Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Cobblers Children

The old saying "The cobblers children have no shoes" has fit the bill as far as my most recent chairs go. I have not had the time to make myself one of the cherry chairs with the bent spindles that I have been making for clients. People like to tease me about the amount of chairs that I must have, and it's true, I am tripping over them constantly. The only problem is that the chairs that I own are all of the early ones and I generally watch as my best work goes out the door. Well, finally my shifting of my business plan has afforded me the time to make myself a chair. I have gone from taking orders to taking names on a list that I can call when the time affords. This wonderful piece of business advice came from my friend Curtis (hey, when are you going to start taking your own advice?!)

I decided to use the last of my hickory log to create a dramatic contrast with the spindles. Hickory is one of my favorite woods for spindles. I hardy ever use it for bends, even though it often bends beautifully, because it tends to shrink dramatically and therefore check a lot. In most chairs, I find hickory too strong, leaving the back inflexible. I tend to use it in combbacks where the spindles offer the only support for the upper back or when it's strength is of benefit.
I wish that all spindles called for hickory. Once you get used to the lack of obvious clues (such as the rays in white oak), shaving with the fiber line is easy and no wood has the creamy texture of hickory. My sawyer calls me when he gets a great hickory, and luckily, fall is here and it's time to get a new one (they rot in summer!).
Now my only challenge is to hold onto my new chair, in the face of the mortgage, the insurance, and oh yeah, christmas is coming!

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