I always start with a sketch, in this case a nice colorful sketch! I’d picked up some new art markers and wanted to give them a try.
My sketches are generally functional, with joinery details and a few measurements.
Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing. I have a roofing/trim project coming up and need some sawhorses. They would make nice sofa tables for a faux industrial interior, even better when they have a few dings and paint spatters.
My own dear son asked why I’d spend so much time on sawhorses?
The through tenon and lap joints are a challenge. The wedge shape is cut with handsaws, a crosscut backsaw and my dovetail saw which is set to rip with the grain.
Legs splayed at 10° in two directions. You could park are car on these!
The dog holes are 3/4″, drilled on the drill press and routed with a chamfer bit. I’m not a total Luddite, hand tool purist.
Examples of quarter sawn 2×4 lumber. Note the difference in annual rings. The bottom board grew 3 or 4 times faster, but there doesn’t seem to be a big difference in strength. I shop often and keep the boards around for a few weeks to acclimate.
Maybe someone knows, what are the odds of getting cypress at the home center? The center board (with dog holes) and the legs are made from two fairly pristine 2×6’s. If it’s not cypress, it sure is similar. Slightly oily and tight grained.
For the past year or two, I’ve been building work tables using construction grade lumber. It’s become another obsession, searching the thousands of crap boards at Home Depot and Lowes. So, at the risk of creating competition for these rare gems – this is what I look for. You can look through every stack in the entire store and you’re lucky to find one quarter sawn 2×4 (2×6, 2×8, etc.).
Does anyone else do this?
I’ll post more on perfect 2x4s and the things I’ve built – SOON.
I should explain… this began as a press table for the printing company I work for. It’s based on a craftsman library table – super sized. It took only ten minutes to draw up – way back in December 2012.
I normally don’t share work in progress, but I need help – the notion that someone is looking may shame me to action.
On an icy December 22nd I drove to the millworks and bought stout hickory lumber to build the legs and frame. Over the next couple weeks I glued up legs, chopped mortises, cut tenons – all cool. Hickory is the stuff used to make hammer handles and bridges. This table has an 8 ft span, it’s a bit like a small bridge. Hickory is so hard and tough, nothing works easily; the pronounced grain is prone to tearout when planing, sawing requires an ultra sharp blade, scorches easily and it’s HEAVY. There were a few minor mishaps, one of the ends took a spill from the bench top and flattened my work light. Another tipped over, taking a good chunk out of the plaster wall. In spite of these minor calamities – the frame was assembled and coated by February 23rd.
December 22, 2013 at the millworks.
December 29, 2012 Gluing up legs.
January 16, 2013 Dry fit ends – moving along well.
February 15, 2013 Fitting the stretchers – remember, I’m only really working on weekends.
February 23, 2013 Looks great – but I’m about to make my first mistake…
I’m going public with this project – the massive hickory work table. I’ll describe it further – later. I’m late for work already. When a project has me in a dither (or a choke hold in this circumstance), I’ll occasionally make a Next-Three-Things list:
1. Remove drawers #1, 4 and 5.
2. Find my number stamps.
3. Stamp the fronts, back, sides and bottoms so I won’t mix them up.
The table has five drawers – dovetailed, grooved, slotted and carved. My goal is to finish the table in November. Stay tuned – I need your help!
There’s going to be a new family joke – every time I say Follansbee, everyone has to drink. My brother came up with this response after I’d referred to Bonnaroo (the music festival) for the 27th time in one weekend. Sure, I can be a little obsessive, but when you do something really cool, you want to talk about it.
I participated in a carving class last weekend at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in Manchester, CT. It was well worth the 1,919.7 mile round trip to learn from a personal hero – Peter Follansbee. Everybody DRINK!
Here’s a link to his outstanding blog – and for the sake of sobriety, I won’t mention his name again.
The class was terrific – highly recommended. The Connecticut Valley school is offering many more. Whaaaaah!!! I wish it wasn’t so far away. Click for their class schedule.
I spent the following few days visiting my sister in Brookline, MA, highlighted by visits to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I was in hog heaven – seeing so many examples of furniture with carved details. Here are a few shots of the MFA entry doors, massive with sunflower motif carved in the most delicious quartersawn oak I’ve ever seen (tasted?).
This jaw dropping oak cabinet is Dutch, from the early 17th century.
Seeing this, I was tempted to list my carving tools on Ebay, but I took a brave step and started into carving the drawer fronts on my current project – the massive work table. It looks pretty damn primitive in comparison – but, it’s a start. Stay tuned…