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.
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.
The two lids are of solid spalted alder and maple. It has hand-carved handles of wenge and paduk .
oil and wax finish, of course…
I’m fond of making my “mustache” handles.
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.
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.
The top handel was hand-carved. The inner drawer dividers are rippled maple from a local maple tree.
I finished this with oil and wax. Couldn’t bring myself to give it a top-coat.
I managed to use lots of ebony pieces I’d had laying around for the trim.
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.
Since this was a practice piece, my price on this has nothing to do with the amount of time it took. Thanks for looking!
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!
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.
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.
This is the set-up I use for machine-cut dovetails.
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.
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.
The shavehorse I threw together in about 20 hours with $50 in soft maple.
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.
I’ve been making the patterns for the Peter Galbert Windsor rocker from Fine woodworking (here).
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).
Saw this in a blog by Chris Schwarz (here) and really liked the proportions. It was originally designed for Stickley by Harvey Ellis, who lightened the heavy Stickley look with a slight taper to the legs and the curved top stretcher. I changed the way the bottom shelf meets the stretcher to ensure consistent grain.
The piece is quartersawn white oak with an aniline dye followed by three coats of varnish/oil and brown paste wax.
An easy little build though I had to use some case-hardened oak for the legs I was able to keep the visible checks to a minimum.
The back is shiplapped flat-sawn white oak with a chamfer at the seams. Unfortunately, the case is a little small to hold full-sized kids books. Magazines or small books are the ticket.
This is my second attempt at the Morris chair shown in the gregory Paolini morris chair built for Fine Woodworking (here) and for which plans are published by American Furniture Design Co. The piece is still in need of upholstery; for which I’ve a brown leather that matches another piece I’ve made for our living room. I feel this chair came out heads and tails better than my first Morris chair – a project I first undertook with next to no real woodworking skills to my credit. I think a lot of it comes down to a nice finish and attention to details like edges and through mortises.
I used blackwood plugs to suggest the holes found for the backrest adjustment on the rear legs.
Quartersawn white oak was lock-mitered to create legs with quartersawn grain on all four sides.
The finish is oil and dark brown wax. There are no stains or dyes used to color the natural white oak. I am beginning to prefer the clean look of unstained white oak. It should brown a bit with age.
The added benefit of proper edge treatment is that corners are easier on little heads, hands and feet.
I’ve always admired the Shakers for the perfection of their forms. That and their work ethic. They got a lot of stuff done in their short time here. They are not credited with the invention of the bentwood box, but many believe they perfected the form.
To build my shaker boxes, I decided to finally make myself a steam box. A steam box is a simple box into which you pump hot steam. In the photo below you can see the front of my simple box placed out my shop window in an attempt to keep the moisture from entering the shop and changing the humidity. The black tube is the route by which steam is injected and leads to a commercial wallpaper steamer I bought specifically for this purpose.
By steaming pieces of wood, you soften the lignin bonds that hold the wood together and allow it to be bent into radically different shapes. I’ve been wanting to play with bent designs for quite some time now, and decided these boxes would give me the excuse I needed to get a move-on. The boxes also required construction of the cores and shapers used to shape the bent forms. I used patterns from John Wilson’s (http://www.shakerovalbox.com) publications to build these, making them for box sizes 1 through 6. The photo below shows some of the shapers in the background.
For the bands, I found some very nice quartersawn cherry from our local hardwood supplier here in Portland and tuned up my new Laguna 16″ bandsaw and carbide blade. Re-sawing was a revelation with this new tool! Finally I am able to re-saw thick material – it opens up so many possibilities!
Once the bands are bent around the forms, you use copper tacks and a hammer and anvil to hold them together.
Once cinched, the shapers are placed in the top and bottom of each box and they are allowed to dry for a day or two. After that, it’s simple matter of cutting the top and bottom pieces to size, fitting them and tacking into place with small splinters of wood (I used hardwood toothpicks). My tops on these were spalted alder. The boxes need a bit of hand sanding, then oil and wax, and the result is a set of very cool looking oval boxes! These are destined for a wedding gift for two friends of mine – never mind that they are 6 months late (Officially, my wife tells me, I have up to a year…). I think they will really like them. I have some reservations about use of the spalted alder for the tops as it is not quartersawn, and may swell and break the bands someday, and it is quite fragile (being rotten wood after all…). Still, I think they will be OK if treated with a bit of care.
Things I’d like to get better at with these are;
1) Don’t dent the cherry when installing the tacks
2) Line up the fingers on the top band and the box bands
3) Line up the tacks more evenly
4) Build bigger sizes – through size 10 at least.
Most every designer and woodworker keeps a collection of images that inspire. I’m no different, only I’ve recently discovered a fantastic way to do so – and it makes sharing the collection easy and fun as well. If you have no yet checked out Pintrest, you ought to do so now. My own Pintrest boards can be found here.