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Saturday, December 28, 2013

First Two Knee Blocks Completed

I did not do any woodworking yesterday.  I had to do the museum tour with my wife.  We started in the morning and it took all day.  We did the Cleveland Museum of Art Sicily Exhibit and Great Lakes Science Center Titanic Exhibit and the IMax movie.  Then we went to the Casino and then to dinner.  I was worn out.
So working in the workshop today was like a day of rest.  I did complete 2 to the knee blocks.  I am happy with the results and will keep these.   There are quite a few steps in the sawing and shaping of these but it necessary to get them to look right.  So here is the latest video;

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Knee Blocks are Proving to be a Real Challenge

Well it is the day after Christmas and I am back in the shop.  I had a whole day to think about how I will shape the knee blocks.  They are cone shaped but I am still not sure how I will make them.  I cut out one like have done other knee blocks but that did not work at all.  So, you will see in the video that after some trial and error I think I made some progress on the final shape.  This is not a quick process and require some carving.  So, here is the video:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve in the Workshop

I did get some time in the workshop today.  I fitted the corner blocks to the frame and then I used the strap clamp to hold them in place while I started to figure out how to shape the knee blocks.  These are going to be a challenge to shape since they are small and it is hard to put them in a vise.  The knee blocks are cone shaped, smaller at the top and wider at the bottom.  It is difficult for me to visualize the shape.
Here is the video:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Finished the Legs and the Corner Turrets

Hi, I have finished carving the legs and scrapped, filed and sanded the legs to 150 grit, so they can be attached to the table frame.  It is much easier to do the major surface preparation before the legs are attached.  I will sand them to 320 grit before finishing but that should not be too much works since they have been sanded to 150 already.
I glued the corner turrets to the legs in preparation for attaching to the apron table frame.  I'll do that tomorrow.
I split apart the side turrets and scraped the paper and glue from between them and then cut them to exact size.  If I have time, I may attach them as well tomorrow.
So here is the video:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Update on Carving Leaves on the Knees

It has been several days since I started carving the knees of the table with the leaf pattern that I selected.  I have not spent all that much time in the shop.   Our daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Sunday, so we have been busy watching their two year old boy to help out.  But I did get into the shop today and made some progress on the carving.  I should finish tomorrow.   The carving is getting easier since I have already done one practice and 2 legs.  So here is the updated video with my new camera, the video is in HD now.  I keep the old camera in the shop but it is too dusty to leave the new camera out there.
Here is the video:

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Good Day For Carving

I have made some progress on the table. It is cold and snowy here and I have got the shop warm. So it is a good day to be indoors.   I cut 3/16" grooves in the corners of the frame and fitted one leg.  It fit good, so the next step would be to carve the leaf pattern on the knee of each leg.
I cut out the pattern of a full leaf, but it was difficult to trace on the knee with carbon paper.  So I cut it in half and trace the outline on each side.  Then I drew in the veins.  I did a practice leaf on an old cabriolet leg that was laying around in the shop.  It was a good warm up.  Now I have on leg carved.  Three more to go.
So here is the video.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doug Moulder's Skew Blade Panel Plane

A friend of mine, Doug Moulder is really into making his own wooden planes.  He recently completed a half set of hollows and rounds, snipes bills and side rounds.  Now after seeing the article in Popular Woodworking, he decided to make the skew blade panel plane.  He make is own 3D drawings to help figure out the various angles.  He did build a prototype out of maple and then but the good one out of beech.
So here is the video of us testing his new plane.  Great job Doug!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Selecting the Knee Carving and Making the Table Frame

It has been a busy two days, I studied the knee carving and made a blow-up so I could see the detail.  After all that I decided that I did not like the design.  So, I have decided to use one that I already had a plaster cast from Mary May.  I checked with my wife and she gave it the ok.
I milled some stock 13/16 x 4" for the table frame, laid out and cut dovetails.  I made some table buttons to hold the top to the frame and then cut a grove for them to fit into.  Then I glued up the frame.
Tomorrow, I am going to carve a leaf on a practice leg to see how difficult this one is, I have carved knees before but it has been awhile.

So here is the video:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Corner Turrets Are Not That Easy

Well I spent quite a bit of time in the shop the last two days.  I had turned the first solid turret which is used on the corner with the leg tenon through it and drilled a hole for the tenon.   I thought that it would be easy to pare the round hole to square but it turned out to be more work than I thought.  In addition, I cracked the turret at the weak point.  So, the first one turned out to be the prototype.  After cutting and fitting, I learned that the leg tenon should be 1 3/16" instead of 1 1/4" and I used my hollow chisel mortise to drill out the holes.
I turned another 4 turrets and followed my new process and I am now about done with the corner turrets.
So, here is the latest video.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More Time in the Shop Today - Progress on the Table

Well I got a lot more time in the shop today and finished turning  the side turrets.  And then I started to work on the corner turrets.
The corner turrets are more complex since they are one piece they are turned out of 16/4 stock.  They also have a mortise which the leg tenon fits.  Lastly, a quarter of the turret is cut away so that it can fit on the corner of the table.
The whole thing will be held on to the table corner with a long screw.
So here is the video of today's work.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turned one turret today and prepared the other blocks

I spent a couple of hours in the shop today turning the side turrets.   I decided to do a video of the detail steps in turning.   After I turned the one, I then turned all of the others to round and marked out the lines.
So, tomorrow  I will start turning the rest.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Latest in the construction of the turret top tea table

Continuing the construction of the Turret Top Tea Table.  I have completed carving 4 ball and claw feet on the table legs.  I am not going  to carve the knees at the present.  I am starting to turn the side turrets.  I am making these from 2" stock which is glued up to 4" blocks.  Each side turret is 1 7/8" thick by 3 3/4" wide by 4" long.  By putting the craft paper between the two pieces, this should make it easier to split apart.
My turning skills are rusty, it has been quite awhile since I have turned anything.  So I have a lot of brushing up to do.
Anyway, here is the video

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Update on the progress of the Turret Top Tea Table

Well I have been busy with other things than my woodworking this last week but I did get a few hours in the shop.
So, here is the latest update on the progress.  I have almost completed 3 ball and claw feet on the legs and I prepared some stock for turning the turrets.
I am going to stop carving when I complete the 4 feet.  I will need to go back an carve the leaf on the knees but I have to decide on a pattern and I don't want to bump these while I am assembling the table. So carving the knees will be very near the end.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Completing the Carving on the First Leg

In this episode, I continue carving the ball and claw foot on the first leg.  I have carved about 24 ball and claw feet so far in my woodworking and it gets easier with each set that I do.  However, since I don't carve them everyday it takes a little warm up time every time I start the carving part of the project.
So, here is the balance of carving the first foot.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Turret Top Tea Table - Starting to Carve the Ball and Claw

I have cut out and shaped the four legs for the table, so now I am going to carve all of the ball and claw feet. The purpose of the videos is to document the steps that I will be going threw to build the tables.  I did not intend to teach how to carve a ball and claw foot.  If you really want to learn how to carve a ball and claw foot you can take a call or buy a video from Mary May.  That's what I did and it sure helped me.
Anyway below is the video with the steps I followed to begin to carve the foot.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Turret Top Tea Table - New Project

I am starting a new project.  I am going to make a turret top tea table.  This is a Boston furniture piece, there are only 6 known to be in existence.  I found the picture and article in the "New England Furniture At Winterthur" by Nancy Richards.  Excellent description and pictures.  As the article says there are 2 tables with 12 scallops and the rest have 14.  The closest to me would be in Deerfield MI, but I don't think I will make the trip.  Jeffery Green has a picture in his book on page 237 with the same dimensions but 14 turrets.
There is a picture with the 12 turrets.
 This is the one that I plan on making.  A number of people have made the piece and I think Gene Landon has plans for it at the Old Mill web site.  I decided that I would draw my own and I got some help from the CloseGrain web site when he posted a drawing from a SAPFM meeting which showed a little detail about the corners.
So, I started by making drawings of the leg and turret.  I decided to make it out of (you guessed it) soft maple.  I know it is a beautiful piece and should be made from fine wood but the turrets are make from 16/4 material.  I considered cherry but 14/4 cherry would be expensive.  Soft Maple is readily available in 12/4 for the legs and 16/4 for the turrets.  I will probably stain it cherry when I am done.
I am going do document the progress with videos and post them to YouTube.  I will include the links here as I work through the construction.
Here is the first video. I try to keep them to about 10 minutes.
I am starting by making the legs.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hollows and Rounds

This last winter I got interested in antique molding planes.  It seems like everyone is interested in these lately.  Individuals like MS Bickford, Larry Williams, Todd Herrli, Caleb James have excited the troops into buying, using and making traditional wooden side escapement planes.  And Lie-Nielsen is helping with tools, videos and steel.  
Well how could I resist. So, I jumped in and bought some 1/4 sawn beech, videos, books, tools and steel.  Then I went to work.  I started with a 1/2" hollow and round.  Here is an early picture
I had purchased my O1 tool steel from McMaster Carr and cut it out with a jig saw.  I tapered the iron on my drum sander. After completing the grinding, hardening and sharpening, I made the first pass on testing out the new plane.
Well, since then I have completed a half set of hollow and rounds.

I also completed a reproduction of a Sandusky 119 screw arm plow plane.
So, now I am taking a break from plane making and back to furniture making......

Eliphalet Chapin Chair

When I started to research my next furniture project I came across this chair by Eliphalet Chapin.  I fell in love with the lines and the simple elegance,

 This chair is in the Yale University Art Gallery and they were nice enough to allow me to photograph and measure it.
I made full size drawings and decided to make two of them out of walnut.  Mine are not exact reproductions. I have changed the arm supports and the arms are slightly different.  I have a bit more carving on mine and the original was made from cherry. So here are my versions of the chair:

I have about 70 photographs of the making of these chairs. Kind of a step by step process

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Retirement and More Furniture

While I was working I did not have a lot of time for woodworking on 18th century furniture.  I traveled full time in my job, so I only had weekends.  Our children (we have four and 5 1/2 grandchildren) made demands for non-period furniture which took up some of the shop time.  So, I was only completing about one piece per year.
In March 2011, I retired after 48 years of working full time.  Now I could devote more time to my passion for 18th century furniture.
Since then I have completed a number of pieces as well as more square furniture for our children, grand children, friends and family.
Here are some of the pieces that I completed in the past 2 years:

Hooked on 18th Century Furniture

So, I was really hooked.  Seven years ago, I joined the SAPFM - Society of American Period Furniture Makers and started to attend their meetings.  I learned a lot and made many new friends with similar interests.  I am active in the Ohio River Valley Chapter and the Great Lakes Chapter.
Well, I always wanted to make a bombe chest, so I got the plans from SAPFM member Craig W. Bentzley and took the plunge.  I wanted to use mahogany for the wood but it would have been quite expensive so I opted out for poplar.  I know it seems like sacrilege but I was not sure I could complete the piece at the time.  I really wanted to test my hand tool techniques.   Here are a couple of pictures of the construction.

The drawer fronts and the dove tails were really challenging.  It came out pretty well and it certainly improved my hand tool skills.  I took a class with Mary May to carve ball and claw feet which really helped.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The History Continues

I kept reading and re-reading the articles in the magazine and learned the names of some famous period furniture makers like Mack Headley Jr. and Eugene Landon.  This led me to search out other books and publications.  I started to read about hand tools and how to use them.  I bought used planes, spokeshaves, carving chisels and started to practice.
This first piece of period furniture I decided to make was a Boston Block Front Knee Hole Desk.  I found the plans in a book "American Funiture Treasures" by Lester Margon.  It didn't have a lot of carving so I thought I could make it.
So I started in and to my surprise it came out better than I expected.

 So, now I was hooked on period furniture making. I started going to museums to view real pieces and bought a bunch of books to study the styles and construction techniques.
The second piece I made was a desk for my son's new house.  We picked it out from a book, "The Living Room - Timeless Traditional Woodworking Projects" by George Buchanan.  Here is the finished desk:

Some History of My Woodworking

Well this is my first blog post.  I thought I would start blogging about my furniture making.  I have been making furniture for quite a number of years.  In the beginning, I made what I call square furniture. Like this:
It is a chest of drawers made from red oak, it does have a bow front drawer but that is relatively easy to make. I purchased the feet and applied the carvings.I did not do any carving in those days or use hand tools. I was a machine woodworker.   I also made arts and crafts style furniture like this:

My wife and I were at an antique show where I found a copy of  "Fine WoodWorking on Making Period Furniture" from 1985.  Not really an antique but it was among the old books.  I thought WOW if I could make furniture like in the magazine I would be a real furniture maker.