Saturday, December 28, 2013

new metal shop open house

we're going to have a little celebration/open house tomorrow, on sunday, the 29th .. hours are from 2 to 5 .. come on by and check out sam's new space, and see some of the projects he's been working on.    
the actual address is 23 goodwood lane, which is one mile up danby mountain road from route 30 in dorset, vermont. goodwood lane is on the left and 23 is the first driveway on the left.

light refreshments and good company

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

christmas .. 2013

 as joan miro once famously said in response to the question "what do you do when you are not working?" answered "i think about my work."  i had a christmas day like that ... sunny, cold, clear, beautiful, no obligations.  just kit and i and sam and jen for a simple everyday dinner around 5:00.  will was off to Connecticut for the week with his girlfriend, the local aunt and uncle and cousins were in pennsylvania, and the neighbors were busy.  i slept late. i read.  i contemplated.  i walked in the woods.  i thought about my work.  i worked for an hour.  i napped.  i walked again.  we cooked.  we ate.  we napped again.  it's now 9:00.  the nova about cathedrals is on .. i'm writing.  it's quiet and peaceful.  i am appreciating my amazing good fortune to be doing what i do and making a living for the past 34 years at it.
i started by the pond ... click the photos to enlarge them.

worked my way to the shop in the first photo above .. sunny, amazingly quiet, beautiful ..
i sanded and varnished the bottom of the hill farm table.  i left.
back at the house, kit was reading in the sun.  i joined her.  i read a book for a while called 'creation out of clay' by brother thomas bezanzon.  in it, he discusses pottery and art.  the process of art.  the difference between that process and 'work', which he says, it's not.  but there is no other better word to describe what we do ... so for now, 'work' will have to do.  i recently received an email from a fellow woodworker i knew back in the 80's, michael coffey.  i found a letter he wrote to me in 1983, thanking me for a steam bending course i taught at his woodworking school, then in operation in poultney, vt.  after a little googling, i was able to get an email to him, and his response was intriguing.  in part, it read:

"I am happy to see that you are still alive and kicking, as I am.  I am still making and selling the same kind of furniture I specialized in in Vermont - custom, contemporary, carved work. I am 85 now and slowing down but not close to quitting. I have several younger woodworkers who do a lot of my building and carving while I do the marketing, designing and management. More when we have a chance to meet."

so, HE'S 85!!, and still 'working' ... 19 years to go, and with luck, i'll be there.

i then later read a little about plant 'intelligence', an article in this week's new yorker by michael pollan, and then, chickadee intelligence in this season's Stratton Magazine, and how my friends 'bucko'' and geoffrey norman got to town 35 years ago. that was interesting. and now cathedrals ... 
back to work and happy to be at it tomorrow.  on to the cathedrals ..

merry christmas from vermont !

Saturday, December 21, 2013

the friday before christmas

well here we are, approaching our 34th christmas at dorset custom furniture.  we got the spirit friday, when jim put up the traditioinal 'tree' lights on the end of the shop.  it may be the last year for this string as about half the lights are out, and the local stores no longer carry the bulbs ... maybe we'll get lucky and find some in 'the big city' (rutland or bennington)  if we get there over the holidays.  click the photos to enlarge them ..
as usual, there is a lot going on in the shop this time of year .. the pool table is part 
of the hill farm project and it looks like that will be finished by the 1st.  
it's now ready for blinds and finish and felt on the cushions
we're working on several projects for a local inn restoration
down the road a piece in sunderland
one of the projects involves some steel cut outs, based on their logo, on the gable end, and trevor cut some samples for size.  i took them to their friday christmas party and nina mooney, the designer we're working with, bravely got out on the porch roof after lunch and held them up .. 
we decided the deer has to be bigger.

back at the shop, trevor was putting the finishing touches on the inlay in the 
trestle table for the same project

the base is finished
but we were all concerned the the deer antlers would get lost in the sky
fortuantely, we had an antler that sam or someone found and we sliced a couple pieces 
up and trevor cut them out and fit them in ... viola!  antlers!!

and we installed the drawers in the 12' bedroom piece we've been working on
the faces will have an ebony and quartered cherry detail to go with the ebony and burl edge inlay ..
and we're waiting for the custom cast pulls to arrive from ball and ball.  they've done them for us before and they should be here soon.
and will's wrapping up another banjo to be shipped out before the 1st.  it was a tricky one where he had to figure out how to steam bend and laminated curly maple for the rim, engrave a bunch of pearl inlays, and engrave words and initials into the ebony on the finished rim .. not an easy task ..
and sam has finished his first 'larger than a belt buckle project' in the new metal shop

the client sent us a photo of a similar wood base with funky metal connectors and we figured out how to weld it up in 3" steel tubing.  cool object.  it will have our bronze patina on it before shipping.
and the carpenters wrapped it up on friday .. they finished the siding , installed the collar ties on the second floor and insulated the ceiling so we can at least heat it occasionally for painting
we'll finish it off as our cash flow allows
ta dah
and tah dah  in here too
and the final part of the dorset church rails is ready for christmas services .. just in time ..
merry christmas to all !!

Monday, December 16, 2013

another post and beam pool table

this is what a set of pool table supplies looks like when it arrives here at our shop ... well, it's actually not always quite this beat up, but we have had a couple sets of slate arrive in more than one piece ... better luck this time.  no lost pieces; no broken slate.  click the photos to enlarge them, though you'll have to bear with me as i learn adobe lightroom.  my ancient photoshop 7 program stopped working with the last windows upgrade .. i am NOT happy about that.  'image/adjust/autolevels' .. i am really missing that one.
roughed out rails and cushion wood and cushions above
 miracle of miracles .. it is to be exactly like the one above that we made and 
installed about this time last year.
we're even using the same drawing, materials, and cutlist.
 here we go .. the new guy chris, finished the slate support frame last thursday ..
 and here he is beginning the assembly of the base
 all together last friday ..
 and today we added the slate frame and the slates below
 as of the end of the day today, we had the rubber cushions glued on to the poplar, and 
tomorrow we'll get them bolted to the slate and add the curly maple rails ...
i love a pool table project ..
and just sos you know we're not loafing, we've got some other stuff going on in the shop too .. 
a 12' cherry chest of drawers above, with bookcases and ebony and quartered cherry details
and this 9' curly maple trestle dining table with an inlay.  trevor's got that one in the finish room now.
more on those projects later ..
for more pool table posts, click on this link

Monday, December 9, 2013

the metal shop is almost done !!

sam is welding in the new metal shop and there are only a couple things left to do.
a tiny bit of wiring; a little more siding;
here's a link to the slideshow of the project, start to finish, on my dcf facebook page.
give our page a like while you are there, and enjoy your tour ...
 and here's a link to some of sam's metalwork online .. take the tour there too.
all for now ...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

sam's belt buckles ...

still time i think to get that special belt buckle christmas gift.
call or email ...
802 867 5541
classic vermonter below, or your custom design

click the photos to enlarge them.

numbered and personalized on the back