Tim Manney’s shaving horse at Plymouth CRAFT

Last weekend Tim Manney came down to Plymouth from Maine to teach 6 Plymouth CRAFT students how to make his shaving horse. Tim;’s version is well-known now; he had an article in Fine Woodworking about it, (issue #262, Jul/Aug 2017) and in the same issue Curtis Buchanan was quoted as saying that he thinks he’s spent over 20,000 hours at a shaving horse, and that Tim’s is the best he’s used.

Tim’s main focus is that the horse can be built with everyday materials; but carefully-selected everyday materials. It’s almost all 2 x 6 or so material, some thinner stuff and a little bit of hard maple. This course was a bit of a departure for Plymouth CRAFT in that some of the work was prepped ahead of time by Tim, and there were even some machines invovled. Mostly a drill-press. Here’s some of the shots I got during the class.

Stacks of parts prepped by Tim.

Jake trimming some of the first glue-ups, the leg-to-rails.

Tim sneaking underneath, showing how to adjust the leg assembly prior to clamping the glue-up.

Tim marching down the line, checking on progress.

Winding sticks helping to line up the front & rear legs.

This was our first time running this class. We kept class size small. That gets a lot of attention, and lots of detail. Here David and Andy work together to line up the clamps on Andy’s horse. Craig must be on deck.

Half of the dumbhead assembly set up in place – to check its placement and glue-up.

This is the next step – the full dumbhead base now. It gets wedged below the “bed” of the horse.

Tim demonstrating layout for the wedge mortise.

Craig cleaning up the mortise with a chisel.

David has a small smirk on his face, as his horse is coming together.

Diane was amazing – absolute new woodworker, dove in the deep end. Now she’ll be off to a great start.

Not quite done, but nearly so. This one still needs the work surface under the head.

We got done in time to bring in some green wood & distribute some drawknives so everyone could test-drive their creation under Tim’s direction. Paula Marcoux & I shot photos of the group as they worked their horses for the first time.

Tim has measured plans available for his shaving horse, and we’ll get him back sometime to do this class again. First he has to recover. Here’s his shaving horse plans web-page https://www.timmanney.com/work/shavinghorseplans 

Plymouth CRAFT’s website – so you can sign up for the newsletter for future workshops – https://www.plymouthcraft.org/

 

The Slöjd Tradition with Jögge Sundqvist 

Well, this has nothing to do with me, other than I was there to watch it happen. Now I get to see it again, from the comfort of my own home.

Here’s the blurb:

The Slöjd Tradition

with Jögge Sundqvist 

Learn some of the methods and techniques behind Slöjd, the self sufficient tradition from Sweden that emphasizes hand work and handicraft. Jögge Sundqvist walks you through the process of making a spatula and a cheese board from green wood. He also demonstrates different types of letter carving and decorative carving.

Jögge Sundqvist is a Swedish woodworker and carver who started learning knife and axe work at the age of four, at the side of his father, Wille Sundqvist. Jögge works in the Slöjd fine craft tradition making stools, chairs, knives, spoons, and sculptures painted with artists’ oil color. Jögge is also a teacher, writer, and gives lectures about Slöjd tradition and techniques.

And the preview:

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/whats-new/slojd-tradition-streaming?node=4128

 

Plymouth CRAFT workshop in October

With Greenwood Fest taking center stage in the Plymouth CRAFT calendar, there is an understandable quiet period in the summer, just after the Fest. But now autumn is here, and we’re back at it. Along with Pret Woodburn and Rick McKee, I’ll be teaching a 2-day class; Riving & Hurdlemaking Weekend in late October; https://www.plymouthcraft.org/riving-hurdlemaking-weekend

An alternative name for this class could be froe, hatchet and drawknife. But even that leaves bits out. Here’s Rick using the riving brake to shave pieces with the drawknife…

This class is an excellent introduction to the ancient method of riving your work-pieces directly from a log, and using simple edge tools to produce your stock for a project. In our case, it’s a garden fence called a “hurdle.” When I first started green woodworking, these were the methods I learned to make ladderback chairs. The 2-day format precludes us making a chair, hence the hurdles.

The workshop takes place outside of Pinecones, part of the Pinewoods Dance Camp where we hold our Greenwood Fest in the spring. The link above tells the details, you can opt to stay at Pinewoods in one of the cabins – it’s a great setting.

We’ll cover the structure of the wood, why we split it this way & that. How to shave it, hew it – the proper shapes of the various tools and equipment like shaving horses, riving brakes, etc. Lots to cover, and a real eye-opener to many who think wood comes from the store or lumberyard.

Here’s a group shot with the nearly-finished hurdles…

 

There’s other classes coming up in the fall and into the winter. Spoon carving, German holiday baking & more. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/

 

Shaving horse book available through Plymouth CRAFT

UPDATE: SUNDAY JULY 2

Plymouth CRAFT only had 6 copies of the Shaving Horse book by Sean Hellman – so if you want to order that, go directly to Sean’s site: http://www.seanhellman.com/product/shavehorse_book/

there are other tidbits left at Plymouth CRAFT, shirts, hats, a few copies of Woodworking in Estonia – https://www.plymouthcraft.org/online-store

proceeds help keep Plymouth CRAFT running, and that means Greenwood Fest too!

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Shaving horses are in the wind it seems. On the wind, maybe. That’s how Jennie Alexander used to refer to her book Make a Chair from a Tree. “The chair was in the wind…” meaning if she didn’t write the book, someone was going to.

The wind is carrying shaving horse ideas a bit lately. A year or so ago, I shot a video with Lie-Nielsen on making my (simple) shaving horse. To be released sometime in the semi-near future.

An old one of me & Daniel shaving white cedar

Recently, Tim Manney had an excellent shaving horse article in Fine Woodworking, accompanied by Curtis Buchanan’s piece on how to use one. It makes me want to build a new shaving horse!  Tim’s also selling detailed plans for building his, http://timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com/2017/05/shaving-horse-plans.html

 

 

Sean Hellman, a green woodworker over in the UK, has a new book out about shaving horses, Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices: A Book of Plans and Techniques for the Green Woodworker.

Sean’s book – It’s 130 pages, showing a multitude of different shaving horse designs; the dumbhead style, English style, spoon mules, and methods of use, some riving brakes, and other “woodland vices.” Large format, 8 1/4” x 11 3/4”.

Here’s the link to Plymouth CRAFT’s shop, selling a few odds and ends leftover from the Fest. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/online-store

 

They’re so 20th century…

I have been trying my hand at some at 20th-century woodworking. Going back to where I started, making a ladderback chair like the ones I learned from Jennie Alexander and Drew Langsner. I made them quite often back in the 1980s, but by 1992 I probably made my “last” one. The only ones I made since then were two small ones for the kids when they were little, December 2009. Here’s Daniel showing how much they have outgrown them.

This is one of the late-period chairs Alexander made with our friend Nathaniel Krause. Slender, light, but strong. Very deceptive chair.

But for years, I was swept up in the 17th century – and chairs, turned or shaved, were HEAVY. Here’s one of my favorites I made back then, maple, with oak slats. The posts for this are probably almost 2″ square. The rungs are 1″ in diameter (same as JA’s posts!) with mortises bored 3/4″ in diameter.

 

Some of the turned ones are even heavier, and this is not the biggest. All ash.

So today I shaved the rungs down to size, with 5/8″ tenons. The rungs are not much heavier than that – they don’t need to be. The rungs have been dried after rough-shaving, in the oven until the batch of them stopped losing weight. Then shaved down to size.

I bored a test hole in some dry hardwood, then jam the tenon into that hole to burnish it. then spokeshave down to the burnished marks. I skew the spokeshave a lot, to keep from rounding over the end of the tenon.

Long ago, I learned to bore the mortises at a low bench, leaning over the posts to bore them. Later, Alexander and Langsner started doing the boring horizontally. Use a bit extender to help sight the angle, and a level taped to the extender too. It’s so sophisticated. I’m sure today’s ladderback chairmakers have passed me & my brace by…

it’s a Power Bore bit. Was made by Stanley, I guess out of production now. I have an extra if something happens to this one. 

Then knock the side sections together, check the angles, and bore for the front & rear rungs.

Still needs to go a little to our right..that’s a level in my hand, checking to get the side frame oriented so the boring is level.

Then more of the same.

Then I knocked it together. Yes, I used glue. Probably not necessary, the oven-dry rungs will swell inside the somewhat-moist posts. but the glue doesn’t hurt anything. I never glued the larger chairs pictured above.

I got the frame done. Next time I work on it, I’ll make the slats from riven white oak. I’ll steam them & pop them in place. then weave a seat. Either hickory bark or rush. Bark is best.

Small tool kit – those pictured here, plus riving tools, a mortise chisel. Saws for trimming things to length. Not much else. Oh, a pencil. Yikes.

the rest of my teaching schedule for 2016

An update about classes remaining for 2016, and slightly beyond.

spoons & bowl

First up is spoon-carving at Lie-Nielsen, on Sept 24 & 25 https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/126

hatchet

I have lots of new tricks I learned at Spoonfest and Täljfest, so come to Maine & we’ll explore all kinds of ideas. I also have some new spoons by outstanding makers to study, as well as a couple old ones.

——————–

October begins with the opening of the full-tilt chest class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/class-schedule/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html    We did this last year, one-weekend-a-month, for five months. One by one, students from last year have finished their chests, here’s one from Dwight Beebe:

This class is the best way to learn all the steps in making a joined chest with drawer.

This year, we’ll include a trip down to the Yale University Furniture Study, to examine the chest we’ll base ours on. Riving, hewing, planing, joinery, carving – the whole thing. One weekend at a time. First class is coming up, Oct 1 & 2.

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Later in October, we’ll do the riving class with Plymouth CRAFT – right now we don’t have it listed yet, but a weekend in October, I think the 15/16 . (I’ll post it here, and Plymouth CRAFT will send out its email as well, if you’re not on their list, you want to be, even if it’s just for Greenwood Fest next year! http://www.plymouthcraft.org/  )

UPDATE: Here is hurdlemaking: http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=riving-now-two-days
We are excited to be returning to the wonderful venue we used for Dave Fisher’s bowl carving class in July. That massive marsh should be gorgeous in the autumn light.

shaving

In this class, we split apart an oak log, learning how to “read” the log for best results. Then using a froe, we further break the stock down, and make garden hurdles. So, riving, hewing, shaving at a shaving horse, mortising – a busy weekend full of old techniques still applicable today.

test fit

THEN – Paula Marcoux reminded me about the spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT on Dec 10 & 11,  at Overbrook house in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts.

stay tuned to Plymouth CRAFT for details… http://www.plymouthcraft.org/

UPDATE: And here is spoon carving: http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spoon-carving-with-peter-follansbee
For this one we’ll be back at our beloved winter home, Overbrook House. Always cozy; always fun.

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

detail…

detail

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