Open the mural door … better make it first.


IMG_0692This is a copy of the door to a wall cupboard, or mural cupboard (just the same word but from a Latin stem, posh). I wrote briefly about this local cupboard now in Cliffe Castle Museum here.  Wow that was back in November 2014!  Well now, I’ve lots of pieces of oak hanging around from past projects so I sorted out eight pieces for the door frame and for the door itself plus a broader piece for the center panel.  Then lots of planing to get them all dimensioned, lots of shavings, lots of fire lighting materials, it does burn well does oak, this really is hardly green any longer (better wait until it’s been installed for a while before you get carried away. Ed.).

imageSome of this stuff too.

I think it best to do most of the carving before assembly.  Inevitably, discovered this by error.  Working the groove for the panel and then attacking the edges of an S-scroll carving with large chisel and heavy mallet can have rather unwanted consequences.  But that’s part of learning.  This is the first panel construction I’ve done, and I knew there would be a little frigging around to fill the end of the groove where it exits the stiles with a shoulder on the rail tenons.  That turned out not to be too bad.  The trickiest part was seating the tenons in the mortises.  I must have made a bad decision in opting for 1/8th inch clearance in the mortise bottom.  1 and1/4 inch mortise and 1and 1/8th tenon is a bit close.

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Tenons cut, next just been, draw-boring. Bore the mortise and borders the tenons thickness of a shilling closer to the shoulder.

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Mark the mortise hole through to the tenon, then bore closer, leaving the top of the hole intersecting the mortise hole so the pegs pull the tenon up tight.

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Here are the pegs. Dry oak, they bend through the offset holes.

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Much stronger than a board.

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Good and neat on the back.

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Same process for the frame.

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Ready to draw boring.

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A touch of edging, and we’re ready for hinges.

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Then nailing on’t wall.

Sometimes

I think I make life hard for myself sometimes.

I make garden benches in a particular style.  The style avoids many square angles, straight edges and all those luxuries that make joinery easy to fit together.

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Starting assembly

Who else would use round peeled oakwood for a crest rail, combined with slabbed waney-edged chestnutwood for a saltire back, and riven hedgerow oak for end frames?

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Embryonic end frames

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Saltire components

Making mortise & tenon joints can be demanding; just how does one lay out the two joints to fit the armrests – where does the front through tenon fall, much deliberation, center finding, and, well, some guess-work, I guess.

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Chase the mortise

I’ve found that a full-sized drawing can help with some dimensions.

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How long’s that arm rest to be?

Starts to come together gradually.

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Getting there

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Later

I should stick to helping people make bears.

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Bear & fox.

But then, there is some reward in going out on a limb.

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Clothes rack detail.

Reusing 17th century carving motifs.

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Sycamore chopping board

Redesigning the iPad from the outside:

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Thicker, heavier.

Ah, perhaps life’s not so bad, after all, I do have the privilege of living in God’s Own County (Yorkshire, where it’s always sunny).

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Culloden Tower, Richmond, North Yorkshire

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Richmond, Yorkshire

IMG_0288Cockpit Millennium Garden, Richmond Castle

Stools, hazel and a building site

My wimping on about not getting a prize for my 3 legger caused a couple of comments about voting (notably from  Eric Bloodax Rick McKee, master hewer).  I’ve never tried this before so I thought I’d set up a poll, just for fun, and you should be able to see this in the right sidebar (may need to scroll down a bit or go to the “Home” page until I find out why if you go to an individual post no right sidebar info shows grrr!)).

Just to remind you, here are the stools in question:

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The three legger (Must get that focus sorted man! -Ed).

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The 4 legger with pretty flowers (Are these shots taken in a stone quarry? -Ed).

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Also ran.

Enjoy your voting – you can see the results with a simple click, unlike the retro polling of the political variety.

At the moment I feel a bit like a square peg in a round hole, bursting to fit in, where is that fitting hole?  Where is the support for 17th century joinery?  Should I try the Worshipful Company of Joiners? Am I just too square?

SAMSUNG CSCThe rubbly background to the photos is the rebuild of my workshop, don’t worry, once the masons have finished there will be some timber included, watch this space.

SAMSUNG CSCThe season of woodland deer is ‘pon us once again and my stocks of animal limbs, and antlers was woefully low, so I had a half day cutting the hazel coppice at Wood Nook.  At lunchtime I had a walk round previous years’ cut stools and some regrowth is pretty good

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Some is rather poor, but still has a chance – if the deer will only leave it alone:

SAMSUNG CSCBut around 25% have died 😦

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Speed drawknifing

Hello!

August used to be the month we went on holiday.  Nowadays it seems to be my busiest month what with courses, shows, and caving …

SAMSUNG CSCWell, actually this is my garage/store-room and it leaks far too much, so much so that it will be destroyed and out of the ashes will be built a new glorious stone and green oak workshop with brewery area and a pitched roof. NOT a flat concrete slab that sweats and leaks, cold in Winter boiling hot in Summer.  But first I have to get this lot:

SAMSUNG CSC(You should have seen it before I started throwing things out.)

.. into this:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is a tin shed, 10 foot by 13 that my brother and I just spent 2 days putting up (including making a floating floor for it).  I think I must have screwed about 200 screws in and dropped probably 400 into the flowers.  Anyway it’s up now, and the poor flowers are down.

SAMSUNG CSCAmongst other things to go in The Shed like bee keeping equipment (photo op. for my first honey extraction:

SAMSUNG CSC) are a cast iron band saw, a second-hand multi-fuel boiler I bought in readiness for the new workshop (well for the brewery really), all my tools, two bikes, about half the last charcoal burn output (our warm Summer has suddenly stopped), various jerry cans of fuel etc, etc.  And then I need to find somewhere else secure to put the two chainsaws.  Man!

Anyways, I’ve started running spoon carving courses finally and made this totally silly spoon during the course of it.

SAMSUNG CSCYep, bark and moss on (C’mon – who’s going to buy that? – Ed):

SAMSUNG CSCThe interesting thing is the spoon is photographed casually relaxing on the roughed out top of the clover leaf top three-legged stool I’m about to make for a competition.  I’ve worked out that the legs will be truncated equilateral triangles where the draw-bored M&T joints will be in the apron and rung areas.  Then turned between on the pole lathe (important consideration for the comp).  Ah well, perhaps ye olde 17th century joinery will catch on over here one day (maybe after Peter Folansbee has taken his class here!)

I’ve been busy with oak again – another garden bench commission.  Here’s some speed drawknifing work (Not too long I hope – Ed)

So lots more shavings, and a growing pile of parts,

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must make sure I don’t mix members for the stool with those for the bench.

Where I’ve got to.

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I started my journey into green woodworking in 2008.  One of the early items I made was a thrown stool, in fact I made a few.  Here’s the my first stool, not turned at all, just branchwood fastened to the underside of half a log.  It’s actually a stock for use about the workshop – it’s still kicking about in the bodgery, had a few new legs etc.

stockThis was the thrown stool.

DSCF4079Can’t imagine how I managed it with no guidance, just working from a picture. Twenty four round mortise and tenon joints, twelve of ’em at an unrightangle.  I don’t know why I didn’t either put three burnt rings on all the stretchers or one, two and three – lost in the mists of memory.

I copied a tiny stool we acquired in an old house we bought in Halifax.  This was one of my favourites.  Still have them both. Just the right size to sit a 5 gallon stockpot on whilst filling with water (or liquor as we brewers perversely call water).

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I upscaled the pattern of the legs and this is now incorporated into my stock children’s stools.

DSCF9228Back in those early days I also made this stool with applewood legs and a joined elm slab top, good job I put a spline in the slab joint – it has survived much brewing and welly-putting-on-sitting-on where it resides in our conservatory.

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Looks like I wasn’t so hot at getting photos in focus in that period.  Nor aligning the wedges in the leg tops correctly!

I’ve done a lot of turning over those years, but weirdly very little turning of coves, beads by the hundred, but hardly any coves.  It’s rather strange to find turning something hard after all this time, but the book rest project and the joined stool at the top of this post both required four coves, and I struggled.  At this time in an apprenticeship, I would be coming out of my time, so I was rather dismayed, but we never cease learning eh?

I was also rather challenged by the sixteen ‘proper’ M&T joints in the stool atop.  I started this project when I’d acquired Peter Folansbee’s excellent book “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree”.  I had done some beefy 3/4 inch M&Ts in my shepherd’s chairs which had their own challenges, but the nature of the beast allowed quite wide a leeway with accuracy:

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The planing was enjoyable too and that smell of green oak became addictive.

Then I started on the 16 mortises in the stiles (you may call ’em legs – Ed).  I messed up on the first one and put the work aside, for quite a long time – too long really – much of the greenness was gone by the time I had time and determination to tackle them again.  This made the job harder – like the oak.  But I got there, made a few more mistakes, taught myself not to trust my setting out and to check it carefully.

Besides learning cove turning, I had to learn how to cut into square stock on the lathe – again made more difficult by delay causing unwanted seasoning (Do stop moaning – Ed).  Had to teach myself carving too, as well as sharpening gouges and V-tools.

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It’s been a good trip, but I think I now need to start over as a joiner/carver in place of a bodger.  Watch this space!  Back to the Future – say 1633?

Family Watkinson's pew dated 1633

Family Watkinson’s pew in All Saints’ Parish Church, Ilkley. Dated 1633

 

 

Would you believe it? “Words, words, words.” Hamlet Act II sc. 2.

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“About time you turned up with that ale, I’m fair worn out treadling away here like billy-ho and the damn blank just doesn’t turn.”

On our recent trip to Massachusetts I bought the above book from an excellent second-hand bookshop in Boston – Brattles Books. In fact I bought two, the other is about treen in early colonial New England, but that is another, related story.

Peter Folansbee warned me to be wary of the contents of the book as it’s written by a dealer.  He also pointed out that there is an interesting point in the dust jacket picture of the Stent panel.  The strap on the lathe is broken off.  It was subsequently repaired and modern pictures show the strap complete.  Peter discusses this here.

Anyway I bought the book partly because it has pictures in it (“and what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” Thought Alice.(Not found any conversation therein so far)).  Well reading all the stuff that isn’t pictures (nor conversations) I came across this interesting paragraph:

 

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Well, well! green pegs – really?  I wonder when we found out about draw-boring M&T joints – did we ever forget?  I started feeling a little uneasy about what I was reading in this book, things were a bit whacky back in 1968 when it was first published, then I came across this:

 

F in E-2C’mon, you’ve got to be joking – Wagenschott doesn’t resemble wainscot that closely.  Well maybe it doesn’t, but according to the Oxford English Dictionary that is the current, if somewhat puzzling, derivation.  Apparently we English used to import oak from Germany and other countries nearby, for posh work to get the best quarter-sawn figure in oak.  So I learnt something, well two things actually, I thought wainscot just meant panelling (it does too) but it was first applicable to a quality of quartered oak.

 

Cover of "The Oxford English Dictionary (...

Cover via Amazon

So you can’t always believe what you read, and it’s worthwhile checking, sometimes you may be surprised.  There is a good post on this topic in a blog I follow about searching with Google, you may find it interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More progress on the green oak story teller’s throne.

SAMSUNG CSCAll the members of the front and back frames are now prepared, subject to sawing off some horns on the crest rail and the tops of the front legs.  I’m afraid the floor level in the bodgery is rising alarmingly, and I don’t expect these oak chips/shavings to rot away quickly.  I’ll have to bring some home to burn I think.

I’ve done a couple of scratch stock mouldings on the front rail and rung.  I’ll be adding some patterning with a gouge later.

 

SAMSUNG CSCWhile planing up the side rails I was struck by a thought that the ray patterning reminded me of bees in flight:

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