Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Oh, the sackback. The chair that started it all for me many years ago. I have made more of this chair than I can recall. It's a great chair to learn windsor technique. The bendings are simple, the seat is simple to carve, and assembly is straight forward. It still has it's challenges and I still like making this chair. It has a comforting look of purity and American history that draws me to it even now. I think this may be the perfect first chair for beginners.

 This version with double bobbin legs is a great choice if you want to do your own turnings and don't feel comfortable turning the ballaster style. This natural finished chair is white oak with an elm seat.
 This week I am working on a set of 4 sackbacks for a couple in Nashville. This is the page in my chair book that keeps me on track to make them all the same. See if you can make since of these numbers.
 I have the first one complete. I always build them one at a time even though I might turn everything at once. Tomorrow I will be splitting more oak for bending arms and backs.
 Other things around the shop lately. We just returned from the Braves game in Atlanta. They beat the Giants on Sunday 3-0. It was fun spending time with Kim and Logan.
 My student Fell just completed this musician's perch. The box stretcher with four legs works nice hooking your heel while playing a guitar. I like his design and deep carvings. I am going to make him do his turnings on the next one himself. He should have no trouble.
 This is the chair we demo'd the rocker jig at Kelly Mehler's a while back. I finished the chair at home using the new "Real Milk Paint" and shellac technique that Pete Galbert just blogged about. We played around with that at Kelly's. It works great and is very durable. I highly recommend trying this finish.
 The red really shows under two coats of black. Very little elbow grease involved in this process.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Forging Ahead

What a great week we had in Berea, Ky. at Kelly Mehler's school of woodworking. Peter Galbert did a fantastic job as usual with great new information and tools that he taught everyone to make. Early in the week we made curved adzes with the gas forge with O1 tool steel.  
 Here you can see Kelly who worked really hard to keep up with the things Pete and I had to mill for the students. He never complains.
 Here is Pete with his draw sharp tool he invented to sharpen draw knives. I can't wait until he introduces this on his blog. It's very cool.
 One of the highlights of the week was when the students used the adze they made to carve the seats for the shave horse they made. We had a great group of students. Kelly said it was the best class he ever had. (inside joke)

 This is the horse we built for Kelly to keep at the school. The smart head design that Pete invented worked flawlessly. Everyone's horse came out perfect.
 Pete demo'd his rocker slot cutting jig. I made a rocker base to try the jig. It works so good and really tunes the rockers to allow things that couldn't be achieved before and so fast. I have an extra jig for sale if anyone is interested.
 And yet another jig Pete designed is this adjustable tool rest for grinding tools with the slow speed grinder. I hope he shows this on his blog. It is one to watch.
 We had lots of fun and I know the students got more than they paid for. Pete always gives 150% of himself. I am sure all the students were overwhelmed with all the cool things they learned. I know I was.
 Kelly decided to sell his FW complete set. I got lucky to be in the right place at the right time and took these beauties home. They look great on my bookshelf in the shop. Thanks again kelly.

 Although we were all tired in the end we were all smiling. Great class.