Friday, May 27, 2011

open studio ... another year goes by

one more time .... every year, as i'm lugging stuff around the shop, i threaten to swear this event off, (it's almost 20 of those threats now), and every year, once we're all cleaned up and set up, i'm looking forward to it getting under way again ... it's a chance to catch up with the friends and neighbors who might not stop by if they know we're working, and a chance for the thousands of folks who come to vermont for the event to maybe stumble across our studio and buy or order something from one of us. lots of woodworkers come by, and sometimes, even mr. lucky stops by, and, well, that's always fun too. click the photos to enlarge them ...
look for the yellow signs ...
see the amazingly clean office
and the (almost) sawdust free workspace ...
this year we got some lucky free publicity in one of the local shoppers ...
and we have a few new versions of old pieces
and kit and penny get to hang out in the finish room for the weekend
with her paintings and kit's jewelry ... (rush photos here; much better in person ... )
gold wire and lots of precious stone beads
banjos 4, 2, and 1
and an expanding recycled chestnut table ready for finish next week
you can admire the freshly mowed the lawn and the freshly smoooothed driveway ... sam's steel lily in the foreground ...
and check out the mountain pinks (wild azaleas) down by the pond ...
and this year, due to our superior organization (hah) and early start, we even had time left at the end of the day for a beer .... just woke up from my nap ... bedtime now ... see you this weekend. if you're in town, come on by ... dan

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a new railing project

jim and i pretty much finished up a new railing project at stratton mountain today. sam and jim had installed all but one of the 10 new steel sections that sam fabricated last week and today, we cut, fit and installed the wooden handrails and metal post caps ... glad that's done ... of the twenty cuts, 7 we're angled definitely, and few of the others were square because the posts were installed when the house was built oh, 20 years or so ago, there were almost no two angles or handrail ends the same ... and that involved almost uncountable trips up and down the stairs to the chop saw on the porch .... my legs were humming by the time we were finished ... click the photos to enlarge them ...
view from below ... a definite design change from the original railing below ... our job was to update the existing sort of a 'swiss chalet' look
a little more contemporary and timeless now ...
like always, we started with sam's cad drawing,
from which we made templates on the cnc
and constructed the 10 sections
we did some test fitting and minor adjustments
before we painted them at the metal shop
and made a metal post cap for the clients' approval ...
next we made and finished the recycled chestnut handrails
and cut them to fit today ... tedious, fussy fitting and lots of cuts, but they all fit great in the end.
the masons from brickwerks were working today, putting a new stone face on the fireplace, and when they are finished, we will build and install the two cabinets in the photshopped mockup below. the cabinets are a shortened version of one of a pair we made about 7 years ago. wanna see a bigggg house ... check that link ... the cabinet in that photo is 5' wide and 10' high ... these will be about 54 x 85 .. the post about the tv bracket was to work out the details for the cabinet on the right ... we are also coming down the home stretch on a recycled chestnut table for the dining area of that same house ... more on that later ... all for now ...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

banjo #4 .. 10" pot, half fretless

well, you probably know what this is ... another banjo by will ... #4. curly maple, ebony, and brass this time ... half fretless. kind of a neat concept that allows the player to 'slide' notes on the upper part of the fretboard where the frets are further apart, but yet play accurately up high on the neck. click the photos to enlarge them ...  6/22/2014 .. see will's website for 20 more banjos at seedersinstruments. com
here's a link to a 40 second you tube concert here ... a short improv of 'mole in the ground' ...i'm told #4 ' has a nice sustain compared to the others'. ok ... i can hear that.
being the fourth banjo, it required new new techniques and new and more accurate jigs and processes like the ebony backstrap and the adjustable 3 degree compound angle drilling jig for the dowel stick hole that was based on this jig we made for drilling long turnings on the lathe .... slick
next time, he says he'll add a 'push block' to the back of the jig so he can drill the hole using the tail stock crank, but this time he just pushed it slowly against the bit.
will cut the stopped fretboard slots (a nice clean feeling edge, but without the fussy banding on banjo #2 )(scroll down) on the cnc using a mini mini .026 diameter router bit. for the decimally challenged out there, that is 2/3rds of a 32nd of an inch. a pretty small router bit ... get 'em from mcmaster carr or stew mac i think. ...
the fretboard binding on banjo 2 .. getting that fifth string tuner curve was a trial as i recall
and then, to secure the brass, he used a variation of a nifty trick we read about on a greene and greene details forum where the hall brothers applied ebony edge details with slotted brass screws and then filed off the slotted parts, leaving tapered smooth tipped pins ... i think he also used a little epoxy or something for insurance .. it's a very cool detail in person ..
the whole deal
close up of the fretless part with the stainless steel pins
pot shot ... ha ha
and the back view with the ebony details
nice curly cherry and nice detail on the hardware and dowel stick ... i particularly like the brass wire armrest ... the ebony split line is a cool detail ... and i think the finish is 6 or 7 coats of tru-oil, a gun stock finish ... seeders instruments, will's new website has recently received two orders for complete banjos and one for a reproduction neck for an existing older pot ... the boy is off and running ...

in case you missed them
banjo #1 is here
banjo #3 is here

Friday, May 13, 2011

cool stools

the finished stools
we're working on some tables this week that go with the cherry stools that we finished last week. they were 'designed' by my friend and weekend neighbor, anna, for whom we made them .. anna has been designing and buying custom jewelry from kit for the past few years, so i knew she had a good eye and an excellent design sense. anna gave me the sketch above on her daughter's construction paper and after a brief discussion, we made the cad drawing above and the first prototype below.... click the photos to enlarge them.
i started our first prototype with some sort of 'out of the air' dimensions and we found the mockup to be too big for the space, and as a stool in general ...
but, with the prototype we were still able to work out the construction concepts, like the housed tenons shown below .. the housed tenons and the alternate height stretchers are key concepts that allow good noncolliding joinery that allows for slender legs with no loss of strength at the stretcher points. the housed tenons allowed us to not worry about the fit of the horizontal stretcher to the sanded curves of the sculptural legs. otherwise, i don't think we could fit the 8 curved ends of the stretchers efficiently enough for someone to want to buy the stools. we cut those mortises while the leg stock was still square, cutting the curves after.
the stretchers had to have an 1/8th" radius on all their edges to fit the routed mortises, but that was a small price to pay for the quickness of the solution ...
the final prototype, in oak below, was comfortable, particularly sitting across the diagonal of the seat, and fit the space well. anna accepted it and she and her husband selected some beautiful red leather for the seats. this week we're working on a pair of matching tables, 19 x 26 x 20 high that will be used mainly as side tables, but can be pulled together as a serving/coffee table for their nearby seating area.
the sketch for the small tables ... more to follow as we work on them ...