Sunday, April 26, 2015

spring !

bout time .. sheesh!  .. it's been a long winter, and while the tide is definitely turning, i think i was the only one on the golf course today in shorts.  the temperature made it into the 50s, but there was a pretty good wind and that kept the sweaters (and some light parkas) on.  
but, the ducks are back.  they showed up yesterday, and i think it's their latest first appearance
in the 18 years we have lived here.  some years they show up in march.
other good stuff is happening too.  the goldfish are all happy and the pump and filter has cleaned the sludge out of their winter water.  crystal clear now .. click the photos to enlarge them.
mr. bear came by thursday night and made a new sculpture out of the bird feeder.  mr. squirrel thinks he can get up the pole now that it's on a slope and his persistence in trying was both impressive and hysterical.  an excellent example of the fail.
and on the other side of the house, three baby squirrels were out an practicing going up and down the tree.  they never actually left the tree, but they got down to about 2 feet off the ground, then turned and went back up to momma, who was cracking acorns for them back up top.  i tried to get them all together,  but ran out of patience.  the little guy in the photo above was about half size of his mom.
the wild leeks are up in the ravine above the pond,
and the red trilliums have buds but not flowers quite yet.

the million different kinds of mosses we have (could have a blog post just on them sometime) are greening up
and the snow is pretty much gone except on the mountains and at the ski areas, like stratton mountain in the distance.
new plates in the kiln today
and a friend brought me some sap spout maple for helping him with a project in the shop .. nice!

and we start a new slab headboard king size bed tomorrow ... more photos on that as we progress.

Friday, April 24, 2015

new table design

update 4/14 .. all done and in new york now ... fun project. nice wlanut
102 long when open ... room for 12 good friends
4/5/15 ... we're in the process of adding a new design to our collection of expanding tables

this one was a collaboration between our client, who sent us photos and guided our sketching, and me, who did the drawings, and trevor, who made the models above.

we started out with the base splitting and separating with the leaves and then realized that
the whole concept would be easier to execute and would work better if the vertical base sections were at a 45 degree angle to the split in the table top.
there is a 3.5" square block in the center of the four verticals that was 
split on a 45 before the final glue up.
here are the four verticals with their braces glued on.  the joints are reinforced with dominoes.
fine matched walnut from irion lumber
moving along in the process ... trevor will add the run ners and the sub top this week, after we finish up 

more later as we move it along ... 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

chance to be a hero

well, the boys in the shop kind of shook their heads when i came in the door with the top from this bureau.  it's austrian, maybe.  the clients bought it in australia in the 60s. it's a very cool piece with serious veneer iisues on the top .. click the photos to enlarge them ... really .. this is cool piece.
it's definitely old .. the veneers are hand sawn and about a thin 1/8th" thick.  i can't be sure what the wood is yet, but the bureau exhibits classical construction joinery and an obvious high level of builder skill.  but the top !!! ooo weee!  can we fix that?  we'll see.
step 1 .. start slowly.  pry at the pieces and see what happens .. wow, they sort of pop off easily!  looks like they were applied with hot hide glue and tapered hand whittled square pegs.  a bunch of them at that.
here are some of the pegs, and they really work ... i'll have to figure out how to make these when i put the top veneers back together.
i decided that at some point i would have to flatten the top and decided to do it sooner rather than later.  once i got it off the case it got even more humped up, but after a struggle, and some kerfing, it's a lot closer to flat
stay tuned.  i think tomorrow i will make the kerfs a little deeper to remove more of the stress.  the cleats are 3/4" quartered white oak and they couldn't draw the top flat.  it might be easier if i remove more of the veneer. then i'll try to get the glue off the backs of the veneer pieces, which you can now flatten out easily by hand .. the subtop is pine, and the old hide glue pops right off that.  i'm starting to have some hope, even though i've really only just begun. 
4/24 .. a little more progress today .. i think i've got everything off that's coming off and the top has flattened out quite a bit
i might make a few of the kerfs a little deeper monday, and then fill them in with pine wedges, then glue a piece of 1/16th walnut veneer to the bottom to balance the panel .. it should stay flat then ... i hope ... we'll see

Monday, April 20, 2015

vermont's stone houses

i wrote this post in 2013, but never published it.  i was having a stone conversation with a client and went back and posted it .... great stonework, but my favorite is the cavendish church, the last one in the series below.

i recently went to chester, vermont, to pick up some air dried pine for the metal shop, and on the way to the sawmill passed through what is locally known as 'the stone village'.  stretching from chester, to cavendish along routes 11 and 103 are a series of houses built between roughly 1830 and 1845, by three canadian brothers who were good with the local stone. click the photos to enlarge them ...
the owner of this one came out to greet me as i photographed the church and gave me a little history of the area and a tear sheet of an article from a local newspaper ...
the technique is called snecked ashlar stonemasonry.

but while this isn't in chester, it's up the road a piece in cavendish, and i think it's the best one .. it looks like the challenge was use the biggest rocks you can and get it done as fast as you can ... 
built in 1844.  the double doors are about 8' high ... i love the scale of it all.

on they way back, i stopped to visit with will and aj who were playing a little music at the londonderry farmer's market. 
and while i was there, i noticed two half round windows i built in the early 80s using antique glass.  decorative windows were one on the early mainstays of my fledging 'cabinetmaker' business, and i probably made 30 of them in one form or another ..
the historic house was, and remains, unfinished.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

a bar

 well ok, here's a blast from the past ... we, or should i say, me and the guys who were working here with me in 2004 made this bar for a client at stratton mountain ski area, about a half hour to the southeast by car from my shop.  i had a request today from a potential client to look at an antique front bar he has purchased and to design and build a back bar and incorporate a sink and frig in the whole deal somewhere.  i haven't been to see it yet, but i hope to get over to his house nearby to have a look next week. 
click the photos to enlarge them ...
 i like bars.  when i came to town here in 1971, i had been traveling the country for a couple years after penn state, 'looking for a place to live' i was telling myself at the time.  actually, what i think i was looking for then was #1., a wife or significant other, and #2. something to do that didn't involve working late nights and sleeping half the day away.  the money was good though then and i got to live in some fancy spots along the way, fort lauderdale, the ocean reef club in key largo, washington dc, montauk, palm springs, and just before vermont, i made a brief trip to europe.  life was good.  and it got better when i met the wife, at the bar i was working in.  she went on to become the first female bartender there, and we are still friends with the gentlemen and his wife who hired me 44 years ago.  they were here for dinner last night. 
 i've made some bar like pieces of furniture, and i once helped build a 35' long, quicky commercial bar when i was a carpenter, but i'm hoping we get to build another small, intimate, classy home bar along these lines.
i was just learning my cad program in 2004 so the drawings are a bit cluttered, but obviously, they worked.  this was a challenging, fun project and it took me a good solid half hour to find the folder that the pictures were in.  that folder was entitled 'on site photos' and it contained some real gems .. more on that, and hopefully, this project shortly ...
i can almost see that 2004 bar from here.  that's stratton mountain from the back yard, about 20 miles
away as the crown flies.  you can just see the top of mount snow behind it, another
15 or 20 miles to the due southeast of stratton.

all for now.