Friday, October 24, 2014

Have coffee with me

This weekend, PBS will be airing the episode of Rough Cut that I made last spring here in Sterling. Tommy and the crew did a great job and worked hard to represent the craft of chairmaking. For some, it will air on Saturday morning, so coffee up, sit back and lemme know what you think. And rest assured, even if you don't like it, my Mother will love it.

Here are a couple more teasers for the upcoming book. I am just a few days from finishing all the drawings and am finally getting the hang of it (of course). The designer is working up some samples and it should be firmly in her hands in a week or two.
 Spending 3 days drawing drill bits can make one feel a bit odd.
 There are some images, such as the variety of leg styles, where surface quality calls for a slightly more rendered appearance.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I was talking to my brother the other day and had to tell him that while I enjoyed hearing from him, he will not here anything different from me for a few weeks. I'm drawing.
Here are the portfolios housing the nearly completed drawings for the upcoming book. I think there are somewhere around 350 of them.

The old adage about a person who defends themselves in court having a fool for a client might also apply to illustrating ones own book. There have been many times that I cursed myself for taking the project down this path, but now that I am nearly done, and have learned so much about how effective illustrations can be in relating process, I am nothing but excited. Every time that I've thought, "this might be easier to take a photograph", I've realized that I could give much more information or clarity in a drawing. Hopefully the reader will agree.

This project has been hugely cathartic to me, not that I needed more catharsis this year. It's been a great chance to take stock of the last 15 years of learning, making and teaching. In a way, it feels like I am clearing the slate for more information in my own head. But for now, here I am, all day, everyday, drawing. The book should be in the hands of the designer within a few weeks and we hope to the printers soon after.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Drill Bits are Here!

It's taken a while, but I'm happy to announce that we are now taking orders for sets of chairmakers long spur brad point drill bits. Charlie Ryland came here last February straight from North Bennet Street. We talked about his making drill bits, but quickly became mired in all sorts of other projects. But lately Charlie jumped in and started grinding away.

Just as with Claire and the travishers and Tim with the reamers and adzes, he has advanced the bits beyond what I was doing with them. By making some slight alterations to the dressing of the wheel, he's managed to make a bit that lets you know when it is about to poke through the other side of the workpiece. The lead spur is slightly wider at the base and the change in pressure as it comes through is perceptible.

If you aren't familiar with the abilities of these bits, I will be making a video when we get back from North Carolina. The geometry of these bits is helpful in getting clean entry and exits holes as well as drilling at angles,  making them great for making chairs. Plus, seeing a ribbon like shaving pour out of the hole proves that drill bits really are woodworking tools, deserving of attention and respect just like a plane or chisel.

The bits are available in sets of 5 as shown for $110 plus $10 for shipping. They are made from American made High Speed Steel and include 5/8", 1/2", 7/16", 3/8" and 11/32".
The larger bits require a drill with a 1/2" chuck.

Charlie will have some sets available for purchase at WIA and is accepting orders at And of course, feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions,