are to sell here. I’m going to start right in. That hadn’t been my intention, but I have no place to store all of these, so the sooner I move half of them the better. We’ll do it like we did the tools, or the way I usually sell spoons, etc. I’ll post them here, you leave a comment of what you want, then we can make a transaction through paypal, or you send a check. International shipping is extra.

so – books for sale tomorrow night. Some of Alexander’s book, some oak furniture books, some tool history books. I’m going to do one box at a time. If you are interested, watch for tomorrow’s blog post.