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Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes

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seventeenth-century joined furniture; green wood, hand tools
Updated: 12 min 1 sec ago

partly done, mostly done

28 min 38 sec ago

Partly done.

partly done

 

mostly done. mostly done


enough fooling around

3 hours 24 min ago

It’s raining instead of snowing today. No fun watching rain fall, thus time to learn this carving design, so I can teach it later

carving begun

 

center panel

http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html


Snowed, so I had fun…

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 5:32pm

Very little woodworking tonight. Some pictures from this week thus far. 

When you have 2 young kids in New England, there should be snow in winter. Took a while this year, but we got it. 

snow sample

 

 

The river’s been full of slush and ice floes for 3 days. Maybe tomorrow we’ll see ducks. 

RIVER VIEW

 

This is where I have done a lot of my work since June of last year, there’s 3 long benches there, for working at & on…but you can’t see ‘em. Beside the stump is a large pile of hewing chips, and I think some bowls under there. 

OUTDOOR WORKSHOP

A stake-legged bench, shot it just for Chris. One of 5 or 6 in the yard. Range in height from 12″ to 20″ – lengths from 15″ to 5′. This is a small one the kids use for something. 

stake legged

 

I’m trying to learn sparrows this week. It was great, for 2 days, not an English sparrow in sight.

lbjHouse finch. 

house finch

 

a lead-up to a great leap of faith – that there’s no logs under there! 

about to leap

 

 

Earlier, I had shoveled the car out, even though I hope to go nowhere in the near future. All that work gave the kids a great place to play. 

heap o snow

top of heap

rose heap

 

Inside, I got to catch some more winter light. Our napkin holder. 

chip carving

 

 

I shuffled some stuff around earlier this week, and before it all went to wrack & ruin, I shot this chest of drawers I made back in 2003. 

cod 2003

 

My mother’s clock. Inside the covered pot is a slip of paper with a quote from my mother “Oh, dear, bread & beer; if I was dead, I wouldn’t be here.” But it’s not really true…

clock

 

Here’s where I have carved spoons since the snow fell… with a view of the river & feeders. 

 

indoor work area this week

 

The big fish eat the small fish. Late day visitor to the yard, one of the local red tail hawks. 

 

redtail in sun

 


The End

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 9:49am

The end. (quite a way to start a blog post, huh?)

cf chest end view

On a piece of case furniture, some call it the side. I think of them as ends, as in “help me move this chest, grab the other end.”

I’m not one for measured drawings, but I am working some up for this chest project. Today I was laying out the end view of the chest we’ll build at the CT Valley School of Woodworking this season. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html

In the class, we will delve deeply into the period chest we’re studying/copying, but will also look at numerous variations. These chests (Wethersfield/Windsor/Hartford area of CT) often have one large horizontal panel over 2 vertical panels. the upper panel is glued up in every one I’ve seen and made notes on… but the students will be making single-drawer versions. So that changes how we format the end view. I’ll offer them 2 versions & they can decide which to use.

CHS chest w drawers

 

There is no typical arrangement – but there are several that we see over & over. Like these:

a joined chest, one large horizontal panel on the ends. This panel is about 14″ wide (top to bottom) It requires a tree in the range of 36″ in diameter, straight as can be.

WA Dedham chest

 

 

 

One way around that issue is to divide the end with a muntin, and use two narrower vertical panels. Two more joints, but not a big deal. I do this most commonly. Note here the side top rail and the front top rail are different dimensions.
guilford chest

 

This next one is a chest with a single drawer. So two side-by-side panels above a single horizontal panel. In some cases, these panels all end up the same width – nice & neat for stock preparation.

 

braintree chest w drawerHere’s a chest of drawers, and I have found this arrangement on chests with 2 drawers too – two sets of vertical side-by-side panels. or 2 over 2 if you want to phrase it that way. You can cover a lot of ground this way.

PEM chest of drawers Essex Co
How these side views relate to the front view and more interestingly, to the rear view is a study in itself. Come take the class – we’ll be able to really explore joined chests in excruciating detail. You’ll be well-versed in joined chests by the end. The End.

 

 

 


some chair terms illustrated w period examples

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 2:39pm

some pictures, spurred on by Chris Schwarz’ last 2 posts on his blog, and my earlier one from today.

A stool. common as can be, but early ones (16th/17th centuries) are less common than hen’s teeth. This one’s from the Mary Rose (1545)

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Joined stool. simple, you’ve seen this sort of thing here hundreds of times.

MET stool small file

Its cousin – the joined form. same thing, just stretched out.

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While we’re at it, let’s get the wainscot chair out of the way.

wainscot chair Pil Hall

 

a variant – the “close” chair, “settle chair” of Randle Holme, although his illustration might be a different version.

metcalfe chair

 

This is what Holme illustrated, I can’t imagine a more difficult way to build a chair.

dug out chair 001

Turned chairs. Ugh. these get weird. First, the “turned chair”  “great (meaning large) chair” “rush chair” – lots of names could mean this item.

BARTLETT CHAIR (2)

This is the one Holme said made by turners or wheelwrights, “wrought with Knops, and rings ouer the feete, these and the chaires, are generally made with three feete.’ = I would say, except when the have four feet.

welsh chair overall 2 welsh chair 12

 

Like this one: the real kicker here is that these chairs have beveled panels for seats, captured in grooves in the seat rails. Thus, sometimes called: a “wooden chair” = chairs often being categorized by their seating materials.

DUTCH turned chair

 

 

Now we have a “wrought” chair, “turkey-work chair” – and so forth. I mentioned in a comment on Chris’ blog the other day, forget the construction here, (joiner’s work, w turned, and in this case, twist-carved bits) it’s the upholstery that makes the splash. These were top-flight items in the 17th century.

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Same gig, only leather. (this photo is I think from Marhamchurch Antiques)

_ALG5130

 

Randle Holme’s turner’s chopping block looks a lot like Chris’ image today from Van Ostade, of a “country stool” – I’d have a chopping block in my kitchen if I could…but we’re out of space.

turners chopping block

 

 

That was fun, I never get to use much of that research these days.

Back to spoon stuff tomorrow…there’s a mess of them available here = https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/

 


16th & 17th century English terms for chairs

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 1:04pm

I hate to do posts without pictures, but this one’s easier that way. I’ll do pictures in a separate post.

if you read Chris Schwarz’ blog, http://blog.lostartpress.com/  you’ve seen his posts about Randle Holme’s seating furniture, and today a discussion between Chris & Suzanne Ellison about stools in particular. Randle Holme’s work has always been one of my favorite resources when studying 17th-century stuff. Another is probate records, particularly the household inventories compiled at the time of a person’s death. One reason these are so helpful is that they are the work of many people, thus we get a wider snapshot than just Randle Holme’s ideas. When you study inventories from a wide geographic range, you get various uses of terms. Once you study New England records, they’re even more mixed up, because you have immigrants from all over England thrown together in a small area. The language gets funny.

here’s some terms I have noted about seating furniture. These go way beyond the limits of Chris’ “furniture of necessity” but are still worthwhile.

My comments in brackets.

Chris – note: “beere stoole” and “ale stole” –

This first set I compiled from J. H. Wilson, editor, Wymondham Inventories (Norwich: Centre of East Anglian Studies, date?)

 

Long forme

Two little buffett stooles

Turned chayer

Litle old stoole

Old close stoole

Cushion stoole

Beere stoole

Back chaiers

Seeled settle

Wicker chaier

Little chaier

Forme

Bench

Three footed stole

Ould chayer

Ale stole

Joyned form

Framed stooles  [not sure how or if a “framed” stool is different from a “joyned” form…the form is long. Framed & joined are usually thought to mean the same thing, joined w mortise & tenons]

Cushin stooles

Back chayers

Cushion chayer with a back

Great back chayers

Footstoole

A forme of joyned worke

Great chayre

Close-chayre

 

Plymouth Colony, (New England) :

1 old brodred stoole  [I think “boarded” in this case, not “embroidered” – but might be…]

2 busted stools 1s6d

3 bossed stooles [I think this is an upholstered stool, trimmed w large headed tacks…]

a close stoole 8s [not just a stool or ease, but any stool w a compartment in its bottom]

a large stoole Covering and many borderings for stooles 10s,

2 wrought stooles [wrought is upholstered]

2 Cushen stooles

six buffitt stooles 10s

Essex County, Massachusetts:

3 Leather stooles 5s

foot stoole

a brewing stoole 1s6d  [“brewing stool” which might clarify the English “beer” and “ale” stools above.]

 

6 cushion stooles & 2 chaires £2

6s  a great stoole or table 3s

an old stoole table

4 Lowe cuchin stools

Back in England, from A. D. Dyer, editor, Probate Inventories of Worcester Tradesmen, 1545-1614 (Worcestershire: W. S. Manley & Son LTD, for the Worcestershire Historical Society, 1967)

Settelles

Forme

Joyned stoles

Chaire

Benche

Gyne/geynyd stoole [think phonetic, thus “joined”]

Small settell of waynscote with a bench

One bench with a back of waynscote

Chayre stooles

Joyned formes

Framed formes

Waineskott benche  [in all of these wainscot means either oak, or frame & panel work.]

 

Peter C. D. Brears, editor, Yorkshire Probate Inventories 1542-1689 (Yorkshire: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1972)

 

Formes

Long furram [form?]

Buffet/buffet stooles

Close stoole

Low stoole

Covered stoole

Long settle

Chaires

Sewed cheare

Seald/seeled cheare [this is “ceiled” a term meaning “joined” – joiners were sometimes called “ceilers”

Wanded chaire  [willow/wicker]

 

Francis W. Steer, editor, Farm and Cottage Inventories of Mid-Essex, 1635-1749, (Colchester: Wiles & Son, Ltd., 1950)

Chaire

little chaires

great joyned chayer

high Chairs

low chairs

Joyne inlaid Chaire

Wainscot chair

one Chaire with turn’d pins

leather chaires

Russia lather Chairs

blew cloth Chaires

green chair

chaires bottom’d with rushes

chayre table

turkey worke stooles

stooles

letle Stooles

bucket stools  [seen paintings of chairs made from barrels. never seen an old one surviving]

Joyned stooles/ joint stooles

2 foote stooles

green stooles

join’d stooles buffeded

one settle with 3 boxes in it

bench boards

long bench joyning to the wainscot

long forme

Settell

joyned forme

Great Wicker Chair

low Wicker chair

wicker chayer

 

Michael Reed, editor, The Ipswich Probate Inventories 1583-1631 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press for the Suffolk Records Society, 1981)

Form/forme

Buffet stoole/forme

Joyned forme

Frame for a stoole

Stole of easment  – [this one’s clear – a chair w a chamber pot. a shitter]

Lowe ymbrydred stooles

Footestooles/ Ould footstooles

Two round stooles

Green frindged high stooles

Lyttle stoole with a green cover

Ould stooles covered with blue cloth

Three footed stooles

A brasse foot stoole

Joyned stoole

Gyned stole

Small wyndd stooles

6 heigh stoles covered with lether

Old tressell stooles

Six wrought stooles

heigh stooles covered with lether

6 joyned stooles covered with scottish work

5 heigh buffet stoles

Settle

seeld bench-parlor

One high bench with a backe

Chayers litle and great

Oulde chayers

Great chaire

chair table

Wekar/wicker chayer

Wicker chaire with a back

Matted chayers  [chairs w rush seats]

Six old segging chayers

18 chayers of seg cist 7s (?)  [are these serge chairs? i.e. upholstered ?]

Wooden chayer – [Wooden? aren’t they all wooden? This means a wooden seat, not a woven seat.]

Turned chaires

Three green turned chaires

Great turne chayer

One turnors chayre

Old turne chayer

hye turned chayer

hipp turned chayer (?) [I assume bad transcription]

Closse chaire

Back chayrs

one hopp chayer

Childrens chayers

Old backt chair

Joyned chaires great and small

A small Flanders chayer with a backe of green cloth

Great joyned chaire covered with lether

Lether backe chayers, 2 heygh and 2 lower

One chaire covered with scottish work

One great green frindged chaire

One high green chaire

One settworke chaire

Wrought chaires

chayers covered with greene kersye

1 couch as it standeth


January 2015 update & first spoons

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 9:21am

Well, lots going on & not going on around here. Let’s get one thing out of the way. “where are the bird photos?” some have asked. I haven’t been out birding since I-don’t-know-when. Haven’t been to Plymouth Beach for owls at all…it’s frustrating, but time is in short supply all around. maybe this weekend…but it’s been feeder-birds for me. Cardinal in a holly tree, a rather cliche picture. Juncos were around this morning; they’re winter birds here.

cardinal holly

female junco

What’s really been missing is oak. But that’s about to change. I have all of a sudden several joinery projects coming up. So yesterday and today I have been splitting & hewing oak prior to planing. some of my work-sequences have changed some since the workshop shuffle of last summer. More hewing at the outset, and then planing. I used to do it back & forth between the hatchet & plane. I shot none of this work, but here’s a view of the off=cuts, meaning another job to clean up behind! Some stock there for pegs certainly…you can never have too many.

off cuts

The hewing has produced some really amazing chips – this one somehow became a photographic platform for Saruman, who is in the shop to have his broken hand removed from his arm socket. If he weren’t an Istari, we could have just pretended this character was Beren.

saruman

My first batch of spoons are now released from their task last weekend = and are available for sale here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/


one more look at that not-real old, but old-style chair

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 6:28am

while at Overbrook house the other day https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/spoon-carving-at-plymouth-craft-last-weekend/   I took a few minutes to shoot some more takes on the little carved chair there. I could find out little about it, other than “Europe” – dated 1947.

chair

side view

underside

carving

carving 2

Back in early December, Frederick, one of the readers here, sent this link to some brettstuhls (Oh, no – I’m trying plurals of words in foreign languages) he’d photographed in an open-air museum:

https://frischesholz.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/brettstuhl-for-peter/

 


Spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT last weekend

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 5:48pm

Last weekend was my first class with Plymouth CRAFT, helping 12 intrepid folks carve spoons. What a time we had. (the facebook crowd can see some pictures here https://www.facebook.com/CRAFTPlymouth )

spoon carvers

It was held at Overbrook house, http://www.overbrookhouse.com/ a large rambling joint with something interesting around every corner, both rooms we were using were set with a fire in the hearth. On the first day, Denise Lebica was teaching a knitting class in the next room, and on day 2, Paula Marcoux was in the kitchen, teaching a strudel-making session. This was after she had fixed a stellar lunch for everyone both days, cooking parts of it in the hearth. Like her book come to life… http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Fire-Rediscovered-Techniques-Wood-Fired/dp/1612121586

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The spoon carvers took over a very large main room, essentially a living room! We shoved the furniture to the walls, moved in some mats & chopping blocks, and had at it. We started with the knife grasps, then moved to actually roughing out spoon blanks. These people were so dedicated they almost missed the lunch bell – until I yelled at them to get away from the tools & go eat.

indoor hewing

 

room view

I was kept pretty busy going from one to the next, checking on the tool use and the emerging spoons. For me, one highlight was that we were given permission to take a cherry sapling that was growing right outside the door. This meant that every student got a chance to carve a spoon from a crook. some were small, but in many ways that’s a good thing. working a small crook as a beginner means you learn the particular demands and challenges without a great outlay of effort and time…cherry can get pretty hard if it dries ahead of you..so good to get through it in short order.

cherry tree

hewing crook

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knife work 2

Overbrook  is large enough to include accommodations for those who needed overnight lodgings, and Anne Phelan did an outstanding job at the breakfast end of the B&B, as well as a slew of overall helping-out. So many of us had worked together at that un-named museum for years & years, it was fun to be back together again; Pret, Paula, Denise, Anne, Keith, Marie, me  – and we had two other alumni, Bryan (spoons) & David (knitting) were signed on as students.    

It went so well & we all had such a great time, that we signed up to do it again, both the spoon carving & knitting. Dates are March 14 & 15. Go to Plymouth CRAFT’s site  for details, and to sign up:  http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events   is Paula adding a foodie workshop? I forget. 

I see Mark Atchison’s first class is now listed too – http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=the-fundamentals-of-blacksmithing-a-traditional-perspective  You’ve heard me go on about Mark’s work before, without his work, my furniture work would suffer. Great chance to learn some blacksmith work from one of the best. 

 

 

 


2 birds; 1 stone – joined chest class at CVSWW 2015

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 6:14pm

Today I spent a good deal of time on my hands & knees. I was with Bob Van Dyke, Will Neptune and Christina Vida collecting information for the joined chest class we’re doing at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking this year. (to read the class description, follow this link,

http://schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html

 

chest w drawers

We’re building a version of this Connecticut chest with drawers. For the class, it will be “chest w drawer” - it’s a crazy enough undertaking as it is.

Here’s some of the materials, Michael Doherty took me to the wall of wood. These were maybe 12′ high, I’d say 10′ long logs, maybe longer.

wall of wood

Some of the larger oaks had been pulled out for us already. Michael had picked out more too. I’ve never ordered wood for so many full-sized chests before. But if we need more, it’s there. Below are some of the oaks (the red cedar top right is Michael’s):

 

 

logs

 

So if you want to see how to turn those logs into a chest, sign up to take the class. It’s a time commitment; one weekend a month for 5 months. But you’ll get to go through the whole process, and learn all the details of a chest like this. (our plan is to start with a field trip – we’ll go to the woodyard, and work the logs in the picture just above – the students will split the logs apart to begin gathering rough stock).

I taught a chest class at Roy Underhill’s last year, but it was a scaled-down simple frame & panel chest. This one is full-size, carvings and molding. All the bells & whistles. There will be at least one field trip to examine the original chest in detail. (Hopefully a 2nd trip to see other 17th-c chests at Windsor Historical Society…) I’m not going into detail on the whole chest now; but it has a lot of interesting features. Of course the carving is a big part of it – almost no blank space at all.

center panel

carving detail

 

The 2-birds-1-stone reference is the chest with drawers I’m going to make based on this 0ne. This repro will be part of the Strong-Howard house interpretive re-installation underway at the Windsor (CT) Historical Society. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/strong_house.html

Bob Van Dyke and Will Neptune, among others, have been involved in this project from its inception. Her’es a blurb Bob put on the CVSWW site about their work =  http://schoolofwoodworking.com/projects.html

Here’s the project Bob & Will were planning – http://schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/533-build-an-oval-tavern-table-with-will-neptune.html 


Drew comes north in 2015

Sun, 01/11/2015 - 4:10pm

drew's lowback chair

 

There’s lots of new readers here, so I can repeat something I’ve said here many times. When people ask me where/how I got started in this kind of woodworking, I always tell them about Country Workshops, the school down in western North Carolina run by Drew and Louise Langsner. Here’s a link to perhaps the most coherent post I did about it – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-did-i-get-started-country-workshops-the-langsners-is-how/

But tonight I’m writing because over the years I’ve had many people say they’d like to go there, but it’s a long drive (approx 20 hours for me; Massachusetts to North Carolina) – but in 2015 Drew is coming to New England to teach a course in making the chair pictured above. He’ll be at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine in late September. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/73

If you’ve been wanting to meet Drew and take a class from him, here is a VERY rare chance to do so – I don’t think he’s ever taught in New England before. The chair is one of my favorites, rock-solid and very comfortable. I first met Drew in 1980, when he was hosting a class by Alexander in ladderback chairmaking. Drew’s been teaching chairmaking for almost that long…

Maybe Maine is a long drive for you too, but so what. Jump on it if you are inclined. Don’t wait for next year… It’s a small class for Lie-Nielsen’s program, and their facility is just a great place to take classes. Excellent venue, and great, helpful staff. I highly, highly recommend it.


one opening in Jan 17/18 spoon class

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 1:31pm

hook knives

I handled a bunch of hook knives this afternoon (they’re Robin Wood’s hooks – http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/product-category/tools/ ). Otherwise, sharpening, getting chopping blocks together, etc.

There’s room for one more spoon carver – next weekend in Plymouth (well, really Buzzards Bay MA., but close enough) – we allowed for 12 students and have 11. It’s not too late. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=carving-wooden-spoons-with-peter-follansbee

We have some birch, cherry and a wood to be named later. Will I see you there?

Tomorrow I’ll do the lefties.


Here’s what Chris was talking about

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 5:30pm

the other day, Chris Schwarz wrote about a new double-screw vise he’s been making for Jennie Alexander. In that post, Chris mentioned that JA & I used these devices in ways different from what we’re now used to seeing. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2015/01/07/a-prototype-double-screw-vise/

Chris made quite a splash with these things (think Moxon vise…) but it’s funny how different craftsmen come at at thing like this. Schwarz, Alexander & I all read the same passages in Moxon’s book, and Randle Holme’s about these bench fittings. 

But what we made depended on what we wanted to do. JA & I were interested in frame & panel joinery. Mortise & tenon; narrow framing parts; panels that might be a maximum of 10″ wide. So our double-bench screws were small compared to what Chris came up with for his work that featured lots of dovetailing of large carcasses. 

Just the other day I was using one JA made to plow grooves in a chest frame. Here a short, narrow muntin. This gives you an idea of the scale of my bench screw = and this is my large one! The muntin might be 15″ long. I have it clamped in the double screw, which is held down by the holdfast. Then the muntin is jammed up against the bench hook. 

 

double screw w plow plane

 

Here is another version, even smaller. This is the one I made when Alexander made that above. Here I’m splitting tenon cheeks on a joint stool apron. (this exact photo might be in the joint stool book – I know the tool/device is…(http://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/make-a-joint-stool-from-a-tree )

I think of these like their descendants, the hand-screw. They come in many sizes, for many functions. 

 

tenon splitting

 

One more. This setup is for mortising the chest rail. It’s probably four feet long. Hold fast secures the rail in place, but its 1″ thickness can wobble a little. So I stabilize it by clamping the double screw to its nether end. 

double screw in use

 

JA has now adapted this joiner’s device for ladderback chairmaking. So we’ll see that surface some day..but while it was on my mind, I wanted to give you some ideas of how we used them in joiner’s work. 

(as usual lately, when I sit down to write a post, I see I’ve written it before – here’s tonight’s post only from 3 years ago!  https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/you-say-moxon-vise-i-say-double-screw/


crook with hook

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 8:07am

more spoon carving today. One I’ve had hanging around a while is this, my all-time favorite of these “crooks with hooks” – this one in apple, but in the bowl is a bark inclusion that is essentially a deep crack. Oh well, I get to keep it that way…

apple crook

to make this spoon, I stopped looking at the photos of Wille & Jogge’s hooks that I was inspired by…and dove in. I really like the curves this one generated; exaggerated the hook and came up with a satisfying, if useless utensil. I guess limited use, rather than useless. I carved this one last summer at the Lie-Nielsen open house. It’s been around that long. For a sense of scale, it’s about 10″ long. I’m working on a new one in cherry today.

w bark

crack

 


one picture

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 1:29pm

spoon cross section

I have been carving spoons today, getting ready for my first spoon carving class with Plymouth CRAFT later this month. At the bottom of my basket of spoons-in-progress was this remnant from a mishap. when carving this birch spoon, my knife stuck, I wiggled and the thing split apart. I got something out of it, because I was then able to shave it down its centerline to see the thicknesses at different points along the spoon’s shape. This is still too thick – in the bowl and the handle…but it shows the general shape I’m after.

If I hadn’t blown it, I would have concentrated my next cuts in the areas highlighted in blue below. (On most days, I can shave wood smoother than I can draw blue lines w a mouse.) The underside of the handle I often thin by beveling it towards its outside edges, leaving thickness in the middle of its cross-section. I like to keep the finial/end thicker than the rest of the handle.

thinned

 

Those are some of the things I’m thinking about as I carve these spoons lately. Striving to get the spoons thinner these days.

I don’t know which is worse, busting a spoon while carving it, or while abusing it to close a window  – at least Tim got some use out of his spoon for a while.  http://timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-few-spoons-and-dissection.html

 

 

 


Winter light

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 5:46pm

winter light

I do woodworking year-round. For me though, winter is the best time for it. I still don’t have a “proper” workshop, i.e. one that is mine, with all my tools and wood in it. But I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking about what it might be like. The borrowed shop I am using to shoot pictures is real nice…it’s on the 2nd floor – which at first I thought was stupid. But with windows at each gable end, there’s lots of light. Winter light can be quite amazing. I saw this chest front bathed in raking light today. Couldn’t resist. I was there to resume working on joinery stuff. This oak chest with 2 drawers has been underway for a long time. Today I started framing the sides. 

oak

I worked that project along some, and then picked up the walnut joined stool interruption. I had the rail stock planed, just had to lay and cut the tenons and do a test-fit. There was little I did differently than when I do these in oak. But some.

Not planing, it’s just the same in walnut as in oak, although easier. 

planing walnut

 

Laid out the tenons. Like I said, lots of light here. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing my lines in walnut, but not today. 

stool rails

 

I was thinking I’d chicken out & saw the tenon cheeks, but decided the stock was riven because it was straight-grained, so why not go for broke? Worked like a charm. 

split tenons

the driving point for me was the ease of working this riven walnut. Nothing like my first experience with its kiln-dried relative some years ago. Paring across these tenon cheeks was a snap. 

stool aprons

HERE”s the major departure from my normal practice – I put a piece of scrap wood between the stool & the mallet when I test-assembled! You can’t hit walnut as hard as you can oak. Period. (well, you can – but you’ll mess it up.)

assembly w block

The stool needs a little tweaking to clean up some wracking – but they all need that at some point. This is as far as I got today…

walnut stool

 

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FURNITURE SALE:

 

I won’t have spoons for sale until late January. I do have a few furniture items that I have discounted. Time to make some room in this old house of ours so I can bring these new pieces home when they’re done. So if you’d like to have a look, I’ve added a page here: http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/furniture-sale-winter-2015/

While we’re at it, Maureen is doing the same with her textile work – we’re overrun with stuff!  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts


A Man Apart

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:28pm

If you’ve been here a while, you’ve heard me go on about Bill Coperthwaite. There’s a new book coming out this month about Peter Forbes’ and Helen Whybrow’s time spent with Bill. I’m watching the mailbox closely and can’t wait til it gets here.

Picture

Here’s a link for more about the book http://www.billcoperthwaite.net/the-book.html  and there’s a collector’s edition that is a fund-raiser for a project by Peter & Helen called Spoons for All – http://www.billcoperthwaite.net/collectors-edition.html

How could I say no to that? Carving spoons to help make the world a better place? Of course…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The best laid-plans, etc…

Sat, 01/03/2015 - 8:45am

Last summer, I set up my lathe outside, to turn some balusters for a theater stage…I did manage to turn a few, but have many more to go. But the deadline got extended to next summer – so that project got shelved quickly. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/things-take-a-turn/

overall by DRF

From time to time, I had one or two small turning bits to deal with, but otherwise, I kept a tarp over the lathe. But I didn’t like to see its feet getting wet when it rained, and in general kept thinking I’d knock it back apart & store it until spring. One thing after another…and there it sat. I had a wainscot chair on my list of things to make this winter, so I thought I’d do the front stiles for that, then the lathe could come down.

chair stile

Then, I got a pile of short riven sections of black walnut. I decided they were tailor-made for a joint stool in walnut…which I needed like a hole in the head. But I’d like to have some oak-alternatives in the next joinery book, so think of this as a preview. what that meant is that I shuffled my schedule some, to plane, mortise and then turn the stiles for the stool. Here’s a sky-view of the turning work:

sky view overall

sky view

One more -

sky view two

stool parts

Now they’re done, and the lathe is tucked away for the winter. So in one post we go from shorts & a T-shirt, long sleeves & pants, to sweater/vest & hat. The common thread? Horizontal stripes it seems. Maybe by next spring, I’ll have miraculously solved my temporary shop situation and will set up once & for all…

I kept the bowl lathe set up, and even turned a couple of them the other day…hope to get to more soon.

 


Now it’s January, my first course at

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 9:46am

Now it’s January, my first course at Plymouth CRAFT is coming up. I think there’s one more space; keep in mind there’s more happening there that weekend – here’s the blurb for the knitting class  http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=k-is-for-knitting-learn-to-knit-retreat-part-1

 

KNITTING

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions – one I had half-made was to spend less time reading at the screens here – and that’s right out the window, thanks to Dave Fisher. He just started a blog. I really like Dave’s stuff – we met once when he came through Plimoth while I was there. So I’ll watch his blog regularly. His bowls are really out of this world – as I plod deeper & deeper into hewing bowls, Dave’s my inspiration. He’s stronger than me, and his tools are sharper – he hews bowls from cherry! Here’s the link:  https://davidffisherblog.wordpress.com/

Dave Fisher bowl

 

 

I’ve been thinking about a series called “tools from my chest” because there’s some I use all the time that I haven’t talked about in 8 years’ worth of blog posts. But, I’ll start with a brand-new one – a carving hatchet that I got from Robin Wood. This isn’t the one from John Neeman that somehow has Robin’s name on it – I’m not sure what that story is, but this is designed by and made for Robin, specifically for carving spoons and bowls. Priced so it’s within reach of most, it feels way better than its price range. (right now it’s £35 plus £22 for shipping to the US.)  

The specifics are on his site – but if you’re looking for a nice small carving hatchet, and the likes of Hans Karlsson are beyond your present budget, this is the hatchet for you. His knives are real nice as well; I got some of his hooks for use with students. I see that the hatchets are out of stock, Christmas must have wiped him out. Next batch in March it says. http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/product-category/tools/

robin wood hatchet

RW hatchet head

RW hatchet head profile

 

Two birds well suited to their environment. This redtail hawk would have eluded me if I hadn’t seen it fly into this sycamore tree. His brown and white feathers blend well with the bark – 

hidden redtail

This little grey screech owl is a different story. Our neighbors told us he’d taken to roosting in this duck box. If he sat on the branches, he’d be harder to see. He cares not, just plops into the box when some photographers get out of the car, Marie. 

screech

 


Happy holidays to all

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 9:21am

well, tomorrow’s a day off, but I’ll get to make some spoons maybe. Meanwhile, happy holidays to all you folks out there who take part in that sort of thing. Here’s what I found recently – Talk about Ode to Joy = this is the best 6 minutes I’ve spent on the web in ages.


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by Dr. Radut