Making JA chairs

need more Wheaties

It’s like the old days – I feel like I just got back from one class and I’m preparing for the next. Worked today on a JA ladderback chair in preparation for teaching it at Pete Galbert’s shop next week. The parts are hickory, which means boring it is harder than it should be. I didn’t have enough Wheaties this morning for this work.

parts, jigs and tools

It’s a real nostalgia trip making these chairs. As I worked, I was thinking of all the Jennie Alexander chairs being made nowadays, and of the times I worked & carried on with JA. Many tools in my shop came from her, many ideas in my head came from her.

To take a break from boring that hickory, I went back & forth between boring and tenoning. Below is a set of 3 hickory rungs, ready for tenoning.

shaving rungs

I got the two side sections done, then picked away at this & that. Tomorrow I hope to bore & assemble the rest of the chair. I’ll bring it to class sans seat – sometimes it’s helpful to be able to see the frame without it.

opened the door & the sun came in

Since I got back from Lost Art Press last week, I’ve shot two videos for my joined chest series.

joinery layout

When I went to post the first of them – “Finish planing & layout of joinery” – it wouldn’t load to the site. And I found out that one I had posted a month ago (planes & green wood: care & cleaning, something like that) has sat there in limbo, its setting was marked “private” which meant no one could see it. I spent a ton of time the past couple of days with the Vimeo help people sorting it out. So if you’re one of the subscribers to that series, there’s 2 videos you haven’t seen yet. I’m halfway through editing the next one, which is carving the top rail’s lunettes. Hope to post that by the weekend. Here’s the link if you’d like to subscribe – it’s starting to get interesting now. Right now it’s at 5 1/2 hours of content – it’ll probably go way over my estimate of 12-15 hours. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/follansbeejoinedchest

sample lunette

Seems like spring is really getting here now. Saw this tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) this morning when I was out for a walk. Too involved in its preening to be bothered by me.

tree swallow

And an osprey flew over – they’re all around, setting up nesting…

osprey

the end is near, the beginning is underway

joined stool

The cupboard is really coming to an end. It’s in sight at least. While some paint was drying, I finished this joined stool that had been waiting in the wings. All but one leg & the seat was done months ago. Here’s a detail view – we’ve never found a New England example with carved aprons, but I like to do them. Lots and lots of English ones were carved. Why not the New England ones? Maybe they were, and just don’t survive. There’s only a small number of NE joined stools as it is…

carved apron

I sussed out the middle of the cupboard door last week. Here it is mocked-up. I had tried a horizontal oval turning in the middle, but didn’t like the way it looked. The original has what I think is a 19th-century ornament added smack in the middle. Some have the date carved on the door, that would have worked also.

door just needs oiling & polishing

I did three of these turnings the other day. They’re halves with a strip in between. They decorate the side panels. The toughest thing to turn on the pole lathe, very, very slender. 5/16″ at the small end, 3/4″ at the greatest. About 7 1/2″ long. I’m glad they’re done. Painted now & drying.

“drumsticks”

Soon I’ll get to the part where I finish-turn these pillars for the upper case. First the base molding & feet get attached this week.

pillars

At the desk lately, I’ve been working on the next video in the new vimeo series – about splitting the chest parts from the log. So this video will at least have some action to go with all the blather. The link is now on the sidebar to sign up for that series. I hope to finish this video later this week.

half in half again

Every day in the shop is a good day, but snowy days are even better. Off I go.

the river this morning