Sunday, December 27, 2020

some holiday wishes ...


          well, better late than never i suppose ... 

it has been a little crazy 

around here lately and i have let my writing slide a bit.

i think we are more under control now and i hope to pick back up with my blogging

after the first of the year ... in the meantime, best wishes for a safe an healthy holiday season 

from all of us here at dorset custom furniture to all of you out there ... 

i was a little distracted by physical therapy and surgeon sessions relating

to my new (and amazing) hip ... and then we had 3' of snow ..

it was 59 degrees on christmas (whiplash!) and all the snow is gone now.

back to work tomorrow ...

Thursday, November 19, 2020

another summer project

  this project was a table retrofit for some old friends.  we go back more than 30 years,

but this is the first major project i have done for them.  good things take time to cook.

they have had this table since the beginning, as it came down from Fred's

grandfather a founding partner at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, a world famous

architecture firm founded in Chicago in 1936,
it started its life as a door that was too short for a ceo office in houston's
tenneco building, designed by SOM in the 1960s ...
the clients were looking for 'an Arts and Crafts feel' and they liked a
table i made fore some other clients back in 2005.  we did some back and
forth drawing exchanges and settled on the design you see in the first photo above.
there were some challenges ... the clients were looking to 'soften' the edges
and after i sent some samples, we settled on a bullnose design ... the edges of the
door were neither square nor straight so installing the new borders took
some time and effort, and a new $120. router bit ...
then, of course, we had to decide on a stain
and carefully strip the veneered door...
fortunately, it was still summer and i got lucky with a perfect breezy, warm day,
and the original (lacquer?) finish came off without a hitch

that about wrapped it up and off it went to its new life in its new form ...
i am pretty sure it is happier now ,,,
before shot

Monday, November 16, 2020

semi retirement

 it appears that one of the things i have 'semi retired' from is writing on this blog.  

my last post was in july, but aside from time out for a new hip october 12th, 

i have been more or less been working along, building stuff for 

both long time and new clients .. 

below are a couple projects from the summer and early fall ... 

i took this image from sam's instagram page as i only seem to have 
in process photos it was an interesting and challenging project.  
the slabs were 'a bit rough', with varied thickness and twists and splits, 
but we wrestled it to the ground in the end,
 and the clients were very pleased ... 

the rails are bolted in place on assembly
and we made some chairs and sent them off to seattle
lotsa parts
some shapes, mortises and tenons on the cnc

ready to roll!  seats woven by my friend sandy sherman at sandy sherman chair caning
lots more to follow soon ....

Sunday, July 26, 2020

THEY'RE BACK !! my slideshows have been restored

updated 11 16 2020
after some experimentation and finding that some folks can access these slideshows
and some can't, i think i have an idea how this works ... 
if you use google photos ( and you are logged in,
you MAY be able to view my photos ... try that and post a comment if not ... thanks!
after discovering picasa a few years back, i have been posting edited slide shows
of categories and periods of our work.  some of those slideshows contain links
within them to the original blog post (some work, some you will have to copy and paste
or type in directly) about those pieces where you can view photos and 
descriptions of the design and construction details .. with a good connection, you
can scroll through these slides shows as fast as you can click the arrow button ..
click on any image to start the show ... lots to see here ..

click the links below to access the individual slide shows ..

Friday, July 10, 2020

a challenging repair

i got a call earlier in the week asking if i was still doing repairs.
i got some pictures via email and decided i would take it on.
it didn't look like this when it arrived though ...
in addition to some flaking and missing quartered 
veneer of some kind
the thin edging around the very nice ( and perfect) marquetry scene
had suffered some insults and some significant  pieces were
shooting off into space or missing completely ... 
how to proceed ... ????
we decided to tackle the sort of easy stuff first,
the missing and loose veneer pieces on the legs and
top edge borders ...
that took a while, but was uneventful, and with a little french 
polish touch up it looked pretty original, or at least our repairs 
blended pretty well with some previous ones.
after that we were stuck with fixing the edges of the top ...
we had two pieces of the broken edging which we were 
able to clean and glue back on ...
i decided against trying to remove the whole edge and replace it
for a number of reasons.  it was obviously glued and nailed to the
edge of the top and i worried about chipping the veneer on the top
which would have been extremely hard to repair and match.
so, i made some short pieces of mdf with matching curves and used my 
flush cut saw to saw through the1/8th inch thick edging about
half way down the thickness of the solid top, and carefully chiseling off
what remained of the broken sections. 
that went pretty well ... surprisingly the wood under the
veneer was plywood !! which dates the table sometime after
about 1865 when plywood was introduced for furniture construction.
i tried bending a couple pieces of mahogany edging, but
couldn't make the tighter curve of the end of the oval ...
we made two sets of forms, in case i screwed up the fitting, and
we fired up the steamer, steamed them for about 15 minutes
and then put the pieces in will's banjo rim kiln overnight to dry.
since they were so thin, and i was gluing and nailing them
to the substrate i put them on and finished them today.
they spring back a bit and required a little wrestling to get in place
they gave up after a while and i was able to nail them into place and 
match the finish as best i could.
and did i mention that the top flips over and there is a checker board
on the other side?  someone spent some time on this piece ..
actually, we did too.
quite the piece ...

Friday, June 26, 2020

coffee tables

i was working with a client recently who was looking for a spalted maple 
coffee table ... i had three pieces left from a log i bought from 
a local guy about 5 years ago.  we did a quick sand on them and
met with the client, who decided they were a little large for her ...
 i had these walnut legs from a previous table,  below,
bought by a client who had me change that table's legs to metal
 so when the current client selected another smaller slab, i finished up 
one of the three above and it is in the top two photos, ready to go ... about 23 x 64 x 16 high.
for a price on that one, please call or email 
802-379-1478, or
and these other two slabs are still available
and then, as i cruise the shop, other possibilities appear, like the one above,
the one above can go as is, or be made into an oval +/- 28 x 45, maybe a little larger ..
or this one could be a round coffee or center table, maybe 32" in diameter
and then a live edge table about 48" long by 30 to 34" wide
small dining or coffee table ..
also available is this 'and now for something completely different' white oak coffee table ..
the slab had some non removeable sticker burns which i had to paint somehow to hide.  
inspired by a david smith show at the clark art museum
it's been around for a while 
and can be seen, along with the one below at the ellenbogen gallery
in manchester, vermont, next to the price chopper ...
nice grain in this one
and the one above is in my office, but i'd be willing to part with it 
in order to make something new
and last, but not least, this is a piece of very highly figured claro
that would make an interesting console table with a metal base
and the grain running the short way, which is atypical ...
i remember this slab as having really spectacular figure.

that about wraps it up for today ... call to chat about any of these ...
no reasonable offer refused ...
my apologies about the formatting in this post ..
blogger seems to have changed something and i am out of the loop

Friday, June 5, 2020

cremation urns .. a meditative process

time for a little update to an ongoing post i wrote back in 2014.
i am working on a new mahogany box for a client in Louisiana
similar to the one below, only in natural mahogany ...
this photo shows the interior, with the supports for the sub top
i will add a small leather tab to the back of the sub top 
once i have completed the finishing
it is in the finish room now ... more photos later ...
we've made a number of boxes for friends' ashes over the years.  i always find it an honor, a time to reflect, and a time to appreciate the person and the relationship we had.  the boxes and caskets below were all made in the last 7 years and i expect as time goes by to make a few more each year. our friends are getting older. click the photos to enlarge them.
the box at the top of this post was for the mother of a good friend;  her daughter in law's box is in the photo above; both boxes are in stained butternut.
this one was for a good friend's mother; cherry and curly maple.
a matching pair ... the husband above in november; the wife, below, a few months later.
both in stained quartered cherry
and we knew them since the 70's
a friend for 43 years who passed on this past summer .. birdseye maple and steel; family effort; sam on metal; will on dovetails; dan on the box bottom, the lid, and finish
kit's mom;  milk painted pine and douglas fir
mother in law above ... father in law below

reclaimed pine
a few more boxes from the archives below

"put a piece of glass in that sub top so horst gets some light in there"

not an urn, but a 'treasure box' .. 
and here are two casket i made,
one for my dad , a dancer, an engineer, a fisherman and a hunter; cherry and walnut
and one for my mom; a mom and a quilter; various woods
 there is a detailed post on box making with dimensions and step by step steps at this link
 they've all been spur of the moment projects and i haven't varied the theme much
 and often i get one of these
jump at the chance to make one if it comes your way.  you won't regret it.  it's wonderful thing to do.