Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Baluster

One of the great perks of our new place in Massachusetts (besides the lower taxes) is the high speed internet. Uploading from this location is a breeze compared to our more rural locale in NY. Hopefully this will bring forth a new golden age of blog posting, well... maybe not, but there will be more pictures!


This is of course the baluster patterns that I spoke of. I like to turn the lower taper on the legs so that it straightens to a near cylinder shape at the bottom, that way when I trim the legs, the foot diameter doesn't widen too much.

Good luck!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Turning Patterns for the Fan Back

Here are the patterns for the stile and leg turnings for the Fan Back side chair that I will be teaching next week at Kelly Mehler's.

As I've mentioned before, I tend to turn these parts out of airdried stock to reduce the warping and shape changing that occurs when turned green. Of course, this means that anywhere that I mention a tenon that it should be oversized and shaped later. You can use the measurement at the base of the tapers and then simply turn a rough cylinder, dry it and then either rechuck it in the lathe or use a taper cutter. I'll post the baluster turnings tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The New Digs

No, you don't want to do it. There just ain't much fun in moving a workshop. While I kept reminding myself that I have very few tools compared to a "power" woodworker, it was still difficult to see all of my tools go into travel mode. But as Helen Keller said "Life is either a daring adventure, or it's nothing at all".

This is what it looked like when they all landed in my new shop. The space is actually larger than my shop in NY, with a full second story for storage. I had to take a deep breath and shut the door to go help Sue to get the house in order first, but on day 2, I was able to sneak out and bring some order to the chaos.

This move has been a wonderful reminder of what is truly important to me. I have my family, my animals, my shop and all the experience (read mistakes) that I've had as a woodworker. As the dust from the move settles, I am chomping at the bit to get in there an make some shavings.

Here is the lathe room. I am very excited to have a separate space for this notorious mess maker. It's an old horse stall complete with the horses names on the door.

This shows the proximity to the benchroom. And right off the back of the shop is the chicken coop and goat loafing shed. I'm not one for omens, but finding a place in a single morning that we could rent that had all these amenities sure seemed like we were being called here. The place even came with 5 more chickens. Here is the rooster up high checking me out. I went in yesterday to pull out a dozen brown and green eggs!

Thanks to everyone who has written and called to show support and offer help. This transition has been challenging to say the least, but now that we've made it, I'm just plain excited for the potential here. Next week I'll be preparing to go to Kelly Mehler's in Kentucky. Kelly runs a top notch program and frankly, two weeks of chairmaking sounds pretty good to me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Smart Moves

Here is Dan Monsees a couple of weeks ago splitting out some stock. This is Dan's third go round with me and I was impressed by his choice to make a simpler, rather than more complex piece. Perhaps you remember his triple back sack back from last fall. His choice really opened up our time together to cover some of the finer points as well as some extra topics. I really enjoyed it, it was a smart move on Dan's part, his other smart move being to use the snow to hold his split stock!

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner of the last spoon drawing. It was John McAlevey. In a moment you'll understand the delay better.

Anyone who has read the blog for a while, knows that Sue and I have hewn a little paradise out of the wilderness here, so it might be a surprise to hear that we are moving. Sue got a new job at a fantastic library in central Massachusetts and we will be living there as of next week. We've rented an 1832 farmhouse with a barn for my shop and yes, room for our goats, dogs and chickens. Finding the right rental house for our strange needs seemed like it would be impossible, but we did it in a morning! Plus it's right down the road from Sue's new library. I like to think that it's a good omen.

Here are some photos of the new Library. It's the Gale Free Library in Holden MA.

It's a beautiful historic building and she will be it's new director. She deserves this.
Check out the front doors!

Besides being the Chair notes covergirl, Sue is exemplary at her job. She interviewed at a number of libraries in many states and was offered every job. We felt that this one was the right job in the right area.

I'll post more about the new digs soon.

Here are some photos of the finished rocker in Walnut. One day I hope to own one myself.

So, life moves on. It's been an interesting and emotional ride uprooting from our home in New York. But it's brought back into focus for Sue and I that embracing change can be invigorating, as well as daunting. We are sad to leave our good friends here, but past moves have taught us that good friendships travel well.

Thanks to all of my students who have been so understanding and changed their travel destinations, the new shop is actually larger, plus it has a goat room in it, and what could be better than that!