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Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes

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seventeenth-century joined furniture; green wood, hand tools
Updated: 27 min 59 sec ago

rear post for a wainscot chair

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 3:22pm

The next couple of weeks will feature some chairmaking here. As I said earlier, I’m revisiting the ladderback chairs I began my woodworking career with…I shaved some posts & rungs and chopped slat mortises – but shot no pictures. But today, I had some wainscot chair work to do; and what a world of difference. I had to fashion one hewn rear post for a wainscot chair like this:

wainscot chair, side view

The “cant” or “rake” to the rear post is hewn, not bent like in Alexander’s ladderback. This post starts out as a split billet 3″ x 4″ x 48″. That’s a lot of oak. I hewed it oversized; a few weeks ago I worked one and it was too close to the finished size. When I was done hewing and planing, it came up “scant” – i.e. too small in cross-section to match the first one. Here, you see the template laying on the riven and hewn piece:

Thinking about the JA chairs – this one billet had enough wood to maybe make 3 or 4 posts for a JA ladderback. This is a rare case where I work primarily on the tangential face first. I want the front face of these posts to be the radial surface (it’s going to be carved, & I like carving that face better than this one). So the cant gets laid out on the growth-ring plane.

Once I hewed and planed that face pretty flat, I scribed the template and began to hew the shape. The front is easy enough to hew, because of the way you’re cutting down the grain. In this photo, I have the front faces planed, and I’m cutting the thickness of the post above the seat. I decided to saw, rather than split this, so I can use the piece that’s coming off – it will become either a stretcher or one of the carved figures that is applied to the side of the chair. I made a relief cut at the seat height, and am sawing down to that cut. In the photo, this saw cut is nearly done. Then the stuff below the seat will get hewn away, there’s nothing worth saving there, so hewing is quicker than sawing. Easier too. You can see relief cuts there too, I stood the piece up on its top end and hewed down to the mid-point. 

Cleaning up these rear surfaces is pretty easy. They don’t have to be dead-flat or true. I shim under the end, and shove the post against my bench hook/planing stop. A holdfast keeps it in place. I’m only planing as far as the plane will fit. It gets close to, but not up to, the angled spot where the post leans back. I skew the plane to get close…

Then switch to a spoke shave. it’s one of the few times I use this tool in joiner’s work. That’ll sneak right up to that junction.

I have to let it dry out a couple of weeks, then I can cut the joinery in it & continue on with the chair. I have another to start in the meantime, so there will be more chair work on the blog soon.


chest with drawers; pulls and more

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 2:49pm

First off, nice going to those who pitched in to help that Vermont school teacher with the fundraiser to buy spoon tools. They met their goal quite easily, I think thanks to you blog readers here. These on-screen connections can be alienating sometimes, but at times like this one, it truly is a community feeling. I really do appreciate the feedback I get from this blog, it means a lot.


Tomorrow I’ll deliver this chest with drawers to the Fuller Craft Museum for the exhibition about Plymouth CRAFT. http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/

I did the bulk of the last-minute junk last week, and a good thing too. Just been knocked out with a flu-ish thing for 5 days. All 4 of us have had it in various forms – so it’s felt like a long time since we’ve had our heads above water.

After watching all the bowl turners at North House a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to come home & turn bowls. But instead, I turned drawer pulls in white oak.

The drove them through the hole I bored in the drawer front, and split the tenon with a chisel.

and drove an oak wedge into the resulting split.

Here is the wedged tenon, just prior to trimming.

These pulls are about 1 1/4″ in diameter.

I made some adjustments to the drawer runners. These things are always fussy…they fit into notches in the stiles, and often I toe-nail through them into the stile. You can see one of those nails out at the rear stile in this shot:

Here you can see one of the drawer runners in the drawer opening above, and the groove in the drawer side below. When all goes well, this is a nice way for a drawer to slide. Especially these heavy oak drawers. There will be a pine panel behind these drawers, but that will have to wait til the exhibit is over. Mid-June I think. After Greenwood Fest…


a worthy cause

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:36pm

I got an email from Tara Alan, pointing me towards a crowd-sourcing fundraiser that seems a worth cause. A school group looking to raise money for spoon carving tools! I’m not involved in any way – I don’t know the people, etc… But Tara  thought my readers might be willing to help. There’s worse ways to spend a few dollars…

here’s the blurb –

Pre-Industrial Spoon Carvers!
My students need knives so they can learn to carve spoons!

My Students

I have an amazing group of students! They are curious, hard working, and love hands on projects. We live in a small Vermont town in the Connecticut Valley. My students farm, build race cars, and play basketball so they no strangers to hard work. We study the Industrial Revolution in 8th grade and are fascinated with how people lived prior to the machine age. They made everything! If you needed a chair- you made it, if you needed a spoon- you carved it.

Kids these days get their spoons too easily.

People used to have to carve them by hand! I want to teach my students how to be spoon self-sufficient. I’d like for them to understand and appreciate how much work goes into making things by hand.

My Project

Most kids don’t think twice about grabbing a plastic spoon to eat their lunch and then tossing it in the garbage when they’re done. I want to teach my students to appreciate the spoon and how much work used to go into making them.

We often overlook the smallest things that make us human.

We are tool makers and users. I want to teach my students the practical and timeless skill of carving spoons.

They will learn how to select the right wood, practice safe tool use, and come to appreciate the value of doing things by hand, the slow way.

Your donations will pay for spoon carving knives and finger guards to keep them safe. Your donations will also get us a couple of books that will inspire us to create beautiful spoons.

We have an outdoor classroom in the woods near our school that will serve as a source of wood and a place where we can sit and carve together.

——-

Just follow the link if you’d like to help… https://www.donorschoose.org/project/pre-industrial-spoon-carvers/2470192/?givingCartId=5653247

I’ve been wiped out with the flu this week, so it felt nice to find some uplifting item in today’s inbox. Good luck to all involved…

 


we’ll put some bleachers out in the sun and have it on highway 61

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 6:35pm

I only have a few photos for this post – I was too busy to shoot much…

I just got back from teaching two classes at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. http://www.northhouse.org/index.htm   Being thrown into an immersion experience like that at North House reminds me of my beginnings at Country Workshops in the 1980s.

One focus at North House is community, and it is quite palpable. The legendary pizza night, centered around the large wood-fired oven, and finely honed through years of practice is a memorable experience. The classes I was there to teach were part of “Wood Week” which as you can imagine means all the classes offered that week (8 in all) were woodworking. Other disciplines at North House include fiber arts, blacksmithing, food, boatbuilding and more.

All the students in my first class were named Tom. I think. Made it easier…

With three classes at the first session, and five the next, there was no shortage of inspiration, nor of comrades. The evenings were spent in large and small groups exploring spoon and bowl carving, looking at and trying out new tools, techniques, benches and materials. It seems that almost everyone (except me) also plays a musical instrument, so the spoon carving circles were on the periphery of the old-timey music circles. There was much overlap. The best nights ran much later than I could handle.

All the while, Lake Superior was right there, outside the shop windows, and lapping at the courtyard between the buildings. It’s a pretty big lake, I hear. Looked it.

I’m liking these large-group gatherings. Last year I went to three of them, Greenwood Fest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Spoonfest in Edale, UK and Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. This one had a smaller crowd, but that lent it an intimacy that was nice. I still missed stuff – I got no photographs of the other classes, and few of my own.

Jarrod trying out Dawson Moore’s Spoon Mule:

Tom Dengler kept distracting me with his woodenware:

one of the oak carvings the students did…

I caught up with some old friends, and made some new. Like the other events, this one is run by many hands, including a group of young interns. Nice to see these young people exploring some type of creative outlet involving natural materials. There were a smattering of young people in the classes too, but no group gets higher marks than Spoonfest for adding youth and women to the woodworking community.

These creatures were more common than squirrels.

I had a day off early on, and took a long walk in a state park about half-an-hour away. If this tree were closer to the school, someone would have nabbed it by now…

North House is celebrating their twentieth year – get on their mailing list so you can be a part of their 2nd-double-decade.

Some of the many people there, apologies for not including everyone – there was a lot happening:

Jarrod Dahl, https://www.instagram.com/jarrod__dahl/

Roger Abrahamson,  https://www.instagram.com/rogerabrahamson/

Fred Livesay,  https://www.instagram.com/hand2mouthcrafts/

Phil Odden & Else Bigton  http://www.norskwoodworks.com/

Harley Refsal  http://www.northhouse.org/courses/courses/instructor.cfm/iid/86

Dawson Moore  https://www.instagram.com/michigansloyd/

Tom & Kitty Latane https://www.facebook.com/thomas.latane

Tom Dengler https://www.instagram.com/twodengler/


Jane Mickelborough’s Folding Spoons

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 7:04pm

The oak furniture I make is based on 17th-century examples made in my general neighborhood – the first batch of chests & boxes I learned about were made maybe 10 miles from where I grew up. My spoons are a different story – literally. I learned spoon carving from Jögge & Wille Sundqvist, and Drew Langsner…so my spoons are rooted in the Swedish style – as are many other modern-day spoon carvers.

One thing I keep in mind when looking at inviting instructors for Greenwood Fest is simple – I would like to spend time getting to know these people, and learning woodworking from them. (I get to do the former, but I’m too busy to really learn much during the event…)

jane

I met Jane Mickelborough last summer at Spoonfest and Täljfest – and was very happy when she said she’d come to Greenwood Fest. Jane is currently engrossed in making some decidedly-non-Swedish style spoons. Her recent work is based on historical spoons from Brittany, where she lives with her husband Peter. I wanted to know more about her spoons, and how she got on this Breton-folding-spoon-kick, so I asked her. I thought readers might like it too, so below is a series of questions I sent Jane and she kindly answered more than I asked. Jane will be teaching a 2-day class Carve a Hinged Spoon, and demonstrating wax inlaid decoration in the pre-fest courses https://www.greenwoodfest.org/course-details

 
PF: Somewhere along the line in your woodworking, you learned spoon-carving. Then began to see/study/copy particular spoons that were historically made in Breton. How did this come about? Was it thought-out, or stumbled-upon?

JM: I stumbled-upon spoon-carving by complete accident about five months before the first Spoonfest. I found the famous Martin Hazell on Facebook (via a friend of a friend) having known him in real life about 30 years before. And on his site were these amazing wooden spoons! I was immediately smitten and determined to have a go myself. I haven’t got fed-up with them yet. I only discovered Breton spoons quite a lot later. People at markets would tell me about Breton wedding spoons, and I (wrongly) assumed these would be like the highly-ornamental but essentially non-functional spoons that were made in Wales to commemorate a wedding. So I ignored them. When i finally took a look at them I was completely blown-away by what was an incredibly strong, popular and local tradition, and by the wonderful spoons themselves.

antique-folding-spoon

PF:  Care to tell us something about these spoons? I know you’re going to present some of your research, etc when we’re in Plymouth, but how about a teaser? I know you’ve learned to recognize regional variations in spoons…

JM: Breton peasants had precious few paid holidays, a very monotonous diet but an obvious love for a good party. Everyone would turn-out for a local wedding – more than a thousand guests over three days was common. If you could afford to, you contributed some food or drink, while those that could not were nonetheless welcome. Providing a thousand spoons was out of the question in the days before hire companies and party organisers. Each guest was expected come dressed-up in his or her best clothes and to bring their own spoon (which would always have been made of wood) and it appears that the tradition of decorated spoons arose from the very human desire to show off! These so-called wedding spoons were specifically made to be used as party spoons, spoons for best, or show-off spoons and they are highly decorated and often inlaid with coloured wax or even pewter.

folding-3

folding-2

Nearly all Breton decorated spoons are made of box wood and something like half of the existing spoons have hinges. These two facts may be related, as box doesn’t grow well here in wet and windy Brittany. You can make a spoon using smaller pieces of less-than-perfect wood if you make it in two halves (this I have tried). Sprigs of box were the foliage that Breton peasants took to church on Palm Sunday (palms don’t grow well here either). The story goes that these box sprigs would be put into the roadside banks on the way home after church, so that they would grow into more box bushes. Frankly, this doesn’t sound like an ideal propagating technique to me, but who knows now?

Before the first world war, not many Breton peasants travelled very far from home and this resulted in very localised styles in everyday stuff like clothing, music, dance, household furniture and even spoons. There are two (possibly three) main regional styles of breton decorated spoons that can be fairly easily recognised. What is beyond question is that by the 19th century they were mainly made by very skilled craftsmen who tended to make sets of near-identical spoons in a local style, rather than just making occasional one-offs. I’m currently trying to track-down records of some of the actual spoon makers, to clarify this, but this is going to take me quite a while yet…

PF: Can you describe some of your recording methods when you study these in collections? I know how to record furniture pieces, but what information are you specifically looking at in spoons? Tracings, templates, measurements?

JM: Basic information like measurements and a description are available from the museums housing the collections. I mainly rely on my trusty iPhone to take photos from every angle so that I can make observations on the spoon shapes and decorations in my own time. Museum reserve collections are rarely kept in over-heated buildings and it can be a very cold day’s work to get a collection looked-at and photographed.

folding-5

folding-4

Getting my hands on the spoons allows me to see exactly how the hinges are made, how well they work, why they sometimes break, and the modifications that were made to get the spoon to fold properly (or indeed, to fold at all!). There’s a satisfaction in seeing that someone before me has already made ALL the mistakes I’ve made while trying to get a spoon to fold, plus some mistakes I haven’t tried yet. You really can’t get this from pictures.

Seeing them up-close has also given me some clues about the decorating techniques that are too subtle to see in pictures. What happens when the inlay wax is overheated, exactly how some of the chip-carving has been done, how the metal inlay has been applied… Its also possible to see the subtle signs of wear, that confirm that many of these spoons were regularly used for eating. Then comes the trial & error in making both folding spoons & wax inlay.

folding-1

PF: Want to tell us something about the challenges in these related but distinct spoon carving disciplines?

JM: Oh my – take a look online at recipes for old-fashioned sealing wax. There are hundreds, and no two are the same. I had a long chat with a friend who is an antique dealer and restorer who gave me some ideas as well. Then I started stinking the house out with melting various combinations of wax, rosin, shellac, turpentine and different pigments – I hate to think what our fire-insurance people would have thought of it all! Just like making home-made milk paint, I have found that different pigments affect the resulting wax in different ways, but even this is not consistent. Factors like how fast the ingredients are melted, or whether it’s stirred during or after melting seem to be important too. The waxes I’m currently using work quite well, but I haven’t nearly finished experimenting yet, but I suspect I never will. This is definitely an art rather than a science! It turns out that pewter inlay is a common technique used by musical instrument makers here in Brittany and I have been able to talk to a few of them about this technique. I still haven’t tried it seriously, but I’m saving it for a later day. One thing at at time!

 

here’s Jane’s Instagram feed – https://www.instagram.com/janespoons/ 


revisiting an old favorite

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 3:11pm

I’ve been trying to finish off this chest with 2 drawers lately. I’m close, but have to go to North House Folk School soon, so the last bits will be in 2 weeks. Today I spent making the last 12′ of moldings – out of a total of over 45 feet! Rabbet plane first…

rabbet-before-molding

…followed by hollows & rounds….

round-for-hollow

Late in the day I still had some daylight. I have been using the last 30 or 45 minutes each day to hew some spoons for evening carving…but today I split some reject joinery-oak and started shaving the rear posts for some ladderback chairs. Must be because I’ve been thinking of Drew Langsner lately…

Here you can see the chest with a couple of clamps holding the drawer’s moldings in place. Shaving the chair posts was like old times…
shaving-posts

Here’s the inspiration – one of the last chairs from Jennie Alexander’s hand…and Drew’s book The Chairmaker’s Workshop. I had to look up a few things to remind me of what I was doing.

shaving-rear-post-ladder-back-chair

The last time I made these chairs was some shrunk-down versions for when the kids were small, December 2009. These chairs are put away in the loft now, outgrown…

kids-chairs-2

kids-chair-frame

 

I hope to bend the posts Friday, then leave them in the forms while I’m away. Hopefully there will be some chairmaking going on in March…

 

 

 


Passing the Baton: Country Workshops & the Maine Coast Craft School

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 3:38pm

meet me in the country

I keep hearing bits and snatches of news about things down near Marshall, N.C. – home of Country Workshops. In his newsletter from the last part of 2016, Drew Langsner mentioned that things were slowing down. For 2017 there are only 2 tutorials this summer. So I wrote to Drew, asking “Is this it?” “Yup”, came the answer.

Drew showing bowlsDrew showing bowls

End of an era is an understatement. All those years, all those classes, trooping into their house and home. I think it started about 1977 or so. I first went there in 1980, to learn ladderback chairmaking from then-John Alexander. By the mid-80s, I was a regular attendee, and in 1988 a summer intern, ending that season with a large class in timber-framing where we built the “new” barn. Once I got a museum job in the mid-1990s, I didn’t get down to Drew & Louise’s for a while, then went back as an instructor and once a student in 2010. My earlier post about Drew & Louise, and their Country Workshops saga is here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-did-i-get-started-country-workshops-the-langsners-is-how/

This summer will be the end, both of the workshops and the tool store. But Kenneth & Angela Kortemeier,will take up some of where Drew & Louise are leaving off –  their new school, in mid-coast Maine, is starting up the same time Country Workshops is winding down. Kenneth has quite a resume, including  stints as Drew’s intern, and a period living with John Brown making chairs in Wales.

img_0074

dscn9649

Here’s the fledgling website, a new place to watch. http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/  Drew told me that part of what Kenneth & Angela will be doing up there in Maine includes taking over some tool sales involving the great tools by Hans Karlsson and Svante Djarv that Drew has helped bring to the US. And more…

l-r Dave Fisher, Drew Langsner, Louise Langsner

BUT – one other part of this story. This June, Drew & Louise are coming to Plymouth to be our special guests at Greenwood Fest. I’ve asked Drew to put together a slide history of Country Workshops, and they’ll be around for the festival to meet up with old friends and meet new ones. This is a chance to thank them in person for all the work they’ve done for decades. Many green woodworkers in America and beyond can trace their roots to Drew & Louise, even if they don’t know it…


non-woodworking books for sale

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:50am

books

For I-don’t-know-how-many-years this household did a lot of research into 17th-century topics. Mine of course, was focused on furniture and woodworking; Maureen was a generalist. She left the museum field before I did, about 9 years ago now. We were cleaning & sorting through some boxes today and found some books that someone might like. I listed them on Amazon – but…if anyone out there is interested, we can sort it out. Sorry there’s no woodworking or furniture – I kept all those. you never know when I might get back to writing furniture history…

Paragons of Virtue: Women and Domesticity in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art, Wayne E Franits, Cambridge University Press, 1995, softcover. $40

Findings Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing, Mary C Beaudry, Yale University Press, 2006. hardcover $40

Trumpets from the Tower: English Puritan Printing in the Netherlands, 1600-1640, Keith Sprunger, E.J Brill, 1994, hardcover – $60

Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp, Elizabeth Alice Honig, Yale University Press, 1998. Hardcover  $90

The New Draperies in the Low Countries and England, edited N. B. Harte, Oxford University Press, 1997, hardcover.  $60

Normal woodsy bits back soon…

PF


Joined chest class

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:47am

This past weekend was the wrap-up to the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ One weekend a month, for five months, with homework is a tall order.

chest-frontMatt’s chest front assembled

In addition to the outlay of cash, these students made the commitment of time – that is really striking to me. I appreciate them signing on for this class, and Bob Van Dyke for making it possible. We had some struggles, mostly related to wood supply; and also had a lot of fun making these chests. When I was a student many years ago, Jennie Alexander used to have us all make the same ladderback chair in the class, there was no deviation. I remember once JA suggested just making the chairs, piling them in a heap, and each student taking one home. That didn’t fly, but it illustrated the general notion of a class project.

carvingRick doing more carving

My workshops are usually nothing like that. I seem to be dumb enough to say to each student, yea – you could add this or that, make this change – why not carve the side frames and panels – so there’s a lot of variation in these projects. And because of the amount of work involved, each student was at a different point in their chest. The way the class worked, I’d cover two topics each weekend,  – layout, joinery/carving, decoration/tills, floors, etc.

Then I’d wander from bench to bench to see where the students were, and what they needed. In between classes, I’d often send them blog posts that served as notes for what we just did, or what was coming up. When it ran smoothly anyway…here’s pictures. Some awful. some ok.

detailmolded edge, peg holes. panel

A pile of chest parts; ready for test-fitting

stack-of-chest

White balance out the window – but framed now, & panels cut to size.

frame

Stock prep. Dwight lays his planes on their sides, I see.

stock-prep

what are these guys doing rooting around in my chest?

thieves

Oh, trying to suss out the till lid scenario.

tills

Tidy bevels on panels.

beveled-panels

Rick’s tool box – dynamite from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

tool-box

Pine lid installed

lid

Back home in daylight again. Started linseed oil. A few moldings left, some drawer pulls & done. then it goes to Fuller Craft Museum for the exhibition about Plymouth CRAFT.

daylight-again

I have two more oak classes at CVSWW – a weekend of carving in May, and later in the fall, a 4-day class in making a carved oak box. Link at the top. Box dates aren’t set yet, but I think it will be late September or early October. I forget…

 


chipping away at things

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 6:21pm

 

Got a smattering of snow the other day.,..this was the view from my desk yesterday morning.

desk-window

I write blog posts around photographs, so when there’s no photos, there’s no blog. I’ve been splitting my time many different ways lately, some work (slowly) on the shop; installing cement board to shield the walls from the wood stove. Hardly worth a photo….pretty uninspiring.

One thing I have done lately is collecting some cherry crooks for spoon carving. A friend cut down a large cherry tree, and I swooped in for the upper branches. Lots of crooks there, some burls too. Those are mostly new for me, I turned a burl bowl once…but I’m going to try carving these.

crooks-hiding-in-the-snow

burl

I started two new versions of a spoon with a hook under its handle (a crook with a hook) – I dug out this one I never finished, it’s apple.

apple-hook

bark-in-bowl

A very exaggerated form here, but I was very happy with the profile. The hooks are usually/always a lot smaller than this…but I really liked the curves here. This one got abandoned because of a void in the bowl. You can see a crack with trapped bark and grit there. It’s quite deep, no way to salvage this one. So it stands as a sample…

I have two in cherry underway, (one very large one, one more sane-sized) but neither have the sinuous curve this one has. Where’s those other big crooks?

three-hooks

next-crook

In the mail a couple of weeks ago arrived two spoons – I was very pleased with the overall forms and carving, but the finial on the lighter (dogwood) spoon knocked me out…Micah Green is the carver, see his stuff on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/whittlerjoel/

two-spoons


mouse

 

This weekend I’m back in Connecticut to teach the continuing joined chest class…

better-chest-view

This time, drawers and lids. So next week, I should have a finished chest finally….it will ultimately go in the exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum – featuring the artisans from Plymouth Craft. This show will be up into June during Greenwood Fest… http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/  There will be lots more about this exhibition as it comes together. One feature during the exhibition and the festival will be Jogge Sundqvist’s Rhythym & Slojd presentation. More details to come…

UPDATE – I forgot to tell you, Maureen has put some of her knitting & felted stuff on sale. Apparently spring will come at some point, so time to move some winter stuff along. Here’s the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

Sale Hand knit hand dyed scarf, blue and periwinkle lace waves scarf, merino wool hand dyed yarn, woman's scarf, long

 


Teaching schedule 2017

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 7:58am

I’m as behind as usual, but I just spent some time listing my teaching schedule as it now stands for 2017. It will be listed at the top of the blog,  – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/teaching-schedule-for-2017/  – but I’ve copied it below here for now.

In addition, I hope to offer one-on-one instruction here at my new shop. I still have a few bits to finish off first, but just wanted to let people know. there’s 2 benches, and lots of tools. As I think about format, it could be pretty flexible. Students could come for technique-based sessions, like the spoon carving or furniture carving I do. Or we could focus on a project, like the carved boxes. If anyone is interested, email me to discuss your ideas. Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net  I’ll post more about these when I am closer to being ready. Hopefully within 2 months.

snowy-view

Meanwhile, here’s the classes & more at the usual schools…

Teaching Schedule for 2017

The beginning of this year got away from me, so I am just now posting my teaching schedule for 2017. In addition to these classes, exhibition, and other presentations, I hope to offer one-on-one sessions here at my new shop. I have a little fine tuning to finish up, then I can sort that out. I picture these being either techniques, like spoon carving or  carving 17th century patterns; but maybe these could be project oriented too. If anyone is interested, they can email me ( Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net ) & we can tailor something to suit, and go over specifics.

Here’s the schedule as is stands now – there will likely be things added here & there. Right now, there’s nothing with Plymouth CRAFT other than the Greenwood Fest, and I know that we’ll do a few classes during the year. So, more to come.

 

February 18th & 19th, Spoon Carving, CVSWWspoon carving

Spoon carving class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. This will be our first time offering this class at Bob Van Dyke’s place. It’s filling up, good winter work, inside carving spoons. I’ll bring some fresh wood, some knives – grab your hatchet & come to CT. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes 

 

February 28-March 4, North House Folk School

Carved Decoration--17th Century English Style

 

I’ll take part in Wood Week at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. It will be my first time teaching there, I was a student a few years ago, and found the school and the people to be great. I’ll be working on carving 17th-century style designs for furniture decoration and also giving a talk..  http://www.northhouse.org/programs/events/woodcarverweek.htm

 

March 18-June 25, exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum

 

OpeningReceptionPhoto

Starting in March, my work will be represented in conjunction with a Plymouth CRAFT exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. There’s an opening reception on Sunday April 9th. Details here http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/ and http://fullercraft.org/event/opening-reception-for-living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft-and-ellen-schiffman-the-52-box-project/  There will be some more collaboration between Plymouth CRAFT and Fuller Craft, part of which happens during Greenwood Fest.

 

April 21-23, Fine Woodworking Live, Southbridge MA

I’ll be part of the group at Fine Woodworking Live in Southbridge, Massachusetts. http://www.finewoodworkinglive.com/ I’ll be doing presentations about oak joinery, including the carving. It’s quite a line-up, my first time with Fine Woodworking…

 

May 20 & 21, 17th-c style carving , CVSWW

carving detail 2

I’ll be back at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking to do a 2-day class in 17th-century style carving. This one is always fun, because we carve patterns that give Bob the creeps…he sees faces in every design. Very unsettling.

June 6-11, Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest.

 one or more people, tree, outdoor and food

It was such a big hit last year, we were dumb enough to do it again. Still some spaces in some pre-fest classes, and a waiting list for the festival. many got in from the waiting list last year.  https://www.greenwoodfest.org/

 

August 19 & 20, Spoon Carving at Lie-Nielsen

dave & the crook

I’ll be up at Lie-Nielsen for 2 days of spoon carving. One of my favorite trips of the year. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/156

 

Late September – Make a Carved Box, CVSWW

carved box

 

We haven’t set the dates yet, but this will probably be a four-day class, around a weekend in September. We’ll carve and assemble a box typical of the 17th-century work I have specialized in for all these years. My only box class this year…details soon.

 

Oct 6-8  Spoon Carving, Woodwright’s School.

 

Peter-Spoon-Hatchet.jpg

I’ll be teaching spoon carving down at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School. Fun happens there.


moldings

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 2:51pm

I have been cutting some moldings lately for a chest with drawers I’m building. The moldings surround the panels, and the drawer fronts. While I was cutting these, I was thinking about this blog. I started it in 2008, and never thought it would keep going this long. Because I didn’t know what I was doing, I never really organized it well. So there’s lots of photos spread out all over the blog that are useful…but sometimes hard to find. Today, I thought I could just post some photos of period moldings found on New England joined works. So here’s pictures.

a chest from Salem, Massachusetts: Tearout, anyone?

moldings detail

a chest with drawers, Plymouth Colony. This large molding (2″ tall) is integral to the rail, not applied.

molding details, Plymouth Colony chestmolding details, Plymouth Colony chest

Inside one of the Plymouth Colony chests, moldings on the rails and muntins:

interior, Ply Col chest w drawersinterior, Ply Col chest w drawers

Here’s a panel detail from Plymouth Colony. This is a common profile for the period, technically an ogee with a fillet, I think:

molding-details

This one’s from Chipstone’s website – a Boston chest panel:

cf-chest-middle-panel-just-moldings

This is a muntin from a chest made in Braintree, Massachusetts. I used to make this molding with a scratch stock. I think that cutter is gone now…

molding

This Connecticut (Wethersfield? Windsor? I can never get it straight) chest with drawers was the model we copied last time at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. These moldings are oak:

center panel_edited-1

A lousy photo, but if you squint at the ruler’s shadow, you can see the profile of this molding. Dedham Massachusetts chest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also Dedham, different chest:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Back to Connecticut, more Wethersfield, Windsor, etc.

vine-carving-3

a drawer from a Woburn, Massachusetts cupboard:

molding-detail

An ogee on the bottom edge of a table’s apron. Maybe this square table is Boston?

ogee-and-bracket

 


Hey, you – your tongue is too long!

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 2:38pm

 

If your tongue is too long, it can lead to problems. As I found out today when I was fitting the center floor board in a joined chest. Here is the first test-fit of the middle board. It slides under the rear floor rail, and it has tongues cut on each edge, to engage grooves in the boards left & right of it. Seems to be going well, but…

middle-board

It got tight before it came near the front rail, where it will fit into a groove. Front of the chest is to our left in this photo…

floor-board-tested

So I checked a few things to see what was holding things up. Made sure the thickness of the board wasn’t binding against the drawer below this floor. Nope, that was fine. But, I noticed the tongues were bottoming out in the grooves…

tongue-too-long

I pulled it back out, and a few shavings off each edge left a little space for things to work better.

trimmed-tongue

Here is the next test-fit, and at this point I can see that with a good whack it will go all the way into the front rail. (this time front is to the right) But to this point, I hadn’t trimmed the front end yet. So back out again. And that’s why I haven’t beveled the front end yet – if it has to be knocked back out, right now the front end is thick enough to strike it with a mallet. If it were trimmed to fit the groove, it would be too fragile to hit. Yes, I learned this the hard way.

trimmed-tongue-tested

Beveling the front end of the floor boardbevel-front-end

This one is out of sequence – but this is what the “tongue” looks like. A rabbet on the top face, and a broad bevel on the bottom to form the tongue. I saw this version on some chests I first studied way back when, & I use it whenever I’m not copying a specific chest’s construction…you could use a dedicated tongue & groove matched set of planes too. Or one of many other ways to do this…

tongue-detail

Drive it in for real.

hammer-home

Then trim the extra length out back…here I’m bending the saw so my knuckles don’t get chewed up.

sawing

This chest will have 2 full-width drawers. I didn’t have time left to begin tackling the 2nd drawer, (first one’s done) so instead I dug out some molding tools and began cutting the applied moldings that decorate 3 sides of this chest. I hadn’t worked moldings with planes in quite a while…it was fun. For this work, I use methods I learned from Matt Bickford, both from his book & video, and from classes with him. His book is so clear, it’s a great explanation of what can be complicated. work. https://lostartpress.com/products/mouldings-in-practice  and https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/moldings-in-practice

To begin (after preparing the blanks) first step is to cut rabbets and chamfers for the hollows & rounds to ride on…

rabbet

Here the hollow plane is making a rounded profile on this ogee with fillet molding…

dark-hollow

I was running out of daylight, so I cut three moldings, then began to miter enough to frame one panel. Here’s the planes & moldings:


planes-moldings

And here’s the test-fitted framing. The vertical one on our left will have to be re-done…but it can be used elsewhere, or chopped down for a horizontal. It was nearly dark in the room by this point. Time to come in & write this post. That crooked panel is just plain tough luck. But, as always, I can find old ones that look like that too…I’ll sleep fine tonight.

tested-frame

I forgot to add – still a few spoons left… https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-jan-15-2017/

 


Spoons posted for sale

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 7:14am

spoons-january

I’m still slowly getting sorted after moving into the workshop. Posted some spoons for sale today. This hopefully will get back to being a regular occurrence. The link is here, or on the header of the blog page. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-jan-15-2017/

If there’s something you’d like to order, leave a comment and we can take it from there. Details on the page..

back to work for me…

dsc_2111


It snowed, so some photos

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 11:18am

a fest, a chest, some spoons

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 10:22am

scribing

First off, the Greenwood Fest http://www.greenwoodfest.org/ sold out in just about 1 day.  There are still spaces in several of the pre-fest courses; scroll down on the link to read about those offerings. If you missed a ticket to the fest, do get on the waiting list. June is a long ways off, lots can happen between now & then. Last year, many on the waiting list got in. Maybe all. Thanks to all who support Plymouth CRAFT’s programs, we appreciate it. A special hearty thanks to Paula Marcoux, who runs Plymouth CRAFT, organizes the festival and created the website – and answered every question sent to Plymouth CRAFT …and on & on. The rest of us just goof around, Paula does all the work.

paula

In the workshop, I’m getting prepared for this weekend’s edition of the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/  I’m going to assemble the chest I’m working on, so the students can see what happens when they get to that step. First, I make a lot of tapered oak pins. Shaved, not driven through a dowel plate. These pins are the most critical part of the joinery. They need to be straight-grained, and cleanly cut.

shaving-pins

And I need a lot of them. I think 56 in this particular chest. Some are already driven; the front is mostly assembled.

still-not-enough

the photo at the top of this post shows me scribing the pin hole on the side rails’ tenons. Here, I’ve knocked those joints apart enough to get in there & bore the holes in the tenons.

boring

Then drive the pins home. driving-pins

The shoulder pulls up nice & tight.

pegged

I’ll cut & fit the till and install the floor during the class. I’ll try to get shots during the weekend.

SPOON-CARVING –

I carved some spoons recently – one a shape I’ve carved many times – here is the new spoon alongside one about 10 years old. Similar shape, one with a nice broken-in feel, the other brand-spankin’-new. Both birch, both flax oil finish. that’s what using them does to them…I like the look of time & use… I think it also helps to know as you’re carving spoons that what the color & grain look like today is not what they will look like down the line.

new-old-spoons

new-old-spoons-rear