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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway! Enjoy!
Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer! Their fundraising goal was met. Our prayers are with you, Walt!
Congratulations to “amvolk” (a.k.a. Andrew Volk). He’s the winner of a print copy of the second edition of “Popular Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture Projects,” now with 17 new projects (42 in all). The new edition is available now to order in both paperback (the book is expected to be in house and shipping in three weeks) and as a PDF download (“shipping” right away) at shopwoodworking.com. — Megan Fitzpatrick
If French Marquetry stands at the pinnacle of labor intensive and complex woodworking techniques, this shop cabinet surely occupies the opposite position.
For a while I’ve had a collection of corded tools that didn’t have a home. My router, D/A sander, finish nailer, and others that clustered in a “pile” next to the jointer. With the marquetry I’ve acquired a few more interesting accessories. Two hot plates, a frying pan of sand, hot water kettle, and more.None of these tools had a “forever home”, so I decided to do something about it.
I dragged a couple of sheets of Home Depot Birch plywood back to the shop. I don’t like this stuff. It warps as you cut it, has lots voids and is only 5 layers of material. Next time I’ll get the real stuff. But me and my tablesaw cut it down to size quickly, and with the aid of my Kreg jig I had pocket holes drilled the the outsides clamped up in no time. These clamps are the best thing ever.
I’m pretty lukewarm on pocket hole joinery. At least with home center plywood. It’s really easy to overdrive the screws and either strip them out or have the tip tear through the side while the end of the adjoining piece splits while the head wedges it apart. It’s certainly a fast way to assemble something though.
No dados, no glue, just pocket hole screws for the outer shell and Spax screws through the outer face into the edges to affix the back and shelves. The back is just overlapped. Yeah, cheesy construction, but I was curious if it would be strong enough. I hate not having the shelves in dados, and not having the back clued into a groove. But this went together so quickly, maybe two hours from when I started to cut the plywood until I had the cabinet built.
I added a french cleat to the back, and loaded my spray gun with Amber Shellac. Three coats with the shellac reduced 100% out of the can, and the cabinet was ready to hang on the wall.
The shelves seem strong enough to support the tools, although I wouldn’t want to overload them with (say) 10 years of Fine Woodworking back issues. That would be wrong on several levels. I was able to put all of my homeless tool away, with room for the few that I’m actively using left over.
I’ve got a couple of additional organizational projects that I want to do, but this has made a big improvement in shop clutter.
To try and inspire you to give wooden planes a try I have endeavored to keep things within this post as simple as possible, but before we get started a bit of preamble. I’m going to avoid waxing lyrical about these planes and try to let history give you a nudge. Although wooden planes across the board may look different than many of the excellent metal offerings of today, this […]
The final steps to the conservation of the chairs was the reassembly, which first required me to replace most of the screws that were in the chair when it arrived on my door step.
I’ve got a can of miscellaneous screws that accumulate over the years. You’ve probably got one too. I know the guy who worked on these chairs before had one too, because it looks like he just poured it out on the bench and used the first few dozen screws that were within reach with no effort to match screws to each other or to the tasks involved.
I tried to carefully match the screws to the tasks they were executing, and within that function, matched the screws to each other. It was not much of a problem really, as I am the kind of guy who, when he needs a screw or two, goes to the hardware store and buys a box of the size he needs. Because of that I have a pretty good hardware store shelf under the shop stairs.
One of the problems I found in a handful of locations, and which I encounter with some regularity since I spend so much time working on old furniture, is the wallowed out screw hole, where the damage is such that any reasonable sized screw will be ineffectual. To solve that problem I use the following strategy.
First, I establish the depth of the screw hole, usually with a bamboo skewer, then cut a strip of 100% linen rag stationary paper so that the width of the strip of paper is equal to the depth of the existing hole. The I roll up the strip into a curl, so that it fits snugly into the wallowed out hole. I press the rolled fill into the hole, then wick dilute hide glue onto the rolled up paper fill so that it becomes pretty well saturated, then I set the piece aside overnight to let the glue penetrate and harden. When I return to the task the next day, I find that the proper sized screw fits and bites perfectly. If anything goes wrong, I just dampen the fill and gently remove it all with the pointed end of the skewer or a dental pick and start it all over again. It’s a high strength, high utility archival repair. What’s not to like about it?
I returned the chairs to the client’s home where they were placed alongside her exquisite Breuer leather and chrome chairs, where they complete the living room ensemble with real class.
Though I had a busy day planned today, in particular with a blizzard impending, I managed to get in just a few more minutes with my beading plane, and it was well worth it.
To sharpen the actual bead on the plane iron I decided to give the sandpaper a try. I wrapped a piece of 220 grit around a 3/8 dowel and proceeded to hone. In roughly 5 minutes, I managed to get a nice looking iron. I proceeded to give another practice bead a go, and the results were impressive. The shavings were a lot more even and the bead more crisp. When I get more time, I will hone to a higher grit as well as use the slip stone. All in all, this rehab seems to be going very well.
some pictures, spurred on by Chris Schwarz’ last 2 posts on his blog, and my earlier one from today.
A stool. common as can be, but early ones (16th/17th centuries) are less common than hen’s teeth. This one’s from the Mary Rose (1545)
Joined stool. simple, you’ve seen this sort of thing here hundreds of times.
Its cousin – the joined form. same thing, just stretched out.
While we’re at it, let’s get the wainscot chair out of the way.
a variant – the “close” chair, “settle chair” of Randle Holme, although his illustration might be a different version.
This is what Holme illustrated, I can’t imagine a more difficult way to build a chair.
Turned chairs. Ugh. these get weird. First, the “turned chair” “great (meaning large) chair” “rush chair” – lots of names could mean this item.
This is the one Holme said made by turners or wheelwrights, “wrought with Knops, and rings ouer the feete, these and the chaires, are generally made with three feete.’ = I would say, except when the have four feet.
Like this one: the real kicker here is that these chairs have beveled panels for seats, captured in grooves in the seat rails. Thus, sometimes called: a “wooden chair” = chairs often being categorized by their seating materials.
Now we have a “wrought” chair, “turkey-work chair” – and so forth. I mentioned in a comment on Chris’ blog the other day, forget the construction here, (joiner’s work, w turned, and in this case, twist-carved bits) it’s the upholstery that makes the splash. These were top-flight items in the 17th century.
Same gig, only leather. (this photo is I think from Marhamchurch Antiques)
Randle Holme’s turner’s chopping block looks a lot like Chris’ image today from Van Ostade, of a “country stool” – I’d have a chopping block in my kitchen if I could…but we’re out of space.
That was fun, I never get to use much of that research these days.
Back to spoon stuff tomorrow…there’s a mess of them available here = https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/
I hate to do posts without pictures, but this one’s easier that way. I’ll do pictures in a separate post.
if you read Chris Schwarz’ blog, http://blog.lostartpress.com/ you’ve seen his posts about Randle Holme’s seating furniture, and today a discussion between Chris & Suzanne Ellison about stools in particular. Randle Holme’s work has always been one of my favorite resources when studying 17th-century stuff. Another is probate records, particularly the household inventories compiled at the time of a person’s death. One reason these are so helpful is that they are the work of many people, thus we get a wider snapshot than just Randle Holme’s ideas. When you study inventories from a wide geographic range, you get various uses of terms. Once you study New England records, they’re even more mixed up, because you have immigrants from all over England thrown together in a small area. The language gets funny.
here’s some terms I have noted about seating furniture. These go way beyond the limits of Chris’ “furniture of necessity” but are still worthwhile.
My comments in brackets.
Chris – note: “beere stoole” and “ale stole” –
This first set I compiled from J. H. Wilson, editor, Wymondham Inventories (Norwich: Centre of East Anglian Studies, date?)
Two little buffett stooles
Litle old stoole
Old close stoole
Three footed stole
Framed stooles [not sure how or if a “framed” stool is different from a “joyned” form…the form is long. Framed & joined are usually thought to mean the same thing, joined w mortise & tenons]
Cushion chayer with a back
Great back chayers
A forme of joyned worke
Plymouth Colony, (New England) :
1 old brodred stoole [I think “boarded” in this case, not “embroidered” – but might be…]
2 busted stools 1s6d
3 bossed stooles [I think this is an upholstered stool, trimmed w large headed tacks…]
a close stoole 8s [not just a stool or ease, but any stool w a compartment in its bottom]
a large stoole Covering and many borderings for stooles 10s,
2 wrought stooles [wrought is upholstered]
2 Cushen stooles
six buffitt stooles 10s
Essex County, Massachusetts:
3 Leather stooles 5s
a brewing stoole 1s6d [“brewing stool” which might clarify the English “beer” and “ale” stools above.]
6 cushion stooles & 2 chaires £2
6s a great stoole or table 3s
an old stoole table
4 Lowe cuchin stools
Back in England, from A. D. Dyer, editor, Probate Inventories of Worcester Tradesmen, 1545-1614 (Worcestershire: W. S. Manley & Son LTD, for the Worcestershire Historical Society, 1967)
Gyne/geynyd stoole [think phonetic, thus “joined”]
Small settell of waynscote with a bench
One bench with a back of waynscote
Waineskott benche [in all of these wainscot means either oak, or frame & panel work.]
Peter C. D. Brears, editor, Yorkshire Probate Inventories 1542-1689 (Yorkshire: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1972)
Long furram [form?]
Seald/seeled cheare [this is “ceiled” a term meaning “joined” – joiners were sometimes called “ceilers”
Wanded chaire [willow/wicker]
Francis W. Steer, editor, Farm and Cottage Inventories of Mid-Essex, 1635-1749, (Colchester: Wiles & Son, Ltd., 1950)
great joyned chayer
Joyne inlaid Chaire
one Chaire with turn’d pins
Russia lather Chairs
blew cloth Chaires
chaires bottom’d with rushes
turkey worke stooles
bucket stools [seen paintings of chairs made from barrels. never seen an old one surviving]
Joyned stooles/ joint stooles
2 foote stooles
join’d stooles buffeded
one settle with 3 boxes in it
long bench joyning to the wainscot
Great Wicker Chair
low Wicker chair
Michael Reed, editor, The Ipswich Probate Inventories 1583-1631 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press for the Suffolk Records Society, 1981)
Frame for a stoole
Stole of easment – [this one’s clear – a chair w a chamber pot. a shitter]
Lowe ymbrydred stooles
Footestooles/ Ould footstooles
Two round stooles
Green frindged high stooles
Lyttle stoole with a green cover
Ould stooles covered with blue cloth
Three footed stooles
A brasse foot stoole
Small wyndd stooles
6 heigh stoles covered with lether
Old tressell stooles
Six wrought stooles
heigh stooles covered with lether
6 joyned stooles covered with scottish work
5 heigh buffet stoles
One high bench with a backe
Chayers litle and great
Wicker chaire with a back
Matted chayers [chairs w rush seats]
Six old segging chayers
18 chayers of seg cist 7s (?) [are these serge chairs? i.e. upholstered ?]
Wooden chayer – [Wooden? aren’t they all wooden? This means a wooden seat, not a woven seat.]
Three green turned chaires
Great turne chayer
One turnors chayre
Old turne chayer
hye turned chayer
hipp turned chayer (?) [I assume bad transcription]
one hopp chayer
Old backt chair
Joyned chaires great and small
A small Flanders chayer with a backe of green cloth
Great joyned chaire covered with lether
Lether backe chayers, 2 heygh and 2 lower
One chaire covered with scottish work
One great green frindged chaire
One high green chaire
One settworke chaire
chayers covered with greene kersye
1 couch as it standeth
In yesterday’s action packed blog cleverly titled The Met You Haven’t Met, I show a picture of the Blessing Bishop and speculated as to why he was hollowed.
Looking around the web some more, I came up with a possible explanation. In Italian Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters by Lisbeth Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Jack Soultanian, it is suggested that is might have been included as part of a framing structure. Probably an altarpiece with painted wings showing episodes from the life of St. Nicholas, to whom the church from which the sculpture came was dedicated.
Since I am on the road and didn’t have my copy with me, I found the book at Google Books.
Well, that’s one explanation. I like it.
Yesterday afternoon I began the refurbishing of my old beading plane that I “rediscovered” in my garage a few weeks back. Going into this, I don’t have high hopes to turn this tool into a precision piece of equipment that I purchased for peanuts. But I am hoping to learn more about moulding planes, as in how they work, how they are made, and what their potential happens to be.
I started by clamping the plane to the workbench and lightly sanding down any breakouts in the wood. There was some minor splintering that I managed to remove, and the boxwood does have a small chunk missing, but at the moment there is little I can do about it. I then turned my attention to the wedge, which I sanded by placing the sheets on my table saw, and going from 40 grit up to 220. I did a test fit with the sanded wedge and it was perfect, so I moved on to the iron.
Because I’ve never sharpened a profiled plane iron before, this was obviously going to be the most difficult part. I started by working on the back. I spent around 5 minutes on the diasharp with both grits, and then used the 8000 grit water stone to finish it. It definitely polished up nicely, and considering this plane is probably close to 150 years old I can live with that.
To sharpen the bevel, I once again used the diasharp and 8000 grit water stone, and just like all of my sharpening lately, I did it freehand. I’ve come to a conclusion that will contradict my earlier beliefs, but I truly think that freehand sharpening is just as easy as using a honing guide, and in some cases it is actually easier. Anyway, once I got the bevel sharp and square I used a slipstone to sharpen the actual bead. I have only one slipstone, which is a 4000 grit. That should be fine for most steel as long as it doesn’t need to be reground. In this case, I will probably have to go to a lower grit, or perhaps some sandpaper and a dowel, because I did manage to improve the bead, but it took tool long a time, and it still needs work.
I did a test bead on a piece of scrap pine and I am encouraged by the results. The shoulder of the bead is very crisp and smooth, which hopefully means that I managed to get it sharpened the way it was meant to be sharpened. The bead, on the other hand, isn’t too bad, but still needs work. The purpose of these planes was to produce profiles that would not need additional work for finish. As of now the bead would probably need a light sanding before I could apply a stain, but I’m definitely not unhappy with the effort. As I said, I believe that some 220 sandpaper wrapped around a dowel would do wonders. Now I need only to keep using the tool and learn its peculiarities, such as how tightly I should set the wedge and how thick the shavings should be. But I like the profile, it has much more character than a bead made on a router table, and its less messy and a hell of a lot quieter. If all goes well, I may just have to attempt to build one of these for myself.
How do you know when a company has pride in its work and is experienced? Take a look at how products are shipped. Around the end of 2014, I received, for a customer, a hand-painted tall clock dial from Dial House II in Temple, Georgia. I knew the painting would be exquisite because I’ve used them and seen their work numerous times. It was. What surprised me, however, was the packaging. Strange, huh?
The dial pan and moon dial were packed in a custom box, which had added support inside. The extra strip of cardboard surrounded the contents. After I removed the packed-in newspaper, I pulled out the package. Everything was nestled in multiple layers of bubble wrap. At this point I’m almost sure that a FedEx or UPS driver having an impossible day could not have damaged the dial.
Once the bubble wrap was stripped, the pan and dial were covered in clean, neatly folded paper. As the paper came off, I got a look at the paintings. Needless to say, I was once again happy with the folks at Dial House II – as was my customer.
The dial pan and moon dial are for a Federal tall clock that I built for a customer. The original was an Egerton clock from New Jersey. After I began the project I decided to build a second for myself – at this time, my clock has a reproduced paper dial that I pulled off an antique clock website. I posted a number of blogs on my time building the clock, all of which have been ported to the new 360 WoodWorking blog (search tall clock).
In case you haven’t looked at a painted clock dial and moon dial, below are photos of the two. My customer asked that there be a theme to the painting, which was focused on shorebirds and shrimp boats.
If you didn’t know – and I have to admit that I didn’t until recently – there are two moons painted on the moon dial.
If you need a dial for your tall clock, I suggest Dial House II. There are three generations of artists working on all phases of clock dials from new work to restoration of antique works. You can find them online, here.
Build Something Great!
That doesn't mean I've stopped researching, reading, and drawing. In my mind the work becomes more and more organized with every day.
Outside of religion and politics, I have never known anything to be more the victim of preconceived judgement and notions than medieval Europe. People love trivia and they like to display their intelligence, (I'm no different) so they spout off whatever the last thing they saw on the history channel, or in a movie, or read in a dogeared copy of John's Bathroom Reader. One of my goals spending the last two decades as a medieval reenactor, has been to try and gently add some common sense to the weird things people believe.
Buy me a beer and I will tell you some of the conversations I've had.
Furniture is no different a victim, perhaps it's even worse because it settles into the background on most people's tapestries. When was the last time you gave any real thought to your dining room chair? It's simply there when you need it. Most of us see people and stories, I spend the Lord of The Rings movies trying to decipher the joinery of the chairs in Rivendell.
So what was furniture like in the Middle Ages? The Dark Ages? How about more specifically in France around the years 1240 - 1260 AD? How can anyone know? What has survived.
The answers are there in front of us, you just have to open your eyes and mind to see them.
I saw a video this morning on a man named Lars Andersen who has taken an eyes open approach to medieval archery. Take a quick few minutes and watch it. It will impress you.
The evidence and answers to Lar's questions were in ancient writings and manuscripts. He wasn't the first person in a thousand years to read the words or observe the manuscript representations of archers. But he looked at things with his eyes open and thought maybe he should try to do things like he sees them instead of doing them like he'd always been told he should.
But how can we trust the artisans of medieval times. We all know the term "artistic license" means those bastards can make up anything they choose. Besides their perspective is all wonky, how can you trust them.
I had the same thoughts and worries until I was studying some pages from the Morgan bible one late night and found a detail that made me a believer.
This is Folio 39 Recto. It displays King David leading a crushing rout of the Palestinians on the top and below the good people of Israel celebrate the victory around the Arc of the Covenant.
Let's look closer.
As we look closer at King David and the battle more details in the armor, weapons, and attitudes come to light. I think it's fun to realize the Israelites are shown dressed in what would have been considered "State of the Art" armor in 1250 AD France and the Palestinians are depicted wearing what would probably have been considered "outdated."
There's an interesting commentary there I'm not interested in wading into.
Let's look closer still.
We're starting to focus in on King David. resplendent in his painted full face helm and accessorizing crown. The epitome of masculinity and virile combat prowess.
Closer . . .
As we look below King David's mount we can really begin to see some details present in the work. Representations of the individual rings of steel in the maile armor. Fluting for added strength on the nasal helm of the prostrate warrior and and etching or decoration present on the helm of the oddly smiling character behind him.
I particularly like the leather straps at the ankles of both King David and the trampled Palestinian. From experience I would surmise these are either to help tie the maile chausses (armored leggings) in place to keep them from slipping and binding at the ankle joint and/or to tie on a symbol of knighthood. A set of spurs.
But the details go further . . .
As I was looking at the picture my eyes settled on these red brush strokes on the underside of King David's mount. After pondering it for a few moments it occurred to me . . . these were representing the marks that would have been made by the King's royal spurs as he urged his mount into battle.
My mind was blown.
I woke up my wife to show her I was so excited.
I'm still paying for that. . . .
Seeing this was my second Ah Ha moment chasing this subject. This is the kind of thing the person who created this page of the manuscript would have seen commonly. The men who illustrated the Morgan Bible were drawing snapshots of the world they experienced, and they were doing it in great detail. It's the closest thing I can hope for outside of finding photography or film footage from that time.
Come to think of it, the only thing that could be better is a Delorean, a Flux Capacitor, and 1.21 Gigawatts of power.
So I've decided to do my best to trust the artists who created the Morgan Bible. To just try and look with my eyes open at their work and try not to pile my own baggage and ideas into it.
It's difficult. In the end we will see how well I do. Eventually I have to trust my own filter and focus too. Maybe the best I can hope for is a balance between both visions.
Moving forward . . . Eyes wide open.
Ratione et Passionis
If you are at all like me, no trip to New York is complete without spending half a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The $25 admission means you really don’t want to treat this as a fly by. More importantly, in the American Wing they host a fabulous collection of American furniture in galleries and period rooms. Regular readers have already seen some of the overflow collection in a previous blog, Gallery 774 – Luce Center Visible Storage. My wife tells me that they also have paintings, ceramics, textiles, Asian, African and Egyptian art, armor as well as the Costume Institute. I believe I remember seeing some of this while looking for the men’s room.
What you may not know is that there is another branch of the Met in Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan. There you will find The Cloisters, a building that contains the Met’s extensive collection of 12th to 15th century European Medieval art, architecture and artifacts. The building itself was built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. from 1934 to 1939 using parts from five European abbeys that were disassembled and shipped to New York. For more information, check the Wikipedia article HERE.
The first thing to see is the building itself:
They have lots of carved wooden statuary. This is Blessing Bishop (Saint Nicholas of Bari), 1350 to 1375, probably made in Umbria, Italy of poplar:
And he’s not all there:
Aside from that which is obviously broken off, he has been hollowed out. I am curious as to why. Was it to control shrinkage and movement? Done during conservation? Just the custom of the area? I just don’t know. Any reasonable theories will be entertained.
FYI, European poplar is not the same wood as American yellow poplar. American yellow poplar is actually tulipwood (Liriodendron tulipifera). True American poplars are aspen and cottonwood. I am only sharing this because the blog looked a bit short.
And there is furniture:
hence the name of the blog.
Admission to The Cloisters will also cover admission to the main building and vice versa. To get there by subway, take the A train to 190th Street. Exit and it’s a short walk along Margaret Corbin Drive.
You now have no reason not to go. Unless it’s the whole getting to New York thing.
To see the first set of pictures from The Cloisters, click HERE.
PART 6 OF “BUILD A DOVETAIL DESK WITH WOODWORKING HAND TOOLS”
In part 6 of this series of videos, I show how I cut tenon shoulders on the desk’s apron.
Click here to go back to part 1, if you want to follow me as I build a historic hinged-top desk for my sons. Below you’ll find photos and the list of tools that I used to build this desk.
TOOLS THAT I USED:
Even though I have a helpful hand tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for a list of and links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used in this series of video on desk building (I also included tools that I used in construction that wasn’t in the video):
- Sjoberg Elite 2500 Beech Workbench (with optional tool cabinet)
- Moravian Workbench (portable and sturdy)
- Gramercy Holdfast
- Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Rabbet Block Plane
- Lie-Nielsen No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 71 Router Plane
- Lie-Nielsen No. 73 Large Shoulder Plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 4-1/2 Smoothing Plane
- Vintage Beading Plane
- Vintage Wooden screw arm Plow plane
- Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw
- Lie-Nielsen’s thin plate 16″ Tenon Rip Saw
- Lie-Nielsen cross cut back saw
- Vintage Millers Falls Miter box and miter saw
- Robert Larson Coping Saw
MARKING & MEASURING:
- Starrett 6-inch combination square
- Vintage metal try square
- Vintage sliding bevel square
- Vintage Starrett Dividers / Compasses
- Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge or Veritas Dual Wheel Marking Gauge
- Lie-Nielsen panel gauge
- Wooden Straight Edge
- Vintage Stanley No. 62 Folding Rules (24″)
- Marking knife (chip carving knife)
- Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil
MALLETS & HAMMERS:
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO SEE ALL THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS OF THIS DESK CONSTRUCTION!
Earlier this week I wrote about my latest marquetry practice. While I can certainly stand to practice many, many different aspects of marquetry there were a few specific areas that I was really interested in.
First, sawing with a “coarse” 32 tip blade. This is a control issue for me, and the results are in on that: the coarse blade is substantially faster and with more practice I think I’ll learn to control the “wandering willies”. The second goal was to practice sand shading, which is probably self-apparent. Sand shading is conceptually simple but the subtleties of how parts are shaded it an art. Finally, I wanted to do a marquetry design in the Boulle style where all of the layers in the packet were utilized.
Andre-Charles Boulle built some absolutely insanely ornate furniture in his day. He would have packets of wood, brass, pewter, bone and tortoiseshell that would be used in different combinations either on the same piece of furniture or to make a second piece of furniture the inverse of the first. For example, one application would have a tortoiseshell background with brass filigree and the other would show the reverse – brass background and tortoiseshell filigree. My approach is simplistic, a single rosebud design and four layers of veneer — two light and two dark. The rose is an element from a larger design I want to use on a real project.
First the sand shading. I looked at the drawing of the rose and marked where I thought the shading should go. For petals that were clearly under an adjacent petal that was clear enough. For petals that are made of several pieces with the intent of showing the piece curled at the edge it was more of a judgement call for me.
After seeing the result I’d probably make some different decisions in a few places, but that’s the point right? The actual process of sand shading is as exciting as you would imagine. The obvious part: stick the area to be shaded into the sand until it darkens to your liking. The less obvious part: sometimes it’s hard to shade the area you want. For example, a crescent moon shape where you want the inside of the curve shaded, but the tips not at all. You can mound the sand or scoop it up in a spoon to try to get it to the spot you want, but I need more practice still.
The other non-obvious part is that the heat from the sand makes the little jigsaw puzzle pieces turn into crunchy curly fries. Especially long narrow parts (think “flower parts”). What I’ve been doing is to sand shade a part, and if it curls I moisten it with a little water on my fingers. As the piece relaxes I gently (“crack”, “s#$%t”) flatten it on the parts tray. I hold it there for a minute, pressing it flat. Then I move on to sand shading the next piece. If the flattened piece is still behaving nicely after a few minutes I’ll assemble it into the temporary composition on shelf paper.
As long as the pieces are flat, have any bubbles in the paper facing I added scraped off, and bits of sand removed, the shelf paper makes a great temporary assembly process. It adds extra steps in the process over what we learned in class, but it’s a necessary crutch for me right now.
I had far fewer problems with the paper facing I laminated on bubbling up this time. Previously I got big bubbles in the paper on nearly every piece, like this:
The difference, I think, is two things. First, I was extra careful to use the least amount of glue I could. I probably had it slightly more diluted too. The process we used in class was to apply glue to the veneer, lay a piece of newsprint into the glue, cover it with another piece of paper and use a dry fingernail brush to rub the lamination together to force any air or excess glue out. I added another step which was to press the layers overnight between two cauls. That also helped counteract the natural curl from the lamination.
The sand shading process took me close to three hours. Crazy, right? About 160 pieces of charred wood. That included the shading, some piece sorting to figure out what-goes-where, and lots of wetting-and-flattening of potato chip parts. It also included several rounds of back-stretching and one particularly entertaining session of laying on the concrete floor looking for a missing part. I found it.
This view is the “glue face”, it will ultimately get glued to the substrate. So I went through the usual drill of putting blue tape on the glue face to hold all the pieces in place, then removed the shelf paper from the show face, and glued that down to the kraft-paper-covered pattern board.
Once that bit of indirection was accomplished I had the parts firmly attached to the kraft paper and the glue face showing again. It’s time for filling the saw kerf with “mastic”. I’m using diluted hot hide glue, fine sanding dust and a bit of powdered black tempera paint. Not tempura, that would be weird and I don’t the the panko would work as well as sanding dust for a filler.
I upgraded my “mastic tools” to be closer to what we used in class. The bowl is a silicon rubber bowl used in the dental industry for mixing mold compounds. It was cheap on eBay, although I had to buy a set of three. I guess I have backups. The putty knife I ground so it fit the bottom of the bowl, it works really well for mixing.
The mixing process is simple, although I need to work on quantity and proportions. Put a tiny bit of boiling water in the bowl, use the glue brush to swirl some hot hide glue into the water. Add a tiny bit of black paint and enough sanding dust to make a consistency like chocolate pudding. Mix well, then add more sawdust until you have something closer to joint compound. I used a bit too much black I think, and mixed waaaaay too much. Start with a teaspoon of water, ending up with maybe two teaspoons of liquid after swirling in the glue brush — maybe less. You don’t need a lot of mastic to fill the kerfs, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time sanding to produce the dust to make the mix.
Then, obviously I guess, use the spatula to force the mix into the kerfs, and scrape off any excess. I usually (*lightly*) block sand it after the mastic is completely dry to remove any lumps or ridges.
On with the show… Cut the kraft paper around the outside of the design to free it from the pattern board.
One of my next projects is to build a veneer press to make clamping these things simpler. The screws are ordered, I just need to get wood and decide how to build it.
Out of the press, the next step is to wet the kraft paper and scrape it off, exposing the design finally. It takes me about three rounds of wetting and scraping with a single edge razor to get a clean surface.
I finished this by brushing on a couple of coats of clear shellac, sanding lightly, and repeating. I’ll need to assemble my thoughts and learn to French Polish in the future. Good, something else to practice!
Here is the finished panel. I’m happy with the overall result, although I see several things wrong. I won’t belabor the mistakes, this was just for practice and learning.
What’s next? My first priority is to do some shop organization. I have a few tools that don’t have a place to be put away, so the horizontal surfaces in the shop are collecting things. I’ll probably set up another practice exercise to work on my sawing — something where the shape is critical. I want to start on a real project, using marquetry, in a couple of weeks. Just as soon as I build a storage cabinet for tools and a veneer press. I’m leaning toward a wall cabinet to store DVDs with a marquetry panel on the front. I haven’t been able to reconcile marquetry and Greene & Greene into a design so this cabinet will have a different aesthetic than my recent furniture projects.
One more cuppa, then I’m going to the lumberyard for plywood.
Well, lots going on & not going on around here. Let’s get one thing out of the way. “where are the bird photos?” some have asked. I haven’t been out birding since I-don’t-know-when. Haven’t been to Plymouth Beach for owls at all…it’s frustrating, but time is in short supply all around. maybe this weekend…but it’s been feeder-birds for me. Cardinal in a holly tree, a rather cliche picture. Juncos were around this morning; they’re winter birds here.
What’s really been missing is oak. But that’s about to change. I have all of a sudden several joinery projects coming up. So yesterday and today I have been splitting & hewing oak prior to planing. some of my work-sequences have changed some since the workshop shuffle of last summer. More hewing at the outset, and then planing. I used to do it back & forth between the hatchet & plane. I shot none of this work, but here’s a view of the off=cuts, meaning another job to clean up behind! Some stock there for pegs certainly…you can never have too many.
The hewing has produced some really amazing chips – this one somehow became a photographic platform for Saruman, who is in the shop to have his broken hand removed from his arm socket. If he weren’t an Istari, we could have just pretended this character was Beren.
My first batch of spoons are now released from their task last weekend = and are available for sale here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-a-bowl-or-two-jan-2015/
Ok Luddites, here is a new one for you and if you don’t at least try it, you are missing out on something pretty good.
If you are like me, on these cold winter days when you don’t want to walk to a freezing shop and wait for the heat to come up, you drop back to all the old magazines. I have a big folder of clippings and torn out pages which I set aside for projects I intend to build one of these days. If I see a good project, I rip the page out and throw away the rest of the magazine. Who has room to store all the magazines, especially when you love the books even more and you have to have room to keep them too.
The folks at Highland suggested a few months ago that I investigate Pinterest, a web site which has gained a great deal of interest over the last few years. Well, you know me, Mr Cool Know It All, Old Gray Headed Guy, I told them where they could put that “DIY” stuff and it probably was all about painting red barns and flowers on old circular saw blades and cutting plywood silhouettes of cowboys leaning against a fence post smoking a rolled cigarette. For someone who really dislikes that kind of stuff and does not allow plywood in the shop, my perception of Pinterest was DIY crap, not the kind of stuff that Highland customers would want to see. I was wrong.
I was bored yesterday and needed something to keep my mind occupied, so I tried it out. I went to www.pinterest.com and it took about 30 seconds to sign up and get started. You start by creating boards (manila folders for you old people) with titles for things you like. My first one was “Woodworking Stuff”. Basically, you type a subject in the search bar at the top and then look at all the things that pop up. When you see something you like, you click on the “Pin It” button in the window (tear the page out of the magazine) and it adds it to your Board (Manila Folder). The net result is you can end up with Boards which contain pictures and/or sites you like and want to remember for later. You will find plans and pictures and videos and blogs and all kinds of good stuff. You can spend hours on this thing.
Another way to add “pins” to your “boards” is by downloading the Pinterest Browser Button by clicking here. Once you have this button installed on your internet browser, you can go to any of your favorite websites (i.e. Highland Woodworking) and start pinning your favorite tools to your boards. Just scroll over the image of the product (or recipe) you want to pin, and the Pin It button will come up within the picture (see below):
Once you click it, a box will come up that allows you to write a description of your pin (i.e. I really want this tool for Christmas! or The best tool I’ve ever used), and then click which of your boards you want to post it on:
Click the red Pinit button and then voila, the picture and link to the page will show up on your Pinterest board!
You can even make a “Wishlist” board that you can share with your friends and family who are looking to buy you a gift!
I was clicking around this morning and I put in my hometown and all kinds of things popped up. To show you the scope, I found the recipe for potato pie from the restaurant we all went to growing up in that small town.
I think as I search through for different topics that “Woodworking Stuff” is too broad a topic. I will probably go back and set up separate boards for Woodcarving, Bench Plans, Windsor Chairs, Bowl Turning, Wood Lathes, and other more narrow topics.
I think you will really enjoy this thing. Go to www.pinterest.com and sign up. You can follow my boards by clicking here and then click on the “Follow” link on the upper right-hand corner. While you’re at it, be sure to follow the Highland Woodworking Pinterest page by clicking here.
Come on, people. Time to move into the 21st Century, or at least the 20th Century. You are going to like this thing.