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Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes

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seventeenth-century joined furniture; green wood, hand tools
Updated: 3 min 23 sec ago

Spoons, bowls & more for sale – November 2014

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 2:01pm

hewn bowl 14-05 carving

 

When Chris Schwarz left his job some time ago, I remember him writing later that he never knew what day it was. That’s the boat I’m in lately…and I got around to photographing and posting the spoons & bowls I have for sale, then realized everyone’s on the road in America – it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. Oh well…this stuff will be here. Here’s the link, http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/late-november-spoons-bowls-for-sale/  or the top of the page on the blog will get you there too. 

Let me know if you’d like to order any of these items; just leave a comment. Paypal is easiest, but I can accept checks too. Just let me know. Any questions, speak up. 

Happy thanksgiving to those who celebrate it…

——————–

I also have some DVDs of the wainscot chair project left – let me know if you’d like that…

The newest DVD I’ve done with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is available now. “17th Century Wainscot Chair”

wainscot chair videp

Over 200 minutes, it shows how to make a full-blown wainscot chair based on a 17th-century example. The chair is carved, but that work is covered in earlier videos I did with Lie-Nielsen. I have one batch for sale, or you can order them from Lie-Nielsen if you need other stuff too…

here’s the blurb:

17th Century Wainscot Chair

with Peter Follansbee

The Wainscot Chair is one of the hallmarks of 17th century joinery. In this DVD, Peter demonstrates how to prepare material from a section of oak, shape the chair pieces using bench tools and a pole lathe, and join them together with drawbored mortise and tenon joints. He also offers two traditional approaches for making the angled joints of this chair.

Peter Follansbee specializes in 17th century period joinery and green woodworking. He spent over 20 years making reproduction furniture at Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching the craft at schools around the USA, Peter co-authored the book, Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th Century Joinery, with Jennie Alexander. He is also featured in three other Lie-Nielsen DVDs: 17th c. New England Carving (2010); 17th c. New England Carving: Carving the S-Scroll (2011); and 17th c. Joined Chest (2012).

218 minutes (2 discs), Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Productions, 2014.

—————–

The new video, 17th Century Wainscot Chair  – is now available. $40 plus $2 shipping in US. Email me if you’d rather send a check; but the paypal button is right here…

Buy Now Button

 


what could be worse?

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 5:31pm

I sent this picture to Bob Van Dyke last night,

smily face

 

 

with the question 

“what’s worse than seeing faces in the carvings?”

Answer – seeing smiley faces in the carvings! 

For the record, Bob also replied – “and the smiley face is really kind of an evil wise ass smiley face- sort of reminds me of some sort of Tahitian or south pacific smiley face carving…why is that?”


my kids complain when we draw

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 6:42pm

My kids complain when we draw together, they say all I draw is patterns & designs. (Here’s them painting; I can’t find them drawing right now…)

kids painting

 

I’ve been doing some drawings lately. It’s somewhat new for me to draw before I build something, usually I make it first, then I draw it… 

I’m finishing up a few projects, which means it’s time to start the next ones…I’m real good at starting them…it’s easy. I always have more ideas than time. A further challenge is when one thing leads to another, and a project comes up out of nowhere, and jumps the queue. I’m right now struggling to keep that from happening. I’m losing that struggle. But that’s OK.

brittany

I had a visit from Chris Pinnell from Montreal recently, and we were talking about joinery in New France. I had remembered some photos sent to me from a reader, and dug out pictures of joined work from Brittany. [It was Maurice Pommier, author of Grandpa’s Workshop – here’s my original post from a few years back –   http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/bretagne-joinery-an-english-book-stand/ and the book is here http://lostartpress.com/products/grandpas-workshop  ]

 

Afterwards, I went back & started drawing this carving over & over. I’ve probably drawn five versions of it since yesterday. I plan on carving it just to get it out of my system, so I can get on with the other stuff I really should be doing.

bowdoin chair panel

One of the projects I have to do next is a wainscot chair. For this project, I’ll be using some of that really wide riven oak I just got in. The panel is 14” wide x 16 3/4” high. I decided I’d draw this design a few times before picking up the tools, that way I know the shapes I’m after. Those size panels don’t grow on trees, you know. This is slightly different from my usual approach. Typically, with this Ipswich/Devon stuff I carve my own versions of the panels…it’s easy enough to make them up using various elements from existing patterns. This time, I’m trying to copy the existing chair …)

dennis wainscot panel no grid

Dennis wainscot panel

 

 

I’ve drawn it about 3 times, including one that’s half the panel, full size. I won’t lay out a grid on the panel, but I will work from the scaled full size drawing. I want it to have irregularities in it, and those are easy to get. 

 

One last drawing – this thing jumped in front others, should be done this week. A bretstuhl – in walnut. Here’s the carving design I made up for the shaped back board to this chair. the chair is based on one Drew Langsner wrote about in Fine Woodworking in the early 1980s, from Switzerland. The carving designs I adapted from Dutch work of the 17th century. 

bretstuhl stabelle


I finally finished a couple of things

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 9:52am

things finished – the box w drawer (mostly, just needs one more board in the drawer bottom.) and a birch bowl.

done

drawer open

sliding DT

side

 

This birch bowl has been around a while, but I just finished carving it yesterday, then chipcarved some of the rim last night. It’s big – maybe 20″ long or more. Great fun. It’ll be for sale soon, no paint – don’t worry. 

bowl side

bowl end

 I added a link on the sidebar to Plymouth CRAFT – where you can sign up for spoon carving, card weaving, lace making & more. http://plymouthcraft.org/

Maureen tells me there’s new felt stuff on her site too. So that’s what she’s doing while I’m here doing this…  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts


Spoon class, January 2015 at Plymouth CRAFT

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 1:27pm

spoon hook knife

I’m still working out the details of my teaching schedule for 2015 – there’ll be some new places. I think I mentioned before; Alaska, England, Indiana…and most of the usual spots; Roy’s place, Lie-Nielsen, Bob Van Dyke’s. I’ll have it nailed pretty soon. 

One exciting new venue is right here in Massachusetts – local or semi-local people have always asked me where do I teach near home, and til now the answer was “I don’t.” Now I do. We’re in the midst of setting up the classes, workshops, etc that will be Plymouth CRAFT. And along with some food & textiles offerings, we’re ready to cut some spoons. January 17th & 18th; 2 days of green wood; hatchets, knives, spoons – what could be more fun? I’ll have hook knives, students will need their own straight “sloyd” knife and small sharp hatchet. I’ll send a list of possible suppliers..

tools

Below is a link to sign up for classes; mine and others. If you’re from elsewhere, we can send you details about lodging and more…

Hope to see a full class of spoon-carvers! 

UPDATE – WE HAD SOME WEBSITE PROBLEMS; AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, IT SEEMS FIXED NOW. THESE LINKS WORKED WHEN I CHECKED THEM MOMENTS AGO -

http://plymouthcraft.org/events/

http://plymouthcraft.org/event/carving-wooden-spoons-with-peter-follansbee/


who knows what they’re called? Not me…

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:00pm

glyphs

It becomes a funny diversion; what are these called – both today & in the 17th century. The old name is easy – we have no idea what the joiners who made ‘em called ‘em. Furniture historians often call them “glyphs” – but most architectural definitions call a glyph a vertical groove or channel. 

whatever they’re called, here’s how I made some today for the carved box with drawer. This batch is walnut. Essentially I make a run of molding that is peaked, then cut it up. I took a scrap about 15″ long, by about 9″ wide. Planed a straight edge, then marked the middle of it, (this board is just over 1″ thick.) also marked the thickness of my glyph – 3/8″. Then planed two bevels down almost to the scribed lines. I needed about 4 feet of this stuff; so I did this to both edges of the board, a couple of times. I made extra so if something went wrong in trimming I wouldn’t need to start over. 

planing edge

Here’s a close up view of the planed result. 

more detail

here’s how I held the board – the single screw is next to useless – it just pinches the board while I get a mallet to whack the holdfast. Then I sawed down both edges, I sawed in the waste area, leaving stock for planing the backs of this molding. 

holdfastSawing. simple enough. 

sawing

This is one of those rare instances when I will say to you – be careful if you do it this way. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but I’m pulling the molding to plane off the saw marks – much like a cooper will plane the edges of his staves. Need a sharp plane, set fine. And focus. One slip…and you feel real stupid. 

planing upside down

Then saw the pieces to length, and use a chisel, bevel down at first, to shave each end of the glyph. Or whatever it’s called. 

chisel

 

Here’s some from a chest with drawers made in Plymouth Colony, c. 1680s or so

molding detail, Plymouth Colony chest

I have mine cut and glued onto the box with drawer. so that’s the first piece built for the next joinery book. Next week I’ll apply a finish & photograph it. 


want to see something funny?

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:49am

This ain’t wainscot by any stretch of the imagination.

PF settee 1992

We saw this windsor settee when we were at Michael Burrey’s a couple of weeks ago. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/plymouth-craft/ He bought it from a fellow who was downsizing, moving – life-changing somehow. 

I made it in about 1992. Had forgotten all about it. I think I made a couple something like it; all under the guidance of Curtis Buchanan. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/go-see-curtis-stuff/ I have two or three of the chairs here at the house. We still use them all the time. Much lighter than a wainscot chair, but no carving…so where’s the fun in that? 


preview of Wainscot chair video

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:24pm

No sooner did I mention making a wainscot chair, than I got an email from Lie-Nielsen’s youtube channel – they’ve posted a preview of the new DVD, (as well as a couple of others)

here’s the chair one – you can order it from them, or I have a few left as well. But from them, you can get the disc and all that other good stuff too.

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/


a good problem to have…

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:28am

I needed some oak today for the drawer bottom for my box.

drawer w bottom half done

 

Something in the range of 7″ wide, 22″ long. So I went out to the collection of oak bolts in the yard to get something to work with.

DSC_0016

I picked out a few panels; and brought them in to rough-plane them. These had split so well they needed little hewing. Here’s some…

a good problem to have

 

But the problem? Most of the stuff I had on hand was too wide! That almost never happens – it’s usually quite the opposite. The narrow one in the photo above is almost 10″ wide at the bottom end…

narrow one

the wide ones are over 15″ wide and flat – great stock. (thanks, MD for setting me up with it…) -

wide one

I’ll save these for the rear panels to a wainscot chair I have to make. Like this:

 

TD chair overall

Most of the time, I don’t have such wide stock; the one above was similar width, but quartersawn, not riven. You can make a wainscot chair w 2 panels & a muntin too -

PF design three quarters

to make such a chair, see http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

Now I have to go find some narrower oak.


to answer some questions about hatchets

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:41pm

I’ve had some more questions from readers about axes recently, so time to delve into this subject again. There’s lots of tools you can use; some better, some less-so. But don’t despair – the magic is not in the tools, it comes with practice. You can learn to hew with a crap hatchet, if you can make it sharp.

Here’s an earlier take on the subject – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-endless-look-at-hewing-hatchets/ 

 

First off, for joiner’s work, my mainstay – I have shown several times that I like a hatchet that is large, heavy, single-bevel, and curved cutting edge. This one weighs 3 lbs 7 oz. and is about 7 ¾” along its cutting edge.  Hard to find. Really hard. 

best fuchs hatchet

Fuchs hatchet

Fuchs hatchet

 

Take note of the relationship of the eye to the cutting edge – for hewing flat stuff, this is the best scenario. Others will work; but this is the best. 

What do I use it for? Taking rough split stock and preparing it for planing; 

hewing

hewing

The Kent pattern (below) is one of the most common old ones you will find in both the US and the UK. Elsewhere, there are other similar tools. Nice thing about the Kent design is it’s symmetrical, so lefties can remove the handle, make a new one & insert it from the other side of the head. 

Kent hatchet

Before anyone tells me that Gransfors Bruks makes a carving axe available as leftie or rightie – let me save you some trouble. They offer some of their hatchets right-handed or left-handed; but the eyes on these tools are centered on the head, not shifted over to one side. Their tools’ bevels might be asymmetrical; but these aren’t single-bevel tools with a properly placed eye. I have used one of the Gransfors Bruks Broad Axes – it’s a nice tool, but a double-bevel. 

And for some reason, their axes and hatchets have convex bevels; for hewing, I like a flat bevel. That’s the principal complaint about the GB carving hatchet…Drew Langsner writes on the Country Workshops axe page how to fix a GB carving axe’s bevels; (file them flat) too bad they don’t just make it right 

http://countryworkshops.org/Axes.html

I also have a large Wetterlings axe, it’s nice. (called at LN the “broad axe, short handle”) A bit heavier than the GB broad axes; but good at removing a lot of stock… Lie-Nielsen sells a line of their axes in the US; we use some for spoon work when I’m up there. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/nodes/4085/wetterlings-axes

Some have shown me the Oxhead hatchet, from Austria. It’s a bit clunky; it will work. I would hacksaw off the nail puller/claw. It could be better; but for the money, it’s not terrible. 

For the spoon work, my favorite is a Hans Karlsson hatchet I got from Country Workshops years ago. They have a new one now, I have one of these too, and it’s excellent. 

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/new-to-me-hans-karlsson-hatchet/

I just ordered 2 new hatchets for spoon work; one from Drew and one from Robin Wood. I’ll let you know when they get here. Some readers have reported success at the German ebay site for old hatchets. A gamble if you’re shipping to another country, but they go for reasonable prices. I like to see old tools before I buy them, but that’s getting harder to do. So I wouldn’t want to pay a lot for a hatchet that way…

Here’s more, some of which is repeats. 

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=hatchet

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/the-hatchet/ 


I’m interrupting my interruptions

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 7:24am

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? http://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


thinking about Connecticut

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 5:55pm

half carved

 

A while back I mentioned that I had 2 visits to Connecticut recently. One was at the Yale University Art Gallery Furniture Study, which was a great time. I wrote about that visit here; http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/yale-university-art-gallery-furniture-study/  and included some oak furniture made in Connecticut in the 17th century. The other was a 3-day class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been working with Bob there for a few years now, this time we did a frame-and-panel – carved of course. So some joinery, plow planes; beveling the panel – all after carving the panel and in some cases, the frame too. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/

laid out Thomas Dennis pattern

shaving of the week

 

test fit

another Massachusetts pattern laid out_edited-1

 

For both of these trips I had been thinking about Connecticut examples, there’s lots of them in captivity – one of my favorites has always been this one that I recently did as a frame-and-panel offering in my October-stuff-for-sale page. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/

sunflower panel & frame AUG

Some of the other patterns I know pretty well from Connecticut are these coastal chests; like what I showed from the YUAG Furniture Study – maybe Guilford, maybe New Haven – it really doesn’t matter to me – I just want to carve them.

guilford out front

 

I had made some examples for teaching that were partially carved, partially left as layout. (top photo)

Today I went to the shop to work on the carved box with drawer – it was sliding DTs day you might recall. Except I forgot my glasses. Not wanting to tackle a joint I rarely make with diminished eyesight – I opted instead to do some carving. I have a (Massachusetts) box to make for a customer up next, so I carved the front of that – room left for initials; needed to double-check my notes before taking that plunge. 

box begun

 

then had a little time left over, so finished two other partially-carved box fronts. Then it was 1 pm, time to go home for lunch…so one full, two half-box fronts, w photos. One is a whacky design that I think relates to the cupboard I did for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; also copied from Massachusetts work..

middlesex box front

But I finished this one, is derived from the Guilford or New Haven, Connecticut work –

done

 

I’ve seen boxes from this group – they are noted for their use of dovetails, a rarity among New England boxes of the 17th century. I did one once, long time ago. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

all this Connecticut stuff must have been in the air – because then I heard from Bob Van Dyke. He & I are working on plans to have a joined, carved chest-with-drawer class at his school in 2015 – it will be a “one-weekend-a-month” for X# of months. Maybe 5. The notion is that we work together for a weekend, you go home & do homework, come back a month later – and so on. Stay tuned. this will have riven oak, carving, joinery, a side=hung drawer, some moldings, a till – this one will be something! It will be based on a Windsor, Connecticut chest w drawers now at the Connecticut Historical Society. 

The crash course in sycamore this morning got me out to the back yard to photograph the neighbor’s tree – note at the edge of the photo, the river just in view. American sycamores like wet ground. This one is a beautiful tree. 

american sycamore 2

sycamore leaf

 

 


Figured wood? Sliding dovetails?

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 6:19pm

Figured wood??? 

sycamore sample figured wood

sycamore figure

Sliding dovetails?

sliding DT

sliding DT 2

I remember when this blog had integrity…what’s happened here anyway? 

Nah…I haven’t sold out – it’s just another day in the 17th century. 

 

box with drawer, Ipswich, Massachusetts, made between 1663-1706

box with drawer, Ipswich, Massachusetts, made between 1663-1706; Bowdoin College Museum of Art

The 17th-century work of Thomas Dennis – and to some extent William Searle, but it’s a long story that I think might involve murder…has long been a huge inspiration to me. 

[Oh...what did I mean, about murder? You see Searle was a trained joiner from Ottery St Mary, Devon, England, living in Ipswich Massachusetts in the early 1660s. Then, 1666 or so, he died. Thomas Dennis then moved from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Ipswich, married Grace Searle, widow of William, and practiced joinery there until his death in 1706. There’s a group of maybe 4 or 5 pieces, all carved, that descended from Thomas Dennis - but were some of them his wife’s from her first marriage to Searle? When Searle died, his estate included the following:

“one bedsted & Cupboard £5  a trundle bedsted & a box & a little box £1  3 stooles & 3 little boxes ----   one Chaire £1  one table & 3 Chaires & one Cradle £1-5  2 wicker basketts 4s  one settle one meale trough & a Chest £2  one Cupboard £2-12  a box 5s  Tooles & Timber & board, 2 pikes £3-19”

Furniture scholars have tried to divide the group into Searle’s work & Dennis’ work - and some that are probably apprentices of Thomas Dennis - and on & on. I gave up years ago. But I have often wanted to write a murder mystery involving Dennis & Searle, and the widow Grace Searle...]

I went to Bowdoin College Museum of Art http://www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum/  to see the pieces from the Dennis family, including the wainscot chair that is the inspiration for the one in my new video. There’s a segment in the video where we look at the original; and hear its story from the curator Laura Sprague. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

bowdoin chair B

On another trip up there, I got a brief look at the carved box with drawer (above) that is the basis for one I am making these days. I had known this box from publications ever since I began studying 17th-century stuff. but had never seen it in the flesh. First thing I noticed upon walking into the gallery – the lid is sycamore (you Brits, think “plane tree”). There are very few instances of this wood in surviving works from 17th-century New England. Maybe two others? One I know for sure is a cupboard at Winterthur Museum that uses sycamore boards for drawer bottoms – a horrible idea if, as in this case, they are flatsawn.

Bowdoin box w sycamore lid

The lid of the Dennis family box is sawn very near the heart of the tree. In this shot, you can see splits running down the middle of the board. Mine are 3 quartersawn boards, edge glued together. I got the sycamore from the website http://www.curlymaplewood.com/ – the boards were just as described, arrived in just a couple of days, and all around a good experience. Thanks, Kevin. Now you know why the figured wood in the opening photo.

lid done

We’ll save the sliding DTs for another day…(quite a term, sliding DTs…)


new Wainscot Chair video available now

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 6:13am

 Lie-Nielsen just released a few new videos; mine among them. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/ (Mary May has a new one; Steve Latta too. There are more in the pipeline…)

You can order directly from them, or I have a limited number for sale here  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/   I added a paypal button on my page for it; hopefully it will work correctly. I fumble around through this sort of stuff…leave a comment or email if you have a problem.

wainscot chair videp

17th Century Wainscot Chair

with Peter Follansbee

The Wainscot Chair is one of the hallmarks of 17th century joinery. In this DVD, Peter demonstrates how to prepare material from a section of oak, shape the chair pieces using bench tools and a pole lathe, and join them together with drawbored mortise and tenon joints. He also offers two traditional approaches for making the angled joints of this chair.

Peter Follansbee specializes in 17th century period joinery and green woodworking. He spent over 20 years making reproduction furniture at Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching the craft at schools around the USA, Peter co-authored the book, Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th Century Joinery, with Jennie Alexander. He is also featured in three other Lie-Nielsen DVDs: 17th c. New England Carving (2010); 17th c. New England Carving: Carving the S-Scroll (2011); and 17th c. Joined Chest (2012).

218 minutes (2 discs), Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Productions, 2014.


Plymouth CRAFT

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 1:15pm

I know weird people. There’s an outfit formed around Plymouth Massachusetts this year that proves it.

photo shoot at MLB

most of them can’t even look at the camera

The fledgling non-profit Plymouth CRAFT is getting up and running; the website is being developed now, it will get fleshed-out soon – http://plymouthcraft.org/welcome/

The whole gig will be worth watching, or better yet, worth participating in. The word “craft” in the title stands for Center for Restoration Arts and Forgotten Trades. It is a loosely-knit group of artisans and craftspeople who will be offering workshops, demonstrations, expertise and other whiz-bang crafty know-how to students, amateurs, professionals, and other interested parties.

The other day a few of us assembled at Michael Burrey’s place to shoot some photos and video to be used in our fund-raising and as a general introduction to the question – “what goes on? “

First up, woodworker Michael Burrey, working clay. You’ve seen MIchael on these pages some before; http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/who-you-gonna-call/ and if you read Rick McKee’s blog Blue Oak, http://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/   (you do, don’t you?)  then you are familiar with the scope and range of Michael’s work. On this particular day, Michael was molding bricks for a building on Nantucket. These go down low, around the perimeter of the building, with the ogee shape towards the sky to shed water…if I had paid more attention, I would have the name & date of the building, and more detail about the source for this brick shape. Once he has enough made, he’ll fire them in his wood-fired kiln, just beyond the edges of this photo.

mlb brick man

brick mold

brick exits mold

Paula Marcoux http://www.themagnificentleaven.com/The_Magnificent_Leaven/Welcome.html  was mostly the ring-leader, but she also dove in and was teaching passers-by how to make “shrak” a flat-bread found in her book Cooking with Firehttp://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/product-placement/ this stuff was good. Give Paula a 5-gallon bucket, and a few sticks & she’ll whip out her gear and some flour and off you’ll go…

pm & jacob

pm & bread

I only know the tip of Pen Austin’s iceberg. Her work is astounding, catch a glimpse of it here http://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/playing-marbles/

pen & marbled paint

and when I saw this rig on Saturday, I knew I had to hang around to see it happen… it looks like a “sweep” (that’s what Joseph Moxon called it, for making an arch from wood, sans lathe) – a scratch stock on a trammel essentially. Pen has a whole different vocabulary for it, here she was working plaster – gooping it up right quick…then swinging the  molding scraper across the mess- out comes architecture. (the first shot is a rope of clay, to bulk up the demo piece – usually it would all be plaster…) 

like a scratch stock

 

Midway through the process – these folks got to work quickly, before the stuff sets too much. 

plaster arch w sweep

arch

At this point, there’s a lot of refinement; filling in gaps with wet mixture, then swinging another pass. 

arch 2

she made this archway just for a demonstration – what work! It was a gas to watch that form come together…

 

Charlotte Russell came by with some drop-spindle stuff, some carded wool and Maureen sat right down for lesson # 1… Charlotte has been a textile artisan for over 50(ish) years -she spins, knits, weaves, has a passion for history and craft, and is a skilled teacher in all things fiber.

cr & drop

spinning a yarn

I took a quick stab (Oh, poor choice of words for teaching knife-work) at teaching one of the photographers some of the knife moves for working on spoon-carving. I have no idea if it was sinking in, there was lots to keep track of that morning…but his moves were right, and no blood was shed…

003

002

When we get further along with this endeavor, I’ll be writing more about it here, Rick will too on Blue Oak – so you’ll hear about it.  There’s way more people and crafts involved than what we previewed the other day…that was just what we could round up on short notice. Have a look at the website, and stay tuned. You’ll hear more. 

I think of Bill Coperthwaite’s quote – “I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.”

If Daniel hadn’t had a baseball game, we woulda stuck around Burrey’s for the rest of it. Just as regular order of business, it was apple-cider-making day…



the carved box with drawer further along

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 3:02pm

more work on the box with drawer. I’m making some of it up as I go along – when I saw the original, I was not really doing a thorough examination like I would need to actually build one. Like I need now… Here goes, just a bunch of photos, with brief captions. 

installing the middle board for the box section’s bottom

installing bottoms middle board

the last one you gotta give it a bop

give it a bop

in a groove in the rear, nailed to a rabbet at the front

1st bottom done

I turned the feet from green wood, left the tenons large. Trimmed now to fit. Here’s a test fit to see where to trim it

turned feet testing tenons

boring the holes for the feet, in narrow oak slats. An auger bit, nice clean hole. 

auger bit

 

Cross-thumbs grip to trim the tenons
cross thumbs

Then line it up over a hole in the bench, and knock it in

feet go in

Split the protruding tenon for a wedge. 

split

said wedge. 
wedge

The feet assemblies

feet ready

The bottom of the drawer opening is a pine board, planed to 5/8″ thick. Nailed to the sides & rear. 

2nd bottom on

Then nail on the feet assemblies. 

feet go on

Here it is with the drawer front mocked in place. Some applied moldings will cover the pine bottom. Applied decoration on the sides to come…next time is the drawer. then moldings & lid. this thing weighs a ton…

feet w mock drawer

 

a few things left for sale – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/

Maureen tells me the felt is going quickly too – https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts


Spoons and more for sale, Oct 2014

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 7:28pm

makes me thing of RB merg

This view always makes me think of a red-breasted merganser; or Woody Woodpecker. I got some stuff photographed and posted finally. I struggle with the photos constantly; they are never to my liking. But after shooting this stuff three times in some cases, I figured it’s not going to get different enough to matter. I hope. There’ll be another batch sometime between now & Thanksgiving, maybe two if I get organized. Here’s the page, http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/ or the banner at the top of the blog’s front page. Leave a comment if you’d like to order something. Only one shipping charge per order for those who order more than one item. No need to get nuts about it…

Paypal is easiest, but I can take a check too if you’d rather, just let me know. 
Thanks as always for the support. I truly appreciate it. 

bowl & spoons


a palimpsest

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 5:19am

Reading Nick Hornby’s book Ten Years in the Tub made me throw out a bunch of spoons I had carved. There are no wooden spoons in the book as far as I know. It’s a compilation of ten years’ worth of his column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” that runs in the magazine Believer. A few times in the book, Hornby points out that many readers pick up some books, start them, find out they hate them, but feel they have to finish…which leads to a lengthy drawn-out period reading a book you can’t stand. He urges people to ditch those books that are dragging your down, and go read something else.

housefull

One of yesterday’s chores was to photograph stuff for here and for Maureen’s etsy site. Among the stuff I shot was a bunch of spoons I’ve had in the works for a while. Turns out I hated 1/3 of them. So I threw them into the compost. A couple of the keepers, I turned into  a palimpsest of sorts; I recarved bits of them. This one had a large, boring-shaped bowl. Having nothing to lose, I picked up a knife, and had at it.

pailmpsest to be

So today, it’s a spoon day.. thanks to Nick Hornby. I’ll show you what happened to that large birch spoon later…

 


a plain chair

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 5:28pm

There’s a bunch of stuff going on around here. I shot photos of the carved box with drawer project for a couple of days; then had to set that down for the back half of this week, so I could build one of these “plain” chairs. I built this one here at home, so there’s no photos of this work. Maple legs, ash rails, oak slats. If I backed up any further to take this photo, I’d be tumbling into a pile of who-knows-what…

 

rush chair sans rush

Time to trim the legs’ tops; then add a rush seat. I was trying to think how many tools it was – splitting tools; hatchet, drawknife, spokeshave, brace & bit, crosscut saw, mortise chisel – I used an awl and knife also. Maybe that’s it. If pressed, you could drop a couple of those tools…but I guess I should add the shaving horse, and a low bench for boring & assembly. 

This one is based mostly on Dutch paintings of the 17th-century; this style of chair was the first project I ever made when I was at Plimoth Plantation. Indeed, this one’s for them, too. Here’s one that has been in use there for many years:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I came to calling them plain chairs because of a reference in the Turners Company of London, about pricing for chairs, “plain matted” and “turned matted” – so if the difference is the turning, then here’s what an un-turned chair might look like. There’s a few surviving oldies around, but they are hard to date; and most did not survive. I have seen a few die out at Plimoth after 15-25 years. You can patch ‘em back together some, but sooner or later, it’s just easiest to chuck ‘em and make a new one. 

Typically I make them with low seats, best for working in, rather than sitting at a table. Like this photo Gavin Ashworth took when Trent, Alexander & I co-authored an article about such chairs in American Furniture. I think it was 2008. 

110 West 80 St-4R, NY, NY 10024 212 874 3879

 

Other stuff in the works – finishing up a bunch of baskets I started this summer, (there;’s some in the background of the top photo) finishing some hewn bowls also. Spoons as usual; and I just started cutting out stock for a chair different from anything I’ve done in nearly 30 years.  Next week I’m going to finish assembling the carved box with drawer -just received some quartersawn sycamore (plane tree for you overseas readers) for the lid. Wow. 

This weekend is time to photograph stuff for sale; mine & Maureen’s. She has added some new felted autumn stuff,  if you’re inclined, have a look. More soon both here & there. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

 

 


carved box wth drawer, pt 2 or maybe 3 I forget

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 2:46pm

I finally got back to the carved oak box with drawer that I started.

till is next

 

I have been thinking about this box for a month, and was thrilled to get back to it. I shot a slew of photos yesterday and today. First, I had to make the till parts and install them, so I could then finish nailing the box together. Once I had the till’s trenches cut in the front & back, I nailed the back to the sides. Then after fitting the till, I nailed the front in place.

Planing thin stuff like the till lid gets scary when you shove it against the toothy-bench hook. I made a board with a very thin stop at one end, to sit the workpiece on, then I shove the board against the bench hook. 

planing till lid

There’s lots going on when you’re fitting the till parts; 3 pieces that can one at a time, or all together hang you up, and keep the box parts from fitting. A bunch of fiddling around gets you there. Best to take a breath when fitting a till. 

fitting till

 

I make the till lids from oak, often with a molded edge like this one. The till sides and bottom can be various woods in my work; all oak, white pine, or Atlantic white cedar. This one’s cedar. 

 

 

 

till

 

Then I worked on carving the drawer front; in this case based on/inspired by the original – but I didn’t copy it note for note. Outline begun. 

drawer front begun

Shaping & beveling. 

carving detail

Relieving the middles. 

shaping

I work at my regular joinery bench, often hunched right over the carving. Some carvers work higher, but I find I like to get right above it sometimes. 

low bench

 

This gives you an idea of the shaping, prior to adding the gouge-cut details. 

depth

 

I just try to keep from making the same design on 2 consecutive rosettes. 

carving detail 2

 

I had one panel of oak ready for the bottom of the box. It needs a bevel on its rear end, to fit into a groove in the back board. The front edge fits in a rabbet. To bevel it, I jammed it up against some scrap and the bench hook. Held down with a holdfast. 

 

bevel bottom board

The inner edge gets a rabbet, so the next board will overlap this one. 

rabbet

 

A dis-orienting shot – the box is upside down, This first bottom board slips into the groove, drops into the rabbet, then gets slid/knocked over til it bumps up to the inside end. 

bottom's up

 

Tap. tap. 

 

tap it over

Bang. Bang. 

nailed

 

Here’s where I quit for the day. 

first bottom board in

 


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by Dr. Radut