Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Chicks, really

Here is the chicken coop that I built last weekend to house our 6 new chicks. In keeping with farm tradition, I built it mostly from found and leftover wood. Even the tires and axle came from an old trailer that I found dumped on our property.

When I am not building chairs, I like to slam out work with a chop saw and drywall screws. There's no dovetailing here, it's called a butt joint and it's about all I have patience for. As far as coops go, this one is pretty tricked out, with hinged roofs, wheels and removable floor panels for easy cleaning. The laying boxes at the back are also removable.

Here are the chicks! If we can keep them predator (and dog) safe, they should provide nicely for Sue and my egg needs. These days, it seems like trying to constantly increase earnings to meet the changing prices in the volatile food and energy markets is a losing battle. So I am working towards better understanding our needs and meeting them directly. Hence, chickens.

Here are some shots of my students at Peters Valley. This is Earle planing the bottom of his seat.

Here is a medley of seat action.

The first day was blazing hot (so were the rest) and the student found refuge under an ancient sugar maple.

Perhaps you've noticed that my there are rarely (or never) photos of me on the blog. I figure that my rambling on is probably enough! But Wayne took this nice picture of me and Maleyne last week, and I thought it worthy of posting.

I will be going to the Furniture Society Conference in Purchase NY later this week. I have never been. I will be participating in a show put together by Jon Binzen and showing off my caliper in the trade show room. I'll report on it, and my chicks when I return.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Five Solid Days

Here is the photo of the students with their finished stools after 5 days at the Peters Valley Craft Center. It was a lot of fun and work, not to mention the 95 degree heat.

When setting out to teach a multilevel class, I am always challenged to meet the needs of all of the students. In this instance, I wanted to make a piece that focussed on the basics of shaving and carving. As I told the class, chairmaking is a lot like a decathalon. The wide array of tools and skills employed can seem daunting. My goal was to guide the students through while trying to draw a common thread from one task to the next.

As usual, I learned a great deal from my students. The different ways of learning and the variety of working rhythms seemed to even out as the students helped each other. Some of my favorite moments were watching students explain a part of the process to another, which is something that I don't see in my one on one instruction. As much as performing the task at hand, this is a reflection of their comprehension.

I'll be sharing some more photos of the class as well as a technique that I developed for drilling every hole in the undercarraige with one angle (even though they are all different!).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Heading Out

Here are the legs that I prepped for the class that I'll be teaching at Peters Valley this week. I had to rough them out ahead of time so that they'll be ready for reaming on the second day of the 5 day class. The students will spokeshave the finish surface.
As you can see, it was a lot of work!

Here is the stool that the class will be making. I hope Gerry Felix is happy that I finally made a barstool! I am pleased with the result and have enjoyed working with Stacy on the initial student run. As usual, it's the simple pieces that speak beyond my intentions that I seem to enjoy the most.

Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions lately, I apologize for not responding but the hours in the day have been awful tight lately.
After I get back from the Valley, I'll be heading off to the Furniture Society Conference in Purchase, NY. After June, I think I'll stare into space for a couple of weeks!