Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fan Back Class at Kelly Mehler's School of Woodworking

Time spent at kelly Mehler's school is time well spent. We had a great group of guys who had lots of chair making experience. The ones who were making there first chair soaked up Curtis' instructions with ease. 
 That's the beauty of Curtis' style of teaching which is simplistic straight forward methods that people can connect with without their head exploding. He has done this long enough and is a natural at what he does. Oh, and did I mention what great stories he tells.
 Here are shots of the students hard at work. Sam, I must have missed you.

 If I failed to mention we built the Fan Back Windsor designed by Dave Sawyer and refined by Curtis Buchanan. This chair looks good 360 degrees.
 I believe Kelly was pleased with the job that Curtis did and probably will have him back in the future.

Next week I will review the new draw knife from John Neeman tools that I help develop last year. It arrived in the mail while I was in Berea and it is a thing of beauty. I will also update the progress on the timber frame shed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Paint Lick

Inspiration comes from many places and yes even the small town of Paint Lick, Kentucky. Don Weber is a bodger, blacksmith, timber framer, teacher and probably anything he wants to be while using old ways to make his chairs and other furniture. He is a master of the spring pole lathe. While teaching with Curtis Buchanan last week we took a field trip from Kelly Mehler's school over to Don's shop.
 Don, who has unending energy, took us all over his shop and discussed various techniques that he uses. Below you see him talking with Curtis and reminiscing the past. Friday night with these guys telling stories and tasting hand crafted beer which is brewed next door. Doesn't get much better than that.
 All over the shop tools awaiting Don's hands are covered in the dust from a days work. The tools themselves are art. It seems like I'm seeing my future inside his shop.

 His blacksmith shop in the back is very inspiring and would be impressive on its own.
 Here Don explains how he makes his own charcoal from hardwood scraps from the shop. He burns them in the barrel while controlling the air and fire at the right time.
 He has a very impressive box of timber frame tools that I wish I could get my hands on.
 Even Roy Underhill was there. What a character!
 Here is one of Don's chairs.

 What a great evening spent with Don Weber. I hope to return again someday and hear some more great stories.
This week I am cutting the joints for the garden tool shed. I'll show more on that later and talk about our class at Kelly's. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Juggling Turnings and Tenons

Soon I will travel the road to Kelly Mehler's shop in Berea Kentucky to spend a week teaching with Curtis Buchanan. I  am in the middle of completing the turnings for the class which will be a fan back side chair. I'm turning enough for 15 chairs and I must admit I am getting a little stir crazy. These fan back post are fun to turn but they like to chatter a little. Keeping the tools sharp is a must.
 The legs are complete and I have almost depleted my maple supply. So I guess it's back to the log yard.
 To keep from going mad while turning I take breaks and work on the timber shed frame. I got set up today to finally start cutting the tenons on the posts. Cutting the timbers to length is fast accurate work with the 16'' beam saw.
 The first of the tenons have begun. I saw the kerfs and pair to the line with the slick. This red oak works so much easier than the white oak. These trees were so straight in the forest when I cut them and they have remained that way ever since. Good stuff.
 Here is my set up with the tent to keep the sun off the timbers and myself. Later this week it will be in the mid 90's and shade is a must.
 Looks like the shave horse will be lonely for a few weeks. I leave for Berea in a week. Curtis and I will have 11 students. It should be a good class. I'll post pictures when I return.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Turning Skewless

This is how I taught myself years ago to turn this leg. I make no apologies for not using the skew and sanding the turning.I have learned the skew but old habits prevail. I like to think this is how the common man does it. See if you notice the catch. I have 60 legs to turn for Curtis' class at Kelly Mehler's school coming up in a few weeks. This should be a good class.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Timber Frame Shed Foundation

We have had so much rain lately that I am just now getting the foundation done for the tool shed. Seven floor joist that have to be cut to length and sized at the ends to fit the mortise.
 After cutting to length I saw kerfs down to just above the correct depth of the tenon.
 I knock these off with the carpenter axe.
 Then simply plane the surface off to the line with the slick.
 These are white oak floor joist and work easy in clear grain. This wood is very green.
 The last step is to adze off the stepped surface down to the tenon.
 I think this is done to help prevent cracks down the beam.
 Ready to install in the frame, the floor joist from start to finish only takes about 10 minutes.
 All seven joist done and waiting for the frame to begin.
 The foundation is ready. We have set the date for the barn raising for August 17th. The Cumberland Furniture Guild is going to have their summer meeting here based around this raising. All are welcome to come so mark your calenders.
 I'll leave you with this bit of color. Raspberries are coming in and with all the rain they are very sweet. Stay tune for more timber framing post. I'll start the three bents next.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

From Across the Country and the World

The family and I just returned from the Black Hills in South Dakota. I'll try not to bore you with too many vacation photos but here are a few. Mount Rushmore is simply awesome. 
 Mr. Borglum who carved the mountain died just before it was completed. His son finished the work. It took the crew 14 years to carve all the faces. I thought chairs took a long time.
 We saw Crazy Horse. This is a mountain currently being carved to commemorate the American Indian. The silhouette in the foreground is how it will look someday. They have been carving this for 50 years with no end in sight. To give the size, the Mount Rushmore carving could fit on the forehead of Crazy Horse. It's huge!
 Everywhere I went I picked up beautiful granite rocks. This one was blasted from Crazy Horse. I'll put some of these rocks in the foundation of the timber frame shed.
 We drove through the Badlands. No garden here. Very cool place. I could imagine it would be like walking on the moon. Logan wanted to climb everything which stressed out Kim.
 Rapid City, South Dakota just happened to be in Pennington County. I could live here if they had more hardwood for chair making. (my last name is Pennington if you didn't know)
 Upon returning home I found a wonderful package with curly Red Gum inside. This is from Glen Rundell from Australia. This is what his firewood looks like.
 Recently he blogged about some firewood he got that was all very curly. Well you know we Americans love curly wood so I requested some to turn some handles. Check out his blog here.
 Instead of turning handles for an antique draw knife I thought I would finally do something with these stained handles on my Barr knife with the big nuts. Don't get me wrong, this is a great knife and the handles can easily be removed which is a good feature. But those nuts....
 If you have never removed your handles from a Barr knife this is how it looks.
 While I had the handles off I heated the handles to bend and fine tune for a bevel up knife. Heating to cherry red is the only way to bend this knife. I also buffed the whole knife on the baretex to polish further.
 Then I turned the Red Gum. It turns nice but I really had to sharpen the tools to keep from chipping this curl.
 I turned the handles to incorporate the nut that holds the handle inside the end. I had to cut some of the stud to keep the same length handle.

 I like the simple look and the heft of this wood makes this knife have a quality feel. Glen, you are the man. Thanks for not burning those two pieces. Cheers!