Amy loves it when I have a little time between projects. She has been waiting for two years for me to make benches that can be pushed all the way under the table. The idea being that the kids can't climb up onto the table and that the benches don't crowd the room when they are tucked away.
I used some reclaimed oak to match the weathered wood of the table. The top of the bench is Cherry, which will take a few months to darken and match the table top. The stretchers are a mix of some pretty scraps that have been kicking around the shop for a few years, waiting for their time to shine.
She is so happy not to have the thrift store menagerie of chairs that circled the table. Sorry it took me so long sweet heart!
This is an in-progress report of the first round of workshops.
So far the first and second workshops have gone swimmingly. I was thinking after the first class how valuable it would have been at the onset of my accidental induction into the woodworking profession to have taken a course like this one! I am jealous of the participants.
I have no dazzling new machines. We do not meet in an 8,000 square foot shop. I do not give speculative advice on how to get rich quickly. We just cover the straight dope! Lots of things that help woodworkers avoid many of the mistakes that I had to make: Safety, milling, construction, joinery, finishing. A starting-from-scratch approach that breaks concepts into comprehensive pieces for the mind to easily digest. The approach is simplified, but not simplistic. It is the way I wish I had started! It also is a working demonstration of how to put together a lean, low-overhead shop.
I feel like by teaching these workshops, I am offering something of value to the world. Woodworking is, after all the most enjoyable profession. We are not accidentally a culture of Purchase! Discard! Consume! It is not a secret that the few profit by ensuring that we have plenty of inexpensive and disposable goods to choose from. Why not learn instead to use your hands and build something permanent and meaningful? Fight waste! Learn to Create!
Here is a cutting board we made in the second workshop:
The next round of workshops will be starting in a few weeks. If you'd like to reserve a spot or make suggestions on a schedule that is more convenient, send me an e-mail. email@example.com
Hello small flock of followers! I have decided to give away one of my reclaimed racks to one lucky person who chooses to "like" Ivory Bill on facebook. Double entries for those who share the post on their facebook pages and link back to the giveaway. Get the word out!
Hang your hat and coat on a piece of history! This reclaimed rack is made of a piece of old-growth oak from the side of a barn and is 100+ years old. Mother nature has been working for decades on the silvery dark patina. The surface has been left un-planed and only lightly sanded so that it is smooth to the touch. This rack looks good among modern and rustic decorations alike. Non-toxic beeswax finish.
Only one spot left for the workshops! If there is enough interest, I will repeat this same round of classes at the beginning of November. Leave a comment or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some additional views of the items on sale in the new ready-made shop: http://ivorybillfurniture.bigcartel.com/ Send me an e-mail to come and view the items in person! email@example.com
CALICO A-TABLE This new A-table has about the prettiest top I've ever made, the grain and color is an excellent match. There is some interesting patterning in the grain including some lighter and darker marks. The base has a mix of old and new woods, creating a table that is patchwork-like.
I have 4 spots open for my first round of woodworking fundamentals workshops. The idea for workshops arose from endless inquiries from friends and clients to come and sweep my shop in exchange for woodworking savoir faire. This first round starts October 11 and will be a 6 week course meeting Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 8pm. There will be a repeat of the same workshops starting at the beginning of November. Participants can pick and choose which classes sound most interesting, or sign up for all of them. Download the PDF for pricing and info!
This first round is the pilot round and I have one spot already reserved. It is a first come first served operation. Jump on it!
With the rolling ladder installed and full of books, here is a look at the finished Library. It is difficult to get a sense of the scale and finish in pictures, as always. All in all, One of the best reclaimed projects I've worked on!
Th only thing left to add now is the rolling ladder. In person, without the funny colors that the digital camera spits out, the top section and the desktop, which are natural hickory, offset the silvery heavily textured feel of the main. Together they form a piece that is definitely part of our current time period and not just a huge weathered antique! It fits nicely into the home for that reason.
Here are some in-progress glimpses at a HUGE library unit that will feature a rolling ladder for some good friends. The ladder will eventually attach to this big oak timber that is about 4in x 6in x 13 feet. It is a chunk of remarkably straight white oak from an old barn in the east. The counter top and upper section will be brightly illuminated to highlight the cleanly milled hickory. Everything else will be clad in this weathered white gray and brown cedar so the contrast will be beautiful.
The overall unit is 9 feet tall and about 13 feet wide. A really enjoyable project. I'll be sure and post the after shots.
This is part two of an earlier post. It is rare to get pictures of finished work as I have repeatedly lamented in past entries. The installation is close to complete in these photos, but it at least shows off the finished product. This is that colossal veneered vanity that was shown in the unfinished state. The finish is a rich dark one. So dark in fact that it veils much of the depth of figure in the mahogany. However still an impressive imposing thing when it is all together looming over you. The nickel pieces are difficult to appreciate in the photos, but they contrast in just the right way.Picture it with shiny sconces and beautiful hardware.
We also built two matching linen cabinets in the same crotch mahogany. I am told that they will have a light fixture hanging down in the middle where the flat portion of the top is.
When money is not the driving factor in the design, this is what you build.
For a piece of furniture to be born of a tiny imprecise drawing and for it to have the same meaning in three dimensions as it did in only two is magic. There is also a lot of room in that leap for disaster. But magic when it turns out right.
Here is the A-chair in the raw, disassembled state. This first batch is made up of 4 side chairs. I wanted to show off the joinery because it is nearly invisible when the chair is put together. There are a lot of long snug tenons that will not easily rock apart over time. The seat and legs meet in a joint that doesn't allow the leg to wander sideways or front to back. These joints are the foundation for longevity.
There are so many chairs in the world. There are thousands or maybe millions of choices of chairs you can buy ranging from little brittle elegant antiques to giant beanbag chairs to Frank Lloyd Wright's "art" chairs that were probably never meant to be sat in. Why does the world need one more chair?
The perfect chair is a designer's holy grail. It is his yardstick. When a certain chair begins to move, it starts appearing in more places, people recognize it. The earth starts to fill up with his chairs. Thrift shops and auctions and landfills alike.
The A-chair is a studio chair, made one at a time like a sculpture. In the same breath it is also practical and very sturdy. Its design does not trump its function. This one is a walnut chair with a cherry seat. I'm building them out of the old standbys: Walnut, Cherry and White oak, or a combination. Hopefully people will be drawn to the A-chair for the following reasons: because they like the way it looks, because it is well built and because it is very comfortable.
Price: $750 (cherry) more than a production chair, much less than Thomas Moser!
Speaking about the design, it is a low profile chair, the backrest just barely above the table. I want to see a room that is uninterrupted by high chair backs. It is a balance of slender and strong, square and rounded with some elements calling more attention to themselves; those being not purely aesthetic, but for comfort as well. The seat for example is curvy, but not just for kicks, it sort of cradles you in and slides you slightly back.
So, go out into the world little chair, rise or fall on your own merits!
Remember that big project from last summer? I finally have some pictures of it! This was another project with Harrow construction in a small beautiful town in Idaho.
This project started with a very dark color scheme! In a rare 180 degree change of mind the clients decided that dark was not going to work for a basement, in spite of a wall of windows. So, the plan changed after the saws had already began to buzz. I only mention this little bit because this is a high anxiety change for a woodworker! Without too many casualties, we made the adjustment to the new color scheme: "whites, creams, and ivories." In the end I am happy. I only painted over a little bit of walnut.
This is sort of a long view through the length of the basement. there are are a lot of "ins and outs," textural contrasts and interesting uses of light. The fireplace is solid stone, carved by one previously mentioned Chad Parkinson the master of making everything look effortless.
Here is a closer look at the wetbar. I love how the stone on the wall is the backsplash for the right bank of cabinets. I also love arch top glass paneled doors with glass shelves. I also recommended mirrored interiors, but it didn't fly. I guess they'll fill these with expensive shiny things and that will be bling enough.
On to what the client calls his Roman Bath. Since this is the bottom floor, they had to cut out quite a healthy piece of concrete to dig out the space for this bath. The tile work is really crisp and well layed.
It also has a steam shower unit which is concealed by...the cover I featured in progress a while back. If you click on the picture you can see the wonderful weathered look of the patina.
Missing from the tour are pictures of the Office area, which is opposite a craft area the size of a kitchen complete with rolling island with cutting surface. The counter tops are all maple butcher block, which I really like. Also missing is the extensive closet and theater room. It is quite an open refreshing change from what we started with. Just for fun here is what the bathroom looked like before the remodel and one shot of the rest of the basement.
Here is a one-photo preview of a bookshelf I'm adding to the A-line. The great thing about this particular version is that it is 7 feet tall! That means it holds loads of books. I will also have a version that is just under 4 feet with no drawers for the "constant mover" or college student. The two drawer fronts as well as the side panels (not shown) are chip carved which invites the viewer to feel the wood. The chip carving also provides an important visual contrast. The drawer pulls are low profile and made of a small loop of dark leather. I think natural oiled leather would be nice also.
Cherry again. I just really love the ever darkening color of it. I will have to devote a whole post to the virtues of Cherry. Until then!
For the last little bit, I've been working alongside David Chamberlain, a terribly talented and formally trained furniture maker. He works solo and has been kind to bring me into this large project. I've had a good time working in another shop and working on a project the likes of which I have never had the opportunity to approach.
The thing that really sets this vanity apart is the veneer work. Outside the woodworking world, the word veneer carries with it negative connotations; veneer = not real. Well, within the woodworking world it usually means very specialized (it is a lost art) and it also means that the piece has been made with a higher level of craftsmanship and a great deal of careful selection. The doors and drawer fronts (eventually there will be some tall paneling on the wall above the vanity with the same treatment) were veneered with a very beautiful crotch mahogany, which is book-matched across the nearly 12 foot face of this piece. This means that each piece of this veneer came from the same chunk of wood and was kept in sequence so that it could be mirrored over the length of the work. Other details to come are polished nickel caps on the feet and nickel accents on the mirror frames. The whole finish will be dark with these light shiny touches, it should be rather impressive. Obviously my custom crafted masking tape handles will get nixed too.
Dave is meticulous about his precision and is a careful planner. This is one of many projects he is doing with Elizabeth Kimberly for a home in Cottonwood.