I’m interrupting my interruptions

Took some time away from the carved box w drawer, to work with some funny wood. Yes. I’ve returned once again to using Juglans…

First up, juglans nigra….yes, nigra. Remember my struggles with black walnut? https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=walnut+high+chair   Well, of course the first go ’round I can blame on poor quality stock; kiln-dried, random-sawn lousy trees.

the 2nd time around, I got very clear, straight-grained, air-dried stock, and it’s two off-cuts from that batch that I’m working now.

walnut carving

But first, some green wood – a bowl from Juglans cinerea; butternut. That’s what I’m interrupting my interruption for…this could be fun…if that jackhammer next door would quit.

bowl butternut

what’s happening to me? walnut & dovetails – what’s next?


last year I finished this walnut chest. I was way out of my league making it, but it came out generally OK. I was left with a bunch of walnut leftovers…so many became parts of my tool chest. The main tool trays within the chest are quartersawn walnut that I resawed from the 1” thick stuff.

sliding trays, walnut

Then I continued by making smaller trays that within trays – and now I can’t stop. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/nothing-so-needs-reforming-as-other-peoples-habits/

I have gone on a tool-organizing frenzy. This past week I made a couple more, one for some carving tools, one for mortise chisels.

mortise chisels, carving tools

Today I got it in my head to make a small box with a drawer underneath. Ultimately this is going to  be divided up somehow to store a slew of piercer bits.

walnut tool tray w drawer

This batch of trays is homeless, the tool chest is already full. Maybe next winter I’ll make tool chest # 2.

Next week, I plan on finishing this walnut carved box. More DTs…I’ll get the hang of them yet. 

carved walnut box

Tomorrow, I plan on posting some of Jennie Alexander’s tools we have for sale. Starting with some bench planes. 

works in progress & practice

Here’s a couple of unrelated items that are slogging around on my workbench and brain these days. The wainscot chair I have underway is coming along; I got a photo of it when I did the first arm, since then I have cut & fit the other. The rest of the work includes the seat , some moldings and boring the rest of the pin holes. Then final assembly.

wainscot chair, test fit one arm

 After this wainscot, I have one to do for the museum in walnut – a wood I rarely use. I decided to cut some sample carvings yesterday, to get a handle on what to do differently from carving oak. One thing that comes immediately to mind is the scribed lines show up much more here than in oak.  This particular piece is darker than most of what I have on hand for the wainscot chair.

walnut carvings

 The gouge stuff looks good in any wood. It really is fool-proof almost, and yet very effective. (this is from the batch of timber for the chair; a bit browner than that above.)

gouge-cut molding

 here’s how I cut these, from a post way back in the blog. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/gouge-carved-molding/  This will also be covered in the DVD, which should be out next month or so. http://www.youtube.com/user/LieNielsen

While on the subject of walnut furniture, keep in mind my friend Victor Chinnery’s book about Oak Furniture, with a walnut chair on the cover!

Chinnery, Oak Furniture: The British Tradition

Walnut figures in one of my favorite records concerning carpenters’ work, c. 1620 in Yorkshire. Now we can read Henry Best’s account book online at http://books.google.com/books?id=XB88AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&vq=Carter&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=Carter&f=false

Best hired a carpenter to make first a pig stye, then some walnut chairs; quite a spectrum of work.

1620, Apr. 4. Agreed with Matthewe Carter, for paylinge the swyne stye with sawen ashe payles, to give him for his worke 9d. yeardes, and hee is to sawe them, and to sawe the rayles ■ and postes, and sett them in a groundsel 1, and rabbitt them in to the rayle above; agreed also with him to pale the yearde, and hee is to sawe the rayles and postes, and to have 4d. per yearde, for his labor, and for making Austin’s howse, 20s.—

Dec. 13. Bargained with Matthewe Carter and John Carter his sonne, of Greate Driffeylde, carpenters, to digg upp a walnutt tree of myne, and to sawe it into 2 ynch and a half plankes, and the rest of the small peeces into such peeces as it is fittest for; and to make mee two chayres, one for my selfe, and the other a lesser, well turned and wrought, and I am to give them for doing these things above mencioned, workman like, 10s. in money, a bushell of barley, and a pecke of oatemeale, and give them in money 3d. for their godspenny.

The book is worth reading, there’s instructions on buying deal boards too…

My favorite craft project this past month was not in the shop, though. I have some basket splints around the house that I have been slowly trimming & smoothing. Mostly I soaked them in the kids’ wading pool this summer. I started to weave a few baskets for the house & one day Rose asked if she could make a basket. We took our time, and in 3 sessions got it done. Here we are finishing it up, lashing the rims with ash splints. Daniel took the picture for us, their mother was out at the time. Putting the D-80 in the hands of a not-quite-5-year old was dicey, but I needed the picture and it worked out fine.

Rose's first basket