St John’s valet

The St. Johns bridge here in Portland has always been among my favorite US bridges.

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Designed by engineer and poet David B. Steinman, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in existence at the time of its construction. Mr. Steinman was an interesting man; he helped to codify what it means be trained as an engineer. His poetry often makes reference to his passion for the craft.

“A bridge is a poem stretched across a river, a symphony of stone and steel” – D.B. Steinman

I’ve always admired the St. Johns’ flying buttresses and tall spires and have wanted to incorporate some of it’s features into one of my pieces.  After all, I was an engineer in another life; what better representation of the engineers craft?

“A bridge is mathematics brought to life” – D.B. Steinman

During our first year at the NW Woodworking Studio, we were tasked with building a standing cabinet. I finally had my chance to play with the iconic Portland landmark!

As the father of two young girls, I recognize that we have a coat and shoe problem. Unfortunately, I am condemned me to always be the tidiest person in any gathering, and since having kids I’ve been cursed with the task of general pick-up any and every time I enter a new room in my house. Where are we going to put all these things? Our craftsman bungalow hardly has any closet space; we need a standing cabinet that holds shoes and coats!

And the St. Johns coat rack was born.

Version one is for our house and is made of white oak and has a hemlock carcase. The top features enough room for 10 or more coat hooks (four in front, four in back and two or more on the side). I used a Japanese finishing technique on it called  shou-sugi-ban, in which the sides of the case were charred with a propane torch, then scrubbed clean of charcoal prior to oiling and waxing. It leaves a textured surface on hemlock indicative of the woods early and late growth. I wanted a cabinet carcase that represented the asphalt on the bridge deck and I believe the shou-sugi-ban technique was a real success at this.

The oak had a few interior checks which I left and filled with black colored epoxy.  I’d be remiss in my allegiance to my former profession if I did not point out that the checks are representative of the poor state of the Nation’s bridges and other infrastructure.

The final design is large; large enough to get laughed at at the NW Woodworking studio, but sufficient non-the-less to fit nicely into our vaulty craftsman home. I topped it with a hand-carved pull, meant to represent the automobile age in it’s angular appearance.

St. Johns Coat rack V.1

St. Johns Coat rack V.1

The front features a fall-front door which swings down on spring-loaded pin hinges I devised and reveals two shelves of shoe storage space. Boots fit in the bottom.

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St. Johns Coat rack v.1

The back is designed to hold things like umbrellas, walking sticks and tennis rackets.

St. Johns coat/shoe rack v.1

St. Johns coat/shoe rack v.1

Version two is currently under construction and will be sold via auction to benefit the “Lumber to Legacy” program which buys Oregon white oak habitat to set aside for future generations. The auction is set for Nov 9.

Version two was built with Oregon white oak from the Hackleman grove in Albany. High-school aged kids assisted with the milling. The interior cabinet will be made with the same oak, and may be “tarrified” by use of the shou-sugi-ban technique, or I may just darken it with vinegar and steel wool. I have been modifying the first design to get more of the iconic arches seen in the design of the actual bridge, as well as bring down the overall size.

The feedback that I got at showing v.1 at the Studio was that I might try to slim-down some key features, advice which I took to heart while designing v.2.  It is a challenging piece to build; full of curves and irregular-angled joinery, and the carcase is amenable to none of the regular shortcuts.  The lumber itself, though beautifully colored, is very difficult to work with due to it’s propensity to never stay static. All in all a very satisfying fill-in project for this summer. You know what it needs? A bike rack!

More details on the auction to follow.

For now, just one sneak-peak;

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St. Johns’ Valet v. 2

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in carcase, curved, design, inspiration, Uncatagorized, workshop | 1 Comment

Photography equipment!

Well now I’ve gone and done it…

Bought non-woodworking tools that is.

But it was worth it.

A Lowell three-light kit; One TOTA and two OMNI lights with umbrellas, stands, cords and a bag. A combo0diffuser/reflector with stand and a 9′ roll of backdrop paper with two stands and a collapsable pole for holding it.  $500 worth of equipment, new and used.

Waiting on a replacement for our camera charger and I’ll be ready to get some decent quality photos of my work. Once I learn to use the camera that is. Camera angle, lighting, composition, f-stop, aperture, focus, depth-of-field, white balance; these words are my new roadmap.

I should have done this a long time ago.

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Walnut picture frames with Bicycle advertisement prints

I just completed a run of hand-carved walnut picture frames for a series of bicycle advertisement re-prints I’d been collecting.  They combine two of my passions- cycling and woodworking. I have many more of these prints available, and will be framing them bit-by-bit as I get the time and materials. They are for sale for $175 each, and vary a bit in size but average about 16″ x 20″. The frames are Oregon black walnut and were joined with a half-lap miter (which is much stronger than a typical picture-frame miter joint) and hand-carved and scratch-beaded in various configurations.

Hope you like them!

crescent cycles print with walnut frame - $175

crescent cycles print with walnut frame – $175

Alder print with walnut frame - $175

Alder print with walnut frame – $175

Bird bike print with walnut frame - $175

Bird bike print with walnut frame – $175

locomotive and bike print with walnut frame - $175

locomotive and bike print with walnut frame – $175

winged women and bike print with walnut frame -$175

winged women and bike print with walnut frame -$175

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more sushi-boxes

Another run of boxes finished and photographed. If your interested in one, let me know here.

Prices specified do not include shipping.

double tiered walnut sushi box with textured top $195

double tiered walnut sushi box with textured top $195

double tiered walnut sushi box with textured top $195

double tiered walnut sushi box with textured top $195

double tiered SVG Fir sushi box with paduk pull $175

double tiered SVG Fir sushi box with paduk pull $175

double tiered SVG Fir sushi box with paduk pull $175

double tiered SVG Fir sushi box with paduk pull $175

double tiered black walnut sushi box with textured op $195

double tiered black walnut sushi box with textured op $195

double tiered black walnut sushi box with textured op $195

double tiered black walnut sushi box with textured op $195

rippled maple sushi box with wenge top $125

rippled maple sushi box with wenge top $125

Black walnut sushi box with top textured front and back $215

Black walnut sushi box with top textured front and back $215

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Little Boxes

Our first project for the Mastery Program at the Northwest Woodworking Studio is a sushi box based upon a design Gary Rogowski published in Fine Woodworking magazine. With my usual abundance of enthusiasm, I jumped right in with six original designs attempting to nail the perfect form, wood selection and pull. These are my first attempts. They are all for sale – if you are interested please let me know and I’ll set your choice aside for you. Otherwise, they are destined for a local gallery here in Portland and they price will reflect the markup. I think I need some better photography equipment; perhaps the sale of these will help finance a proper set of photography lights with reflectors and a professional backdrop.

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White oak and wenge inlay- $75

White oak and wenge inlay- $75

Bamboo with rosewood brass and paduk pull - $75

Bamboo with rosewood brass and paduk pull – $75

Bamboo box pull- rosewood, brass and paduk.

Bamboo box pull- rosewood, brass and paduk.

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Walnut and ebony with Ipe dividers- $100

Walnut and ebony with Ipe dividers- $100

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White oak and Paduk- $125

White oak and Paduk- $125

Ipe box with teak top and rosewood dividers- $125

Ipe box with teak top and rosewood dividers- $125

Ipe box with teak top and rosewood dividers- $125

Ipe box with teak top and rosewood dividers- $125

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Prairie Couch in Eastern American Walnut

I recently completed the first of three prairie style couches. They are based upon a design by Frank Lloyd Wright and fit nicely in both an arts and crafts as well as in a modern setting. The one shown in the photos below was built as a speculative piece and the other two are for a very nice couple who commissioned them from me here in Portland. They are all made from solid eastern walnut and finished with oil and wax. The speculative piece was professionally upholstered with sinusoidal springs under the seat cushions and covered in high-quality european leather. I am very happy with how it turned out as it is both beautiful and very comfortable.  I can not stop caressing the arms as they are smooth as silk!  I am asking $4500 for this couch, and plan on completing a matching ottoman or coffee table to be sold separately.

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Posted in couch, craftsman, design, Prairie, walnut | 1 Comment

Also finished; Spalted Valet

This is meant to be a “man’s box” for keys, spare change, wallets- a catch all for your pockets at the end of each day. It was a lot of fun curving the sides with a handplane and the inside via coping sled on the table saw.

Large curvet valet with inner box. Spalted wood and mahogany with wenge and paduk pulls.

Large curvet valet with inner box. Spalted wood and mahogany with wenge and paduk pulls.

The two lids are of solid spalted alder and maple. It has hand-carved handles of wenge and paduk .

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The main box is mahogany, the inner box of walnut.
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oil and wax finish, of course…

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I’m fond of making my “mustache” handles.

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Jewlery Box

Two years.  Two years it took me to finish this thing. Two years spent squinting at it- looking for possibilities. Two years of thinking about leg options late into the night.

And now it’s done.

Large Jewelry box, bubinga, mahogany and ebony with Pendelton wool drawer linings.

Large Jewelry box, bubinga, mahogany and ebony with Pendelton wool drawer linings.

I used brass plane iron adjustment knobs with rosewood infill. The drawers and top are made from a piece of billet wood I acquired from a guy who knows a guy who works on the docks here in Portland It was a piece of mahogany-like wood spalted from prolonged time in a ship hold in proximity of water and suitable fungi.

closeup drawers

closeup drawers

The top handel was hand-carved. The inner drawer dividers are rippled maple from a local maple tree.

top drawer open

top drawer open

I finished this with oil and wax. Couldn’t bring myself to give it a top-coat.

jewelry box front

jewelry box front

I managed to use lots of ebony pieces I’d had laying around for the trim.

drawers

drawers

The top lifting box is of a piece of Chechen I’d been lugging around with me since the early 1990’s. Drawer linings of Pendleton wool scraps.

JB top open

JB top open


Since this was a practice piece, my price on this has nothing to do with the amount of time it took. Thanks for looking!

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blanket chests

I recently finished a run of six milk-painted chests. These measure 19″ x 40″ x 16″ (height). They are constructed of southern yellow pine, finished in four coats of General Finishes Milk-Paint, then hand-rubed with oil and wax and fitted with soft-close hinges. Each carcase is dovetailed to ensure a chest that will last generations. I am selling these for $400-$500 each.  Own a quality piece of custom furniture, locally crafted in Portland, Oregon and support your local artisans!

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New stuff keeping me busy, old stuff needing to get finished…

I’ve been pretty busy these days between hanging with my kids while my wife works a long stretch of days, as well as kindergarten round-ups, getting our home ready for sale and acquiring the oak I need for a recent commission. Still I’ve managed to squeak in quite a lot of time for building. My goal is to have a few dozen items ready for sale for around the holidays (or possibly an art show or two this summer in the NW). I’m going to need to slow down a bit soon though, as the approaching spring and mountain bike season on Mt. Hood and St. Helens is beckoning me.  Here’s a quick look at what I’ve got in progress.

Dovetails tails cut on Southern Yellow Pine

Dovetails tails cut on Southern Yellow Pine

These are the beginnings of a half dozen toy boxes/coffee table/side tables in progress. They will be larger than the toy box I made for Madeline (here). The southern yellow pine has been jointed, dimensioned and the tails cut.

Leigh adjustable dovetail Jig

Leigh adjustable dovetail Jig

This is the set-up I use for machine-cut dovetails.

windsor shield seat in white pine

windsor shield seat in white pine

I’ve glued up a 2 inch thick slab of white pine for use on a Philadelphia style windsor fan back chair. I hope it turns out something like this.

sticks made octangle while green on shave horse

sticks made octangle while green on shave horse

These are the spindles I rived and octangalized (ha) for the chair. I used my new shave horse for shaping. The spindles need to dry in my shop for a few days then get further dried in a kiln I’ve yet to make.

shavehorse -Boggs style

shavehorse -Boggs style

The shavehorse I threw together in about 20 hours with $50 in soft maple.

shavehorse seat in cherry and walnut. The points on the sides are for grabbing to scoot your seat forward or backwards when you need to.

shavehorse seat in cherry and walnut. The points on the sides are for grabbing to scoot your seat forward or backwards when you need to.

The cherry seat was my first time using a lancelot disk on my grinder for shaping. I’d like to do my shaping by hand with a scorp and travisher, but I need to get over the sharpening hurdle first. Still, this one was fun to make.

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I’ve been making the patterns for the Peter Galbert Windsor rocker from Fine woodworking (here).

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I have the seat glued up and pattern with sight-lines and resultant angles drawn on it. I think I am doing this entire chair in Ash.

I have a series of small tables I drew a pattern for marked out on some quartersawn oak as well.

All this is just the most recent stuff. I have three jewelry boxes, four peppermills, eight sets of toy trains (3 cars each -only the locomotives need finishing), and several dozen assorted pens and small lathe toys to finish. Not mentioning the half dozen or so tools I have planed to make for myself (spokeshave, chisel handles, krenov plane(s), straight-edges/winding sticks and layout square).

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