Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Modest Proposal (or two)

One difficulty that just about any budding chairmaker encounters is reaming. Aside from all the hubbub about which angle and what type of cutter to use, there is the plain old physical problem of reaming.  I recommend the reamers innovated by Jennie Alexander and produced by Elia Bizzarri, because they are easily made, maintained and alterable to whatever angle you please. They also cut with a slow scraping motion on both sides of the cutter, which keeps the user from going too far too fast. The one drawback that I've found is that it can be tough to learn to steer it in a desired direction while rotating the two handles.


I know that another method is to chuck a reamer, such as the one from Emhof into a brace and go at it. I've heard folks complain about the difficulty controlling the speed with which this can lead one astray. A while back, I started horsing around with an idea (surprising right?!) that might solve both issues. Why not chuck the slower reamer in a brace so that the circular motion of turning the reamer is easier?
Well, I did and it works great. I spoke with Elia earlier about the idea, and while he's not rushing to shift production just yet, perhaps a little more r and d will get the ball rolling.

To alter my reamer, I simply drilled a hole in the end on the lathe (to insure perfect axis alignment) and then epoxied a stem from an old auger into the hole. First though, I heated the end of the auger cherry hot to anneal it so that I could drill in a pin to resist the substantial torque of reaming. If anyone tries this, I'd love to hear about the results. I'll continue to put it in students hands to judge the potential value of the idea.

Here is a ladle that I recently completed in applewood. I've appreciated the kind response to my spoon postings and have been considering a new endeavor. I make spoons because I enjoy it, and I have a day job, so selling them has not really appealed to me.  But then I got to thinking (again?!) why not sell them and donate the profits to an organization that fights hunger? Spoons, hunger, it just seems right.

So here's how I'd like to work it. As I produce a spoon that I deem worthy, I'll post it on the blog with a set price, this one is $80. It is 17" long with a 3" by 4" bowl, perfect for soups and stews.
If anyone is interested in buying it, please email me  at peter@petergalbertchairmaker.com. If I get more than one interested party, I'll put the names in a hat and pick the buyer at random. I'll give 3 days to get your name on the list before contacting the buyer, then just mail me a check (including $8 for shipping) and I'll send your spoon.

I've denied all inquiries about advertising on this blog in an effort to keep it about my passion and sharing and I hope that you can understand my interest in using the blog this way.

Not all the spoons that I make will be in this price range, I've been making a lot of smaller ones suitable for cooking that will go in the $30 to $60 range. I just thought that I'd kick off the project with a real looker!

This piece of wood came from the base of an apple tree that I cut back in my woods and I had high hopes for it while it was still in the tree. Apple can be tricky, little knots or checks can squelch the best ideas, but this one made it all the way. I've finished the spoon with repeated applications of raw tung oil. The only care necessary is an occasional wiping with walnut or raw tung oil and avoiding harsh detergents or  long soakings.

I have been investigating various organizations and would welcome suggestions as to an appropriate  place for the funds.
Thanks for considering my proposal, hopefully we can all get something from it!


Jack Plane said...

With the modified reamer, do you think there is an optimal relationship between the blade's plane and crank angle?

Peter Galbert said...

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question, give me another shot,

Anonymous said...

This seems like a great idea, but how does it bring us any closer to eating Irish children? Forgive me if I'm being short-sighted, I just don't see it.

Peter Galbert said...

While this spoon can't be used to eat an Irish child, I'm sure that with the right tree that I could work something out!
Well done Mr Swift, well done,

jaupnort said...

Peter, I am tempted to try this modification to Elia's reamer. But since I rely on it and I don't have another of his reamers if I screw it up in the mod process I am a bit cautious.
Can you still use the cross handle in it after the drill bit head has been added if I don't like the result? Couldn't tell from your picture.
Do you reharden the drill bit piece that you anneal?

Peter Galbert said...

Why not just turn an extra wooden taper and use Elias blade to see if you like mounting it in the brace. There is no need to harden the end of the bit again. Good luck,

Chris Mershon said...

My vote goes for www.charitywater.org

Chris Mershon said...

I know it isn't water, but it is sustainable and folks have to drink!!

Chris Mershon said...

Type-O...ment food not water....

Peter Galbert said...

thanks for the suggestion, I am very interested in water and will look into the organization. It all begins with water!