Since my last post, quite a bit has happened. The biggest change is that my wife and I bought our first house this past spring. Its a nice cape cod with a two car garage and plenty of room in the back yard for a small shop. I am hoping next summer I’ll be able to build said shop, maybe a 12×16 if the city allows it. For the time being, I am in the garage. The last six months of 2012 I spent my time building a hutch for some friends that got married. Well even into the first part of 2013. I was bound and determined to get it done so the blog suffered. After that, came the house buying process and moving. Then I finally finished my Bow Back Windsor chair that I started last year. And just recently, I took a Fan Back Windsor chair class with Curtis Buchanan at Kelly Mehler’s school. That was a great a time. Curtis was a fantastic teacher, and despite his laid back demeanor, he is super precise and his attention to detail helps to make for a great chair. You can see some more from the class on Greg Pennington’s blog. So now this week I am finally finishing my Arts and Crafts bookcase that made two years ago. Then I’ll get on to the coffee table I promised my wife, a new workbench, shavehorse, and more chairs. Once I get this book case finished, I promise to take better care of documenting my builds and writing here. If anyone is still reading….
So lately work has taken a hold of my life. However, my weekends were also pretty well used up through out October. Fortunately it was woodworking stuff. SAPFM meeting, Midwest Tool Collectors, and finally Woodworking in America. So rather than spending a bunch of time typing, I am just going to put up a bunch of pictures so I can go do some woodworking.
This past August I started working with my friend Jim Crammond building a Windsor chair. Jim is a hobbyist woodworker who happens to enjoy making Windsors. He also teaches classes at Tillers International in Scotts, MI on how to make Windsor chairs and stools. I met Jim through the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association and bugged him to give me a one-on-one lesson.
I got the interest in learning to make one of these chairs after seeing a sack back that Mike Dunbar made at Roy Underhill’s mill. (Talk about name dropping!) Since seeing that chair I bought John Brown’s Welsh Stick Chairs and Drew Langsner’s The Chairmaker’s Workshop. Since getting these books and seeing all the different styles, I really came to love the comb backs, sack backs, and the stick chairs that John Brown made.
So after meeting Jim and convincing him that it would be a good idea to teach me how to make a chair, we decided to start with probably the simplest of the Windsors, the bow back. Jim’s thought was that the bow back gives you lessons in use of the drawknife to make the spindles and back, steam bending to form the back, turning the legs and stretchers, carving the seat, and assembly.
On my first visit, we split out a red oak log for the spindles and then shaped those with a drawknife and spokeshave. On my last visit we split out a piece of red oak for the back, shaped it, and then steam bent it. I also started to turn the maple legs. Hopefully I’ll be heading back to Jim’s in a couple of weeks to make some more legs. I am guessing it should take three more visits to get the turning done, make the seat, and then assemble it. So far the whole process has been great. Jim is a very good instructor and courteous host. My only regret is that I can’t really practice any of the lessons learned in my current living situation. Unfortunately there really isn’t any room for a pile of logs, a shavehorse, or a lathe in an apartment. I also have serious case of shop envy.
With the exception of putting on the lock, I am done. Since I painted the chest, I built the last two trays, and installed the pulls, chain, and casters. It took me longer than I had hoped but I am happy with the way it turned out.
Now I can finally get started on some new projects. A friend of mine got me a pile of cherry so I am going to make a coffee table to match my little side table I made a couple of years ago. The other thing I am going to make is a bow-back windsor with my friend Jim Crammond. Hopefully we’ll be able to get started on that next weekend. The bow-back isn’t really my favorite style, however I am really just looking to learn the techniques.
This weekend I took my full size tool chest and small chest down to my friends house for paint. I decided on Original Milk Paint’s soldier blue over barn red for my full size chest. The smaller one I just used the barn red. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough to time to get the large chest completely done so I’ll have to go back next weekend to finish it up. This was the first time I used milk paint and I thought it went quite well. For the full size chest I gave it two coats of the barn red and then two coats of the soldier blue. The blue went on bit thinner than the red so I think it will take at least another coat to cover everything up. The smaller chest I gave two coats of the barn red. I then went over it with fine scotch-brite pad and finally ragged on some boiled linseed oil. The oil really made the paint pop. I also managed to get the trays dovetailed but only got one completed and fitted in the chest. Once I get it back home I’ll finish the last two trays, install the hardware, and fill it up.
Saturday I was able to get together with Jim Crammond, a woodworker who I met through the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. I went to his shop with no real expectations except that we share a mutual interest in Windsor chairs and hand tools. During my visit, Jim gave me lessons in riving, spindle making, and turning. Though none of this was formal, I still learned quite a bit and had a great time. Hopefully I’ll be able to get together with him again the future and maybe make a chair.
Well, haven’t had much time for woodworking lately. I’ve been busy with work which is a mixed blessing. More money in the bank but less time at home. Fortunately I was able to get some time this long weekend and make some more progress on my tool chest. Since my last post I was able to put on the dust seal around the lid and install the lid. I also got the wood to start finishing the inside; poplar for the trays, white oak for the runners and tray bottoms. This weekend I ripped those boards and jointed them. I made up the saw till and installed it and the board to separate the bottom of the chest. Next came the runners on the inside which were attached with nails and glue. Finally I got all the boards ready to start dovetailing the trays. I am hoping to get those all together throughout the rest of the week and this upcoming weekend. Then I’ll just have to install the rest of the hardware and paint it.
Today Megan Fitzpatrick announced that Popular Woodworking is going to be releasing the Woodwright’s Shop on DVD. This totally made my day.
In my own little world of woodworking, I haven’t had much time lately to work on my tool chest. The dust seal is on the lid, the hinges are on, the rest of the hardware is in hand, and I have a pile of poplar and oak to cut up for the insides. More on that later.