moving in

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.

tool-chest

when I fitted the interior drawers, the runners I made were leftover carvings. Perfect quartered oak.

carvings

the bottom drawer is the deepest, has some backsaws & a plane on one end…

bottom-drawer

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:

box-in-a-box

box-in-box-carving-tools

and then the whole thing fits into the deep tray in the chest:

in-situ

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.

chisel-drawer

my main carving gouges go in the top tray, along with some small stuff that fits there alongside them…

carving-tools

molding planes went in before the trays – bench planes will fit in the front floor…

molding-planes

There’s a saw till in front, this Disston saw, made for A.J. Wilkinson Co, sits in there, with others…

wilkinson-saw

wilkinson-saw-handle

Later, I added some junk to the underside of the lid – marking tools, squares, some bits:
open

Like this:

 

bits-awl-etc

Then, the door-hanger came, so I switched gears. More later. Tomorrow, threshold and spandrels.

door-hanger

I mostly watched, as Pret hung the door. so I got out the camera & shot some raking light…

raking-light

and Daniel’s sign he put on the shop’s peak:

work

It was going to say “Workshop” but he ran out of room…

work-detail

Here’s more about the chest, back when I was making it.

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/slow-going-on-the-paint-work/

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/a-solution-to-too-much-blank-space/

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/another-day-of-painting/

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/it-was-the-rust-that-got-me/

 

 

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…

I save the finishing touches for last

hewn bowl 14-04 catalpa

Today I was thinking a lot about hewing a bowl with an adze. I was swinging a tool up and down, chopping into a large hollow shape, getting out the innards, and pulling out the chips. Getting more & more open = chop, sweep, chop, sweep. But instead of the confines of my home shop, I was on the ladder, chopping ice out of the old house’s gutters. Now the melting snow flows, but soon it will ice up again. Anyway, it was a nice afternoon up there in the heavens- but  the only woodwork was in my head.

paint

I did get a first coat of paint on the oak box I made. I checked the schedule, and decided I’d try to get it painted before I ship it off to Alaska. It looked too bland as it was. After this part dries, I’ll put some black squiggles & dots, then a coat of thin red over the oak. the paints are linseed oil/turpentine with iron oxide (red) and yellow ochre; and bone black. I mixed some raw umber in to help the drying too. The lid looks like it’s painted white in the photo above, but that’s just all the light from the snow. It’s a white pine lid, so very pale.

The layout for the oval on the lid, and a view of the till inside – recycled chip carving practice.

oval

till

The cedar box just got linseed oil and turpentine. Helps highlight the carvings. Two comments yesterday from stitch-women (up-graded from stitch-girls; i.e. textile arisans – thanks Denise & Mary) praised the odd-proportioned box, one suggesting a sewing box. So now I know how to market it.

cedar box side view

cedar lid

 

Here’s one many of you have seen before, related to the oak one I’m doing now.

carved oak box

 

 

Lively up your stool

The joint stool book has been out a while now, so once you’ve digested  your copy  http://www.lostartpress.com/Default.asp go get at some oak & let us see what you came up with. Hopefully summer will let go soon, so the heavy work of busting open a log won’t seem so daunting. I know I have cut back on what I have tackled during the heat & humidity…

Here is a stool sent in a while ago by Larry Barrett:

Larry Barrett joined stool

 

side view

Here’s what Larry had to say:

“Hello Peter and Jennie
Attached are a few photos of joint stools, carved boxes and chairs – all made thanks to things I have learned from you both, either via your new book, Peter’s blog, or classes with Jennie.  I have a good sized black (or maybe red) oak and a chestnut oak on the ground so there may be more to come.  Thanks again,
Larry Barrett”

We’re thrilled to see this sort of work = so keep them coming. If you are working your way through the joint stool book, send me some stuff. we’d love to see it.

 

If you don’t want to carve your stool like Larry did, and you need to liven it up, get out the brushes. I had an ash stool frame hanging around the shop for quite a while, and last week I put a sawn white oak seat on it, and then set about painting it. Here’s the initial result

 

 

The first step was the black squiggles and dots, then a thin coat of iron oxide mixed in linseed oil went over that once the black was dry to the touch.

Here’s one example of the inspiration for this, a painting by Judith Leyster, early 17th-c in Netherlands:

Judith Leyster painting

 

Another is this painting by Nicholas Maes:

Old woman saying grace

 

 

slow going on the paint work

Boy am I glad I’m a carver, not a painter. This takes forever.

 

I can't believe how long this takes

 

but it’s getting closer. I decided to leave the ends of the chest plain. I mixed a thin yellow ochre paint for them; and have been adding more & more detail to the front & lid. I hoped it would be one more session – but I bet it’s two. Some more details in black coming up next, as well as some painted turnings between the drawer fronts.

yellow ochre on the ends

But there’s been good ducks around Plymouth this week. It took a few tries, but my friend Marie & I found the ruddy ducks today, sleepy as all get-out…

Ruddy ducks

I have only seen them in captivity before, at Buckingham Palace’s gardens…so these were my first wild ones. Well, to call them wild is an exaggeration. They barely moved their heads…at one point they sorta bumped into each other, then a two-second kerfuffle, and it was right back to tucking their heads in.

Ruddys awake

 

here is the male’s summer self, but as I said essentially in a zoo – so only here to show what this duck becomes in spring/summer. But not in the east…

Ruddy duck breeding male

paint ideas

I’m glad to see the interest in the painted decoration I am using on my tool chest. While the construction of that chest is not based on any 17th-century piece; the painted work is pretty close to period work. If you’ve just arrived, here’s what we’re talking about: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/a-solution-to-too-much-blank-space/ and https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/another-day-of-painting/

for studying painted work of the 17th century, the trick is there are few surviving examples. Paint was often used as interior decoration. One good source for inspiration in James Ayers, Domestic Interiors: the British Tradition 1500-1850 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). Ayers’ book goes well past the time period I am interested in, but he has a whole chapter on paint, and painted stuff shows up in other sections too; like doors, windows, walls, etc.

 

wall painting early 17th c

A sample from Ayers’ book shows a painted plaster wall, done in black & white. Imagine a room like this – you’d be hard-pressed to see any carved furniture sitting in it.

 

For sources of patterns like this, there’s great stuff done in the early 1600s by Thomas Trevelyon. He made 2 books of patterns, adaptable for gardeners, painters, joiners, embroiderers, etc. But, his were not printed books, but just 2 manuscript copies. So his work didn’t circulate enough to be an original source for much. But it’s based in things he’d presumably seen in various forms; drawings, patterns in gardens, needlework, ceramics, architecture, paintings on cloth, plaster, and more.

 

Thomas Trevelyon's Miscellany 1608

Here’s one more of his drawings/paintings:

Trevelyon

For more of his work, see http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=2283

There are only snippets of painted architectural work surviving in New England, but here & there in old England there are numerous examples. Nothing like there once was… Here’s a room painted to look as if it’s paneled , late 17th-century,  from Oakwell Hall inYorkshire.

 

Oakwell Hall, Yorkshire

 

For comparison, here’s an actual paneled wall, from the same trip my wife & I made in 2005. So the painting is not to fool you into thinking it’s a paneled wall, but just to give the impression. I think this is from Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. I can’t swear to it, but I’m close…

wall paneling Haddon Hall

How about pinstripes? This is from the Merchant’s House in Marlborough, Wiltshire. Note that the door doesn’t interrupt the scheme.

 

original 1650/60s paint scheme w re-done section

Painted furniture from the period is not unusual; it’s again hard to find surviving examples, but they are out there. Here’s a simple one. English again. What we don’t know for certain is the finish for the non-painted parts.

Remember, these folks were not afraid of patterns and colors. Here is a very high-style chair of the 2nd half of the 17th century, now displayed against a pale, plain wall in a museum – but in a period house? Could be totally lost against some of these walls.

turkey work chair

and a detail

turkey work detail

On my toolbox, I am not following any particular scheme; just sort of making it up as I go. To make matters more confounding, I have also looked at several examples of late 18th/early 19th-century Pennsylvania chests, seen in Wendy Cooper’s & Lisa Minardi’s book Paint, Pattern and People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850 , I never did make it to see the exhibition, I had seen bits of it when it was being researched. But Kari Hultman went for us::http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/2011/03/paint-pattern-people-book-review.html

http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/2011/04/paint-pattern-people-exhibit.html

Those chests and boxes really stuck me, and if I had room here at the house, I’d make some copies. In my spare time…

A favorite random piece of English  decoration is this embellishment I found in the Carpenters’ Company Records in London – 1573.

Carpenters' Company Records

 

As far as how I prepare the paint, several people wrote & asked. Yes, it’d dry pigments mixed in linseed oil. And I doubt I’ll put a finish over that. When it’s painted, it’s done. The stool book has a section about making & using this sort of paint. Any day now…

There’s stuff in a few books on paint in New England work. Abbott Lowell Cummings’ Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay has some architectural interiors with paint. And Jonathan Fairbanks has a whole essay about portrait painting, but it has great details about materials, etc. “Portrait Painting in Seventeenth-Century Boston: Its History, Methods and Materials” in Fairbanks & Trent, New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1982)

 

 

another day of painting

well now I’ve done it. I have to get this tool chest painted so I can get on with the rest of my life. But today I painted for about 4 hours or more. And was it tiring! Standing in one position all day. And there’s more to go.  but here’s what I got today.

I marked out some artificial spacing – created “stiles” on the ends of the chest front, and a center muntin. this way it mimics the lid above it.  Then I started outlining the designs for the resulting two panels. I chose to use stuff I know well, that reduced how much head-scratching I had to do…then I outlined the pattern in bone black pigment.

beginning the outline

The pine chest is not primed in any way, so it’s quite absorbent. Helps the paint dry quickly.

well on its way

Then came some yellow ochre, just like I did yesterday.

details & backgrounds

 

As before, I am figuring this out as I go.  Getting some paint on there helps to see where I have to go next.  There’s a lot of area to cover. Can’t leave anything blank.

the drawers

I knew I wanted fake drawer fronts on the skirt around the bottom of the chest; but I didn’t outline them in black, just scribed them with marking gauge & awl. So I will go back when this dries, and add outlines.

half done

This is the front, about half-done. Gotta figure out the “muntin” for this section; and add some details.  Next week I hope to finish the painting. Then I can start using the chest.

One nice part was standing at the window all day. Saw a red fox scoot by; but the camera was up on the tripod, so no shot of him. He’s a regular – I’ll get him at some point.