a lot of photos of the 3-legged stool assembly

the 3-legged/footed stool is done.


here’s some of how it went. I do the joinery in two halves. Here, the leg is propped in the “joiners’ saddles” (V-blocks) to hold it steady. Line up the centerline on the end grain with a square, and then fire away. Because the stretchers are at three different heights, you need to keep track of which one’s which. I tend to make the front stretcher the lowest one. the other two don’t matter which is which. Align the bit against the square propped on the bench.


My half-inch mortise chisel is packed away somewhere. I had to use this short firmer chisel. Makes it harder to steer, and can’t whack it as hard. I chop half-way, then turn the leg over & come in from the other side.


test-fit the rectangular tenons.

test fit

Sub-assemblies, ready for the next holes to be bored through the rectangular tenons. 

I drew the seat plan full-scale on a piece of cardboard, then copied the angles from that. Set the adjustable bevel and tilt the inserted rail so that where I’m boring is plumb. Then go.

bore plumb

Same idea, different setup with the bevel.

bore plumb 2

beveling under the seat. Like a joiner’s beveled panel, feathered down to fit the grooves in the seat rails.

bevel seat

the front seat rail & stretcher have spindles between them. Knock this together, then insert one rectangular tenon into each post/leg.

sub assembly 2

Keep in mind the rectangular tenon is a through tenon, the stretcher is not. So the seat rail enters the post ahead of the stretcher. Here’s the front section on the saddles, don’t want the rectangular tenon to bump into the bench top.

v blocks

Here, catching the stretcher tenon before the seat rails get too far ahead. Gotta keep things open enough to install the seat. 
starting final assembly

I once was putting one of these together in front of a crowd, pounding away on the joinery, when my friend Ted leaned over & said “you forgot the seat!” Not this time…

tip seat in

Knock it together.

knock it together


3-footed turned stool


It feels like a long time since I’ve written about furniture-making. Shop-building & spoon carving have taken up a lot of space here. This week, I’m building a stool that reaches back to the beginnings of this blog in 2008. Here’s one I made many years ago for the museum where I used to work.  These things don’t exist in the wild – not 17th century ones anyway. Chairs built along these lines are common in England and elsewhere. Not New England. These stools are found frequently in Dutch paintings. Note that the three stretchers are at different heights. The seat rails are all at the same height. More on this below.


I am a joiner who does some turning, not a turner by any means. Especially these days. My lathe had been packed away in storage for 18 months. That’s a long hiatus between turnings! This is almost where the lathe will be in the shop, I plan on moving it further back into the corner when the real setup happens. The pole is up in the peak, about 14′ above my head.


These turnings are pretty basic, just a large gouge & a couple of skew chisels. Wood is straight-grained ash. Riven & hewn before mounting on the lathe.



one main feature of these stools, and the related chairs, is the joinery at the seat level. All the seat rails are at the same height, so the joints intersect. A large rectangular tenon gets pierced by a smaller turned tenon. Like this:


Here I am scribing a centerline on the end grain of the seat rail. This is the basis for the layout of the tenon.


Sawing the shoulders.


Splitting the cheeks.


Paring to the finished dimension.


The seat rails get a groove plowed in them to receive the beveled panel that is the seat. Here’s how I held it to the bench for cutting with the plow plane. The rectangular tenon is pressed into the teeth of the bench hook, and a notched stock pressed against the round tenon. Holdfast keeps that stick in place. I eyeball that the rectangular tenon is parallel to the benchtop, then the groove goes in the resulting top center of the rail’s surface.

setup for plowing


boring and chopping joinery next time.

here is the same information, in one of my first posts  https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/three-footed-chair/



what to do with all this inspiration?

After Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2016, the biggest problem I have is what to do with all that inspiration. I remember the first evening all the instructors were on-site- it struck me that we had a great lineup assembled, and that I wouldn’t be able to see much of it/them. It’s the nature of working an event like this, rather than attending it. But it was so exciting seeing everyone, and comparing ideas, thoughts, plans – and then the snippets I did see really got the juices flowing.

Dave Jogge & JoJo

We had Beth Moen and Dave Fisher carving bowls with axe and adze, contrasted with Derek (non-stop) Sanderson and Jarrod Stone Dahl turning them on Jarrod’s pole lathe. The spoon contrast was between the Woodland Pixie and the Viking – JoJo Wood and Jögge Sundqvist. Two very different approaches, but both so engrossing that I wished I had eight arms, so I could carve more spoons every day. I showed JoJo a large crook I was going to make a spoon from. “What would you do?” I asked. “Throw that out and carve some straight-grained spoons” came the reply. And yet I hear Jögge talking about “form follows fibers” – there ain’t no one way, I guess.

dave w students

turned bowls

After the event, a bunch of us were talking about what worked, and what could stand some tweaking. April Stone Dahl said earlier she wondered why she was included, not being a spoon carver. Nonsense, says me. I wanted basketry to be a big part of the Greenwood theme, and April’s are some of the nicest baskets I know, without being precious and dainty.


Tim Manney’s approach to both spoon carving and chair making are so different from my own, but he has a tremendous grasp of both crafts. I really like Tim’s work, and his teaching style is very engrossing. He always had a crowd around his bench.

Pret Woodburn and Rick McKee are not as well-known to the web-based woodworking community as our other instructors. But if you’ve been around a Plymouth CRAFT event, then you got to know them. Together they have hewn more wood & talked to more people than anyone except maybe me (well, Roy Underhill too…but you get the point) and they taught these skills for years beyond count. It was a great thrill for me to combine them with these far-flung friends. I knew the fit would be perfect, and it was.

pret hewing

When we decided to call our festival “greenwood” something seemed familiar…and that’s how I thought of having Scott Landis come give us a glimpse into the organization known as Greenwood, and the wonderful work they do, making the world a better place through woodworking and green wood. http://www.greenwoodglobal.org/

The classes afterwards were an added bonus, Tim, Dave and I hung around, while JoJo and Jögge had to work. So we got to rubberneck in their classes, and keep on exploring what to do with sharp edges and lignin fibers.

Back home, I’m working on oak furniture, spoon and bowl carving, a bench in catalpa and white oak, and Pret & I are about to resume some carpentry on the workshop. And I’m eyeing some half-finished baskets, too. If I could only skip sleeping….then I could utilize all this inspiration.

Here’s two views – first, the video our friend Harry Kavouksorian put together for us. Thanks, Harry.

Greenwood Fest 2016 from Harry Kavouksorian on Vimeo.

And the second, a very nice article with slides & video, from Frank Mand. Nice work, Frank. I appreciate it.


I heard we might just be dumb enough to do it again. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, go carve something!

Greenwood Fest article & various photos

run away

For two full weeks, I was surrounded by some of my favorite woodworkers…now it’s pretty quiet, trying to get back into the day-to-day. If you want to re-live Greenwood Fest, here’s some links:


That article and more photos are compiled on Plymouth CRAFT’s facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/CRAFTPlymouth/?fref=ts

a collection or two on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/greenwoodfest2016/  and


I’m sure there’s more.

some shots from Greenwood Fest 2016 part the first

working an event like this, you don’t get to see it much. I saw some stuff last night on Instagram. here’s a few photos I shot in preparation and while walking over to where I was working on Friday afternoon – the opening of Greenwood Fest 2016.

JoJo warned me she likes to ruin pictures:

she warned me

Beth Moen (foreground) and JoJo Wood in back, finding some yellow birch to see how it works.

north american woods

Moving in – wow.

moving in

“I’m so happy” he said.  He always says that…


I'm so happy

Tim & I looked at an old ladderback chair, always fun.

found a chair to show Tim

Are you proposing to me?

are you proposing to me

Don’t you people have anything to do?

don't you people have anything to do

one of those Plymouth ponds…

long pond

Will there be any stars in my crown?

will there be any stars in my crown

Save one for me…

save me one

waiting to hew…

pret & rick's site

Waiting to carve…

waiting to carve



I told him to stop all this free learning…Darrick couldn’t wait.

I told him no free learning

Somewhere in the mayhem, Paula found time for a laugh with Ben Brewster & JoJo Wood

found time for a laugh

Hey Jarrod – I shot it too – on your back.

I shot it too

here’s where I got this week

working on the shop this week. In this view, you can pretend it’s finished inside. Except if it was, I’d fill it with stuff.


looks done


I did take one day to re-assemble the lathe, and turn some chair stiles. I hadn’t turned ANYTHING in 17 months! Thus, it went slowly. But this is generally where the lathe will reside; yes – my back to the river view.

temp lathe setup

Here’s about the last time we’ll see this mistake-brace, until the shop is re-sheathed, or taken down.


carved brace evidence

We sheathed the corners, so the building wouldn’t float away when we did the roof. Spaces left so we can figure out which windows go where. sheathing begun

from below

Pret has a huge supply of various windows, seemingly all rescued from inevitable trips to dumpsters. so lots of head-scratching to figure which ones where & how.

window shopping

The shop space brings me closer to the birds – here’s one of the spring’s first catbirds in our yard.



and an un-flummoxed chickadee.


When he isn’t guiding me through all phases of building the shop, or helping every workshop at Plymouth CRAFT, or playing banjo in the band The Dinghys – Pret Woodburn is doing other stuff. This week, he built a bowl horse for Dave Fisher’s class at Greenwood Fest – just awaits tweaking directions from Dave now. You’ll see Pret at the Greenwood Fest – and you’ll be amazed. He’ll be working with Rick McKee – whom you know but might not know you know – https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/

bowl horse


bowl horse detail


detail head etc



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…