Archive for the ‘Period furniture building’ category

Thinking outside (or on top of) the box

November 11, 2013

Recently, I was told that we needed yet another bookcase.  (Who says that print is dead?)  So I decided to do something a little special.  Ogee bracket feet came to mind.  So I consulted with my friend and workmate, Lester.  Many of you reading this post already know Les.  He’s an extraordinary period furniture builder, who has always looked for a better way to do things.  I remembered that on one of my visits to Les’ shop I noticed a set of ogee bracket feet, awaiting use, on the shelf.  I mentioned that I wanted to incorporate that style of foot into a design and he told me that when I was ready to let him know.  He then showed me a pine box/frame that looked like a deep shadowbox about 6″ square.  With a secretive little twinkle in his eye, he told me that he would explain the device’s use, when the time was right.  With a little prodding, he explained that we would use the box frame to support the rough foot glue up and cut the sectional ogee shape on the band saw.  That task would, in fact, be one of the last parts of the process.

The usual way of making ogee bracket feet is to run a length of stock through a table saw, shaper or some other type of milling device to achieve the ogee profile.  For those of us who are hand tool aficionados, the hollows and rounds would be honed up and put to work.  After the sectional shape is established, stock is cut to length, then mitered and splined.  Then the face detail is cut in place.  After that, mitered faces are, glued and “rubbed” and a substantial glue block is positioned and glued (“rubbed” again).  (Traditionally these are “rub” joints which require no clamping.)  After that comes any additional shaping and finishing.

But using Les’ method, I cut stock to length, mitered and cut grooves for splines.  Then I cut the face details prior to gluing up (though I forgot to do it this time, any finish work on the face details can be done, on the flat, prior to glue up.  Much easier).  I then glued up the rough feet as described above.  I then built a little supporting “box/frame” to which I clamped up the “glue-ups”.

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After clamping, the foot is cut on a bandsaw to achieve the ogee shape.  A good sharp blade guaranteed that I had a minimum of finish up work to do.  If I can remember where I’ve stored the little framework, there’s no reason why I couldn’t use it over and over.

And, (if I ever get around to building it) there’s no reason why I couldn’t use this same set-up on a foot driven reciprocating saw.

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sash saw

from Eric Sloane’s “Museum of Tools”

You’re never too old to learn a thing, or two

August 4, 2013

After a lifetime in architectural and case work, I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about working with wood.

Readers will recall that I started a little “stick windsor” chair several weeks ago, my first of that ilk.  I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised at how demanding the project was.  It necessitated thinking a little “out of the box” in terms of measuring from reference data, etc.  I believe this chair may be “V1”, with additional iterations coming in the future.  It is surprisingly comfortable, although this particular seat is fairly narrow.  I think that I’ll build future chairs with stretchers.  While it is correct for these chairs to be built with or without stretchers,  I think their use would add just a touch more stability (although this little baby is solid).  I don’t get excited that often, but I’m excited and I want to thank all of my chairmaker friends who’ve given me a renewed interest.

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A Very Simple Jig for Boring Leg Holes in Windsor Chair Seats

July 3, 2013

Alright.  All the really good guys use sliding bevels, mirrors, try-squares and any number of other arcane methods to help them bore holes in a Windsor seat plank.  I’m a devotee of tradition.  However, I’m not a slave to it.  I’m working on a little Stick Windsor (practice chair) and decided that what was really important here was getting the thing put together with some semblance of accuracy.  So I used the little boring jig pictured below.  While I’d like to take credit for it, I cannot tell a lie.  The idea came from Thomas Moser’s book, “Windsor Chairmaking”.

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I actually put the entire assembly (with jig) in the vise, in a vertical position.  This made boring the elm much easier.  That said, I did work up more than a few beads of perspiration.  Elm is tough.  Of course that’s why it’s great for seat planks.

I decided to use cylindrical tenons turned on the lathe, for this chair.  This means that I won’t need to do any taper reaming.  If I were going to use a tapered type undercarriage on a “one off” project, I probably would not go to the bother of building the jigs (one front, one back).  However, if I was doing multiples, the jigs would offer a significant advantage.  The guide blocks are simply screwed to the supporting 2×4, so the same jig could be used for varying seat widths.

Two other thoughts in closing:  First, If I were going to use the jig in a production basis, I’d make the guide blocks from something harder than Douglas Fir, hard maple or even Elm would hold up much better.  (But the “DougFir” was here.)   If I decided to become a complete “sell-out”, this same set up could be used with a drill motor and long stem spade bits by simply putting an appropriately sized spacer underneath the jig, leaving adequate clearance for the spade.  Did I just say that?  This is supposed to be a blog about working wood by hand!  Well, I said it and I’m not going to take it back.  You’ll see what I mean when you start cranking that brace and the bit starts to bite into that elm!  Whew, is it tough!

Done at last, done at last

June 21, 2013

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After an extraordinarily long construction time, the new coffee table is in and the old coffee table is out.  Thank Goodness!!!  The double radius, “grand child proof” corners were (strongly) suggested by the Grandma who lives here and they give a somewhat “period” look to the piece.

The cherry top was finished as follows:

–  50/50 BLO/Turpentine, 1 coat

–  General Finishes Warm Cherry oil stain, 1 coat

–   50/50 Behlen’s Rock Hard Table top Varnish (original), naptha, 1 coat

–  Behlen’s Burnt Umber glaze, 1 coat to deepen edge details, but applied over entire surface, then judiciously wiped

–  50/50 Behlen’s Rock Hard Table top Varnish (original), naptha, 2 coats

–  Waterlox Original Medium Sheen, 2 coats

–  Mylands Paste wax

The varnishes were laid in very thin coats and wiped immediately.  My goal here was to create a very durable finish, as this particular table will see a lot of use.  However, it seems that I just can’t do a simple finish.  Although, I’m not sure that there really is anything like a “simple finish”.

An important lesson learned is, that when photographing furniture, make sure to wipe all the fingerprints off, especially off of highly reflective ebonized surfaces.

 

If it quacks like a duck…..

May 25, 2013

The annual rings and the faceted surface lend a texture that mimics the real McCoy.  All that blackening and numerous coats of shellac may pay off in the end.  A little rubbing out to knock down the reflectivity, then a little waxing to increase the luster…

Whether you call it a Duck’s, Drake’s or a Gander’s foot, these critters are still part of the Trifid species.  And a rare species it is.

“Perseverare autem diabolicum” or thoughts on blackening Ash

May 22, 2013

In my last post I discussed the difficulty of trying to carve ash.  Hey, don’t get me wrong.  Ash is a wonderful material.  Right now it’s plentiful and it’s cheap.  It turns very well.  And, properly finished, it is a very attractive wood that can be used (nearly) interchangeably with other ring porous species.  But, as I recently testified, you’d have to be real masochist to want to carve it on a regular basis.  Walnut or mahogany,  it is not!  You’re probably not going to see many highly carved pieces in ash.

Another real challenge with ash, is ebonizing it.  Anyone who is familiar with this blog knows that I am keenly interested in traditional finishing methods.  My ebonizing method of choice is iron and tannin.  While this method gives absolutely beautiful results on walnut, mahogany, cherry and a host of other woods, using it on ash has always been a real challenge.  In fact, I have “stooped” to the use of aniline dye and the “wiped, thinned paint” method on more than one occasion in the past.  But after stumbling across an article by Brian Boggs on the subject, I decided I’d try it one more time; ergo:  Preserverare autem diabolicum.  (This is very similar to the definition of insanity being the act of repeating a behavior with the expectation of a different result.)  The subject product is the coffee table I’m building for our living room.  Hope it works (remembering that ash offers pretty good heating value).

Ash is not high in tannin so, following Boggs’ suggestion, I mixed up a batch of “oak bark tea”, 1 tbs/pint water.  In this case, I used a bark powder product used in leather tanning.  In the past, I’ve used oak bark, leaves and oak galls (which, I believe, have the highest concentration of tannin) to brew the tea.  (I have heard of folks brewing a very “thick” tea from regular black tea, as well.)  I brushed the surface of the table, liberally.  The “tea” deepened the color of the ash after drying.

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Next, I prepared a solution of iron acetate.  This was made by simply soaking some steel wood in white vinegar for a couple of days.  (Note:  a gas is produced in this process, so don’t cork up the jar too tightly, lest you be injured by potential flying shards of glass.  Put a rubber glove over the jar, or use a plastic container.)  I’ve heard of other folks using iron (ferrous) sulfate  which can probably be found in garden stores.  What you’re looking for is iron to react with the tannic acid provided by the tannin tea.

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I “decanted” the iron acetate mixture, through some cheese cloth and was left with a grayish, yellowish, greenish fluid, rich in iron.

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Then I brushed the surface with the iron acetate solution, liberally.  This is a messy process.  So, unless you want  black marks all over the floor, put down a dropcloth.

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After this application had dried completely, I noticed the chemical process had not taken effect in certain areas of the surface.  This was in the areas of the porous rings.  (This is the problem when trying to ebonize ash.)  I remembered that Boggs had said that he had put another coat of the “tea” on in order to get more tannin on the surface to react with any free iron.  So, I figured that if one coat would help, two coats would work even better.  I was sure that there would be plenty of tannin.  After the second coat of tea was dry,  I hit the table with another coat of iron acetate.  I had my evening scotch, then went off to bed.  When the morning arrived, I was startled by what I encountered.  A deep brown precipitate had formed.  (A light precipitate is normal, but grey or black not brown.)

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It turns out that this was not a huge problem.  After some light buffing with a “scotchbrite” pad, a lovely “warm” black color appeared.  However, the area of the porous rings still had not been uniformly affected by the process.  But with the judicious use of some “black oil” (lamp black in boiled linseed oil) a uniform look was achieved.

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Three or four coats of rubbing varnish will produce a finish of incredible depth and durability.

So…what is the upshot of all this Alchemy?  If you’re “into” historic finishing techniques, you’ll enjoy using this one.  But as a commercial finish for anything made from ash, I’d have to recommend against it. What you’d save in product cost, is more than offset by the amount of labor involved.  Any client who wants something built from ash will, very likely, not see the value of this finishing method.  Use a thinned alkyd enamel or black milk paint, throw a couple of coats of oil or spirit varnish on it, and collect your payment.  However…if you’re working with cherry or walnut and you need some ebonized surfaces…

Errare Humanum Est….

May 18, 2013

perseverare autem diabolicum. 

So… you make one mistake, you’re just human.  But, if you continue to do the same thing, the Devil’s in your head, or you’re just plain stupid.

The last time I carved in Ash, I make a solemn promise to myself that I wouldn’t do it again.  But hey, I never claimed to be the “brightest penny in the purse”.   Recently I decided to replace our old “coffee” table with something a little more..uh, unusual.  The goal was a table that had some period influence, but was rather unique.  I decided to do a “bandy-legged” design that harkened back to the Oriental origins of much of what we recognize as late 18th century English and American furniture.  I decided to do an ebonized finish, which meant I wouldn’t need to use the best of “show” woods.  What did I have at hand in large squares?  You guessed it, baseball bat material!  Here we go again.

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After sharpening up the tools, I went to work.  There were moments that I wished for a power carver or a 4″ grinder.  My design has a very curved “ankle”.  The shape is easy to draw, but presents some real challenges when you’re carving it with conventional tools.  (Carving against the grain in Ash just isn’t going to happen, trust me.)  After hours spent cursing under my breath (and sometimes out loud), the task was completed.

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In the Oriental tradition, these legs would be in the “Dragon’s foot” family.  Whatever they are, the table frame looks like it’s going to chase me right out of the workshop.

Now to turn it black and “top it off” appropriately.

Bibliomania – Furniture Making, Period Furniture Reference and Finishing

February 15, 2013

Once again, let me stress that the following books are ones that I have found most useful (after years of relentless study).  However, they should by no means be considered the “last word” in any of the areas that they relate to, although they’re pretty darned close!

FURNITURE MAKING

Practical Furniture Design – edited by Taunton Press

Reproducing Antique Furniture – Franklin Gottshall

The Chairmakers Workshop – Drew Langsner

Furniture Treasury – Wallace Nutting

Welsh Stick Chairs – John Brown

Building 18th Century Furniture – Glen Huey

Queen Anne Furniture – Norman Vandal  –  A MUST for any Period furniture maker

American Furniture of the 18th Century – Jeffrey P. Greene

L’Art du Menuisier – A.J. Roubo  –  Wonderful illustrations and instructions – Enjoy the digital copy of Roubo’s classic work (here) in the digital collection of the New York Public Library

Carving 18th Century American Furniture Elements – Tony Kubalak  –  This one should have been included in the carving section as well – It has one of the best presentations for carving ball and claw that I’ve seen

Making a Pie Crust Table  –  Classic Carved Furniture Series  – Tom Heller & Ron Clarkson – Certainly not for the neophyte – You get through this one with a good result, you might want to quit your day job and open a shop or simply retire while you’re at the top of your game.

Make a Windsor Chair with Michael Dunbar – Michael Dunbar

PERIOD FURNITURE REFERENCE

The Pennsylvania German Decorated Chest – Fabian

American Antique Furniture – Petraglia

Furniture Treasury – Volumes 1 & 2 – Wallace Nutting

FINISHING

The Art of Faux – Pierre Finkelstein

Classic Finishing Techniques – Sam Allen

Porringer with a couple of twists

January 20, 2013

Mary recently told me that we needed a small table for the computer printer.  I immediately recognized a justification to build yet one more table that we don’t need.  These opportunities are becoming fewer and farther between.  So I decided that a little porringer table might be a nice support for the new printer.  But, frankly, I’m a little tired of most porringer designs.  They all seem to have these huge ear like protuberances at the corners.  I decided to “soften” the standard design a bit.  This is what I came up with…

1/4 sawn red oak cross-banding - French polished top - Red Zin...

I remembered that I had turned a set of legs about a year ago and stashed them somewhere on the wood pile.  So I “dug” them out and went to work.  I needed something strong but delicate looking.  Remember, porringer tables were the “TV tables” of the 18th century.  After a coat of BLO, a coat of black oil, couple of coats of shellac and French polishing the top, you wind up with a pretty nice printer stand…

This ought to bring a little more at the “final estate” sale than something nailed together from 2x’s and plywood.

Lowboy project – Gallery

December 19, 2012

You start out with a really nice piece of curly stock and then you decide what it should become….

Making cabriole legs – a gallery

December 16, 2012

Don’t overlook the small stuff!

December 15, 2012

My wife recently reminded me that at some point (in the not-too-distant future), we’re going to run out of room for more furniture. This started me thinking…. We could get rid of the “not so good” stuff…. We could give some of it away…. We could add on! Not going to happen. So I started looking at all the places that are unoccupied or “marginally” occupied. A light went off in my head. I realized that I forgotten about the everyday period pieces that are physically small but every bit as demanding on a “skills required” basis. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) less is more.

The first three books that I grabbed from the bookshelf provided answers that I had previously overlooked. (It’s hard to see the beauty and utility of something as simple as a candle box when the meglomanical side of your personality has you contemplating Cuban mahogany highboys with broken pediments, lattice-work friezes, a life-like bust of Athena surrounded by flaming lamps and secret compartments galore.)

Wallace Nutting’s Furniture Treasury, Macmillan Company, 1928; The Pennsylvania-German Decorated Chest, Monroe H. Fabian, Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2004; and The Pine Furniture of Early New England, Russell Hawes Kettell, Dover Publications, 1956 are great volumes to start with, but there is a huge amount of information about Period accessories and treen, from many wonderful sources.

Here’s a brief sample of ways I might fill up my time and the little remaining space in the new year.

Alright Thomas, doubt no more!

December 12, 2012

Friends, family and surely some readers have despaired, wondering if I really would ever finish the Lowboy project.  Well, it is complete.  The workshop seems exponentially larger now.  I was going for sort of a “country look” interpretation of an early eighteenth century piece (somewhere in that foggy period between “William and Mary” and “Queen Anne”.  You be the judge.

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Here’s a little better view of the curly maple top.  The W&M drops are from Horton Brasses.  And as many of you already know, their service and their products are excellent.

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Just a brief word of warning:  If you’re going to work with pigmented BLO, take care not to get the stuff on dry surfaces like drawer sides.  Getting it off could be a real challenge.  I’ve elected to simply refer to it as patina.

Onward and upward.  Stuff to be built.  An interesting work table for Mary and a couple of Windsor chairs for myself should get the New Year off to a good start.

What’s black and green and red, all over?

December 9, 2012

I’ve tripped over the unfinished lowboy for the last time.  Well, nearly the last time.  A number of other projects that have delayed the lowboy have been concluded and now it’s time to move ahead with the job that was started back in May.

From the start, I’ve planned to use a black painted finish for all surfaces except for the top.  But black can be pretty boring so I decided to use a process of underpainting with milk paint.  Many folks will recognize the process as one of a number of different methods of “antiquing”.  But underpainting was widely used by late Renaissance and Baroque painters to render blacks with deep rich luminescence.

First a coat of Lexington green was applied.

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After a light buffing with 0000 steel wool a coat of Barn Red was applied.

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Both the green and red were applied as fairly thin “wash” coats.  Then two coats of Pitch Black were painted on and, again, these were relatively thin.  Buffing with steel wool was done after each coat of black.

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Upon closer examination, the red and green undercoats are very obvious.

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As I wasn’t quite satisfied with the resulting affect, I decided to apply several coats of linseed oil pigmented with lampblack to deepen the color.

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Ultimately the goal is to make this thing look like it’s several hundred years old.  Several coats of straight linseed oil, followed by a good waxing  (perhaps some black wax) should get me there.  BTW, the upper drawers are the same height.  A “wear” highlight on the left drawer creates a different shadow line, making the drawers appear somewhat uneven.  Hey!  I’m serious!  Honestly, in the flesh they’re okay.

With any luck, I’ll have the top affixed and the pulls installed by the end of the week.  And, this little lowboy will be pressed into service just in time for the Christmas Holidays.

Lowboy project – almost there…………

July 1, 2012

It’s hard to believe that this little dressing table would take this long to build.  Of course between my part-time “retirement job”, summer visitors, golf and a myriad of other distractions, I’ve been lucky to get ten hours a week in the shop.  At that rate projects seem to take forever to complete.

Anyroad.  The drawers are trimmed and fitted, but they still need the application of the cockbeads.  Drawer sides and backs are of CWP.  Since these drawers won’t be seeing action day-in and day-out, the pine will wear well enough.  If someone has to put a “runner” on in fifty years…  While I would normally use a rabbet plane and a hollow for the drawer bottom panel edges, I opted for a diagonal fence on the table saw and “raised” the panel, much the same as you would do in raising a door panel.  It saved some time and time is at a premium around here.  Mea culpa.

There are still a few guides and kickers to put in place.  But, with any luck, by the end of the week I’ll be painting the carcass.  Fingers crossed..

Please, please spirit, let me rest!

June 19, 2012

I awoke this morning at 3:30 a.m.  Covered with sweat and concerned with my high pulse rate.  I was shocked when my wife told me that my muffled screaming had awakened her.  Then, as the trigger releases the hammer, my memory became clear and I was full of dread.  I had been pursued by a spectre.  Garbed in an apron, pencil in a tiny pocket and with spectacles pulled low, now sitting on the tops of flaring nostrils, well below the normal nasal bridge position, the spectre shreiked at me (though the shreik was in the softest of voices).  With clenched fist raised, this spectre demanded to know “what in the name of hell’s fury are you doing?”.  “Is this your first day on the job?  Maybe we should put a broom back in your hand, you were always adequate with that tool!”.  “YOU CAN’T BUILD DRAWERS THAT WAY!  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?  OH, AYE, THAT’S IT, YOU’RE NOT THINKING!”  Wait a minute, do I know this spectre?  Well now that he’s scared the bejasus out of me, he seems strangely familiar.  Gramps, is that you?

“NO!”  It’s the bloody ghost of Christmas Past!”  Boyo, you’ve been at this for more than fifty years now, what are you thinkin’?”  If you build those drawers the way you discussed in yesterdays post, you’re going to make them trapezoidal, and trapezoidal in the wrong direction!  You’ll not be able to get a good fit on the drawer bottom, and it matters not how hard you’ll try.”  Back to the bench or back to the broom.  That was my choice.  I chose the bench.

So disregard yesterday’s post.  (Everything except the bit about the man behind the curtain.  You’ll find that notion has many applications as you saunter down the road of life.)  The drawer front pins are proud and taper, if required, will be planed in – as it should be!   A little glue, a little filing and sanding and add the cockbead; the world will once again resume it’s natural orbit.

We are all students, no matter the level of our mastery.  The ‘prentice boy is always there.  Only a fool wills the boy away.

Alright, alright, I’ll sweep up!  Didn’t you tell me that you don’t make any money cleaning the shop?  Yes, yes, I know “it’s a poor workman what blames his tools”.  You know, I’m glad that you’re never very far away.  Thanks for catchin’ this “screw’up”.  I wish we could have a beer.  But I’ll see you soon enough.

Every drawer is it’s own project

June 18, 2012

I’m not going to say anything about hand cut dovetails. (There are plenty of places in the cloud that you can fiddle with this balony, ad nauseum.  Most of you know my position on this anyway.  It’s a helluva strong  joint, end of story.)  I’m not going to say anything about the fact that the addition of drawers to any project adds to the to the required work, exponentially.  All I am going to do is present my reasoning for my approach on the drawers for the lowboy I’m building.

I want them to be a little, tiny bit tapered.  So, I’ve left the sides just a little proud at the drawer face and left the pins a little proud at the rear.  After the drawers are glued up and finish planing is complete, there should be about a 16th to a 32nd  taper.  Ultimately, a rebate (rabbet) will be cut around the perimeter of the drawer front and a cockbead will be glued in place.  The drawer bottom will be constructed from solid wood, with the grain running from side to side to minimize expansion.  There’ll be no requirement to “hammer” drawers into or out of position (at least that’s the plan).

In anticipation of someone observing the burn marks on the drawer fronts and saying “what kind of handsaw did you use for that?  Was your bench hook askew?”.  Remember when the Great Oz told the pilgrims from Kansas to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”?.  Verily, I say the same to you.  And I must admit that the temptation of electricity is, sometimes, just to difficult to deny.  Shame, shame…

The Lowboy’s Progress

June 7, 2012

Wow, the Lowboy’s Progress!  That sounds like something that should have been written by an author with a name like Christopher Marlowe or some other very anglo, puritanical sounding kind of handle.  But this is just about a piece of furniture.

Over the years I’ve noticed that clients and spouses, alike, always seem to think that I should be able to produce things much more quickly than I do.  There are times that I begin to doubt myself and think that, perhaps, they’re right.  This phenomena takes hold at times like when I quoting a project.  Maybe I am too slow.  Maybe I’m just not organized enough.  Maybe I should be able to make this piece for the same price that it can be purchased from Ikea.  Then I come back to reality.  Very few spouses or clients know all the stuff that goes into making a piece of fine furniture.  Here’s an example;

This is just part of the supporting structure for the drawers in the lowboy.  It’s all mortised and tenoned together, then fit and re-fit.  It all takes time and it usually goes unnoticed.  In fact many times I forget about it.  Whoops, there goes the profit.

This is why it takes time.  But this is why traditionally built, fine furniture will last hundreds of years.

Progress is slow, but inevitable.

May 29, 2012

I’ll bet that headline made you think that this was going to be a really philosophical post, right?  Well, it’s just a little update on the lowboy that has to be completed soon, very soon.  The feet are carved.  (We are directly across from the Maumee River, part of the North American Goose flyway and there seems to be an inordinate amount of traffic through the backyard, hmm….could they be attracted… no!, don’t be silly!)  Anyway, here’s where I’m at:

I rubbed out the top and just had to see what it would like.  It’s not bad.

If you think the lowboy is nearly complete, you’d be wrong.  I’d say that it’s about 60%.  Draw bearers, guides and kickers have to be designed, manufactured and installed.  Knee blocks have to be cut, sculpted and installed.  Drawers have to be constructed.  Cockbeading has to be made and attached.  And then……….comes the (somewhat) astronomical task of finishing.  It will be a big job because the whole thing will be distressed then painted with three different colors of milk paint.  Then I’ll have to decide…oil? shellac? rubbing varnish? wax? – what will I use for a topcoat.

I’ll be glad to see this thing out of here.  I’m ready for something new.  Maybe I should buy a new Softail.

And just so you know that I always wax philosophical when completing these projects;

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.  (Remember man, thou art dust and to dust you shall return.)

I’d better get busy!

What kind of animal is a Trifid?

May 22, 2012

First, what’s the correct pronunciation?  Is it trifid with a long “i”?  Or, is it trifid with a short “i”?  Well, Dictionary.com says the correct pronunciation is with the long “i” – like “try fid”.  Okay, we’ve got that part out of the way.

Alright, what’s trifid mean?  Well, going back to the word’s Latin roots we find that it means “divided in three”.  So, an animal with three toes has trifid feet, right?   ………..Hmmmn…..I can’t think of any animals that have feet with three toes, can you?  Okay…some folks refer to Trifid feet as Drake’s feet.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here’s the foot that I’ll be using on the painted lowboy I’m building.  It’s a pretty, classic trifid design.  But would you call it a Drake’s foot?  Eh…

Now here’s a duck’s foot from another part of the animal kingdom.  And, I do believe that  its design is a little more relevant to the result that I’m trying to accomplish.

One thing I’ve learned from this experience is that, ash is a great material and currently it is abundant.  For baseball bats, hurling and hockey sticks and other sporting apparatuses, it is unparalleled.  But low cost and abundance does not, necessarily, make a species easy to carve.  On the contrary!  Clearly, posts on sharpening carving tools will follow.


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