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Coffee Table 2: Ripping & Tapering Legs

JKM Woodworking - Sat, 05/11/2024 - 6:01am

I am revisiting the coffee table, of which part 1 showed the making of an elliptical top. The legs and aprons will be ash. For now I am trying to make legs that taper along the outer two sides. The legs will be splayed in the same manner as my splay-legged table project.

cherry and ash stock

I had set aside some 6/4 ash for these legs. Since I knew I would be spending time ripping, I gathered pieces for other upcoming projects. There is 7/4 cherry, 2x construction pine, and 6/4 hickory. The pine and hickory I processed the same as the ash. They will be used for small tables or plant stands also. The cherry I will leave rough and deal with later.

When laying out I look at the ends of the boards to check for diagonal or rift grain. Chris Schwarz called this bastard grain at one time, but I’ve never heard/read anyone else use that phrase. For a 1.5″ thick board it’s usually safe to get a 1.5″ strip off of each end, and sometimes I can get two. The cuts are oriented to maximize straight grain.

ash marked for cutting
ash pieces cut
rough cut ends

I thought ripping by hand would take several sessions over a couple days, but I completed it all in one day. If there’s anything good about ripping by hand, it’s that you can take breaks and do a little at a time.

construction pine and hickory
cherry pieces

This makes legs tapered along one edge. Looking at the skinny end, I have to decide which edge to mark for the second taper. Again the goal is to maximize straight grain.

have to taper either the top or bottom edge

I mark which side I will taper, but save this edge for last. First I will make sure the other three faces are smooth and square. Usually 2-3 of the faces are as cut from the mill, so need minimal work. The edge that I ripped needs the most clean up.

I try to joint two edges and have them square to each other. After that, all references will be from one of these faces. This will also be the inner corner for future joinery.

two planed faces with a square corner

I then plane the third side square before tapering the last face. At some point when planing the third or fourth sides I check the top end for square and decide which face needs thinning.

marked for square

For the last face, the tapered one, a square is marked at the bottom end. This is connected to the square at the top end. Material is removed coarsely with a #5 plane. When the line is reached I switch to the #7 jointer set fine. A few spots needed scraping.

small end marked
second taper marked
#5 coarse
#7 fluffy

Workholding takes some thought. The goal is to hold down securely but still be able to pick up and check without having to unclamp it everytime. My latest method is to use wooden pegs where the plane is nearby, and use battens or does-footses to keep the metal holdfasts out of the way. One day I will make a sticking board.

two pegs and two battens
ash, pine, hickory, cherry

The next step is making the legs/apron assembly. The rough cut top has been sitting patiently, waiting to see how I will smooth the edges.

Categories: General Woodworking

dual chests Pt XIII.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 05/11/2024 - 3:39am

 At the end of the day in the shop I jumped down the lid stay rabbit hole again. At lunch I had ordered 3 transom window stay chains and at 1530 I ordered a gas strut lid stay. This one was a no brainer to figure out. It is strictly the weight of the lid that mattered. I didn't have to add/subtract or multiply/divide the lid width and length to get the proper sized strut. I got it from Lee Valley and I don't recall seeing it when I ordered the previous ones from them. Oh well better late than never.

 24hrs later

Wasn't sure if the dutchman would stay in place and endure any shaping/sanding. It felt secure and tight when the clamp came off.

 not too bad

It is obvious even from 5-6 feet away there is a dutchman there. However, this one will be on the back of the chest. I looked again this AM for another pine scrap but none were long enough. The planing and sanding went off without a hitch. No complaints from the dutchman as I shaped it.

 raised them

Most, but not all of the headaches here got raised with the iron and wet rag trick. I had to set this aside to dry for a few hours. Fingers crossed there will be dancing in the street.


These are toast as in they aren't going to be used on the toy/blanket chest. The spring in them is to strong for the lid. I had trouble opening and closing the springs with my hands. I'll save them for a lid that is 1" or thicker and with heavy duty hinges.

 blocks for the handles

The blocks are a 1/2" thick and roughly 4" square - two of the sides are 4 5/8".

 just right

The screw is a 1 1/4" and I have about a 1/4" of wiggle room. I ordered some #12 flat head, slotted, black oxide finished screws from Blacksmith Bolt. Don't like the look of the phillips head screws these came with.

 handle block position

I am going to glue and screw the block to the side of the chest. I positioned it so that it straddles the glue joint evenly - two inches above it and two inches below it.

 it was ready

It was ready last week but Maria doesn't have my phone number. The next time I go I'll give her my wife's cell phone number to call. Now I have to find a hole to hang this in. I did a quick scan of the vertical space in the shop and there is nada.


Thinking of adding one more screw in the center of the block. I have plenty of time to obsess about it.

 yikes again

The last couple of inches on this end have let go somehow. I can move the ends up an down slightly so the glue has failed here. This isn't the first time I've had this problem with this white glue. I noticed the top on the Keurig coffee table has separated too. About half of it is still solid and the other has opened up. Another set back but I found it now rather than after the shellac had gone on.

I sawed it off on the glue joint and glued it back together. Of course it was a royal PITA aligning it. The flushed the top and the bottom is a wee bit proud. I'll deal with it tomorrow after it comes out of the clamps.

 miniature chest moldings done

Glued in place with no nails, screws, or clamps. This one is being left natural so I fussed a bit more with the miters. Hopefully this won't bite me on the arse after the glue yikes above.

toy/blanket chest moldings done

I had to nail the back left corner to keep it tight to the chest. This one is getting painted so I didn't go full anal sawing the fitting the miters. They are good but I may have to putty one or two. I'll know tomorrow after this has cooked.

the back molding

This molding at the top is thinner than the other 3. It is also slightly tapered with this end being the thinner end. It is on the back and the chest will go up against a wall. I can't think of a situation where this would be visible and accessible 360.

 sticking with these

I am going to use these hinges on both of the chests. I also got my screws that I ordered from McMaster that got dropped shipped to Craig. The screw head is too small for the countersunk hole. No wonder the lid stays almost ripped it out. 

I ordered some #5 and #6 screws from Lee Valley. I was trying to raise the total to get free shipping when I found the gas strut lid stay. That put me way over the free shipping limit. Maybe next week I'll be done with toy/blanket chest.

The miniature chest I plan on using one of the transom chain stays. I got them from Amazon and they are supposed to come next friday. I might be done with this next weekend.

accidental woodworker

dual chests Pt XII........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 05/10/2024 - 3:59am

 Had a terrible day in the shop. The AM session was productive but the PM one had everything I touched turn into liquid fecal matter. I had gone to pick up my poster from the Frame It Shop but she wasn't open yet. I should have taken that as an omen but I'll survive and I'll give it hell tomorrow.

 closing in on the miniature one

I got the back stop thing rounded over and sanded smooth. I am working on sanding the end grain on the lid. I am leaving this natural as of this blog. My wife may want to paint it but I hope to persuade her other wise.

 brown knot

The back stop thing will hide it on the top but it will be visible on the underside of the lid. I can live with that because all the outside show surfaces are clear pine.

 layout for the base cut out

A simple 1 1/2" round on the ends with a flat straight edge between them.

it is secure

I used the jigsaw to saw out one long side. I was expecting it to vibrate and shake like crazy but it didn't. I was going to saw this out by hand like I had done on the toy/blanket chest but it went so well I did the other 3 sides too.


Didn't think this one all the way through to the end. I could have used one of the long cutouts as the back stop thing.

 base is done

The jigsaw did pretty good on the last two I did. The first one while not horrible I did have to spend time cleaning up the rounds.

 base and chest married

The gap isn't that bad but I still intend to use a cove molding to cover it.

 cove molding

I screwed this one up. I was taking a cleaning run and I didn't register the plane properly. That changed the profile from a cove to a cove and a quirk.

 found some more scraps

The pickings were lean and slim but I found one piece long enough to get the two long sides from.

 brown knot

I didn't have anymore scraps and I didn't feel like going to Lowes. So I made a dowel to fit the half circle left after I removed the brown knot.

 I like the look

I got the front and the sides dry fitted. I have to wait for the knot molding to cook.


I had a 2" piece of dowel glued to the knot hole. I sawed it so the dutchman is about an 1/8" proud. There was no way I would have been able to saw the waste if I had left it long. As it is I don't have a warm and fuzzy that sanding/chiseling this patch will withstand that attention. I'll find out tomorrow. This cove will be going on the back of the chest.

fielding plane iron

There are 3 edges that need to be honed. I'll have to do all of these 3 by hand. I'll have to be on my best behavior because this iron is as straight as a dogs hind leg. The iron is a spot on match for the sole of the plane too. I'll be hand sharpening this slow with frequent checks to make sure I'm out going Out To Lunch (OTL).


Not so sure about this being the 4th edge. I think this one is out in the air and doesn't cut/shave anything.

 handles came

This is where things started to slide southward on me. This came with screws but they are phillips head which I don't like. They are #12 and they are too long for the chest. They will stick out into the interior of the chest by a 1/4".

I have some #12 x 3/4" Black FH screws but I think they are too short. I don't have a warm and fuzzy with those as replacements. I think the best thing to do is too put a support block under the handle(s) so I can use the supplied screws. Or I can order some slot head screws from Blacksmith Bolt.

 lid needs two

No screws with these and they are also handed - one right and one left. I like the instructions for the installation. They are clear and understandable. There is no way even I can screw this up.

 sheet metal screws

The instructions say to use #8 sheet metal screws for the lid supports. I was going to make an ACE run but I had some in my stash ready to go.


It wouldn't close and no hiccups installing either one. Except that I got the right one upside down.


The lid supports use beefy springs to help defy gravity so it takes a little bit of effort to shut the lid. Did that and the lid supports almost ripped out this and the middle hinge.

I didn't even get the option to punt on this one. I can't use these hinges with these lid supports. I don't want to keep playing musical chairs so I'll have to rethink this once again. I don't have any decent butt hinges and I don't want to put in a piano hinge. I'll check Horton Brasses and buy a couple sets from them.

Yikes #2.......

For insurance I decided to put screws in the back stop thing. The screw on this end was too close to the end and front edge. It split the back stop and pushed it up and put a gap under it.

 sawing it off

There was a tiny yikes here too. I had to saw through 3 brads that I used to secure the back stop so when I clamped it, it wouldn't slip and slide on me.

easy peasy

I chiseled off the bottom and I was able to pull the 3 brads out. Planed and sanded it smooth.


I think these random gouges came from the saw. I'll try to steam them out tomorrow. I was feeling frustrated here and that could lead to me wanting something to go airborne. It was 1502 and 2 past quitting time so I killed the lights and headed topside.

 reused it

I ripped off the hand sawn edge on the tablesaw and I can reuse it. One positive thing is I initially thought it was a little short in the height and not it isn't.

accidental woodworker

Green Movement

Pegs and Tails - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 7:01pm
It looks like that Orson Cart has been playing with his caravan again. Jack Plane
Categories: Hand Tools

Green Movement

Pegs and 'Tails - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 7:01pm
It looks like that Orson Cart has been playing with his caravan again. Jack Plane
Categories: Hand Tools

How to Name Stamp a Wood Plane

Wood and Shop - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 8:56am
How to Name Stamp a Wood Plane Bill Anderson shows the method for stamping a maker's mark on a traditional wooden handplane   By Joshua Farnsworth  |  Published 09 May, 2024 How to Name Stamp a Wood Plane   By Joshua

Turning the Corner: Unexpected Porch Post

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 7:03am

With an historic preservation grant and vision for a return to the past elegance, the new owners of the Pentagöet Inn in Castine, Maine asked me to create and turn the four new newel posts they needed for the renovated main entrance from the street.

Their contractors did an impressive job, and the newel posts were smoothly incorporated.

The work progressed smoothly until they began to tie the new balustrade to the existing 8′ porch post which they discovered was totally rotten …

… base … middle section … and top.

Knowing they were feeling the pressure of time and weather (we had enjoyed an unusual string of December/January warm and dry days), I was able to acquire the 8′ long 2″X6″ Alaskan Yellow Cedar boards 

and glue them up (actual measure of 5 ½” X 6 ¼” in preparation for sawing to rough size on the bandsaw

to then joint two adjacent sides before surface planing to the final dimension of 4 ¾” X 4 ¾” that matches the existing posts and the newel posts.

Once the blank is mounted on the lathe (note an 8′ long laminated ~5X5 blank does not require a mid-blank steady rest.  The lathe runs well at about 400 – 500 RPM with no whip) 

and the 24″ tool rest is in place; the first cuts are to measure carefully for the square pommel-to-round transition points and cut them in using the long point of the skew. The transition at bottom and top are straight angled cuts; the transitions in the middle section are lamb’s tongue which is made using a middle size Sorby 12mm gouge.  When making restoration copies, the small details matter enormously.  While most people will not notice directly, the dissimilarity will register on at least an unconscious level.

The next step is to round and taper the full column length. I find that it helps me to have the source profile post in my sightline to help me keep my attention focused and the details registered.  In this case, I carefully placed the rotten post sections on a long board just on the far side of the new blank.

I worked with story-sticks to identify the various specific profile points of taper, bead, cove, (shoulder).

As with most turning, the best practice is to work on the larger diameters on the right (by the tailstock) before moving left (toward the headstock and power source).

Once the turning is completed, applying the primer coat is most efficiently done while the post is still between centers on the lathe.  I typically also prime the ends of outdoor posts with either primer or West System epoxy to help preserve the life of the post.

Delivering the post a week after they discovered they needed it was particularly satisfying, and the contractors put it in place that day, one day before we had an onset of cold and snow.

Doing a job like this is particularly rewarding as well as great publicity being so prominently a display of the work being done so visibly in the middle of our town. I look forward to the owner’s next phase in a year, when we will continue the restoration to the lower and upper balustrade, posts, and rails up Main Street to the right.

“Turning the Corner,” focuses on using woodturning on the lathe as a way of enhancing cabinetry, furniture designs, gallery products, and architectural installations.  We hope to inspire woodworkers to extend their skills into basic, novice, and advanced woodturning while discovering for themselves this particularly sensual and spiritually rewarding dimension of working with wood. Located in Castine, Maine, Highlands Woodturning gallery and shop offers woodturning classes and shop time, a gallery of woodturned art, custom woodturning for repairs, renovations, and architectural installations. You can email Temple at temple@highlandswoodturning.com. Take a look at Temple’s Website at http://www.highlandswoodturning.com/

Categories: General Woodworking


The Barn on White Run - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 6:56am

When I first installed the hydro turbine fifteen (!) years ago I cobbled together a temporary pyramidal doghouse cover from XPS to keep the direct weather off of it until I got the permanent housing cover made.  Over the years my incentive for making the new one was low as the old cover lasted much longer than expected. This past winter was the final straw as the old “temporary” cover started coming apart, so I commenced to begin the new, final one.  I took advantage of a heavy dew the other day, making me wait for my daily dose of mowing, to finally assemble the new cover.

I began some time ago with making a laminated arch using exterior grade adhesive and copious crown staples.  I then screwed on a section of Ondura corrugated asphalt panel roofing for the, well, roof.  The unit is light and stiff due to the corrugated arched construction.  Once installed I recognized an unintended benefit.  The corrugation makes it stiff, yes, but also acts as a sound diffuser on the underside reducing the sound to almost zero once I get more than a few feet away.

If the “temporary” cover using scrap materials lasted fifteen years, I can only imagine how long this one will be doing its job.

Now, back to mowing.

Categories: Hand Tools

Steve Albini, iconoclastic rock musician and engineer, dies at 61 →

Giant Cypress - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 4:48am

Steve Albini, iconoclastic rock musician and engineer, dies at 61

Lars Gotrich:

As a performer, [Steve Albini] fronted Shellac and Big Black, two indie-rock bands that pushed punk and noise past absurd and abrasive limits. Albini famously did not like to be called a “producer,” but he worked on — by his own estimate — “a couple thousand” records as a recording engineer, including classics like the Pixies‘ Surfer RosaNirvana's In Utero and PJ Harvey's Rid of Me.

I can’t say I’ve listened to anywhere close to a couple thousand Steve Albini records, but I’ve listened to and loved a ton of them. This one may be my favorite.

I'm an idiot.......(confirmed).......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 3:23am

 Last month a reader of my blog made me a couple of irons for my plow plane. That didn't turn out so well. It wasn't through the fault of Craig but me not having a grasp on the 'el panorama' (the big picture). I had the stock dropped shipped to him from McMaster-Carr and that went off without a hiccup. The idiot part of it? I ordered screws and etc from McMaster for the toy chest and they were dropped shipped to Craig. It didn't occur to me to check the ship to address from McMaster. I ass - u - me that it would be mine. So I'll be dead in the water for a couple of more days and out the cost of priority shipping from Craig to me. Sigh.

I bought another pair of lid stays from Lee Valley that were supposed to come today but aren't. For the about the umpteenth time UPS has revised the delivery date at the last moment. Now I am supposed to get the LV order tomorrow by 1900. I'll either get it or receive another revised delivery date. The odds are.....

 Lowes run

Left for Lowes at 0705 to get a quarter sheet of 1/4" plywood for the miniature chest bottom and two pine boards for the lid. Bought the same plywood from Pinewood that I got in 1/2" thickness for the toy chest. There really isn't a need to put 1/2" plywood on the bottom of the miniature chest. 1/4" will suffice for it.

 if I had pulled down my zipper

If my head wasn't buried in my arse I could have put a check mark in the done column with this today.

 no surprises so far

Clamps are coming off easy and there is no relaxing or movement from the chest. That is always a good sign to see.

 blue tape sucks for this

Blue tape wasn't up to holding clamping pads where you need them. Too often it gives way and the fall off just as you are attempting to tighten the clamp on them. This time I used superglue and accelerator to hold the pads in place.


Wasn't expecting to see this because the clamp has a plastic cover over the clamping heads. The tails are proud so maybe I'll be able to plane/sand this me-steak away.

 no problems

Out of the 14 pads I glued on only two didn't pop off with one strike of the chisel and mallet. Super glue as zero tolerance for an abrupt whack and will easily give up its bond immediately. Even the two stubborn ones cleaned up effortlessly with the plane and RO sander.

not a two board glue up

I went through two piles of the 1x12s at Lowes. I only found 3 of them that were clear or only had one knot per board. Of the 3 I picked the two flatest ones but they were still cupped a bit. To alleviate that I sawed the two boards into 3 pieces each. This is the best I could come up with a grain/color match.

 30 minutes

I planed the glue joints, did a dry fit, planed some more, and glued the panel up.

 bottom screwed on

I have about a 16th strong on all four edges to plane flush. Like the bigger toy/blanket chest I just screwed the bottom on to the chest.

 getting dull

The iron in this was struggling to flush the plywood to the chest. I got it done and I'll have to hone the iron in this plane. It is on the "I'll forget to-do-it-list".

 layout for the base

I'm checking the base to ensure that it isn't snug/not fitting the chest. I laid it out a 1/8" longer in both directions. 

 off the saw

I had to trim one pin because it was too snug and I didn't want to chance splitting it.

 loose slip fit

There are a couple of frog hairs of space 360 which is ok with me. I plan on putting a cove molding on the base to hide it.

 glued and cooking

After I glued the pins/tails, I glued and nailed the bearers in on the inside.

double triple checking

Making sure that nothing changed in the relationship between the base and the chest.

 five hours later

 This is going to be the up face of the lid. The joints are pretty good in that they are even pretty much across the face.

 like night and day

You would think the opposite face joints would be similar to the other but they aren't. They are proud on a couple of boards a strong 32nd.

started with the 5 1/2

Used this first to knock down the bulk of unevenness between the boards. The biggest offenders were the two outside boards.

quick check

I was surprised that the lid didn't rock or see saw at all when I put it on the chest. A good sign that the lid is flat and straight.

 what a work out

I had forgotten what  beast and how hard it is to keep this moving across the boards. I hadn't forgotten how to flatten with it and when I was done I was spent and had to take a breather. I first went across the grain and then with the grain. I will have to plane this the #3 to smooth it and totally remove the sanding scratches.

 sizing the lid

Initially I went for a 1" overhang on the sides and 3/4" on the front. Those are the overhangs I used on the toy/blanket chest.

 still improving

I am getting better at squaring end grain edges. I absolutely love the LV bevel up jack for end grain work.

 change 2 & 3

I didn't like the 3/4" overhang on the front. It looked too large to my eye so I knocked it back to a 1/2". After seeing that I didn't like the 1" on the sides. Changed them to match the 1/2" on the front.

I was shooting for the goal of just needing to put a lid stay and hinges on this chest to call it done. I came close but no cigar. Tomorrow I'll put the back stop thing on the chest lid. Which will give the lid overnight to do any stupid wood tricks it might have up its sleeve. Saw out the cutout on the base and screw it to the bottom of the chest. The finale will be making some cove moldings to go on the top of the base.

 over time

Didn't realize that it was past 1500. I got into a rhythm and lost track of time. Everything was falling into step and without any oops to delay things. I felt a little tired but it was a good tired. I had accomplished more today than I expected to. 

I had gone to lunch with my wife and I ate like a condemned man. I had fish 'n chips, pickles, two rolls, and my wife's left over french fires and patty melt. Hoping that this doesn't bite me on the arse and draw blood on sunday's weigh in.

 accidental woodworker

Turning the Corner: Pentagöet Inn Newel Posts

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 7:00am

Fresh from New York City, the new, young owners of the Pentagöet Inn in Castine, Maine arrived two summers ago to embrace the long history of the Town and especially their beautiful building in a way that is both impressive and sustainable.  Their vision and energy as owner/operators/hosts of this magnificent old-time, 130 year old wooden building, radiates an air of excitement, success, and intrinsic reward, and they have been honored properly by Hospitality Maine for their work..  At each phase of creative renovation effort, the interior and exterior are being transformed to preserve the history while thoughtfully and confidently moving into the next century.

One evening last summer while I dined there with family, I was invited to a sidebar discussion with the owners, introduced to their plan to restore the original but missing main entrance staircase funded by a significant grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They asked if I would consider turning the four new newel posts they needed for the renovation later in the fall after they had received the necessary permits.  In early December, they received them, and they asked me to return for further discussion and a more specific look at what they wanted to accomplish. Their contractor had already begun replacing the rotted floor joists and flooring for the porch, and they hoped he could complete the new staircase by Christmas, the Maine weather having been unexpectedly cooperative.

The 38″ lower section of one of the original 8′ porch posts was the profile they wanted, and they had an architect’s drawing of what they would need for the new 42″ balustrade. They felt the drawing was not as close to the profile they wanted but would more closely represent what is required by the much newer codes.  While I was there, I pointed out to them the significant “repairs” to the lower section of porch post that were an attempt to disguise considerable rot with caulk and paint (not a good choice for a structural element).  I carefully measured the lower post and created a story-stick of what I thought the original profile would be working from that and the adjacent posts.   

The owners were fairly sure their architect had surveyed the porch and that while I needed to adapt the real profile (4 ¾” X 4 ¾”) to the taller design required to meet for code, the existing posts and rails would not be changed.  The architectural drawing called for a 5″ X 5″ blank which they did not want me to use, preferring to stick to the original 4 ¾” square profile.  All they needed from me was to create the four new newel posts for the new staircase balustrade that could be worked in smoothly with the existing posts and rails that framed the porch.

We discussed materials and pricing and together made the decision to have me glue up Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC) to make the turning blanks, the best readily-available, cost-effective choice for a long life outdoors.  I also understood initially that the newel posts should be two parts pinned through the new horizontal railing. 

AYC is readily available to us, is less expensive than Great Western Red Cedar, takes the water-resistant Titebond III glue well, and at 2″ X 6″ creates a blank (1 5/8″ X 5 ½”) that can be bandsawn, edge jointed, and surface planed to the desired 4 ¾” square blanks.

Working from both my story-stick of the lower post section as well as the architect’s drawing, I roughed the first blank, smoothed it, marked it, and finished the profile elements for the lower section using the Sorby continental 30mm roughing gouge, 32mm skew chisel, 10mm beading & parting tool.

With the first one complete, I reproduced it on the additional three lower blanks.

After I had cut and glued the eight blanks, I learned from the staircase contractor that they did not plan to pin through the horizontal rails after all.  This meant to me that I simply needed to adjust the length of the upper section and pin the two sections in the shop before delivering. Working with the additional blanks for the top section now adjusted to meet the overall height requirement, I turned the profile that I understood would be mounted above the horizonal rails and pinned through.

The most efficient way to get the new posts square and true was to glue the top and bottoms together as a unit at the bench using bench dogs and the end vice.

Fortunately, it all worked out well.  As is my custom, I primed the finished newel posts before delivering them on schedule – and understanding that with the cold weather they might not be painted very soon.

The contractors soon had them in place at the four corners of the emerging staircase, and very shortly thereafter they completed the remaining work on that portion of the job.

Unfortunately, when they began to tie the new staircase to the existing porch railing, they discovered that the first 8′ post had rotted beyond repair.  The caulk and paint “repairs””had masked an even larger problem that was beyond the scope of me replacing just the bottom section.  The rot went well up into the upper portion of the post.

Undeterred, the new owners asked me to turn a replacement post as soon as I could and to keep my story-stick handy for that anticipating their next restoration project on the other side of the new staircase next year.

“Turning the Corner,” focuses on using woodturning on the lathe as a way of enhancing cabinetry, furniture designs, gallery products, and architectural installations.  We hope to inspire woodworkers to extend their skills into basic, novice, and advanced woodturning while discovering for themselves this particularly sensual and spiritually rewarding dimension of working with wood. Located in Castine, Maine, Highlands Woodturning gallery and shop offers woodturning classes and shop time, a gallery of woodturned art, custom woodturning for repairs, renovations, and architectural installations. You can email Temple at temple@highlandswoodturning.com. Take a look at Temple’s Website at http://www.highlandswoodturning.com/

Categories: General Woodworking

Advertising 101

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 4:00am
Advertising 101  1

Should we take some cues from this guy? I admit I took a picture of his sign (above) - he plastered the neighborhood - and I wasnt too shocked that he got coverage on CNN when the event happened. I dont know if he kept his mask on; perhaps he didnt want to be revealed as the Marketing Senior VP at a large corporation. He does know how to grab attention (and snacks).

I might like to spend most of my time designing tools, organizing the manufacture or tools and researching the history of tools, but I understand that unless we attract customers to buy tools, we don't eat.

Ultimately a sale depends on having the right product with a winning combo of price and performance. It helps to be a company that people want to deal with. But as our cheese ball fellow shows: getting new customers in the door is an essential skill.

Almost all of our architectural cabinet--maker customers rely on a small network of architects and contractors for all of their work. These are networks that take years to build. For a new person entering the market, it takes a while to get enough of a reputation to be included in a bid list.

Furniture makers have a far more complicated problem. You are not just selling a chair or a table, you are selling your take on how these items should look and function. And of course there are only a very small number of people who can afford bespoke furniture in the first place.

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which describes itself as North Americas leading platform for contemporary furnishing design will be held next week. Furniture makers and other designers from around the world show off their wares; it's comparatively an expensive show at which to exhibit at but people do it. I do not know how effective the show is in a practical sense. The point of the show is that decorators come see your stuff and eventually have you make stuff for their customers. It is not an end user retail show. When I have gone in past years I have routinely seen a bunch of our customers exhibiting. I just don't know if after six months or so they feel it was worth it - although many have told me they have met a lot of interesting people.

But this is the problem for everyone. How do you find and inform potential customers? Pretty much everyone I know has a website and most people either have an Instagram account or feel guilty that they dont - but with varying success. The plus of social media is at its simplest it is free, and but requires a lot of hands-on labor. A trade show like the ICFF is expensive in actual cash flow but will expose you in a hands-on way to a very targeted, already motivated audience of buyers.

Unfortunately there arent too many shortcuts. Folks know that it isnt enough to create a social media account - they must constantly feed it, ideally with a consistent supply of charmingly crafted and engaging videos, something that even our customers with filmmaking experience balk at doing. But at least I can recommend a few classic books that helped me understand marketing - and are also enjoyable to read.

The first is "The Book of Gossage, by Howard Luck Gossage, aka the Socrates of San Francisco, a compilation that includes "Is there any hope for advertising?" Gossage was a wizard of an ad copywriter in the Mad Men era, who understood that you had to engage the customer. And the customer wasn't stupid, but rather just needed to be engaged. Engaged meant being presented with interesting and amusing ideas, not being swindled. I think Gossages wordy and plot driven approach is very appropriate to the modern age of internet marketing.

To address the visual side of things, Forget All the Rules You Ever Learned About Graphic Design: Including the Ones in This Book, by Bob Gill. Gill was not only a designer, copywriter, design professor and design agency founder, he was an impresario who (for better or worse) brought us Beatlemania. As his NY Times obituary described him, Gill was an irreverent graphic designer who helped transform his profession from its decorative roots into a business of ideas. Forget All the Rules definitely encourages you to distill your message.

The third book is "How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling " by Frank Bettger. Bettger was a washed-up baseball player in his early twenties who needed another livelihood and found it in sales. This is a book, published in 1949 and still in print, whose hardcover version had a groovy look and a blurb from Dale Carnegie, Bettgers mentor. (The paperback version, not so much.) The book is full of insights about high-end personal sales. If your plan is to close the deal - the step after successful marketing gives you the opportunity to do so - its helpful to understand sales as well.

Even big names understand the importance of getting the word out in a cost-effective way. Last year Erykah Badu advertised her shows with billboards plastered across the city. I'm not particularly a fan but wow - did that poster grab my attention.

Advertising 101  2
By the way, marketing does not need to be original to be effective. Our cheese ball friend got his message out with a compelling easy to spot sign plastered on a parking permit machine. Great eye-catching graphics are important. But in NYC, signs are everywhere. Cheese Ball was competing with (among other things) a far less effective sign promoting an EP stuck a few feet away on a mailbox.

Advertising 101  3

In case you are curious: while the cheese ball guy did it all himself, there are companies in NYC that would be happy to paste up your poster everywhere. The rules are, you can put stuff up on construction sites covered in plywood barriers but not over real stuff that isn't temporary.

And if youre in the NY area, I thoroughly recommend a visit to the Poster House Museum. Each exhibit is a master class in art and design, and in distilling a marketing objective.

A random display of billboards plastering a SoHo construction siteA random display of billboards plastering a SoHo construction site

10 degrees higher........

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 3:12am

 The mercury was forecasted to be a high of 74F (23C) today. It got pushed up a wee but further to 84F (29C). It wasn't that warm when I went on my post lunch stroll, it was only 72F. If it had been any higher I wouldn't have gone on walk about. I did that last summer when the temp was 87F (31C) and I ended up in the ER for 6 hours. I will have to do my strolls this summer in the AM when it isn't as hot and humid yet.

 CPAP supplies

This is what I'll get every six months. I got it early because my nasal hose ripped on me. I'll have to find a hole to stick these in and I think I found it already. I'm going to make a miniature blanket chest to keep them in. I can't do anything on the toy/blanket chest so I'll knock this one out.

 it might be enough

I have two 1x12x5' boards left. Depending upon how big I make this I might get it all from these two.

no offers

I put these up on Saw Mill Creek and I got a lot of looks (over 200) but no nibbles. I thought the #5s would sell quick but I was wrong. I'll stick them in the boneyard where they'll gather dust till I figure out what to do with them.

 not going to bother

The 4 woodies and the #3 & #4 metal planes I am not even going to try to sell on the Creek. I think all the rehabbing I did on them plus what I paid for them, priced them out of the reach or desire of someone wanting them.

 small cove molding

Find these in the boneyard when I put the planes in there. It is a perfect fit for the base of the chest.

 the gap on the right

There is almost zero gap on the front and what is on the right isn't glaring. I could live with it but the molding will hide it. Besides I like the look of the cove molding as it transits into the chamfer on the base.

room for the cove molding

Because the chest isn't square the gap isn't uniform. This front corner is open and the back corner is tight. Overall I don't hate it but paint won't fill the gaps but the moldings will cover it.


I made the long sides 25" and the short ends, 15". I like the side proportions being 3/5 which dictated the measurements. The stock left over from this won't be enough to get the lid out of. I'll have to make a Lowes run to get some pine for the lid and plywood for the bottom of the chest.

 ready to make sawdust

Tails were laid out and secured in the vise for sawing them. I used the dividers to layout 5 tails to keep with the multiple of 5 for this chest.

 lunch bell was ringing

Tails chopped and cleaned up. Laid out and sawed the pins. After the stroll I chopped the pins and did a dry fit. Fingers crossed here that I'll get it glued and cooking before 1500.

 couldn't resist

Before I went topside to fill the pie hole I sawed one miter to check the corner fit. The molding is about 5 frog hairs from the angle of the chamfer. If it were any closer I would have planed or sawed a wee bit off the front edge of the molding.

PM session

Tried something new for me with both the tails and pins. I usually chop the tails on one side and then the other. The same dance steps for the pin boards. With the big chest and this one I ganged the tail and pin boards on top of each other and chopped them one after the other. IMO it is much quicker doing it this way vice individually.


I dropped the pin board twice. I got a ding here and on the other diagonal corner. Luckily for me both of the dings were on the same edge. This was the top but it is now the bottom. After the base is installed this and the other boo boos won't be seen.

 needed some help

The tails wouldn't fully seat on either end. There was a slight cup in both ends that were throwing a hissy fit. I had a devil of a time squaring it up and I settled for a strong 16th off on the diagonals. I clamped the 3 tails in the middle and I got two good results with that. The first was pulling the middle flat which also helped with seating the top and bottom tails. The second was it improved the squareness of the carcass. The diagonals after the clamps went on improved to less than 16th off on the diagonals.

base stock

Used one leftover board from the toy/blanket chest (short ends) and the miniature chest (long sides) to get the base. The base height isn't a multiple of 5 - I sawed to width that looked good to my eye - 3 1/8".

 panel raiser

It is clearly stamped NE Toolworks, Groton Ct. I was stationed at the Groton submarine base for almost 17 years and I don't recall it all. I looked at a Leon Robbins plane on Jim Bode's site and it looks similar to this. The only difference I noted was the Leon plane had a strike button on the toe and this plane doesn't have one. Any reader heard of NE Toolworks or have a history about it?

Watched the first 4 episodes of Spiral, season 4 yesterday. I had my fingers crossed because I didn't have a warm and fuzzy that the DVD player would work. I was less worried about that and more so about the old tech TV (12 years old?). No hiccups at all. The only hiccup was there isn't a pause button on the DVD player. You have to  use stop and play to resume. I should get through the next 4 episodes tonight and the next 4 tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

Branch Crook Choices

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Tue, 05/07/2024 - 6:35pm
Another post about processing crooks. For the others, check the category menu (to the right) under “finding wood.” This time I want to show a couple decisions I made when finding a spoon in a piece of the crazy magnolia … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

toy/blanket chest pt X..........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 05/07/2024 - 3:17am

 I thought today would have been the final post but it ain't so boys and girls. The hold up was beyond my control - the screws I need for the hinges won't be here until wednesday. That is one bad thing about getting hinges that come without screws. So I'm dead in the water with the chest for now. The only thing I can do on it is put a cove/corner round molding on the base.


That stands for Read The Fxxxing Instructions. If I had read them I wouldn't have been cursing out this wood putty as crappola. It says in plain english that this putty does not harden. 

 more instruction I missed

It says again in plan english, (my native tongue) that you apply the putty and use a damp cloth to smooth it out right away. Using the instructions I had no hiccups with it this time.

 working the base

I was going to use the belt sander to clean up and smooth the base but the wife was still sleeping. Switched over to the #3 to do it. The brown nut was cooperative and no headaches planing it from both directions. 

 getting a headache

I studied these last night and this AM things were still a wee bit blurry. I am ass-u-ming that the measurements are in metric but it doesn't state that anywhere on the instruction sheet that I could find. I tried translating the measurements from decimal to metric and that did nothing for me neither. I'll be tackling the installation of this in PM session.

 lid chamfer

I had two choices for the lid detail - bullnose/round over or a chamfer. I picked the chamfer.

matching chamfer

The lid chamfer is 5/16" and the base chamfer is 1/4". I lost a 16th for the base because I still might put a molding on the top of the base.

 corners first

Before I took any end to end runs I planed the corners first. That is so when I did go end to end I wouldn't blow out the corners. I got lucky with the base as 3 of the sides I was able to plane from R to L. The last one (long side) I had to plane L to R to avoid tearing it out.


Another reason why I did a 1/4" on the base was to leave a 1/2" for the molding, if any. Whether or not I do that depends upon the size of the gap once I mate the base with the chest.

I used 2 screws to attach the base to the chest. No need for anymore than that. The chisel was used to flush 3 of the corner braces that were proud of the bottom of the base.

 ready to jump into it

I studied the instructions some more during lunch and I feel a little more comfortable with them. I have a several rules graduated in metric that I will use to install this.

 not much hardware

One nice aspect of this lid stay is that it can go on the left or right side. The metal pear shaped disc is proving to be a doozie to figure out. There are specific angles between the screws and the post at the top of it. Clueless as to how to lay them out. One of them is ~28° and the other one is ~30°.

 all 8 seasons

I am so happy that this came 3 days early. I have been nursing myself on season 5 and I watched the last episode of it last night. Now I don't have to buy any episodes from season 6 to 8. I'll go back and watch season 4 that I missed entirely and that should fill in some holes I had with season 5.

new to me toy

Can you guess what this is? I got it from Patrick Leach and it was item WP 9. He says it is an unmarked Leon Robbins fielding plane.

 sweet looking plane

I like the look of this and it is a lot lighter (and smaller) than I thought it would be. It is a laminated construction plane too with the rear handle offset from the center line of the plane.

 why I bought it

This plane fields the angle and planes a flat that fits in the groove on the stiles/rails.

it is the law

Of course I had to stop what I was doing and road test the plane as is.

 came up short

I wasn't able to plane the entire profile. This is about 1/2 of it. Each plane, wooden or metal, has its own personality and you have to make friends with it. I had even projection of the iron around the mouth but the plane wasn't making any shavings. I didn't want to work the why then so I set it aside and went back to the lid stay headache.

 about 1/2

Based on laying the iron on what I was able to produce I can see the fielded portion will be about a 1/2" or so wider.


I don't understand this plate and how to properly position it. The post at the top left is what the arm hits to stop the lid from opening beyond that. As for the angles I have a couple of clear protractors that I can use to get the two angles. I just have to extend a couple of lines out 5-6 inches more.

 not for weighing me

The width of the lid determines how much weight the lid stay can handle. The chart is for two lid stays (surprise - I missed that tidbit) and I'm using only one so I have to halve the weights in the chart to get how much weight one stay can handle. The lid with the 3 hinges weighed 7.8 pounds which is over the limit for one stay. I can't use this lid stay. I need to have a lid stay on this box because the boys will be using it. If it were a blanket chest I would put a chain stay on it.

caught a me-steak

There is an error with the instructions. It says that the center to center hold spacing on the arm retainer is 32mm. It is 16mm, the retainer is ~40mm long. Straightened that out and saw that I screwed up the lay for it big time. The retainer has to be 10.5mm away from the inside edge of the chest. I forgot to add the 1 1/16" overhang to the equation. Still debating the lid stay dilemma. Use two of these or buy a gas strut rated for my lid's dimensions and weight?  I have time because Diane isn't going to NC until the first of next month.

 table worked well

If push came to shove, I would lower this about 6-8" to make it perfect. It worked good but having it a wee bit lower would facilitate the installation of the lid stay by making it more comfortable.

 first problem to address

The iron wedge extends too far. Not sure but this could be why I wasn't able to plane the full profile.

 second problem
There is a hump on the back of the iron. This is after 7-8 strokes on the medium diamond stone. This bevel is going to have to sharpened/honed by hand too. There are four edges that need to be honed. I might do this tomorrow because I can't work on the chest.

accidental woodworker

Stain Walnut? Are You Crazy?!

Wunder Woods - Mon, 05/06/2024 - 9:13pm

The answer is, only a little. And, yes sometimes we do stain walnut and this is why (and how).

First off, for those that don’t know, walnut has a chocolatey brown heartwood that is known for its rich color and is often finished without adding color because it is pretty on its own. Sounds simple enough, it looks great, why mess with it? Well, there are four reasons to stain walnut:

  1. Color Consistency. Walnut not only has dark heartwood, but like all other woods, has a light colored ring of sapwood on the outside of the log. Depending on the cut, walnut lumber may contain streaks of nearly white sapwood. Even if the lumber does not contain sapwood, areas near the sapwood can appear much lighter in color. Walnut heartwood also varies in color from tree to tree. Some lean towards more red, some green and some purple. Staining the wood will make lumber from different trees and different areas of the same tree have the same hue and have a similar range of shade.
  2. Increased yield. If walnut is not stained, the only way to keep a piece in the dark color range is to remove all sapwood. To keep from having to trim off all of the sapwood, commercially produced walnut is steamed to darken the sapwood. Even though the steaming process makes the sapwood darker and more like the heartwood, without stain the color difference will be much more noticeable. Staining the wood will make much more of the tree usable, since both the heartwood and sapwood can all be used.
  3. Longer lasting color. Walnut is one of the few woods I know of that lightens in color as it ages. When stained the brown color will hold tight for much, much longer.
  4. It stains great. This isn’t really a reason to stain walnut, but it is worth noting. Walnut accepts all stains well. As long as the surface is sanded properly, staining is a breeze. No splotchy wood here.

When staining walnut, I like to use a mix of Special Walnut and Dark Walnut from Minwax. I feel like Special Walnut is a little too brown with most of the color coming from brown pigment and the Dark Walnut is a bit too black with most of the color coming from black dye. But, when mixed together, they are the perfect blend of color and penetration, which makes the walnut color more consistent and keeps the wood looking like walnut without hiding the grain.

We stain walnut commonly in applications with plywood, like commercial millwork, to provide consistency to the job over multiple products and to give the project a deeper, richer walnut tone. We also stain walnut lumber, like the table in the video below for the same reasons. I think the stain does an excellent job of bringing the entire project together, while not hiding the walnut lumber.

Click on the video below to see how the walnut looks after it is stained and finished.

9 Spoons

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Mon, 05/06/2024 - 5:15pm
A little more color in this group, partly because of the wood species of the crooks I found and partly because I was itching to experiment more with milk paint. So, all of the paint on these is milk paint, … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

toy/blanket chest pt IX..........

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 05/06/2024 - 3:51am

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright. It is so bright it is blinding me. That means I'm wrapping up the loose ends on the chest. I could have finished it today but I quit the shop early. I am willing to bet a lung that I will be done with it tomorrow. The one caveat will be how well I understand the instructions for installing the lid stay.

 it still fits

This is the first thing I tired when I got to the shop this AM. It was still the slip fit I had yesterday. 

this woody putty sucks

This stuff sanded off easily but it didn't feel hard and dry this AM. I'll have to keep an eye on it going forward from here.

base cut out time

I have used my jigsaw to saw out the base on another project (like this one) and it didn't go smoothly. It was hard to secure the base and not have the jigsaw vibrate the base like crazy. Decided to saw out the base by hand.

 two saws

The japanese saw (azebiki) is for sawing the long straight edge. The coping saw is for the curved ends.

 first long side done

I positioned the straight edge on the pencil so the saw cut would be in the waste side. I did all the straight cuts first and then the end curves.

last one

No hiccups with the straight cuts. All of them have the pencil lines left for me to rasp down to.

 base cut out done

I was going to use my oscillating spindle sander to smooth the curved ends but nixed it. I didn't feel like fighting it to get the sander out and on the work table. I used rasps and sand paper to do all the cleaning and smoothing of the cut out.

The sawing with the coping saw went well. I was concerned about it because I don't have a lot of time on the pond using one. The first one was the worse but still on the waste side. By the time I got to the last one I had a consistent saw kerf parallel to the pencil line.


I glued in blocks in each corner with white glue just before lunch. That way they would be set up enough so I could saw out the base.

 went quickly

The curved cuts didn't come out square. They weren't horribly out but I didn't have any hiccups squaring them up. The shaping and smoothing of the base went pretty quick. I don't think it took an hour. Don't know for sure because I got in a rhythm and knocked it without stopping to ooh and aah over it.

last one done

I didn't go nutso on the shaping the curves dead nuts on the pencil lines. Instead I eyeballed it for smooth, flowing transition from the bottom into the straight edge.

 base still fits

Got my first look see at the base and the chest as one. I like the proportions of the two and it looks to be a good height for Leo and Miles to get their toys from. 

 sneak peek

Not much left to put a check mark in the done column. Screw the base to the chest, install the lid stay, with the final step screwing in the hinges. McMaster said the screws I ordered shipped yesterday so I may get them tomorrow. I also ordered screws from Lee Valley along with some cast iron handles. Don't know when the LV order will get here. Supplies may have a say with the check mark.

 the gap

The gap isn't as wide as I thought it would be. I have the chest pushed up tight to the other end so all the gap is at this end and side.

 the other end

I am ok with this as it is. I fudged the chest R/L adjusting the gap to where it was minimal 360. I think I will still put a 1/4 round or cove molding on the top of the base. That will close off and hide the gaps. The only boo boo with that is the base is square but the chest isn't. Doing the miters for that might be a Royal PITA.

accidental woodworker

Check your edge

Giant Cypress - Mon, 05/06/2024 - 3:48am

When sharpening, here’s the best method I know of to see what’s going on with the tool. It’s a jeweler’s loupe, with a built-in LED.

These are ridiculously inexpensive. If you go to eBay, and do a search for “20x led loupe”, a ton of search results will come up. Today (6 May 2024), I found one for $7.99, shipped to my door.

There’s often chatter about woodworkers looking at their edges with a magnifying glass, as if it was a bad thing, a sign of OCD, or a waste of time. I think it’s the most direct way of seeing what happens to your edge as you sharpen, and a faster way of seeing if you have a sharp edge than feeling for a burr, looking for the line of light, or any other of the more acceptable methods.

Here’s an example of what you can see when you use one of these loupes. This is the back of a 24 mm Japanese chisel after I’ve used a 1000 grit waterstone on it. You can see the scratches from the waterstone on the back.

And here’s the back after using medium and fine grit natural Japanese waterstones. The scratches are nearly gone, and the overall surface is smooth.

As you can (literally) see, it’s easy to monitor your progress, and when you’re done with the current step in the sharpening process so you can move on to the next one.

In addition to being able to see what’s going on with the surface as you go up through the grits of your sharpening routine, seeing nicks and edge damage is trivially easy. Here’s an example of small nicks in the edge of a chisel that are obvious when looking directly at the tool.

I can see these nicks using the “line of light” test without using a loupe. But when I first started figuring out what a sharp edge was, looking at the edge under magnification let me know where the line of light should be, which then taught me how to use the line of light test. And even then, it’s not any faster than using a loupe.

Again, I don’t know why anyone would disparage the idea of directly examining the edge when sharpening. It’s easy and fast, which I’m sure is what we all want our woodworking tasks to be.


An Unplugged Woodworker - Sun, 05/05/2024 - 11:01am

I realize it has been a while since last I posted anything, but rest assured, I am back in the saddle again! In my previous blog post, I had just returned from the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) Annual Conference in New Bern, NC, where I had the pleasure of attending a linenfold carving demonstration by Mary May. After a short visit to Seattle to visit my daughters and granddaughter, I set out to build another joined chest, this time with cherry linenfold panels.

With the oak stock for the front of the chest roughed out, I determined the width of the cherry panels. The oak legs are roughly 1-1/8 inches thick by 2-1/4 inches wide. The oak top and bottom rails are 4 inches / 3 inches wide, respectively, by 31-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. The oak muntins are 5-1/4 inches wide by 14 inches long by 3/4 inch thick. The overall chest (excluding the lid) is 34 inches wide by 15-1/4 inches deep by 24 inches high. Given that The panels rest in a 1/4 inch wide by 3/8 inch deep groove, the center cherry panel is 8-1/8 inches wide by 13-1/4 inches long by 3/4 inch thick. The left and right cherry panels are 6-3/4 inches wide by 13-1/4 inches long by 3/4 inch thick. Whew!

As with most joined chests, there are a lot of mortise and tenon joints. For the most part, I like to use a 3/8 inch thick barefaced tenon with the tenon slightly out of plumb. The tenons at the top and bottom of the muntins are but 1/4 inch, centered on the end of the board.

Now for some linenfold action. 

I started by cutting a 1-1/8 inch wide rebate around the perimeter of each panel, leaving about 1/4 inch thickness around the perimeter. 

Steps with rounded sides using a plow plane and a round molding plane gave the illusion of folded cloth. A hollow molding plane to the left and right of the panel center helped further the illusion.

At this point, out come the carving tools! (1) To carve the scrolls at the ends, I used a 10mm #41 V-tool, 20mm #5, 10mm #7, and 6mm #3 straight gouges, a 1-1/4” bench chisel, a mallet, a pencil, and a couple of rifflers. (2) Pencil in the scroll across the width of the raised area of the panel. (3) Bevel the end of the raised area as shown, curving down to the deeper fold. Redraw the scroll. (4) Note the red and blue lines. Using a V-tool, incise a line along the red lines. Make sure NOT to cut beyond the blue lines. (5) Make sure to leave the pencil line visible. Cut just to the side of it as shown. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) Remove the center section using the V-tool, gouge, and chisel. Take this area all the way down to the level of the perimeter rebate. (12, 13) Using gouges, round the corners of the scroll, getting as close to the pencil line as possible. (14, 15) With a small gouge, hollow out the scrolls to form the folds. (16) Use a small gouge and perhaps rifflers to further clean and form the folds. (17) Most importantly, maintain an unbroken scroll.

The above is for the two side panels. The center panel uses the same techniques. I will let you decide how!

With the face frame complete, I turned the corner with some narrow spalted maple panels. I found this maple board in an antique store in Monroe, Georgia. It spoke to me.

For the back panel of the chest, I used a variation of a construction technique from the Savell Shop in 17th-century Braintree, MA. I learned of this technique through an article in a 1996 edition of American Furniture by Peter Follansbee and John Alexander (Seventeenth-Century Joinery from Braintree, Massachusetts: The Savell Shop Tradition). The back panel slides up from the bottom via grooves in the legs. An offset bottom rail helps secure the panel via pegs. Although the back bottom rail can be tricky, this has become my preferred method!

Here is a photo of the John Savell chest.

Here is my version of the joint at the back bottom rail.

Although the Savell method calls for a groove in the front bottom rail, please realize I am using 3/4 inch stock for my face frame. Therefore, I added a similar bottom rail just behind the face frame. The tongue and grooved floorboards sit atop these rails, secured with wooden pegs.

My panel has double bevels to mate with the 3/4-inch thick rails, as the rails, legs, and panel are all in the same plane. It should go without saying that the floor goes in before the back panels are slid into place and secured.

The lid overhangs the chest 1/4 inch in the back and 1 inch to the sides and front. 3/4 inch thick cleats help prevent any warpage. The lid is attached using snipe hinges.

I finished the chest with boiled linseed oil and turpentine (50:50), adding a few drops of shop-made walnut dye.

It may have seemed like a long wait, but I believe this chest was worth it. Thanks for your patience!


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