Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Learn to make a Chippendale Table

Chippendal Table copy

When people think Chippendale furniture they think of ball and claw feet and elaborate carvings. What many seem to forget is the some of simplified Chippendale furniture. I love period examples that have marlboro feet with stop chamfers on the legs. The astragal moulding that is wrapped around the table's frame or moulded into the top.  These details yell CHIPPENDALE, but without all the robust details.  

Starting this February I will teaching how to make this great Chippendale table. I will be teaching this course over 4 Saturdays.  This will be a fun class and one I think many will enjoy. I hope you can all join me in exploring the more simplified version of Chippendale furniture. For more information please visit the following link; Chippendale Table Class 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Chiavari Chair.

Over the years I have been attracted to a style of chair that appear quite delicate. Unfortunately I didn't know how to describe such a chair or its origin. It took Tim Manney a talented Chairmaker and his blog to finally find its origin and history. The chair is known as a Chiavari Chair! 

Don't be fooled by its delicate appearance. The Chiavari chair is an extremely durable whimsical looking chair. I have purchased a couple of these Chiavari style chairs at flea markets over the years. I keep the two chairs hanging on the wall in my shop. I look at them daily and envision making them. Its quite amazing to see all the angles and shaping on the chairs. I look forward to exploring them and hopefully finding more of them. Maybe I can convince Tim Manney to work on one together. 

This style of chair was first designed in 1807 by a chair maker, named Giuseppe. The goal for Giuseppe was to make a chair that could be lifted with a single finger. There is only one factory in Chiavari that still makes these chairs by hand. The Fratelli Levaggi Chair Factory was founded 50 years ago with the goal to replicate the craftsmanship of the Chiavarina chair.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Un Trabajo Feliz... Happy Work...

"In the whole world there's only two kinds of jobs. There's a a job you take a shower before you got to work in the morning. And there's a job the you take a shower when you com home from work at night. And the world needs both of us."-Eric Hollenbeck.

If you ever wanted to understand the efforts a craftsperson puts in every piece, than I highly recommend the following video; Happy Work... Un Trabajo Feliz...  Over the last 10 years of my professional career I have tried to share with the world what really is involved in making a piece of furniture or repairing a wooden artifact. What may appear simple in peoples eyes is usually much more complex. If this field was than everyone would be doing it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

How to become a writer....

On May 29, 2011 Chris Schwarz wrote a post on his blog titled "How to Become a Writer".  Since I read this post I have been working hard to become a better writer.  I am nowhere near where I want to be. I decided to buy the book Chris recommended and hope to improve. The book he recommended can be seen above. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Wedge

I often get asked how do I take apart chairs? Well usually chairs come to me because they are often loose, which means there are gaps between the joints. This allows me to use artist pallet knives and wedges to separate the joints.  The wedges depending on the wood and value can be made from pine, poplar, or even maple. I have a ton on hand for I break them often. There are also moments when hot vinegar is used to help soften the glue. Its amazing what a little vinegar warmed in the microwave can do for you.  

Moving damage on a carved frame

Recently I have decided to record some of my work. This goes back to the day I read Chris Schwarz blog post on why to blog. Sometimes its not about who reads your blog but rather have your work recorded for the future. 

I was recently contacted by a restorer who had a mirror that was damaged in a move. I am not sure why the broken elements weren't saved! So I made a mold from another section of the mirror that matched closely to the missing section. Once the mold harden in about 6 hours I was able to remove it from the mirror.  I than poured the casting material in the mold and within 1 hour I had a mold made. 

Next came the shaping, filing, sanding, and carving of the mold.  Attaching the mold to the small tips was also fun. I am not sure why, but I love this complex work. I barrier coated all wooden areas that was going to be glued with hide glue, and once dry I epoxied the mold in place.  

After the epoxy was dry I applied some red and yellow ochre pigments, and than some gold pigment powders. Lastly I applied a little shellac. I am happy with the results and so is the client.   

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Ebony Cane

A client had a walking cane made from Gaboon Ebony, unfortunately the husks broke off. The clients wanted to inquire if by chance could I take a bone bracelet cut it down, shape it to fit, and glue the pieces in as husks.  As I was always told early on in my career, you never say no to a paying job.  

Well I did it...  I cut the bracelet and made two husk out of them and glued them in place. Below is a series of photos of the effort and an over view of a beautiful cane. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lee Valley Carbide Sharpener

 Lee Valley is selling an amazing tool for all round blade sharpening. The Universal Sharpener, is nothing more than a solid piece of carbide attached to a foldable knife like holder.  I can't take the credit for finding such an item, my mentor Mike Mascelli is the one who discovered it.  Mike was looking for a quicker way to sharpen scissors, which we usually filed by hand. Sadly these days files are not made as good as they once were, so we have been playing around with other methods.

Well we found it and its a life saver. I don't leave home with out it. But scissors are not the only thing this sharpener excels at, I use it for marking knives, kitchen knives, the knife on the making gauge, axes, spoon carving gouges, and so much more.

I decided to share this since everyone I show this to seems to think its the best thing since Lie-Nielsen starting making the honing guide.  So pick one up before Chris Schwarz blogs about it and than they are back ordered. Here is some more info on Universal Sharpener



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The honing guide....

Many years ago when I first started in woodworking I would sharpen all my tools with a honing guide. I didn't know how to hollow grind, or even how to lock my wrists to establish a constant angle when honing.  I depended on the honing guide so much that I bought several, with the hopes of owning more than one would speed things along.  What really occurred was every tool was skewed and every water stone got bellied from the honing guide running over it.

Early on I said to myself I must get rid of these honing guides within six months. My reasoning for wanting to get rid of them was simply due to my mentors never used one so why should I. Well today I am happy to say I can hollow grind my tools with out issue, and I can sharpen free hand.  But that all changed once I listened to Deneb Puchalski from Lie-Nielsen tool works.  Deneb broke down sharpening like no other person.  At first I thought to myself wow this is a great selling pitch, but when a fellow craftsman was constantly questioning, Deneb had a response and great reasoning. Everything that Deneb said made sense so I decided to try the honing guide at  the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event.

What I love about the honing guide is the accuracy and ease of use. Its obvious to see quality, but it is a Lie-Nielsen... I am happy to also see that it doesn't take long to get the tools sharp and there is very little concern of dishing of the stones. This is all possible from the Get Sharp Fast system Deneb has developed. Now all my tools won't work with the guide since it is designed for Lie-Nielsen tools, but that said the majority of my tools will work without issue. So there is still a place to master free hand sharpening.  Deneb also shared with me his sharpening process and ruler method, when to use it and why to use it.  I followed his instructions and I must say what a great honing guide and what a awesome sharpening concept he has developed. I ended up buying the honing guide with the basic small jaws and long jaws, I love it. This will also be great to have on hand for students that are just getting into woodworking. This will allow them to achieve success and not be hindered by all they have to learn.

The sharpening set up that Deneb recommends can be seen in the picture below and its exactly what I am going to make to fit my stones.  If you are interested to know more about this process than you can visit Lie-Nielsen Angle Setting Jig PDF and you also visit Fine Woodworking issue #213. The title of the article is Get Sharp Fast. This is a new and welcoming set up that I am happy to own it and so will my future students/apprentices.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Woodworking Publications

Every month or so a new publication seems to be published. Some are better than others, and some are fairly new. The first publication that caught my eye was Fine Woodworking magazine and than I tripped upon Popular Woodworking. Both of these publications are great and opened my eyes to many different aspects of woodworking.

When I attended the Furniture Institute of Mass my hand skills and woodworking knowledge advanced from beginner to intermediate and now to advance.  Do I have still have a lot to learn, why yes I do and forever will.  This is why I love this craft.

Over the years I have fallen out of love for  woodworking magazines. I am not sure why, but for some odd ball reason I thought I didn't gain as much or even nothing at all.  There were even times that I let my publications lapse. But recently this all changed, and I am back in love with everything that is published. Why this change of heart? Well I decided to be open minded. I feel every article has something to offer, either in wording, photos, layout, or just the information itself. There is always something to learn from in every article.  I am also happy to see the newest issues coming in mail because they have been awesome from cover to cover.

Thank you Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking for all the hard work.