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Inside the Oldwolf Workshop
I bought it used. I probably paid less that $10.00 over all for it. The description by the seller (not Amazon directly but an "associate") was used and fair condition, hardcover with dust cover. I will happily pay a little more for a used book with the dust cover, it often means the book was well taken care of otherwise.
It arrived in the mail two days ago. I opened it up and was on the inside cover found an inscription that made my jaw drop.
Here was a book signed by the author, with an inscription written to Sam and Alfreda Maloof. That means this book was probably in Sam Maloof's hands at one point, and most likely among the books on his shelf. The possibilities of receiving this book from a random selection on Amazon amazes me. It's part of the human experience to tack significance onto seemingly random acts of coincidence, but then again, maybe there is something to destiny. This book could have ended up in a thousand different hands, people who would not ever have recognised the names in the inscription.
Having it in my possession almost feels like I stole something.
The book itself is fantastic. It gives a snapshot of woodworking in the mid 1980's. The parents of woodworking as I know it today. Between the covers are the roots of both studio furniture and modern woodworking media. We revere the words these men wrote and the furniture they built. Have you spent time in your favorite chair with "An Impractical Cabinetmaker" or "Soul of a Tree"? Paged through Fine Woodworking Magazine?
How revered are the names of Krenov and Maloof, Frid and Nakashima.
But the question remains, "Where do we go from here?" The book is nigh 30 years old. Who are the next ten Artisan Masters of today? Not to replace the artisans mentioned in this book, but to stand on their shoulders to see further, like those in the book stood on the shoulders of those before them.
How about men like Thos. Moser, David Savage, or Aaron Bladon? Writers and teachers like Jeff Miller or Tom Fidgen? An artistic wild card like Chris Wong? Someone immersed in green woodworking tradition like Jarrod StoneDahl?
Or, is the furniture output you see from these woodworkers to much like the sculptural work of the ten men listed in Michael A. Stone's book.
What's the next step past sculptural, studio style furniture.
I sure don't consider myself nearly experienced enough, educated enough, or worldly enough to deserve the right to weigh in on the who or what of these questions.
We spend a lot of time looking at our past, and thats a good thing. We learn from our past.
We spend a fair amount of our time looking to our future. Soon I will start building this. Tomorrow I will cut the joinery for that. This is also good because you need to have a sense of where you want to go.
The thing you miss, looking to the future or rebuilding the past, is discovering where you're standing Right Now.
Like it or not, this book records ten woodworkers relevance in the past. Who would you count as the woodworkers building their relevance now and working towards the future?
I hope people will understand that someone has to ask these questions.
Ratione et Passionis
Insulating the shop walls will be high on my priority list this summer.
That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking and planning things for the shop. In the next few days I'm going to be posting about a Victorian furniture form I've found that I've fallen in love with and intend to place squarely onto my Shop Bucket List.
I have been thinking about how to make improvements here on the blog as well. Just the other day I went out and picked up a small point of view video camera. Sometimes, when writing or editing video, it's frustrating to me to not be able to show things, as they happen, how they happen, from my POV. At first I was thinking the camera would be a cool, and maybe better way to demonstrate some woodworking techniques.
This morning, I saw some video of a man on a surfboard. Instead of being taken from his point of view, the camera was mounted on the point of the board. I thought it was brilliant and it sparked a little idea. What if I were to attach the POV camera to the tool. It would even give me a chance to see my work from a new point of view.
This afternoon I bundled up and took to the shop for a quick experiment strapping the camera to the handle of a saw. I can do better, a better attachment to the tool, some modifications to cut out the vibration, turn the picture right side up.
I only played a little before I couldn't take the cold in my hands anymore. I quickly packed it up and ran inside to have a look and some of the video. Like I said, it's rough and thankfully quick (about one minute twelve seconds) but with some tweaking, this could be fun.
Ratione et Passionis
(The end result, I'm calling it the "Plate 11 Shop Stool", for it's foundations in the Roubo workbench. I will finish the work up on it soon, but for now it's back into the queue)
I kicked off the shop furnace, gathered the stool, my camera, sketchbook, and other errata. Hit the lights. Locked the door. And headed inside for warmth, ibuprofen, and bourbon. I didn't pick up or put away a single thing.
I guess I would be alone in righting the devastation.
It started just inside the door and the big pile of sawdust on the floor and around my bandsaw.
Along the floor in front of the workbench didn't look too bad, but there was a lot more dust than shavings. I'm used to seeing more shavings.
On top the bench was everything I had been working with at the end. I realized I had also left my tool chest open, one of my cardinal no-no's. Cleaning the dust from inside there would take a while.
In my focus, I just didn't realize how much dust I was creating. I leaned a little more power tool than hand tool on this project, particularly to cut time and effort. You can follow my work in the scuff marks on the floor. Like Prince Humperdinck dissecting the sword fight between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya by their footprints in the sand.
I've never worried that much about dust collection in the shop. Nine months out of the year I work with the side door and the garage door wide open and a breeze blowing through the shop. I also focus more on my hand tools because I enjoy that process more. The sawdust created by my hand tools has a different quality than that made by my machines. It's heavier, spends less time in the air and gets up my nose even less. I don't have anything scientific to back up those observations, so don't ask.
But lately, I have been using my powered friends a little more than before. In late 2009 early 2010 I started a hand tool sabbatical, wanting to learn how to work in an unplugged capacity. No lie, there was a big learning curve, I mangled some wood and I learned a lot to where I am now. Master by no means, I'd call it reasonably competent. Now that my power tools are creeping back into the workflow at appropriate times, I find the way I use them has changed.
I used to approach them from a very production like mentality. "I'm going to cut all the boards for this part of the project to these dimensions and I won't move the fence until complete." It's become a lot more intuitive now. I look at measurements less because I know the cut I'm expecting to get from saw. I've almost completely given up crosscutting on my tablesaw and I haven't cut much joinery, a tenon or rabbet, on it in forever.
|Dammit, I even left my chisels out.|
But the thing I have to ponder now is my dust collection. If I continue using my power tools, even as much as 25% of the time, I should improve this part of my shop. If for no other reason than to improve the safety and enjoyability of the time I spend out there. This will take some significant planning and thought, but I'm coming around to the idea that something more than my two brooms and a dust pan strategy is required.
After the war is over, the dust settles down and you get to see what you have left to work with.
Ratione et Passionis
|So I slept in a little later than I expected but it's all good. I was just out to light a fire in the shop and I've just made my morning coffee. Getting ready to roll. #SSBO|
|These are the five parts I laminated up in preparation. They've been in clamps for a week waiting for today . #SSBO|
|#SSBO four luscious and lovely laminated legs plus one seriously stacked seat. White oak.|
|#SSBO Plans and plan of action hanging up and here we go.|
|#SSBO planing one edge of the seat flat so I can square the rest on the table saw.|
|#SSBO surfacing finished on the legs and seat. If I just stack it like this can I be done? It's cold out here. (For the record Chris Wong answered me back on twitter and said "No!" so I kept at it)|
|#SSBO calling an audible in the design. On paper I had the legs flairing out at the bottom. It didn't look right. Changed up to some stepped cloud lifts. And moving forward.|
|#SSBO I've really gotten to like using a sector and dividers to layout things. Dividing the board into thirds is so easy this way.|
|#SSBO Tenon accomplished/ :) pondering a lunch break but I think I'll hold off a while.|
|#SSBO directly laying out the mortises from the already cut tenons.|
|#SSBO mortises at the ready.|
|#SSBO drilling out the mortises in the seat.|
|#SSBO Mortises accomplished. A little dry assembly. Then lunch.|
|#SSBO A littler tweaking is needed but I think I'm on the right track.|
|#SSBO marking out the mortises for the stretchers|
|#SSBO tenons cut with the waste split off the stretchers|
|#SSBOFirst stretcher mortise and tenon fit. 3 more to go.|
|#SSBO stretchers all fit together for a dry fit. I was going to sculpt the stretchers some but I kind of like how them as is.|
|#SSBO the Roubo bench has holdfast holes in the legs. So does my Roubo shop stool.|
|#SSBO How do you make your own dowel pins? Instead of paring the edges with a chisel to fit into my doweling plate I sharpen them with a construction pencil sharpener.|
|#SSBO the day started out around -930 with some coffee. It ends 13 hours later with some good bourbon.|
I installed a couple new shop lights, now I have all my major work areas well illuminated. This is a good thing. I managed to organize and put away the tools and tool boxes I had hauled out to help at my brother's. I also managed to shuffle around my accumulated stock in search of something appropriate to use in the upcoming Shop Stool Build Off.
I had plenty of white oak in piles, but some of it is already spoken for in other projects. None of it was as thick as I remembered. I thought I had some 8/4 stock, but it all turned out to be 5/4. This realization pushed a couple decisions.
The thickness of stock tells me I have to laminate pieces together to get what I want out of it. The project is a fun, one day diversion. But I don't want to buy special lumber for it, I want to use up some of what I've stockpiled. I took the rest of the day to rough out and laminate glue together the stock for the four legs and the seat. I know the build off is supposed to be a one day only build, but I couldn't afford to do this on the day of and wait for the glue to set on all the major pieces.
If those participating deem this foul play, then I will have to live with that sentence and consider myself disqualified. That will not stop my participation on the 25th.
The stock I decided to use also wasn't wide enough to cut a suitable round blank from. The original plan I had for the seat.
So I modified my attack to be a little closer to the look of the Roubo Plate 11 bench itself.
Here's the measured drawing I completed earlier this morning to check my proportions and spacing. Going with a rectangular seat (similar to the seat on my current shop stool) also removes the design issue I was having with the crossing stretchers. It's a bit stiffer and more formal in shape but I think I can help that with some sculpting of the seat, legs, and stretchers. I wish I had the time to laminate another section to the top and make it thicker yet, but I figure I had better leave well enough alone.
I do like adding the details of the holdfast holes in the legs. I'm not sure they'll be truly functional with the length of my Gramercy Holdfasts. We will see in time but that would be such a bonus.
It's an ambitious project to pull off in a one day build, I think it's do able, but it will be a long day. To keep myself on track and task I wrote out a step by step list to follow. Thirty One steps seems like a lot, and maybe it is. But you don't know how much you can accomplish until you try. I've been kind of big on testing myself lately to find the limits.
I think that's why this build off appealed to me so much.
(I know it stops at 29, but you'll also notice there's a, 11.5 and a 17.5. and just now as I'm writing this I thought of a 26.5 "Level the Legs" so that makes 32 steps)
Ratione et Passionis
If you haven't signed up to be part of the Shop Stool Build Off to be held on January 25th and think you may be interested, head over to visit the mastermind Chris Wong from Flair Woodworks and learn more. The link to the Build Off page is here
I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.