Friday, October 28, 2011

Sale at Art Attack!

Wow, time is flying! Art Attack is just a week away immediately preceding First Thursday at the Northrup King Building.
I will be in attendance for much of the event(s) Nov. 3rd - 6th.

I've decided to significantly mark down the prices of a couple my pieces in Blue Sky Galleries during the event. Looking to put these pieces in homes and make room for new ones!

Frame-Top Coffee Table in Oak.
White Oak from the Metro, Glass, and Unryu that was sourced and sent to me by a classmate and friend in Japan.
Just one piece!

Frame-Top Side Table in Shedua.
Shedua comes from Africa while the Burr Oak top panel came from the local metro area.
There is a pair of these that will be $875 each!

Frame-Top Pedestal in air dried Walnut.This picture shows a kiln dried Walnut piece however the air dried version is quite similar. A tad lighter and more red/violet tones.
This air dried Walnut is also coming from the metro as is the air dried Maple top panel. The process of air drying is a very slow one compared to modern kiln practices. Thus it is increasingly more difficult to find. This natural process yields lumber with greater color variation which people like me enjoy, however it is easier for industry to work with more "homogenized" material.
Just one of these!

Again this is November 3rd-6th at the Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson Street Northeast
Minneapolis, MN
in Blue Sky Galleries Suite #295

See you there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Get this Boulder Rolling

Ugh I've felt so distant from my own work let alone wood working as of late. Well I finally got a little time to heave-ho and see if I can get some momentum rolling. There are still a number of things to learn and look for that aren't wood working. I'll be thankful when my learning/sourcing curve is over and I can just get to work... Hmm seems kind of familiar heh.

Anyway, I got the rough milling the White Oak I picked up a bit ago. Here are the roughly cut out components for the easy chair. All that is missing in wood here are my back slats. I figure I'd wait on those just in case.

A couple days went by and the Oak is looking stable. I milled some pieces to final thickness and closer to final width.
It's time to start joinery for the chair sides. I cut the inside curves on my leg stock leaving the outside straight for referencing on my boring machine when cutting mortises.

Along the shaping way I check for edge squareness and check the curve against my shop drawing.

Cut my legs to length with "appropriate" angles... I assume I'm going to have to dial those in further when the right time comes. This is good enough for joinery though.

Before cutting mortises I wanted to do a bit of surface prep to try to get the closest I can to a flat planer side when joined together. As I've mentioned, Oak isn't the friendliest wood to work. Sometimes you can plane it just fine, sometimes not.
I'm finding this selection responds best to a higher angle smoother I have. I used this in my last project with the Kwila stands... I think it's about time to upgrade this style plane with a heavier, more dense plane blank I have.

I was debating between wide tenons for the back or splitting them. I ended up splitting them because of the angle this joint is at. I can utilize more depth this way and the split twin tenon will be more "mechanically" strong. Though this chair design doesn't quite fit the typical dinning chair style construction, the joint between the back leg/back and the seat stretcher is the most critical. I know I may be going above and beyond what may be commonly used but I certainly want this joint to last a long, long time!

Getting down to the business of figuring out my jigging. Here are a few blocks I'll be using as spacers in my mortise endeavors.

Here you can see one of my blocks acting as a spacer for the twin joinery. In this way I can leave all my horizontal settings as the are and prop the work piece up for another set making it "exactly" repeatable.

One pair of wide tenons for the front and a set of four for the rear.
One might say "what's up with your big old shoulders there (above and below the mortises)?" Well there is going to be a bit of rounded shaping in those areas, and I'm just concerned? I mean this is a chair, a lowish one at that. Most of the stress put on a chair is when a grown person sits down or gets up which probably happens a lot more and with much more force than a person opening a drawer in a tea cabinet. It makes sense to me to leave more material vertically above and below the main joints... alas, I'm not a real expert on chairs but I'm sure I've covered my bases here.

Alright, lets do it again, but sideways!
Uff-duh this is turning out to be a longish post. Well it's about time to cut this one... I'll be back with some tenon stock and such later!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lumber Search

My grinding wheel lay still. Quiet for what feels to be too long. I'm getting restless.
I've been on the search for lumber for my prototype chair, Ash was my original intention. It seems Ash is quite lacking in "the market" which is a bit of a surprise to me typically seeing it abundant. Walnut is low too. Really, there is just a general lull in wood it seems.

What little Ash I found at one commercial supplier was inadequate, even for their typical less than stellar stock. The other commercial supplier had none in 6/4 or 8/4. Small piles of Walnut at these locations riddled with knots and defects for $8-$9 per bd/ft.

Called the small sawyers I've worked with before to answering machines or poor news for my quest.
Today I went to another place I've been in contact with before. My hopes were high.
Turns out we speak a little of a different language.
I've never quite seen the kind of array before. There was Ash and there was Walnut, but it was either in the form of the flattest sawn pieces I've ever seen or perfectly quarter sawn. These must of come from sizable logs!
"There's no market for that kind [rift] of stuff."
This kind of statement gets to me a little. I realize that I am a bit of a small nook of a current market but the beauty of rift type lumber has been utilized by fine craftspeople for well more than a hundred years.
Particularly here, the chaotic flat sawn and heavily bias quarter material is used all over. Even so, I have yet to meet the furniture maker that once they see and understand the flow, grace, and cohesion of well cut material, want to go back to the current "standard".
This doesn't mean that rift is the only way to go. Not only would that be wasteful but there is a time and place for all cuts.
Maybe I'm overly sensitive, or just crazy, I don't know ha.

Yet I did not come home empty handed :)!
There just happened to be a small collection of 6/4 rift sawn "sticks" of Oak 3.5"-5" wide. All from the same tree I'm told though I have some doubts. I assume these were cut off in the quartering process. Not normally the kind of thing I'm looking for but for this application it works out quite well. I would normally be cutting these bits from the edges of "flat sawn" lumber.
In this way there is definitely less waste involved especially since in this project I can work in 6/4 lumber. So, my cost was a bit lower than normally anticipated for Oak.

Got some templates cut out ready to look over this Oak for components tomorrow!
Oak is not the friendliest species to work with but I'm looking forward to digging into some work again.
Looks like I will have to rethink the upholstery choices again heh.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's be honest.

Let's be honest. Fine craft isn't easy. Years working on cabinets, tables, and such I've grown somewhat accustom to a loose set of challenges and guidelines. Working towards a sofa/seating project, I sort of feel like I'm trying to tackle a new discipline. I may argue that statement is true. There are a number of variables and concerns that I either have not dealt with or not quite in the same way as other furnishings.
Concerns with upholstery, seating foam, seat webbings, critical human/bio-mechanic geometry... It's unfamiliar. Just like dovetails, drawer fitting, doors, and the like may be unfamiliar to a chair maker.

After much thought I feel that a prototype Easy Chair could help me out and that I would simply feel better about the whole project if I made a prototype. Probably out of Ash. I've been wanting to build something of Ash though haven't had a project that has called for it. Also Ash is relatively inexpensive. Went to the two commercial lumber yards around here and was surprised at the lack of inventory of 6/4 and 8/4 Ash. The search will continue, though I may have to choose something else.
Thing is, I'm very hard pressed for funds and I doubt I can afford to keep this chair.
Undecided at the moment but I may be looking to sell it basically for the cost of materials including cushions of course.
If anyone may be interested please let me know. Shoot me a message or email linked on my website

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sofa/chair "Design"

OK, back like I suggested I would be with some cut-outs on a full scale drawing. I had established my seating heights and angles. I needed to get going on the rest.
This approach allows me to better see/guess visual weight and layering. Layering meaning how the seat frames play with the sides. I can also quickly make adjustments without much fuss.

Moved on to a bit of a Poplar mock-up. Arms are intimidating. The shaping isn't really represented here in the photo. These kinds of things never come out in photos. Well I'm fairly happy with it and think I have a good direction. I think I'm going to try to thin out everything a tad and see what happens.

I took another look at the stack of lumber I've been thinking of using. Air-dried Walnut. Doubts have stirred upon another look. I thought there was more flat grain in this pile but most of it is quatered. These are also pretty wide "slabs". I thought I would use this because it doesn't have what I would consider the "most ideal" grain for my interest in case-work.
I might feel bad about ripping up such wide planks though quater-sawn isn't typically the best for the kind of cabinets and such I tend to build. It would/could work for something like the nightstands I just finished or a sideboard etc in a similar/linear style.
I generally prefer rift and off rift grain orientation. For this project towards the flat side of rift is what I was picturing. Hmmm.
Also I just can't afford more material. Then there's the problem of finding decent air-dried Walnut.
What I can do is use the smaller flatter pieces for the legs and arms and try to use the "less-desirable" planks for the big frames. Save the rest for work to come.

In any case, I'll sleep on it at least a couple nights.

Oh, I've also come to a name for the last project/style with some input from Eva.
Svea side table.
I would like to build a bit of a sideboard in this style and can also picture a lowish console. Been wondering if I can adapt it to a higher form such as a hall table but haven't put real effort to it yet.