Saturday, January 23, 2016

The broken element on a turned leg.

Recently I received an English table made with two drawers and legs that had a repeated bead turning. Unfortunately the table was once repaired with a bolt was driven from the inside of the table.  Sadly all the bolt did was weaken the leg and cause damage.

A flat was made to receive a new piece of mahogany. I barrier coated the leg with hide glue and fit a piece in the notch. The adhesive used for this glue up was West System Epoxy. After the epoxy dried I played out the diameter of the turning and sawed close to the line.  

Filed the new block round to the line. I than filed in the cove to match. The tool of choice was a round tapered file.  

I scribed all the elements of the turning. This ensured a place for my chisels and files to reference.

Once the elements were scribed I than chiseled a way some of the wood. While beware of the reveal. 

Once I felt I had enough material removed I used a file to give me the reveal I wanted.
Using a file also gave me more control. 

This is the constant view of the shape. I often check to make sure I am screwing something up. 

The top bead of the turning needed rounding. As I was thought as a student, chamfer first and than chamfer the chamfers. Soon it has to be round.  

I than took a #6 gouge to give me the exact curve I needed. Beware of grain direction is crucial at this point. 

The end result.

All that is left is a little sanding, dying, inpainting, and top coat. After that I will install a square peg to the end of the leg. Once the glue has dried I will install it back on the table.

Smoke and Flame. The fire wood manufacturer.

Each person has a certain sense of humor. I for one love anything that makes me laugh. With that I share with you the wood manufacturer Fire and Flame.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Transforming traditional to modern

The more I work in this field the more I realize information and skill is being lost daily.  A perfect example is the upholstery field. Everyone wants to remove the pass and replace it with modern day crap. Upholstering furniture is a frustrating field. Almost everyone thinks the work is easy and it can be done quickly. Really the best part of upholstery is the lack of down time. But like everything else I do upholstering takes time and patience.   

Why get into upholstery?

I decided a long time ago to be a jack of all trades and master of none. Being able to dabble in all areas of making, preserving, restoring, gilding, and upholstering allows me to stay in business. I can now take on so much work and turn away very little. But more importantly I wanted to preserve the past with the hope that a new generation of craftspeople can learn from what I preserved.  This is why I started a blog. 

Recently I had the opportunity to upholster a Victorian side chair made around the late 1890's in Massachusetts.  The owner of the chair wanted me to remove the pass and replace it with modern day foam. The goal in mind was to show buyers that old furniture can still look good by simply replacing the show cover. 

 I took the job knowing I can give this chair new life but also preserve the pass.I didn't want to remove the horse hair or springs because they are still the best option for upholstered furniture. To assist me in this new adventure I called upon my friend/mentor master upholster Mike Mascelli.  Mike came to the shop to show me how to preserve the pass.  

Jobs like this always seem to have a budget. I did everything possible to not cut corners but at the same time get the job done quickly. Below are a series of photos highlighting the process.  

Victorian Chair Made in 1897. Under the show cover we found horse hair, burlap, cotton and springs. There is a diamond pattern back with buttons that we wanted to preserve. Instead of removing the back we filled the cavity in hopes of making it look like one solid piece.  

The original webbing needed replacing. We used hog rings to capture the springs in place. If we were accessing the springs from above than we could of tied the springs in place using traditional methods. But this is where budgets come into play and decisions must be made.   

Filling in the diamond pattern in hopes to preserve history.
Preserving history. Why replace it with foam. 

Temp tacking the show cover in place.  Staples were used in the end due to the rails becoming  shredded wheat from previous tacking. Centering the fabric's pattern was crucial. I was happy to see that the back appeared a solid piece of foam.  

Applying welting with hot melt glue. 
All done. Not perfect. But budgets play in the final outcome. I am happy to see that a simple change of fabric made the chair look modern.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Another year in business

Another year has come and gone.  I am not sure if I should feel optimistic to what 2016  has to offer or bittersweet as another year has come and gone.  This year marks my 16th year in business.  Only 12 out of the 16 years have I worked as a full-time artisan. I am happy with my success and hope for more to come. I never imagined I would be jack of all trades and master of none. 

Being a jack of all trades really means significant inventory. At times the inventory can be a burden.  There is a ton of investment necessary and a lot of skill to gain.  I am happy with my choices since I am able to take on all sorts of work. As a business owner I really never have a day off. Guilt always comes over me when I decide to take a so called day off. But really my days off involves researching or taking care of the never ending paper work. 

This field isn't for everyone and it's much harder than the majority thinks. When I'm working I'm moving non stop. There is much to learn and experience in this field. I'm as good as I am simply because of all the mistakes I have made.  I can only hope I don't make them again.

I'm not sure what is next but I'm sure you'll find me working away and trying to prove everyone wrong. I know I can make a good living in this field.