Tuesday, July 15, 2014


It is impossible to hang out with Peter Follansbee, as I did last weekend, and not come home and spend a day on the porch carving spoons.


We do things a bit differently, but he was downright inspiring. I was also thrilled to spend time with all the other great folks at the Lie-Nielsen open house. It would be difficult to convey exactly how wonderfully they treated us and how generous they were.
Here is the finished spoon, made from apple wood.

It's a good eating spoon. I would be happy to sell it for $55 and $5 shipping if anyone is interested. I'll draw names if I get more than one buyer. For the moment, I am going to keep proceeds from my spoon sales to help with the bills, but I hope to continue the Spoons for Hunger project once things settle down a bit.

Thanks to all the folks who have reached out to offer solace and comfort lately. Transitions are never easy and your kindness is much appreciated. I'm sure that quilting guilds and dog clubs are full of great folks, but I can't help but think that woodworkers are the kindest lot there is.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm still here

I am always aware when too much time has passed between posts  because of the emails inquiring about my health, whereabouts and possible witness protection status. So I figured that an update was in order.
It has been an exceedingly busy year. As you may know, my book is in the final stages. I only have a couple of hundred more drawings to complete! I hope to see it in print this fall. Thanks for your interest and patience.
Around the shop we have lots going on. Besides Claire making travishers, I’ve brought another North Bennet Street grad into the fold. His name is Charlie Ryland and he has been helping me for the last few months keep up with my crazy work schedule. In the future, I hope to see him grinding drill bits for sale through the website. He’s a great addition to the team and you can meet him when we go to the Lie Nielsen open house next week or at WIA this fall in North Carolina.

I’ve had such a great experience  posting on the blog over the last 7 years and my goal is to expand this once I finish with the book and some other coming events.

One of the difficult parts of sharing my experiences online is moderating how much exposure of my private world is appropriate.  In continuing to share upcoming events, there are some changes coming that are sure to come with some questions, so I thought it best to come right out and share that Sue and I have decided to split up and as part of the transition, I am selling my Massachusetts house and moving to Asheville, North Carolina.
While it is clearly a sad thing to see a good thing come to an end, I am happy to say that we separated amicably and we remain good friends. I appreciate all the folks who have reached out to care for both of us through this last year. We are both doing well thanks to you all.
I look forward to being closer to my family and near all my good friends in Asheville. Plus a couple of extra warm months a year doesn’t sound so bad.

The completion of the book and move south will hopefully go smoothly and leave me in a much more settled place where I can get back to what is most natural for me, namely horsing around making chairs and posting on the blog about my findings and fun.

Thanks for your continued visits to Chairnotes and please stay tuned for the changes as they come.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another thought on the Shavehorse

I was in need of another shavehorse recently for a class, so I grabbed a dumbhead swing arm that I had laying around and cobbled together a horse. This part was an experiment that I had tried when looking into making an adjustable shavehorse. I rejected it because it had some short grain issues that I thought wouldn't stand up. But after using it in the class, I realized that the shortgrain issues that came with sawing the parts from a board could be sidestepped by using hickory dowels for the "teeth". It took me all of 15 minutes to retrofit with dowels and I have been using it with great results. The video is clearly a quick shot, but I think it gets the idea across.

The one drawback to this design that the "smarthead" solves is that the foot treadle rises when you adjust it, but so far, that hasn't been annoying enough to overcome the simplicity and the strength of the concept. Ideas aren't always linear, this one sat for a couple of years, but I thought it worth sharing for those looking for simple solutions. The dowels are set at a 23 degree angle (probably variable) and are 5/8".