Search This Blog

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.