Sunday, March 30, 2008
I thought this was an interesting perspective on this table. I built it a number of years ago when I studied furniture and cabinetmaking. This photo, taken by my 4-1/2 year old daughter, shows a hint of the figured maple top on this table. The drawer fronts are coloured with multiple layers of aniline dye and the whole piece is finished with water based laquer. This original design, based on Shaker pieces, is used as a computer desk and is easily customized.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
My worlds are colliding! Not really, but I'm going to make this a double post. I'll also post it to my housebuilding blog. See the sidebar for a link. I just had some Elm milled by Roy and Terry at Sydney Forks Sawmill. This is wood that grew along
King's Road in Sydney. The butt of this particular specimen measured about 36 inches across. I managed to get some beautiful boards from this tree but the largest logs had a bunch of nails and mystery metal embedded in them so we had to stop sawing them. In case you don't know, metal can make for a pretty grumpy sawyer. I prefer a happy sawyer. The logs we couldn't mill will get used for carving, turning and various other woodworking endeavors before going to the firewood pile. The stacked boards will have to air dry for a year at the very least before being turned into furniture for our house and other projects and commissions.
Sometimes I need a diversion. Now and then I just can't get motivated to do the work I'm supposed to be doing and instead I'll take on something small to get over the hump. Such was the case about a week ago while staring at a recently completed and delivered piece that was back in the shop for "alterations". I just couldn't get to it. I had been meaning to rebuild my bench top for about two years. I had a slap of maple (a recycled bench top itself) sitting in the shop as well as a second vise. I decided that after years of procrastination it was absolutely essential that I fix up my bench immediately! I spent the better part of a day getting the new top together. I added a wide apron and mortised the vises in behind for more practical holding. It still needs some tweaking but it's a huge improvement over the old top. Once that was done it was time to get back to work... but wait, there's that chunk of Arizona Desert Ironwood a friend gave me a few years back. And there's that spokeshave kit my wife gave me a few Christmases ago. Yup, I really need a new spokeshave. I'm only part way through the process of making the new tool but the wood is really something else. Beautiful figure and colour and a truly unique, almost smoky, smell. Here are a few progress shots of the shave-to-be with some other handmade tools. The first is of the wood after re-sawing and flattening. the plane in this shot is my Beech bodied jack plane. I restored this antique and added a white oak sole and a walnut handle. The second picture is the wood looking a bit smoother and is shown with my James Krenov smoothing plane. Next is a shot that shows the beautiful colour of the ironwood and finally there's a shot of the blank complete with a rather long crack that I've reinforced with epoxy. Now, back to work!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Here's a shot of a European style kitchen cabinet in natural birch. These are frameless cabinets with a modern look. The countertop is concrete. This was my first set of kitchen cabinets and my first concrete countertop. I have since done concrete work in kitchens, bathrooms, as hearths and in commercial settings.
Monday, March 10, 2008
This bark covered vase came directly from the firewood pile. As I stack my firewood for the winter I try to keep an eye out for interesting pieces that I can save from the stove. These vases are truly one of a kind, each one as individual as the tree it came from. This one is made from Beech which tends to grow unevenly and burly in this part of the world.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Although I don't get to do it as often as I'd like, turning bowls is one of the reasons I got into woodworking in the first place. Here are some examples. The first two are made of Elm that grew on King's Road, just down the hill from my house. The shallower bowl is made from a Cherry tree I was given a while back. The bark covered bowl is carved from a spruce burl and the small bowl is spalted maple.
Here are two examples of my cutting boards. Cutting boards can be made any size and mine are usually made of contrasting woods. While people often comment that it's a shame to actually cut on them, these boards are made to be used and will last for many years. They are constructed with waterproof glue and sit atop small feet. These feet make the heavy boards easier to lift and the resulting airflow keeps the underside clean and dry. They are finished with mineral oil and locally produced beeswax.
I designed and built this piece for my two little girls as a way to help them combat clutter in the living room. The design is influenced Shaker furniture as well as Japanese furniture and architectural design. The baskets were purchased before final dimensions were decided. This piece is made from wide pine boards that were air dried and sat out to weather for a period of months. This process gives pine a very rich and unique colour. The finish is tung oil.
This is a detail shot of a small box that I made a few years ago. I love small pieces like this because they give me the opportunity to play around with design and to use special, often recycled, pieces of wood that may be in short supply.
This cabinet is the result of a collaborative design process between myself two close friends who have been renovating their century old farmhouse just outside Sydney. The lighter wood is Elm from trees that grew along King's Road in Sydney for about 150 years. The darker wood is also Elm but is coloured with an ebony oil-based stain.
This was a particularly interesting job. The owners of a beautiful timber frame home wanted tables built as featured elements in a small living room. After searching for the right piece of wood they found an amazing slab of walnut from a lumber dealer in Margaree. At its widest, this piece was just over 40 inches and over 8 feet in length. Through careful collaboration with the home owners I laid out the rough shape of each table on the wood. Next came the scary part; cutting that magnificent slab in half with the circular saw. These pieces had to fit very precisely around the 8x8 posts of this home. The tables sit atop simple brackets and are finished with oil and wax. Although these pieces will never be reproduced I love working with live-edge wood and try to keep a supply on hand.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Here are two views of a queen size bed based on a client's design. The headboard is MDF and the rest of the bed is solid poplar with a very dark stain. This bed does not use a box spring. Instead the mattress is supported by wooden slats. This particular design could be built in any size and in virtually any colour.