Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Forms

Two things that I've found to be essential to surviving the long cold winter nights here in New York are Dave Sawyer's firewood carriers (shown below with theirs proud owner David) and spoon carving. The carriers save my back and the spoons save my mind.

I'll be going into the spoon carving a bit more in the following post, but for now, I wanted to share some new techniques that I've been using to get better bends in my bent turnings.
This week, Chris Durbin returned from Ohio to make one of my birdcage armchairs. I've worked out a lot of techniques for working with all of the curved parts, but I kept having trouble with the slight "sideways" curve that sometimes occurred in the forms.

Here is the  bend in a new form that I made. If you look below, you'll see that I've made up the form from two bevelled pieces of plywood that cause the bend to center itself and eliminate any "sideways" curve. Having a straight axis really eliminates a lot of the difficulty of reaming these parts accurately into the seat.

The other benefit of the form is that the pressure of the form on the round workpiece is spread over a larger surface (two points of contact instead of one) so I got less denting of the steamed part as well. I use a shaped block and some dense felt as clamp pads to eliminate damage on the other side.

I am looking into dense felt suppliers to get material to line the form as well, why not?!
Below is Chris carving his duckbills, I love telling students that we'll be using the drawknife for most of this work, the terror is palpable!

And here he is with his finished piece. It came out great.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

You mention the cold winter, and I was wondering, do you use your steambox outside on cold days? If not, what's the coldest you'll use it outside? Do you use it inside? I bent some ladder back chair legs today, but it was a reasonable 40 outside here in Maryland and it seemed to work fine.

Btw, I was using your caliper today and I'm really getting the hang of it. It's a great product.


Anonymous said...

I have just recently gotten one of your calipers. It's is great--accurate and a time saver. And I spent a couple of years when the only wood work I could do was carving spoons. I think if I know anything about wood, it is the result of that time.


Peter Galbert said...

I have my steamer indoors, so I don't have any experience with the cold affecting my bending. I hate to make assumptions, so I'd keep going as long as it works, or get an indoor steam source!

If I could, I'd assign every aspiring woodworker 100 spoons before tacking anything else, it is the "purest" woodworking I've ever done.
I'm glad to hear that you are getting good use out of your caliper! The only reason that I put so much effort into producing it is that I feel the same way!
Thanks for the comment,

jaupnort said...

Your right Peter, spoons are special. I am just now getting caught up on your posts as I have been making my version of your stool shown in the AAW magazine 2009 spring issue I believe.
In your following post I interpret your comments to indicate you are doing the spoons out of Crab Apple.
Well the stools are apple wood taken as the last part of the homestead to go were I grew up in Nebraska. A large old tree yielded much wood and many lessons in how to and not to handle apple wood.
But now due to persistence and your great Caliper my three kids each have a stool from wood from grandpa and grandmas old farm.
As they were unwrapped under the tree these past couple of days tears flowed for memories of some 30-40 years ago for the times they had climbed this old tree.
These memories will live on and be recalled by this wonderful stool from the design that I borrowed from you and the great caliper that that was in constant use in the makinf of these stools. John Anderson(jaupnort)

Peter Galbert said...

what a great story, I'm thrilled to be a part of it! Apple wood is tricky stuff, but boy is it worth it. Thanks for sending along the xmas tale,