Sunday, November 27, 2011

mysteries revealed

a friend/client stopped by to look at the walnut coffee table he had commissioned (in the post below), and we were looking at the 'x' table. i didn't see the model at first, and so i showed him the blog post and realized that the joinery was still not clear from the photos ... after he left, i found the model, (right next to the table base, behind some cardboard), set it up, and took some more helpful pictures ... it should all be clear now ... in the end, you are gluing up two identical (except for the angles) 'ts', both with lag bolt reinforced joinery and large (2.75" x 2.75") long grain glue surfaces ... totally rigid. click the photos to enlarge them.
two 'ts' are assembled individually ...
the tennons are glued and on the real base we used countersunk 4" timberlock screws to connect and reinforce the joinery for the 'half' pieces. you can see at the top how the two ts intersect when they are assembled to create the full 'x'.
glue up and level check ... perfect !! gold star for lorne ...
and here is the jig lorne used to cut the exact angles on the chop saw (55 degrees). the timberstrand was screwed to the wood fence to orient the 3" stock on the proper vertical for cutting the 55 degree angle where the oak meets the glass and the floor....
and, i noticed will had been by the shop yesterday to take the rubberbands off his fretboard glue up and install some frets in it.
and, this morning, i got an email from another client who will be stopping by shortly to check out this expanding table which we'll be delivering to them shortly ...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

odds and ends

ok ... thanksgiving weekend's almost over ... back to work tomorrow. and i'm sorting it all out (hopefully) today. from the looks of it, i've got a lot of balls in the air, but some of them are either out the door or are in their final throes of being figured out. in the background, not pictured in this post is another custom dining room that will later get its own post. in the meantime, here's what we'll be working on monday ... click the photos to enlarge them.

above, a 'practice' carving that will did recently for the corner of an upcoming dining table project. he'll be doing more of those samples this week as he finishes up the corner cupboard you can see below.
lorne and i have been wrestling with this, what we are calling the 'x table'. the concept came from one of our designer clients, and seemed pretty easy until i tried it .. i kind of had it, but lorne took the ball and ran with it and got it all figured out in the end. he got the angles figured out so they came off the saw perfect and precise and came up with the idea of assembling the two halves, one solid piece and one leg, and then gluing the half laps together last.

here you see the 1/4 scale, half scale and full size mdf mockup .. it was alm ost impossible to find the 12/4 white oak for the real thing, and we didn't have much extra so we were extra careful.
this is one of the halves. with the final concept we were able to reinforce the third leg tenonss with 4" timberlocks and glue, making the entire structure very rigid when it was glued up.
with the 3/4" glass with the 1" bevel. there will be a white pickled finish on the white oak.

and i stopped to see steve holman and he's coming along on the fancy reception desk that trevor helped him with ... that's going to be something ...

a walnut and steel coffee table is headed for the big city this week.
and will is finishing up another banjo project. this is an antique, complete pot and dowel stick, but the original mandolin style neck (banjolin) was missing. there were pictures available online so he could copy the original inlay style and once he adds the tuners, it will be headed for england i think.
the inlays with the original mandolin style, 8 string tailpiece in the jar.
and next up, a 'vermont' banjo. all vermont wood including a dramatic hornbeam fretboard that is covered by the rubber bands here ...
this table will be leaving next week with the x table ... distressed walnut with flip up leaves on the ends and twisted steel supports by sam ... the schedule's tight, but doable with a little luck and extra effort.

and in the background, we've got another custom dining room happening. a table, 8 chairs and a corner cupboard ... more on that project later in a separate post.

and we got the crazy little bobbin leg tables out the door last week. i missed that estimate by about 120% ... win some, lose some. can't say i wasn't warned ..
and lastly, below, i'm working with my chestnut cabinet client on a console table concept.
they like the 'bridges' bench and we're trying to see if it will adapt to console table shape.
looks promising to me. we'll see ... it looks like the last sunny and 50 degree day of this beautiful unusually warm vermont fall. wash the convertible and put it at the neighbor's for the winter .. take the pump out of the pond ... winter's coming ...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

things to be thankful for

so, another thanksgiving ... the 41st for kit and i, and we have a lot to be thankful for ..

1. each other ... 40 years ... how could they go by so fast ??
2. our two kids and their girlfriends ..
2.5 our respective families of aunts, uncles and cousins ...
3. the fact that both our boys work here everyday and we get to have lunch with them, and then they go home to their own places ..
3.5. our 3 non family employees whose skill, happy attitudes and dedication we hugely appreciate.
4. a nice place to live and work, in a fantastic small town, with no traffic lights, in vermont
5. our furniture and metal clients and kit's jewelry and gardening clients who make this all possible
6. the friends we have been hanging out with since the 1970s, and the new ones who have come to town since.
7. an incredible community of supportive and sharing artists around us

like someone who gets an oscar, i could go on and on but i feel like i should just stop with the highlights ... happy thanksgiving to you and yours ... dan
the traditional 'share the burner' turkey day woodburning event ..
dinner ... just the six of us
the pre thanksgiving event at kit's father's house last saturday ... about 20 aunts, uncles and cousins ..
mini concert for grandpa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a claro walnut slab desk

we shipped another in our series of 'shaker' leg claro walnut slab desk and tables this week and it is now on its way to wisconsin. it's similar in design to the last claro slab table we made and is, in fact, a slab from the same log ... this slab was closer to the heart of the tree though, and the figure was a bit darker and richer. lots of little curls ... click the photos to enlarge them ...
the process for this project was typical, and it started with the selection of the slab ... this can happen on the internet through one of my suppliers, like good hope hardwoods. we then planned the trim cuts and did a plan view drawing, placing it in the room to check clearances and proportions above.
we decided to straighten the angled edge somewhat to get rid of most of the spidery crack which required me to fire up my trusty chain saw. that always takes me back to me logging days in the early 70's..
we trimmed the ends just a bit too to get rid of some drying cracks
next the base pieces were bolted together and routed into the bottom of the slab for additional stability. once these bases are bolted on, the structure is completely rigid and there is no wiggle or shake whatsoever. in this case, the client chose a blackened rather than our original satin polished base. i kind of like the new blackened look myself ..
we then had to design the drawer structure to provide knee room and acceptable storage at the same time ... we came up with drawers that were about an inch and a half deep inside, which seemed to provide ample room for knees.
we ended up with some (3) 'secret' compartments in the structure which are always fun to design and execute .... there is even a hidden tool that sam made for opening the main compartment ...
here's a final look of the bottom of the desk. in the end, we notched the sides of the drawer box so that the base could be removed without disturbing the drawer box itself ... the desk's final destination is a second floor home office and, completely assembled it probably weighs close to 400 pounds ... two people can pick it up, but flipping it on it's side and carrying it up a flight of curving steps would be a challenge for all but the most rugged of us. the movers were extremely happy to have us disassemble it for them ... reassembly is 8 lag bolts and 4 #14 screws. 5 minutes, tops ...
we added a few dividers to the drawers and went with chestnut pencil trays in each drawer ... good to go ... blanket wrapped shipping by plycon was professional and reasonable considering that wisconsin is not around the corner from here ... happy thanksgiving if i don't get a chance to write again !!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

a walnut bar cabinet

we're shipping out a little walnut, curly maple and ebony bar cabinet tomorrow. it went through a lot of iterations to get to the final layout ... (my client likes the design process) and it was loosely based on the proportions of the ebony cabinet we built a few years back. needless to say, it is for sure a simplified version, though almost as effective. same nice proportions and nice detail. click the photos to enlarge them ....

i know i have quite a few early sketches somewhere and i'll add them when i find them.
but, basically, it's a box. the sides are walnut ply set back from solid wood edges and legs. the joinery is done with our domino machine and the cabinet went together fairly quickly. the rails are mortise and tenoned into the legs and the ply panels were added after ...
the top is a nice piece of walnut about 14" wide that had a nice 'eye' in it ...
here will is adding the edge inlay, made from big leaf maple burl and ebony ...
all done ...
the core of the door is to the left before it was veneered with shop made .1" veneer. the stack to the right is culy maple for the door panels ...
which were added after the veneer was applied and the ebony borders were installed ..
the doors are on self closing european hinges and the client selected the hardware from a supplier in her new jersey area ,,, looks great ... some of the other projects we have worked on with her are below ... seems like it's been about 10 years now and she was one of the first to commission one of our single pedestal dining tables, a style that has become one of our standards ... in fact, we are working on one in the shop right now ... more on that as it happens ..
this one had some matching transitional chairs with it ...
and this one was a complex little case project ....