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Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes
Finally got to working on the drawers for one of the Connecticut chest with drawers. Inside the chest are slats for the side-hung drawers to ride on. One’s installed here, and below it are the notches where the lower drawer will fit. (above the drawer runner is the groove for the chest floor. It’s easier to see what you’re doing if the floor is not yet installed.)
the drawer sides are thick, nearly 1″. Even thickness makes them easier to handle too. Here, I’m plowing the 3/8″ groove that will ride on the drawer slat/runner. About 1/2″ deep. I’ve got the drawer sides stacked on top of one another, making sure the top piece’s edge is bumped out towards me, for the plow plane’s fence to run…
Then saw & split a rabbet in the drawer front. Clean it up and test fit it.
The drawer side is not as tall as the drawer front. This rabbet is for the drawer bottoms to tuck behind.
Here is a test fit of the drawer side – the slat is in place, and I’ve hung the side on it & slide it in & out to see how it rides. It was at this point that I realized I’ve misplaced the handmade nails I’ll use to assemble this drawer. So I started making the 2nd drawer while I hope the nails miraculously re-appear .
Below is the “other one” – a dovetailed drawer. Similar time frame, late 17th century. Just another way of doing things.
Poor Russ. I have no proof that Bob Van Dyke dosed him, but there was Jefferson Airplane music playing much of the afternoon; I heard “White Rabbit” at least 3 times. When we got to the demo of me carving the central part of the design below, Russ struggled with the photograph – his eye & mind were seeing “innie” when it should be “outie” & vice-versa.
Here’s the same panel flipped upside-down. Sometimes the shadows being above the design make things weird. Right now, I can’t see it “wrong” – but sometimes I can. Russ couldn’t see it right at the time. Often I tell people to close their eyes, then look again. That often fixes it, but the best thing to do is put the photograph right-side up. Or like Alice, just bite from the other side of the mushroom.
Boxes. we use them around here for everything – textiles, papers, stuff in the kitchen like candles, batteries, phone chargers, books, collections of shells & bones, who knows what else… I’ve made lots of boxes like these. Lots.
I hate the phrase “think outside of the box” I often think of the song “Little boxes, little boxes” and of course, “a box of rain to ease the pain…” (whatever that means)
I finished one of these desk boxes for the video (it will come out when Lie-Nielsen puts it out, is the answer to “when will it be out?”) last week. I have another 2/3 done. I have to shoot it for real soon…but these two quick shots give you an idea of what it looks like.
BUT while we shot that process, I added in some “regular” box stuff too. So in that case, I built this medium-size oak box, with pine lid & bottom. Maybe 15″ wide, 12″ deep. 6″-7″ high. (the blog title is to distinguish this box from the slant-lidded desk above)
And then there’s the Alaskan yellow cedar box I made while teaching up there.
I’m over-run with the things, I’m going to photograph some, and post them for sale soon. Meanwhile – there’s several chances for students to come learn how to make your own.
First is a 2-day version – in this Lie-Nielsen class, we’ll bypass splitting the log into boards and go right to carving, then joinery (rabbets & pegs) – it’s coming up in early June. We have spaces left, so if you have just a little time, this is a good choice. It will be a small class, so we’ll have some chances to get some details in… https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/61 I brought up some outrageously good white oak last week – I might even make another box just because the wood is so good.
The full-blown, split-the-log-make-the-boards-then-make-the-box version is a 5-day class. http://www.newenglishworkshop.co.uk/ In England, it’s happening twice – July 13-17 in Warwickshire College then the next week, July 20-24th at Bridgwater College in Somerset. I’m hoping to get out & see some oak carvings while in England, it’s been a while since I was there. 10 years…carved pulpit detail
Back in the States, the full-bore class is happening in October at Marc Adams’ school – http://www.marcadams.com/ Oct 19-23. My first visit here…
“Here come old flat-top, he come groovin up slowly…”
It’s coming up on a year since I left my job as the joiner at Plimoth Plantation. While I was there, I often taught workshops during my vacations and other time off. Lie-Nielsen, Roy Underhill’s place, CVSWW, Country Workshops – but in that format, I only had a few weeks (or weekends) each year available to travel & teach.Matt riving w Plymouth CRAFT last weekend
When I announced I was leaving the museum, I got offers to come teach in various places, in addition to the usual outfits. When I arranged my schedule last winter, I had no idea how it would work – on paper it seemed fine, once or twice a month, travel to teach. One long, maybe one short class each month. Now I’m in the midst of it, and while it’s great fun (Alaska! Are you kidding?) what I didn’t compute is the time between to unpack, decompress and then turn around & get ready for the next one.
I’m not complaining, just saying “here’s why there’s little on the blog these days…”
I was thinking, I’m home now for 3 1/2 weeks, before I head down for to Roy’s. Except this coming weekend I’m at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, then next weekend I have a one-day presentation with the Plymouth CRAFT group, then the weekend after that, I’m back at my 2nd home this summer – Lie-Nielsen for making a carved box. THEN, I have to hit the road & go to North Carolina!Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking
The plan is to do some woodworking tomorrow & shoot some pictures. I’ll let you know what happens.
How am I supposed to get some birding in? I haven’t even had time to ID this warbler from Maine…
Well. No sooner did I return from Alaska, and I had to prep for a trip to Lie-Nielsen in Maine. Taught 2 days of spoon carving,
then shot a new video for 4 days.
Came home Thursday evening, and on Friday got organized somewhat for teaching today with Plymouth CRAFT http://plymouthcraft.org/ = a class in riving, co-taught with Rick McKee, of Blue Oak fame – https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/
Many nuances of using ring-porous hardwoods and splitting wedges and froes. (also helping us out was Michael Doherty, “the Source-of-All-Wood” – in the floppy hat. Thanks, MD)
Some hatchet work, some detours.
It was held at the Harlow house, part of the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. http://www.plymouthantiquariansociety.org/ Our friend Donna Curtin gave us a tour inside the c. 1670s Harlow house during lunch. We almost didn’t come back to riving there was so much to see inside.
As usual for Plymouth CRAFT, we had a 2-ring circus today, there was spinning going on inside too. I missed that, but Marie shot many photos, I’m sure.
There were birds in Maine, but grey skies…
osprey no fish what is this fish thinking? magnolia warbler black & white warbler
Time for some non-woodsy bits, before I hit Connecticut next Saturday.
I’ve written before about how I consider myself pretty lucky. Mostly healthy, wonderful family, nice home – that sort of thing. On top of that, I get to make my living doing interesting and challenging work that I love. And, I have fallen into what I often call the Hand-Tool Circus (sometimes I call it the Lie-Nielsen circus, or the Roy Underhill Circus, the Lost Art Press circus, etc) – it’s a loosely defined band of traveling woodworkers who get to go places and teach classes. Traveling is hard, leaving the kids at home – there’s lots to it that’s like work; the planning, packing, unpacking…organizing the next trip – but it sure beats working for a living…
This circus has taken me to some interesting places, and has introduced me to a cadre of new friends far and wide. So now you can tell this post is about Alaska. The Alaska Creative Woodworkers is a group of woodworkers, centered around Anchorage – and they bring woodworkers from down south here to teach various classes. This past week was my turn, following in the steps of Roy Underhill, Chris Schwarz, Mary May, Chris Becksvoort, and more…
Chris and Roy had told me that these folks treat you very well. That was an understatement to say the least. Great hosts, great facility in the shop of club member Don Fall, and they leave out no detail. I had time off between the two classes, and had volunteers wanting to show me Alaska. Jonathan Snyder (blog here: http://www.alaskawoodworker.com/ ) made sure I got to every birding spot in the area, and other club members Tony Strupulis and Mike Weidmar each took a whole day to show me around, one on a whale watch out of Seward, in Resurrection Bay, the other for a ride up the Matanuska-Susitna region, looking at the Matanuska glacier and the formation of some of those mountains and valleys. This particular ride was in style, a 1941 Cadillac being the means of conveyance. An earlier trip was in a 1949 Ford Convertible. Alaskans think 50 degrees Farenheit is warm.In the Cadillac…a great car to drive after a war
Everywhere you look there is an eye popping view, to my sea-level eyes anyway….and the woodworking! Yellow cedar for the carved boxes, and nice slow growing birch – more dense than the birch I know down in New England…for spoons. plus I was able to harvest some bark to practice learning how to work with that. (Thanks though to Jarrod for my first batch of bark and the inspiration and instruction in the first place.)fresh bark from Alaska birch (Betaluna neoalaskana)
Eagles, ducks, geese, songbirds, owls (heard-only) grouse, cranes, shorebirds – I was really there just before peak migration, but got to see some birds I only know in winter plumage. And some I had either never seen, or had never seen well (also couldn’t get photos of them – the varied thrush, boreal chickadee, white winged crossbill.)
Moose (Jonathan found my first moose about 7 minutes into my visit, in the parking lot of a defunct club where ladies used to “dance” if you know what I mean. This is a family blog, so I’ll leave it at that) – Dall sheep, mountain goats, Stellar’s sea lions, sea otters -grey whales, Dall’s porpoises, musta been more.strip club moose, aka City Moose
I read some travel guide about Alaska that should have been called “There’s Lots of Ways to Die in Alaska” – let’s see, you can walk out in the mud, get stuck, then drown as the quickly rising tide comes in to bury you. Fall in a glacial crevasse. Et by a bear. (The bear warnings are really something – don’t surprise the bear by walking around a blind corner – but the woods I walked were nothing but blind corners. I got spooked by a squirrel. You’re supposed to clap, sing, or ring bells as you walk. Makes birding tricky) You can get Stomped by a moose. Avalanche. Oh, yes, Anchorage is on a huge fault, and in 1964 was the site of North America’s largest-ever earthquake. Nobody said anything about just plain ol’ getting lost in the wilderness. Falling off some mountain road, tumbling thousands of feet.
Ah, yes – falling in a crevasse – at least there’s little decay. Good for archaeology.
See? It says “move cautiously along creeks, on blind corners and in heavily vegetated areas” which is all of the Alaska I saw…yup, there’s lots of ways to die in Alaska. But I’ll go push my luck again someday. It was great. Thanks to all my new Alaska friends. I’ll always remember this trip
Next stop – home of the circus, Lie-Nielsen.
I’m back from my Alaska trip. But I feel as lazy as these Steller sea lions look…so I’ll get to your emails & orders, some DVDs and spoons. Sorry for any delays. I wrote 2 blog posts about the trip, but need to sort the photos. It was great, I can’t wait to show you…
Next birds will be western US birds.
Next wood will be Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
travel day today, tomorrow begins my Alaska jaunt.
These days, I tend to be out ahead of myself a bit. While teaching the chest class in Connecticut a week or so ago, I was thinking of preparing the next class(es), in Alaska. Those are coming right up (still room) and while I’m planning, preparing & packing for that, I’m thinking ahead to a spoon class at Lie-Nielsen and then the video shoot after it. Those are in early May, so right in time for spring migration in Maine.
THEN – comes the next of my offerings with my friends in Plymouth CRAFT. Rick McKee and I are teaming up to show how to split apart logs for various projects. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=splitting-a-log-into-boards This is a technique class, not a project. Rick has rived many thousands of clapboards over the years,and numerous other oak materials. We’ll look at how to “read” the log, what to look for, and what to look out for. Use of the wedges, mauls, froe & club – the riving brakes. It should be great. This is a one-day class, hosted at the Harlow Old Fort House, near downtown Plymouth Massachusetts. A rare chance to get together with Rick, you could even end up on one of his memorable blog posts at Blue Oak. https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/riving stiles with a froe
I’m off tomorrow to scout out some wood for this class. If I find a suitable ash log, I might add splint pounding to the lineup. That’s more fun than you can stand.
The Plymouth CRAFT scene usually is a multi-ring circus,and this one’s no exception. While we’re busting logs open, Charlotte Russell and Denise Lebica will be teaching drop-spinning.
“In this class, you will learn to use a simple tool — the drop-spindle — to convert fiber into yarn. Spinning is at the foundation of most of the textile arts. The ancient, inexpensive, portable, drop-spindle allows you to spin almost anywhere.
This workshop with long-time spinner and teacher Charlotte Russell will focus on developing a feel for creating quality yarn, and will feature hands-on evaluation of fibers such as wool, alpaca, flax, cotton, angora, quiviut and silk. Participants will gain an understanding of which of the various types of spindles are appropriate to spin which fiber.” – whole story here: http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spinning-fiber-into-yarn
for me, having other classes under the same umbrella adds a lot to the fun, it’s great being surrounded by more crafty people and we usually have some time to spend seeing what the other half is up to…it’s sure to be interesting. Come join us, Rick & I will bring the tools & wood, you just come show up. the lunch alone is worth it.
Even sooner than that is a weekend class that I wish I was taking – make a wood-fired oven with Paula Marcoux. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=build-an-earthen-oven Paula knows ovens like I know oak. Coming right up, May 2 & 3, 2015. This will be a life-changing class – really.
As promised – fitting a wooden hinge on a cupboard door. Again, I think I’ve never covered this on the blog. Here’s the cupboard, sans door: note the rabbet in the muntin beside the door opening.
To hinge this door with wooden pins is easy. Bore holes in the upper and lower rails’ inside edges. Here’s the top rail – I haven’t finished pinning the joints in the frame, but ignore that. See the hole bored in the upper rail’s lower edge:
Corresponding hole in the upper edge of the door, note bevels on outer corners of door stile:
The wooden pin on the top of the door bottoms out in the stile, and protrudes up into the upper rail. Here it is in the stile:
here’s the bottom edge of the door – note the pin here fits (loosely) all the way up into the stile:
With my finger covering the hole in the bottom of the door, I tilt the upper pin in place, and then lean the door into its opening.
Then knock it about some with a hammer, to jar the pin loose so it drops down into the bottom rail.
The hole in the bottom rail is shallow, so the pin bottoms out in the rail and sticks up into the door’s hole –
I planed a rabbet in the door’s other stile, to overlap the rabbet in the frame. This stops the door from going all the way into the cupboard. You can (& I have sometimes) make rabbets on the hinge stile too – so the door is a little more snug = this one just butts up against the muntin.
door knob, couple of pins, linseed oil & this one’s crossed off.
Saw this guy this AM on my walk –
Last weekend was the 2nd session (of 5) of the joined chest class I’m teaching at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. These guys are working pretty hard…here’s pictures and captions –mortising the front stiles – 6 mortises per stile mortising from on high
test fitting a front frame a student tried to butter me up, showing me his joined stool (nice work, Larry)
The 2nd day we met at the yard where we’ve been splitting the logs into parts. Time for the students to do some heavy work.I kicked it off, a 10′ log, nearly 30″ in diameter. We need lots of oak as you can see, you gotta watch these logs.
the first split in a long one is often tough this view shows its true size – it’s big. marking out panels then split along the dotted lines later we got to some froe work
I guarded the wide panel stock closely. we need panels 11″ and 13″ wide at least
a whole bunch of stinky smelling cars left that site. Back in 6 weeks for round 3
This weekend we worked on the joined chest project at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ll write a post about it tomorrow, but in the aftermath of that weekend, I had a few wide oak panels to rive out for planing this week. As they were busted from the log, they were grossly thick for one panel, but most were too thin at the inside edge for two. This calls for some tricky froe-work.
these bolts were 22″ long or so. and in this photo, just over 13″ wide. This one was thick enough to split in two, one panel might come out just narrower than 12″ = once I hew & plane them, they’ll be in the range of 3/4″ thick.
The others weren’t quite the same original thickness, so I had to split them off-center. This gets one wide panel, and one narrower panel. It saves wood, saves hewing, and is all-around well worth it. When it works. Below you see I’ve driven the froe in parallel to the wide face, but it doesn’t reach all the way to the inner edge. To split successfully this way requires the straightest grain, and most agreeable oak. This inner, narrow panel will finish about 6″ or 7″ wide.
I did about four of them this afternoon, while unpacking the car & tools from the weekend. Here’s a detail showing a 14″ panel and its 12″ neighbor.
Once I drive the froe into the split, I jam the bolt in the riving brake – I wouldn’t like to attempt this without one. When it goes right, you hear a SNAP when the froe is twisted and the oak breaks free. I’d only try this on short lengths in these widths.
Earlier in the day, look who I found – the redtail hawk from the other day:
If we hadn’t seen him drop down to the ground, we’d never have found him among the beat-down grass –
He caught something there, and we watched him for a while. Then decided to leave him to his brunch… (or her…we don’t know. It is a good size bird, might be female…doesn’t really matter, to me anyway.)
Later, a kestrel, lousy photo though. Can’t get anywhere near them.
ditto for a bluebird.
But almost every year about this time, I photograph & post a picture of a snipe. Usually I pair it with photos of the hinges I use for boxes and chests. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/setting-gimmals-you-might-know-them-as-snipe-bills/ (Ahh, that post was from Dec, but I found photos of snipe from April 5, 2013. everything is late this year)
Maureen found this one (then a 2nd one) right in front of us in the blind at the Audubon place where we were walking…
Two snipes. they blend in more than the hawk did.