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As I write this blog, I sort the photos into folders, sorted first by the year. Yesterday I started the 11th folder – “BLOG 2018” – whew. So here goes year 11 of this collection of stuff about my oak furniture and more. Remember when I wrote about finding my stuff on the 2nd-hand market? https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/i-got-it-second-hand/
Well, now I’ve made it to the big-time second-hand market! http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2018/important-americana-n09805/lot.732.html
Bob Trent had me make this cabinet for his friends Constance & Dudley Godfrey; and now some of their collection is being sold at Sotheby’s this month. I didn’t do the color. Ours looks new, like this:
This picture is of course a lie. Ever clean up your house when company is coming? I cleaned mine yesterday to shoot some furniture photos. I used to shoot every piece I made at my old shop; getting out background paper, lights – all that stuff. Now I have no room for that. And I decided to try to shoot the stuff in its normal settings. That means either in the shop or the house. To shoot it in the house means remove all the extraneous junk piled here & there – it’s a small house, we home-school the kids – and we both worked in museums, which means we keep everything, thinking it’s important.
Here’s another lie:
I have one of these boxes-with-a-drawer to make for a customer this year. This one usually has horses and funko-pops on it. And other 12-yr-old girl stuff.
Outdoors is perfectly honest chaos. Down river, nearly high tide.
Spending these fiercely cold days working at the desk.
Lectures coming up in Colonial Williamsburg, Sotheby’s, Fine Woodworking Live in April, and more. I’ll post my schedule for teaching soon. It will include some slots here for one-on-one classes. Keep warm…except you folks in the southern hemisphere, you keep cool.
|monday night after supper|
I use an angle setting jig and I use the same honing guide each time I sharpen. I would assume that since I am doing these dance steps the bandleader would be able to follow me. Most of the time I have to establish my burr on the 80 grit runway and then progress up through my diamond stones. It's working but shouldn't I be able to roll the burr from the coarse diamond stone?
I found three people on line that raise their burr on a 120 grit stone. One goes to a middle stone and the other two go right to their finishing stone. With all said and done, and with all I've seen, in the end is what I'm doing working for me? Yes it is and I'll try upping to 120 grit. But for now it's 80 grit and then coarse, medium, and fine diamond stones finishing with the 8k and then stropping it. The sharp I get does the job for me so until some other super duper sharpening method comes along that makes me say wow, this how I'll do it.
|Preston chamfer spokeshave|
|this is the before pic|
|saw and square till boxes|
|needs some touch up|
|this is going to take a while|
|saw till box|
|with shellac it'll be the same color|
|not many parts to strip|
|getting the holidays|
|after some scraper and sandpaper action|
|the cutout on the left is smaller|
|did a little sanding on the lever cap|
|cleaning and sanding the inward cone will be a PITA|
|all the parts ready for paint and cleanup|
|both have a big knurled adjustment knob|
|they are not the same size this way|
|don't see many of these|
Did you know that the state sport of Alaska is dog mushing?
Build an accurate reproduction of an icon of American furniture with Will Myers during an Oct. 6-7, 2018, class at our Covington, Ky., storefront.
Will has spent years researching Shaker design by measuring the actual pieces in the Shaker communities. His careful work has resulted in measured drawings for this table that result in a true reproduction. (Will was shocked to discover that none of the published plans available were exact reproductions.)
During this intense two-day class, you’ll build a reproduction of this beautiful table and learn:
- History and details of the three original candle stands of this style that I have examined.
- Why this table is not as simple as it first appears, and how many small details contribute to look of the table as a whole.
- Layout and cutting of sliding dovetails on a cylinder, to join the legs to the spindle.
- Shaping the legs, using spokeshaves and card scrapers.
- Turning the spindle to final shape.
- Shaping the top support with planes and spokeshaves.
- Shaping and smoothing the edges and faces of the round top.
- Why you need a metal “spider” (and how to make one) to reinforce the leg-to-spindle joinery.
Registration for the class is free. Registrants will be invoiced for the $300 class fee and additional materials fee (which will likely be around $100). Attendees at this class should have some woodworking experience. While no turning experience is required, it will be helpful.
These classes are are limited to six students led by Will (plus me as an assistant). That’s why we can tackle such ambitious projects.
Register for the class here. After you register, you will receive an invoice for the class plus a tool list. Any student looking for a place to stay or eat near our storefront can get full details here.
As I’ve mentioned before, these classes do not benefit me or Lost Art Press. All proceeds go to the instructor. If you’ve ever met Will (or seen any of his videos) then you know he is a skilled woodworker and excellent instructor. We are thrilled to have him teach here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized, Woodworking Classes
Drivel Starved Nation!
This little journey called Bridge City Tool Works is now in its thirty-fifth year. Some call this amazing. I call it too stupid to quit!
Going out of business 35 years in a row is not easy. However you see it, we thank you and look forward to going out of business again this year– with your help of course.
Before I share our first new tool offering of 2018, I thought you might enjoy this Christmas story…
I was asked to be Santa for a kids party. Why? Probably because I haven’t been to a gym since Eisenhower died. The rented Santa suit included lots of extra padding, as in Sumo Santa padding. The boots were black, the horned rimmed glasses fake, the custodial mop of a beard was odoriferous, and the white gloves 2 sizes too small–.an imaginary jury watched me struggle to put them on. The whole thing was hot as hell.
And, it has been at least three weeks since I last wore makeup.
Since several of these kids knew me (despite rumors you may have heard, I am actually fun after a couple of beers) I had to disguise my voice. It was the same voice I use when faking an illness, only with an over-the-counter dose of joviality.
I sat down in a chair next to a fake silver Christmas tree when the first little boy climbed up on to my lap. I believe he was 5.
LITTLE BOY: “Does Santa ever get boogers?”
LITTLE BOY: “YES YOU DO, I SEE ONE!”
If there is a moral to this story I don’t know what it is.
We have lots of news brewing for 2018 that I will leak here, in this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog when the urge to leak comes upon me.
These are single flute countersinks and if you have never used one, they are a revelation. Absolutely ZERO chatter. And, we haven’t made these in fifteen or so years. We actually wore out our shop version, and with no replacement in sight, well, we have the need, and hopefully you do too.
Why 5 you ask? Well, you don’t have to buy them all (if you don’t we will probably go out of business again). But there is a reason, flat head screws sold in America typically feature an 82 degree head. Hence the 82 degree countersink.
Metric flat head screws feature a 90 degree countersink. In addition, we really like the 90 degree countersink for creating symmetric chamfers on holes. Hence the 90 degree countersink.
The 60 degree countersink is used when you want to guide a drill into a hole without drift. It can be used on the tail stock on a lathe or in a drill press prior to drilling a larger hole that is supposed to follow a smaller pilot hole – a 60 degree countersink really helps here.
The 82 and 90 degree countersinks come in two sizes. Why you ask? We recommend that you use the smaller ones for deburring and cutting countersinks in metals and for countersinks in small wooden holes. Reserve the larger ones for the larger wood projects like furniture, workbenches and other applications where you are flush setting large flat head screws or need large, clean chamfers. There is nothing worse than a large counter sink where the bottom half is chewed up and the top… not so much.
These are all precision ground, hardened tool steel and you will not find a more reliable and fun tool to use. Full details will be released soon when the pre-order window opens.
Lastly, watch your email box. We are having another hardware clearance sale real soon. (The last one crashed our server, overcharged our customers almost a quarter million dollars, and caused our IT firm to quit on the spot. Fun yes/no?)
I would leak more but right now an uncontrollable urge to blow my nose has come upon me…
To start the new year off with a bang, feast your eyes on this gobsmackingly gorgeous kitchen.
I don’t even remember how Joe Oliver and I became acquainted, but I’m so glad we did. Joe operates Retro Stove & Gas Works based in Chicago and shares my love of old kitchens. Two days ago he sent some snapshots from a recent repair job in a kitchen that’s a treasure trove of original detail. I’m hoping Joe’s customers will allow me to include their kitchen in the book I’m writing for Lost Art Press. In the meantime, here are a few photos provided by the homeowner to whet your appetite.
You can read more about this kitchen and Joe’s approach to repair work at his blog. My favorite quote:
Not all 7 1/2 hour service calls take the same amount of time to prepare for, thank God. Most take between 30 to 60 minutes. Occasionally, however, the needs of a vintage stove push your friendly service technicians to extremes. So when you require help for that 3/4-century old stove which hasn’t required a dime for repairs all the years that you’ve owned it, please grant us some understanding when we charge a service fee to show up at your door. We have probably earned it.
Filed under: Uncategorized
One of my long-time obsessions has been with chairmaker Chester Cornett (1913-1981), a traditional Eastern Kentucky chairmaker who moved to Cincinnati later in life and turned to making mind-bending chairs. Trained by his family in green chairmaking, Cornett made hundreds of chairs and other pieces of furniture during a time in the 20th century when the world was turning to manufactured goods. After serving in World War II, Cornett moved […]
The post A Great (and Free) Read on Chairmaker Chester Cornett appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Here's to the adventure that awaits me.
1. Get into the shop to build more projects.
(This should be at the top, or at least near the top of every woodworker’s list.)
2. Keep tools, especially chisels, sharp.
(As many of you may know, this is my weakness. This, however, is not saying that you need to stop in the middle of your project to sharpen your chisels. Just touch them up – if need be – before putting them back in your drawer or roll.)
|before my loneliness set in|
|had one on the bottom too|
|more spritzing action|
|another road test|
|the left hinge is glued|
This is where the tale of woe starts. I was prepping this and the saw till box for paint. I used the LN 102 to break all the outside surfaces and sandpaper on a stick to do all the internal ones. I missed placed the block plane. I looked everywhere in the shop for it and gave up trying to find it. I went on to other things that I had on my to-do list.
|no glue, just screws|
|adding some thickness|
|time to search for the plane|
I stopped everything I was doing and thought about what I was doing just before I put the plane down. I remember using it to break the edge and putting it on the tablesaw. I retraced all my steps and checked all the horizontal surfaces everywhere I was. No luck as the blockplane was still MIA.
|stopped searching and cleaned my 10" blade|
|used this in the gullets and for the faces of the teeth|
|finishing up the plumb bob stick|
|wedge holds the string|
Trying to thread the string in the plumb bob was an adventure. The yellow poly line I used is a PITA because it unravels in a heart beat. I heated and melted the threads together and it was too big to fit in the plumb bob. I actually stopped playing with it and looked for the blockplane again.
I went outside in the freezing weather and emptied out the garbage can into another another garbage can. I sifted through all the crap twice searching for the block plane. Once when I emptied the can and then when I put it back into it. I found two screws but no blockplane so I went back to threading the plumb bob.
|xmas present from my daughter|
|you can see it isn't plumb R/L|
|this is the way it should be|
|the LN 60 1/2|
|first coat on|
Did you know that the Sears Roebuck catalog was rated as America's second favorite book in 1900? (the bible was #1)
It’s 2018 in the Asia Pacific, whilst the new year hasn’t yet arrived to the rest of the world.
I went to bed early and slept in till 8. I put the kettle on and opened up one of my favourite books Roubo on Marquetry. I’ve given up smoking some 3 months ago, the withdrawals are still there some days worse than others. I’ve gained 10kg (22pounds) in the process and because of this my woodworking is a lot harder. My focus will be to lose weight and gain extra muscle. My other focus will be life planning.
- What are my goals and passions and what I hope to achieve with them.
- What’s steps do I need to take to turn a dream into a reality.
- Most important of all, will these goals better the lives of others including my own.
This year will be a year of productivity and enlightenment without extravagance. God willing it will be a good year.
Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2018 brings you better health and brings much prosperity in your lives. I also hope 2018 is the beginning of the end of corporate monopolisation and that small to medium size businesses flourish.
I don’t remember exactly when I began to use templates to lay out my wooden spoons and spatulas, but after I had made my first dozen or so wooden spoons, I hit upon a couple of spoon shapes that just “worked” for me. There were two of them, and they were comfortable to hold and convenient to use. So every time I went to make another wooden spoon, I grabbed those spoons from my own kitchen and traced them out onto my workpiece.
Eventually I got tired of running to the kitchen every time I made a spoon, so I endeavored to make some templates out of some scraps of seasoned pine. Over the course of a couple years, I made templates for two kinds of spoon and two kinds of spatulas. It took a couple of tries to get each of the templates just right, but once I did, they worked.
I’ve been using some of these templates for 7 years now. I’ve made dozens and dozens of utensils from these templates, and they sell reliably at markets.
But a couple months ago, I was making yet another batch of spoons for an upcoming holiday market. I was in the middle of shaping yet another spoon and thought, “If I have to make one more spoon following these exact same lines, I’m going to scream!”
I didn’t scream. I held it in. But I did start deviating from my lines here and there, and it felt good.
Varying length, width, and depth a little bit here and there as the wood allows has brought some of the spontaneity back into my spoon making, and that’s a healthy thing when I’m cranking out a batch of spoons for an upcoming market. But if I depart too far from the template, I will end up with a virtually useless utensil. A handle that’s only one inch too long or short, a bowl that’s just a half-inch too wide or too narrow, or a neck that’s just 1/8″ too thick or too thin is all that separates a great utensil from a mediocre one.
Let me illustrate. Take a look at these utensils:
The ones on the left were made “freehand.” I had a piece of wood in about that size, so I made a spoon or spatula out of it. Each utensil is functional, but there’s something about each one that makes it a little awkward to use. Maybe the handle is a bit too long or a bit too short, too thin or too thick. They’re not bad, but they wouldn’t sell at a market. The two on the right, however, were made from templates, and experience tells me they will sell. They feel right in the hand.
So for me it’s a delicate balance between varying each piece a little bit and staying within a very narrow range of proportions that fit the ordinary human hand.
A lot of spoon carvers avoid templates entirely. Some sketch the spoon out freehand on the blank before carving it, while others just go at it with a hatchet and knife and see what comes out. It can be fun to just “follow the grain,” and people who work without templates or layout lines will often say that they “just let the wood tell me what it wants to be.” The problem with that approach, however, is that all the wood really “wants” to be is a stick. You have to turn it into a spoon. And while it is important to work within the limits imposed by the material, you can’t let the material control the process and expect good results.
Another problem with the “let the wood decide what it wants to be” mentality is that, in the end, it’s not the wood that will be using the spoon; it’s a human being. Although there’s always something of a symbiotic relationship between a woodworker and his or her material, ultimately the human has to be the one in charge.
The results of the “free” method can be anywhere on a spectrum between amazing and useless, with most falling somewhere in the middle–often clustering around “bemusing” and “not quite right.” And I have two drawers full of my earliest spoons to prove it. If you’re just making stuff to amuse yourself, then there’s no harm in working spontaneously all the time. But if you aspire to make an excellent object–something that is both useful and pleasing–and further, if you need to make money by selling those objects (as I do), then you had better lay your work out carefully before you start.
Tagged: carve a wooden spoon, make a wooden spoon, spoon carving, spoon making, template, templates, wood spoon, wooden spoon, wooden spoons
“There is always something solemn about the passing of the Old Year. When we were young and the years were very, very long, each New Year’s Eve was an event, the more enthralling for its rarity, and the year ahead still so closely wrapped in the mists of time was full of enticing mystery, something to be explored, one more step forward in the exciting and rather bewildering process of growing up. Breathlessly we listened to the bells, feeling suddenly a little sad as they tolled out the last moments of the dying year, awed into silence in the hush that followed and all the world seemed to wait. Then the lovely, changing peals ushering in the New, and how they rang, those bells of our youth! Is it fancy or have they lost something of their clamorous zest, or is it we who have changed, we who no longer greet them with the old bright-eyed eagerness? Yet there are few men who will not feel a ghost of the old thrill still knocking at their hearts, that here is once more a new beginning, one more opportunity to be seized, as our ever shortening, speeding years are warning us, and turned to account.
“‘Life wastes itself whilst we are preparing to live,’ Emerson once wrote. To live we have to jerk ourselves into action and convert our pleasant pipe dreams into sober realities. The man who has a creative urge to make things, with the vague feeling that he could if once he got down to it, has determinedly to set his hand to a job. So has the man who can make and mend in a plain, competent fashion, but has a hankering for something more, some finer, more ambitious work. If we set ourselves to do the thing, then the power and ability will grow with the doing. If we only keep on vaguely wishing then life will slide away from us and we shall have lost something that might have given us infinite satisfaction. The plain fact which sometimes we are chary of facing is that no atom of good or satisfaction can come to us than by the work we put into this job of making ourselves. Here we are, men with creative instincts, hidden or only dimly realised potentialities, and until we put ourselves to the task of developing them they will remain for ever dormant. No one but ourselves knows what we can do and we ourselves do not know until we have tried. Often, indeed, we scare ourselves off by over timidity. The only way is to start. Tell ourselves we are no worse than the next man: what he can do we can do, and so we can. For steadily and surely those submerged instincts turn into practical ability as we learn by doing.
“It is extraordinary how opportunities come our way for learning once we have started. There seems to be some hidden law governing it, making us aware of new possibilities, new avenues of interest to be explored while we are pegging away at the job of turning ourselves into first-rate craftsmen. It may be only our new awareness, making us see and seize the opportunities, and yet it seems more than that. As if, like the man in the parable, when a man buried his talent he loses even the little he has but, using it, not only is it increased a hundredfold by his own enterprise but more is added unto him, sometimes much more.
“In my time I have made many good resolutions on New Year’s Eve and broken them all. Now, after the passage of the years, there is only one I would make, and that is more a prayer than a resolution. It is for the gift of perseverance. Whatever kind of job of creative living to which we have each put our hands, as good craftsmen, homemakers, as men of integrity and faith and good hopes let us persevere in it, putting our best into it, keeping our interest and enthusiasm alive by the study of good work whenever we can find it and setting our standards by that alone. There are so many things which conspire to turn us aside from the path we want to follow, fascinating things, distracting things, like television, the importunities of our friends, and our own moods and difficulties. We are each of us assailed from this side and that with ever possible temptation to take the easy way and to content ourselves with the minimum necessary effort. But there is not much satisfaction to be got in the long run out of living like that. ‘A man,’ says Emerson, ‘is relieved and gay when has put his heart into his work and done his best: but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver.’ Haven’t we all experienced it? The nagging uneasiness which follows an imperfect or hastily finished job, the blemish which will always catch our own eye if others do not notice, on the other hand the glow of satisfaction when we know our work is good. Those are the moments which are worth living for – the moments which pave the way to solid achievement.”
– Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, January, 1953
Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
Next up is a Klismos chair, an elegant form of seating that emerged in Greece in the fifth century B.C.E. Its popularity as a form has waxed and waned as Classicism and Gothic have grappled through the centuries.
At times it has been interpreted as a study in form. It also has been carved, gilded and padded so as to be almost unrecognizable. The curve of its saber legs have been flattened to add stability. The backrest has been made smaller to make it easier to mass-produce. In fact, the only indignity it hasn’t suffered is to have been injection molded and sold at a Walmart.
My approach will be similar to that of Nicolai Abildgaard (1743-1809), the Danish painter, professor and sculptor who designed the chair shown at the top of this blog entry.
Researcher Suzanne Ellison and I went through a heavy “Klismos and Curule” phase together several years ago. That’s because my early drafts for “The Anarchist’s Design Book” had a large section that explored classical forms such as the Klismos and Curule and wove those forms into the long history of high and low styles. Then I realized I wanted to finish that book before my hair grew all the way down to my hinder. So I nixed that section (which could be a book in itself).
I’m returning to the Klismos because of one simple change in the world: I now have a reliable supply of cold-bend hardwood from Pure Timber. This stuff allows me to make extreme bends with a high level of accuracy and resulting strength.
But first I’ve got to get “Ingenious Mechanicks” to the printer (plus three other books that are almost complete). Oh, and some commission work so as to stave off ramen.
But it will happen in 2018.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Ingenious Mechanicks, Uncategorized
|painted the frog for my #6|
|not much black on the front|
|these two will be done together|
|a couple of strokes shows I have hollow to deal with|
|it's not square|
|the parallel line is want I will start applying pressure to|
|it's square now|
|sole is almost done|
|my #6 I wonder who AJP was?|
|put his initials on the other cheek too|
|removed the blue tape|
|big hollow - 6 strokes|
|black lines for checking progress|
|hollow around the mouth|
|finishing the sole by hand|
|this latch just fits the square till box|
|I have a boatload of them|
|the before pic|
|back and bottom shot|
|78 before shot|
|before pic of the right side|
|flushing the lid on the square till box|
|it worked well for flushing the corners|
|checking my top and bottom isn't twisted|
|swapped out my 10" blade|
|sawn almost through and still together - all four corners lined up|
|dovetail saw sawed through the thin web left|
|better than what I could do by hand|
|left about a 16th to trim|
|trimmed it off with a chisel|
|disappointed with the depth - I wanted it deeper|
|coping saw fits and a handsaw too|
|the lid could have extended down into here without any problems|
|not much meat there|
|not deep enough|
|good fit on the front, it's within two frog hairs|
|the sides are offset - this will plane out easily|
|I'm getting better at installing hinges|
|time for Dunham's putty|
|the other end|
|these weren't here before I planed this corner|
|mixing a new way|
|gaps and tear outs all filled in|
Did you know the Encyclopedia Britannica was first published between 1768 and 1771 in 3 volumes?
Doors of Oxford I spent three days ferreting the streets of Oxford over the holidays. Stayed in a nice hotel so I could walk into the City and see it emptied of students and cars, a million bikes with cyclists on and such. I’ve never seen the streets so emptied so “I actually walked down […]
We all are (I am) fascinated by the wonder and majesty of thin pins:
We all (I) need to get over it. It’s just joinery. It might take a bit more patience and/or skill but it is not better or stronger than chunkier less graceful pins. They were just showing off.
Take this desk on stand:
New England Queen Anne Tiger Maple Slant Front Desk on Stand
Description: Early 19th century, poplar and white pine secondary, dovetailed case, breadboard slant front lid with lipped edge, having loper supports, interior with pigeon-hole and drawered compartments, three graduated lipped drawers and applied molded trim, on a scalloped skirt stand, with later cabriole legs.
Size: 38 x 39 x 19 in.
Condition: Later legs and glue blocks; surface stains and tight shrinkage cracks to case; breakout and patch to lock; later pulls.
A minimalist gallery:
The gallery drawers show a healthy disdain for the fashionable thin pins:
The main drawers are equally chunky:
Why should the carcass dovetails be any different?
And no expense was spared in making of the back of this exceptional desk:
Maybe this desk is more to your liking:
Georgian Miniature Slant Front Desk
Description: Circa 1800, mahogany, oak secondary, hinged lid with divided and drawer interior having loper supports, over four graduated drawers with bracket foot base.
Size: 8.5 x 8 x 4 in.
Condition: No key; later pulls; insect damage.