a few photos

thanks to Heather, I’ve got a new camera to work with these days. Here’s some photos, no particular theme or order. (if you want to see them bigger. click them. On a computer anyway. I don’t know how it works for you phone-heads.)

The shop from down by the river, just as the sun came over the trees. You can see Daniel’s wildlife camera, I’m trying to get a new blog post out of him.

From inside, later. Looking back toward the river. I’ll shoot this view again tomorrow, the sun is supposed to come out. Now all the cattails are golden brown. I like the way they look now better than this full-summer view.

 

These three baskets are full of split oak to be pins for securing mortise and tenon joints. I take short off-cuts from dead-straight stock and split them out & fill these baskets with them. I made the two on the left, the one on the right is a new/old one from Louise Langsner, came to me from the Jennie Alexander collection.

This basket is the one I keep down where I can get at it. The pins in it are dry/ready to use. When it gets low, I climb up and get the next batch. I made this basket in 1987. Ash with hickory rims & handle. Hickory bark lashing.

Here’s what that basket was out – I was pinning a joined stool today.

Oh, garish electric light. The cats in a white oak basket, at night in the house. Sophie, then Scout jumping out of it. These photos are a few weeks old, the cats are bigger. But still climb into stuff…

 

Last weekend, Daniel & I spent 9 hours in the car so we could spend 5 up in Maine w Jogge Sundqvist & Kenneth & Angela Kortemeier at the Maine Coast Craft School. http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/ 

Here’s Daniel getting a preview of the then-up-coming (now just-finished) class in making a book/box.

Later, out on the water we went.

Jogge & Kenneth lead the way…

I finished up the first three of these chairs.

Even got out to the beach here in Plymouth one day. Best place in town. Rose in the lead…

a semi-palmated plover. (Charadrius semipalmatus)

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JA & PF 2007 joined stool demo, 2nd session pts 1-3

This is the second half of the presentation I did with John/Jennie Alexander in 2007 at Colonial Williamsburg. It gets us all the way through the joined stool; I think it covers turning, assembly and making & fitting the seat board. Then some slide lecture action from JA. The video just stops in mid-lecture – it’s all I have. Still better than nothing.

I’m going to make a static page on the blog with all these youtube clips, and keep it up there on the header. That way when I write more blog posts, it won’t get lost in the shuffle.

It’s been fun to view some of this (I haven’t watched it all…) – this was our last public presentation together, it was also one of our best, for which I was very grateful. The folks at CW were kind enough to give me a disc with the video on it, and I was lucky to find it after all these years. Enjoy.

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:

Bradford chair; the groovy bits

I hate making jigs. I am not set up for it. I make almost all of my stock by hand, so getting lots of parts carefully dimensioned and then assembled is a pain. Screws? Glue? I stink with these things.

But I made a jig the other day to hold the turned seat rails for grooving them with the plow plane. I’ve done it free-hand with the plow’s fence before, but it has its moments that way. Most plow fences won’t reach very far down the turned stock’s side for support.

This cradle will hold either turned seat rail; those with turned tenons, or those with rectangular tenons. It’s just over 1 3/4″ inside, so I can hold rails that are either just a tad too thick, or thin. Or even those that are just right. If it can wiggle in there, I shim it with 2 wedges. It’s important to use 2, so I can keep the centerline of the rail centered within the jig. So one on each side of the rail.

The front end of the jig has a small block in it that supports the rectangular tenon at the right height for running the plow plane. There’s a hole bored in this for the turned tenon, then the block is sawn apart so it’s only 1/2 the height.

Here’s the rectangular tenon sitting on top of that front end:

And a turned tenon nesting in the half-hole, You can also see the centerline scribed along the top of the seat rail:

In use, the plow plane’s fence rides along the outside of the box/cradle. I had scribed a centerline down the length of the rail, and set the fence accordingly. The back end of the cradle is held under a holdfast to keep it steady.

A good result – the groove is perpendicular to the rectangular tenon, just as it should be.

 

Bradford chair: rear posts

For my pole lathe, the 4-foot long rear posts of this chair are the upper limit of what I can reach. Even then, it’s pushing things a bit. To get the roughed-out blank on the lathe, I prepare it by working it as straight and even as I can.  In this first photo, I have the split-out billet, having shaved off the bark, I’m using a chalkline to begin  layout. I’m aiming for a square about 2 1/2″ by four feet long.

I hew the two radial faces, trying to get them down to the chalkline. The better the hewing, the easier every step after this part.

hewing

Then the same steps on the tangential faces; chalkline, hewing and planing. Depending on my stamina levels, I will plane this square as evenly as I can, or I’ll get it close and figure to finalize it during turning. This one was in-between. Straight is more important than clean. At this next stage, I’ve propped the squared blank up on a joiners’ “saddle” which is a nice name for a block with a notch in it, to prop the squared piece corner-up. Now I can shave off the corners, leaving an octagonal-cross section ready for turning.

corner-up, ready to be an octagon

The main chunk of work is turning the cylinder. Here I’m using a wide deep gouge to get it round and down to size.

 

Then a nice sharp skew chisel to clean it off.

There’s lots of scribed lines turned on the stiles; and a small bead or two. But the finial is the real test. Here, a narrower gouge starts the cove in the middle of the finial.

A skew chisel begins to form the ball under that cove.

The camera/tripod was in my way at this point, so that’s the last shot I have of turning the finials. here’s the finished results. The top bit gets cut off.

Lots more to look at on this chair; cutting the rectangular mortise and tenon joints; plowing grooves, etc.

Pilgrim Hall’s web-page about their collection: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ce_our_collection.htm 

 

Sunday ladderback chairmaking

My travel schedule is a bit back-and-forth right now. But I was home all week, and spent much of it working on a few custom furniture projects, mostly turning chair parts for a copy of a 17th-century turned chair with a board seat. I’ll write more about that very soon…

But today was ladderback chair work. I have parts for a few of them underway, but started the day by shaving more; a set of rungs (a dozen-plus) and a set of red oak posts. I try to squeeze these parts out of oak that is nice and straight, but somehow or other just a step down from something ideal for joinery work. There was only 2” wide clear stock (on the radial plane – it came from a narrow log) so all it could be in joined work was joined stools’ parts, or stretchers for wainscot chairs. I have a lot of stools to make, but decided I could spare a few pieces for the chair. In these photos, I have Alexander’s chair beside me – I needed to photograph it last week, and it’s sat in the shop since then. 

shaving rear post in oak – first square it up

Shaving this green wood is a breeze. The chair needs its parts to be straight, but this straight is checked by eye, not by a straight-edge, winding sticks and jointer planes. “The eye is very forgiving” said Alexander many times.

Make it square, taper the bit above the seat, shave the corners to an octagon,

knocking the corners off

then cut the relief above the seat on the front of the rear post for bending.

shaving the relief on the front of the post

Here’s a shot from last time of the bending; just tying the cords around the ends. These posts sat in the form for 2 weeks and were in perfect shape when I took them out.

bending rear posts

I had to make a 2nd bending form, because when I went to set up to bend this oak set of posts, I found a set of ash posts I made a week or two ago. Had forgotten about them. I can shave the pair of posts faster than I can make and screw together a bending form!

3 sets of rear posts

I cut a short section of ash for the rungs; this billet gave me 7 rungs. There were 3 rungs above the froe in this photo, and 4 below it. Splitting odd numbers like that only works for me in dead-straight stock, that’s pretty short. These rungs are only about 15″ long. I had a few scraps around that made up the remainder. I used to be able to shave a rung in a minute, today one took me almost two. Must be getting old.

7 rungs; 3 above the froe, 4 below. Section is only 15″ long

In these chairs, the rungs are shaving oversize while green, then dried and shaved again to bring the tenons down to their final size. The notion is that the “super-dry” rung will a.) not shrink any, and b.) in fact absorb moisture from the slightly wetter posts and swell. This has come to be called “wet/dry” joinery. But – you gotta get the rungs all the way dry. Most chairmakers use a kiln…but I don’t have one. I used to put them in the oven, but our oven won’t go down low enough – under 140 F. Higher than that, you run the risk of making charcoal.

In the winter, I kept rungs in a batch stored near the furnace. I would take them out and weigh them periodically, and chart the weight. When they stop losing weight they’re dry.

 In the meantime, I’ve kept this batch of rungs near the hot-water heater. Today, I weighed them (2 lbs 2.6 oz.) and then put them on the dashboard of my car while it was parked out front, where it gets lots of afternoon sun. Windows up. At the end of the afternoon – 2 lbs, 2.2 oz. I’ll put them back there each sunny afternoon this week. Hope to assemble a chair next week with ash posts and these oak rungs.

temporary kiln

still a few spoons left from last time. And some furniture – make me an offer on the furniture items and we’ll see where we get. House is getting crowded. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/spoons-and-furniture-for-sale-july-2018/