Friday, January 31, 2014

new van !!

i drove my faithful 2006 town and country 15 miles up the road today to zappones chrysler dodge dealers in granville, new york for its 'last ride'.  with me, anyway.  it's certainly still got some good miles in it, but i'm going to let someone else enjoy them .. i bought it in october of 2006.  it needs a little work now, but it still has it's original shocks and muffler after 97,000 miles.  it's been a faithful, low cost, reliable and comfortable companion, and i actually felt a little sad going up the valley this afternoon.  this is my fourth, no 5th, soccer mom mobile, (87,94,2002,2006,2014), and you just can't beat them for hauling stuff around under cover ... plus it's a smooth and quiet car like ride.  good luck old friend.
 i think i'll get over it pretty quickly .. the new one has that new car smell, the CLEAN windows and seats, the spiffy new sound system controls on the the steering wheel, and some other stuff i don't know
how to work yet, like the 'connectivity' whatever that is ... on we go ..
take a picture now.  it'll never look better ...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

the 'basque style' chestnut table

 1/30/2014 .. we delivered the basque style table to its new home yesterday.  it's got a wonderful, up close view of magic mountain, a local ski resort, out the windows to the left.  the home has dramatic soaring ceilings, lots of light and an open barn like, yet cozy and comfortable feel.  it's a lucky table.
see the full story below
well, this one started back in august.  the clients sent me photos of 'an early 18th century "basque style" farmhouse table and a link to hastings antiques where there were pictures and descriptions, and the 'sold' price, $18,000.  not worrying to much about design copyrights, we set out and made the chestnut model above, based on the clients' desired dimensions and photos from the hastings antiques website.
click the photos to enlarge them ...
the photos showed a framed top with angled trestle supports and some diagonal bracing, not too 
our next step was the cad drawing below

then with some fine reclaimed chestnut from our friend jef harris in west virginia
we set to work
we mocked up the base, and, since the clients were local, we had them come by and check it out.  we added some spokeshaved softening and detailing to the top and base elements to add to the antique effect.

after some back and forth discussion, we agreed to fabricate the top with the solid wood frame around the solid wood center section, which was a concern to me because of the typical expansion and contraction of wood that happens during seasonal humidity swings in a vermont home.
we made the top up with the boards tight together and pocket screwed the parts temporarily.  and then before gluing the outside frame, we created a total of about 1/8th" of overall clearance between the boards in the center section for the projected summer expansion, based on 'the coefficient of expansion' (a technical term) of chestnut.  it's really an attractive design, and after our research, we're pretty confidant it's structurally sound, and will remain so over time .. after all, the original is 300 or so years old, and looks fine in the photos.
 we're in the finish process now
home stretch .. some sanding on the bench tops, and they are off to the finish room too.
 delivery later this week i hope ..

Sunday, January 19, 2014

another custom pool table

well, there's not much to add in this blog post as it's pretty much the exact same table as the one below, featured in this post from last december.  i do like the dark green felt and the curly maple rails, but otherwise, there's not much to add.  thanks again to my favorite fine woodworking pool table article.

we used the same types  of beams and blinds from the same supplier as last year ..
and the construction was pretty much identical ..
clickthe photos to enlarge them
 dark green simonis cloth
the set up was straightforward and it played exactly like the last one .. 
as you can see from the table in action video,
i think i missed a few more shots this time, but on the whole, 
the speed, sound and cushion action was identical to last year's edition.
below are a few other 'pool table in action' videos starring yours truly, who is
not quite as sharp as he used to be ...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

what kind of custom dining tables do you make?

someone, i forget who, asked me over the holidays, 'so what type of furniture do you make most often'?  my answer was 'dining tables'.  a lot of our projects take longer and require a lot more concentration, organization and problem solving, but i'm fairly confidant if you asked my guys what their favorite type of project was, you'd get the same answer.  'dining tables'.  one of the reasons may be is the flow of them.  you start. not that long later, you finish.  they leave. you know people will have good times around them project ...
  how many different tables have we made over the last 34 years?  more than a hundred for sure.  i put this slide show together as much for my own convenience, so i can find a picture of a table that is not on my website when i want it, and also so folks can see the different styles we work in.  this is certainly not all of the tables we have made, but it does cover some stylistic ground, from high traditional, to contemporary slabs.  click any photo at the link above to start the show, and enjoy your tour.  a few of the highlights are directly below.

some have carved details
some are very traditional
some are made from one slab of wood, in this case bubinga
and some have inlays and specific stylistic details ..

anyway, there are many different tables in the slide show, and we're always on the lookout for new opportunities to stretch our design legs .. send us your ideas and we'll have at it ..

ps ... i'm working on getting links from the photos to the blog posts, but it will probably be a while before i finish that part of the show .. enjoy!

Friday, January 10, 2014

mosheim clothing store .. pottstown, pa 1882

well, isn't the internet interesting .. i recently received a message from someone on facebook (who remembered me from before 1956) informing me that someone on a pottstown, pennsylvania facebook page had mentioned or asked for information on the 'mosheim clothing store on high street'.  the person who sent me the message remembered me from a really long time ago, googled me, found me, and asked if i had any pictures.  well, we lived in pottstown until 1956, which, i believe was very shortly after the store closed.  i think my grandfather died in 1953, my uncle had already established his own clothing store in nearby pennsburgh, and my father was an electrical engineer, not a clothing salesman.  so that, as they say, was about it, and the store closed.  the image above was made by a friend of mine from a glass negative that somehow survived over 100 years.  that negative is  around here somewhere.  if you click and enlarge the image, you can see the trolley tracks, and in the lower right hand corner, the date, 1907.  pretty cool. and the actual image is quite crispy and more detailed than this picture of it that i took where it hangs in a poorly lit area by the pool table ..
the smaller image up in the corner is later, after the bank next door became more successful it appears.  the victorian stuff is toned down some in this image.  as mentioned below, the front of the store was remodeled in 1933, and in this photo, the trolley tracks are gone and are replaced by cars.

here follows a brief history from a mention in the pottstown mercury of 1937 .. samuel mosheim was my great grandfather and our son sam's namesake ...
" Mosheim Store Founded in 1882 Nine years after he landed on the shores of the United States following his emigration from Germany, the late Samuel Mosheim. one of the pioneer merchants of Pottstown, founded the present Mosheim Clothing company. He opened a store at 144 High street, in 1882, and the store became known as S. Mosheim Clothing store. In 1897 the founder moved to the present location, 207 High street. The business was conducted as a sole proprietorship until Mosheim’s retirement in 1921. Upon his retirement his sons, Maurice and Edward Mosheim, and William Shively and Walter Richards formed the Mosheim Clothing company. The founder died in January, 1930. In 1933 the store was enlarged. The rear was extended and the front rebuilt. The store throughout was remodeled. The past February the interior of the establishment was modernized. The store deals solely in men’s clothing, hats and furnishings."

my parents spent their final years in boyertown, close to pottstown, and we would often ride around pottstown and my parents would reminisce about the 45 years they spent there while i would try to remember stuff from my first 9 years.  the drawing and photo below is of the house we lived in at 320 york street, until we moved to norristown, which was 20 miles closer to center city philadelphia, where my father worked at united engineers and constructors, later a division of raytheon, the defense contractor.

the drawing below i made for my parents for christmas in 2004.  the photo below it that shows the mosheim clothing store, now the china pan, and our house on york street sometime i'm guessing in the late 90s.

and while i was on the pottstown facebook page, i noticed this post listing the projects for the pottstown location of bethlehem steel, projects my other grandfather likely drove some rivets into .. the plant was obviously a pretty big deal
John Bondola
here's a list of beth steel/Pottstown fabrications, after historical golden gate. road bridges for pa turnpike, new Madison sq. garden/grand central. local HS buildings, including Boyertown & downingtown. varrazano narrow's bridge, air vents for Lincoln and Holland tunnel, rfk stadium, ( first multi-purpose stadium). DC and NY subway structures, walt Whitman, twin bridge's, DE, (with US steel), and finally, the last job before closure, in 76/77, blast furnace casings for sparrows point plant, which was secured for naval contracts.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

back to work

we'll ok .. it's the new year, and we're back at work, and from the looks of it here, we're pretty busy.  luckily, the last few days things have kind of come into focus and under control ... a little new year miracle, compared to the last couple weeks of 2013.  click the photos to enlarge them.
trevor seems to have the 12' cherry cabinet details mostly complete, and we'll be doing some preinstallation recon work on site tomorrow or friday.  it's always nice to check the floors for level and the walls for plumb when you are installing a major piece in an older house.  well, first we have to finish the piece, but as soon as everything else here leaves, we'll be on that ...
it should be ready for finish after tomorrow.  next week after the other stuff leaves
the pool table is finished now that will has felted the rails below .. the felt is simonis, dark green and i believe it's the first time we have used that color .. like it.
and for above the table ..
we're working on this light, assisted by authentic designs, up the road in rupert .. 
it's nina mooney, the designer's concept, and i think it's going to be cool ...
we had to do some creative cutting, drilling, tapping, and epoxy work,  but i think we've got it.
photoshopped concept by nina here

and in the pool table photo above, you can see the model for the table in the drawing below.  it will be made from recycled chestnut and we should be starting the joinery tomorrow sometime.
and the benches below go with 8,  30 x 36" quartered oak table tops we finished on  monday.

the commercial pedestals are on site, and hopefully we'll install them next week with the 
pool table, the benches, and the dining table below.
we're using a fine (new to us) polyurethane varnish.  it's by a company called lenmar, which has been recently purchased by benjamin moore.  we used a coat of gloss as a base and applied two coats of satin on top with a 3" foam brush.  flowed out like it was sprayed.  i'm going to go out on limb and recommend it ... not something i usually do, but i like it as a finish.
this is another project for the hill farm inn, a rehab of a venerable bed
and breakfast down the road in sunderland.
there was concern that the antlers on the deer from the logo inlay
 would disappear if we left them in the burl.  sooo.
there was an antler that sam found in the woods rattling around, 
and trevor made some 'antler antlers'.  fun.
and we moved the mill from the old metal shop
 to the new one thanks to the help of our friend malcolm cooper, president and owner of jk adams
and his new company peace street rigging ... any excuse to use one of his tractors.
 the mill is happy to be back in a heated space ...
 sam's busy in the new metal shop .. knocking out a few projects before 
starting on a new big one next week
this coffee steel table base going to san francisco
and this one will be a base for a new claro walnut slab table we'll be building from the slab below.

it's going to be a nice one.  there's some good figure lurking in there

all for now ..