Saturday, April 13, 2019

a mid century modern walnut table

long story coming up here ... after 35 + years of having employees
to help me figure things out, i am on my own now ...
working by myself mostly, enjoying the rhythms of work,
rediscovering rusty processes, and learning a new
cnc drawing and toolpathing program
on we go, into our 70s ....
i (we) have done this design numerous times,
the first time somewhere around 2014
this one is a 60" round with 1 20" leaf ...
lookin good in its new home

started with some matched irion lumber walnut
glued it up and cut the half rounds and the leaf ends on the cnc
drilled the holes and inserted the pins with our long time
 trusty custom hole and pin and drilling jig

cut the base parts on the cnc
wrestled with many clamps to glue them up
cut the square edge apron parts
joined them together with dominos and pocket screws
routed a half round pocket in a piece of mdf and used the 45 degree
bit to create the angles on the apron pieces below

all together now ...
a little finishing with some dull rubbed poly ..
off to connecticutt ...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

an oval mahogany table

ok .. we finished this one a couple weeks ago, 
and it is leaving for chicago next week ....
the clients have been motorcycling in the southwest for the last month or so
it's one of our 'standard' (if theres i such a thing in custom woodworking)
center pedestal ovals ... they are fun and challenging and infinitely variable
this is probably the 7th or 8th version we have done
ribbon stripe mahogany ...
i cut the two glued up panels on the cnc and used the
negative shapes to glue up the two halves ...
there was no 12/4 ribbon stripe so i had to glue up some 8/4 for the base pieces,
and some 5/4 for the veritcal elements
the process is to miter them and glue up two halves as shown below

 looks a little dangerous maybe, but it actually doesn't seem too bad
add some dominos and pocket screws ...
 clamping the halves together can be a bit tricky and there
is some fussy final fitting involved to get a good joint in there
 add some low curves to the half lapped base pieces

 oh yeah, the oval aprons add a challenge
 headed out ot its new home soon ....

some wood and metal mirrors

i finished a couple of mirrors a few weeks ago, both with "natural finish' metal edges
the 'natural finish' is just regular hot rolled steel, sanded lightly and sprayed with a clear finish
 natural cherry ... 36 x 42

 'whitewashed' spalted maple and natural finish steel

the hardware steel screws were a little harsh so i put em in a can
and set them in the woodstove for about 15 minutes til the can glowed a little red
cooled them in the snow and wire brushed them lightly
perfect match to the steel

Saturday, February 23, 2019

repairs, and why we like them

above from the book 'the craftsman' by richard sennet 
i've been catching up on my reading lately ...
click the photos to enlarge them
so, last week i had a small run of repairs,
bringing things back to useful life
i got the chair in the first photo above with the missing parts
in a nice cloth grocery bag .. first step was to reglue
the backsplat and get it ready to re install
here it is, all set to go ... 
this was what i refer to as a 'functional restoration'
where the object is reassembled using the guide line
'if it doesn't make sense financially to fix it correctly. fix it any way you can'.
a 'proper' restoration was not financially feasible, yet the repairs
i did here will extend the chair's life, (barring catastrophe), for the foreseeable future.
and then something comes in the door that just blows you away
details, detail, details ... nice black mother of pearl in the peacock's tail
and i love the details on the metalwork .. that alone probably took a couple of minutes
the client inherited this chest from her aunt who collected 
chinese 'stuff' .... i can't imagine who commissioned this one ...
and let's not neglect the back ... i think they threw the 
angles and curves in just for fun ... 
another painted chest required some adjustment and repair to 
the little stubby legs, which may or may not have been original .. 
FUNKY CHAIR !! obviously a green wood construction
check the warp on that seat .. quite a twist!..

point of interest here, after cutting off the front leg a bit to relevel it,
i noticed that the leg was turned from what appears to be a branch, with
the heart included in the turning .. never saw that before .. my guess is circa 1800.
better view of the warped seat
note the fact that the left leg in the rear and the opposite leg in the front
were shortened by at least an inch each .. 
and then we get to my friend Tom's 'music chair'
which he has been sitting in to play his guitar for a good portion of his recent life.
when it arrived, it had three snapped off tenons, one on the top of a leg, two stretcher ends,
and a long spit in the center stretcher ...
the leg top i was able to drill for a 5/8th" oak dowel new tenon, but the stretchers
required turned and scarfed on new tenons with small screws reinforcing the joints
from the bottom of the stretchers.  tom's my age, the chair's quite a bit older,
and we'll see how it goes.  i am hopeful ...

and below, from a previous restoration blog post i wrote a few years ago about repairs ..
that blog post has a link to a new yorker article on
the conservation studio at the new whitney museum ...
the new yorker article is a thought provoking read on art and time passing ...