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Supplies for Seventeenth-century Work, a la Follansbee – Misplaced Artwork Press

Supplies for Seventeenth-century Work, a la Follansbee – Misplaced Artwork Press

2023-04-25 17:40:21

The next is excerpted from Peter Follansbee’s “Joiner’s Work.”

For those who like inexperienced woodworking, “Joiner’s Work” is doctoral thesis on processing furniture-shaped chunks of lumber from the tree utilizing and axe, froe, hatchet and brake. In case you are into carving, Peter dives into deep element on how he festoons his items with carvings that seem advanced however are remarkably simple. And when you love casework, “Joiner’s Work” is a lesson on the subject that you simply gained’t discover in lots of locations. Peter’s method to the work, which is predicated on analyzing authentic items and countless store experimentation, is a liberating and sincere foil to the world of micrometers and precision routing.

The e-book options six initiatives, beginning with a easy field with a hinged lid. Peter then reveals how one can add a drawer to the field, then a slanted lid for writing. He then plunges into the world of joined chests and their many variations, together with these with a paneled lid and people with drawers under. And he winds up with a unbelievable little bookstand.

Building of those initiatives is roofed in beautiful element in each the textual content and tons of of step pictures. Peter assumes you realize nearly nothing of Seventeenth-century joinery, and so he walks you thru the joints and carving as if it have been your first day on the job. Plus he presents concepts for historic finishes.


The first materials for joiners’ work is oak (I exploit white oak [Quercus alba] and pink oak [Quercus rubra] interchangeably) that has been riven, or break up, from the log.

This ends in boards whose face is the radial aircraft, probably the most dimensionally steady floor attainable. The inventory is initially labored recent from the log, a state we name “inexperienced.” After preliminary planing, boards are selectively dried some, then re-worked – the ornament and joinery are lower as soon as the floor is dry sufficient to take a very good end, but the inside of the inventory retains a few of that moisture, making it simpler to chop than air- or kiln-dried inventory.

Fig. 1.1 Right here an eighth-section of an oak log is able to turn into some completely quartered boards. Opening the log is all the time certainly one of my favourite moments, when each bit reveals its potential.

When learning interval items, I see that case items – packing containers, chests, cabinets and associated objects – usually show a mix of riven and sawn inventory. Normally the mill-sawn inventory is the secondary wooden, and in New England items that is usually Jap white pine (Pinus strobus). Different softwoods may seem as nicely. I’ve famous Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) riven into chest bottoms and drawer bottoms. It additionally seems as utilized mouldings.

Fig. 1.2 Lengthy sections of Atlantic white cedar are ideally fitted to making utilized mouldings.
I don’t usually get this wooden, so I attempt to use each final little bit of it after I do.

I’ve seen yellow pine (most likely Pinus rigida or Pinus resinosa) in furnishings from Connecticut and western Massachusetts. You may make the entire piece from riven oak, and plenty of interval works are simply that, however when making case items, I want to make use of white pine for a minimum of the bottoms, and sometimes the lids, too. That is only a approach to avoid wasting oak for future joinery work.

Fig. 1.3 This chest with two drawers has a comparatively broad vary of woods. The carcase is pink oak; the lid, flooring, drawer bottoms and rear panels are white pine; the utilized mouldings are Atlantic white cedar; and a few panels and one drawer entrance have plaques of black walnut.

Whereas I’m fairly content material utilizing oak for many any piece of furnishings, you may want some selection in your work. Black walnut (Juglans nigra) and ash (numerous Fraxinus species) are maybe probably the most generally discovered non-oak timbers I’ve seen in interval joinery. I’ve used them and another woods, too. I’ve seen Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata) in some Seventeenth-century joiners’ work from Boston, and different timbers in addition to. And lately, I’ve been utilizing some Alaska yellow cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) for carved packing containers. Attempt what you’ve gotten. I’d say the single-most necessary characteristic is straight grain. If nothing else, maintain that in thoughts.
Not too long ago a pal gave me a number of sections of riven black walnut. They have been quick lengths, however good for a joined stool. My earlier experiences with walnut have been a combined bag. I usually joke about being a private monoculture; I’ve used oak a lot for therefore lengthy that I had no reference level for many different timbers. However it wasn’t till I used the riven walnut that I may actually admire this wooden.

I used to suppose “it’s not for me” – however that was as a result of I got here at it the flawed approach. I knew that for oak, riven inexperienced wooden was the best. Why I believed it might be totally different for walnut is simply a kind of psychological blunders that hit us all on occasion. I used to be judging this wooden based mostly on cuts that I’d by no means take care of in oak. My first walnut challenge was a wainscot chair, created from kiln-dried wooden, full with grain run-out and all method of un-straight fibers. Subsequent up was a board chest, this time in air-dried broad boards. Good, however costly. It labored so significantly better than the earlier challenge, however the chest had few particulars, and I actually didn’t get a lot out of it.

Fig. 1.4 Straight-grained riven walnut was a revelation for me. This joint stool is the second non-oak instance I’ve ever made. I’d do it once more if the wooden got here my approach.

Then all of it clicked completely with the riven inexperienced wooden. A pleasant straight-grained walnut log is a dream to work, simple to aircraft and to chisel – and the axe work in walnut makes you are feeling like Superman. Turning it’s particularly satisfying. When it got here to carving, I needed to loosen up my mallet blows. Once I used my typical method, I blasted the walnut to smithereens. Much less mallet work, extra hand-work and it lower nice. Dwell and be taught. Now I’ve to take again all of the horrible issues I’ve stated about walnut. Riven, straight-grained, inexperienced, free – that’s the way in which I like my walnut.

Round southern New England the place I dwell, the ash tree mostly discovered is white ash (Fraxinus americana). I’ve used this wooden for furnishings nearly from my very first initiatives. Once I made ladderback and Windsor chairs, ash was a favourite riving wooden for components. It’s light-weight, robust and splits nicely – an all-around nice hardwood. It has a brief shelf-life within the log, although; it might probably go unhealthy fairly rapidly when you don’t get to it. Seventeenth-century turned chairs have been usually ash, however some joined work was, too. You’re employed it simply as you’d oak. I’ve discovered it’s considerably stringy, and when very recent it might probably tear out badly underneath the aircraft. However when you work it inexperienced then let it sit some time, it’ll work very nicely afterward. The colour is fairly bland, and there’s no determine on the radial face as in oak. So carve it up then paint it, and nobody’s the wiser. Good wooden.

The Approach I Work
Some woodworkers maintain a stockpile of lumber available, and draw from their stacks as they start a brand new challenge. Others purchase sufficient lumber (with some additional) for each bit they’re planning to construct, usually working from an inventory that features all of the items in a given challenge and their tough dimensions. I work otherwise. I begin with a log and break up out nearly every bit of oak that I exploit on the bench. Beginning with the log is a variety of work, nevertheless it’s enjoyable. This method often ends in me beginning a number of initiatives directly, then I leapfrog forwards and backwards amongst them. Generally I’ve fairly just a few items underway, often restricted by store house. As I write this, I’ve a joined chest, a chest with drawers, a chest of drawers, two wainscot chairs, an extended desk and several other joint stools in progress. I simply completed a carved field within the midst of all these.

It’s not an attention-span downside. It’s what occurs after I open the log. I’ve an concept of what I would like from a given log, however the tree has concepts of its personal. I may be getting ready inventory for a joined and carved chest, however find yourself with extra slender framing components than I would like. These get shuffled over to the following challenge. Panels in a chest vary from 7″-12″ broad, often solely about 14″-16″ lengthy. Some logs provide broad panels which can be longer than that, however are nonetheless too quick to get two lengths out of them. These are perfect for carved packing containers whose lengthy back and front boards are often round 20″-24″ lengthy. It goes on and on.

Fig 1.5 This bedstead is now greater than 15 years previous. When it was new, the colour distinction between the assorted woods was apparent. Now they’ve blended quite nicely. There are white oak muntins, pink oak panels, and the lengthy rails and stiles are white ash. The end is linseed oil.

Deciding on the Timber
If you’ll break up your inventory, it begins with the log. Discovering the best log isn’t half the battle, nevertheless it’s a very good chunk of it. Ideally, you’ll work with an oak that grew dead-straight, is obvious, or freed from knots, bumps and branches, and is giant sufficient in diameter to yield broad boards alongside its radial aircraft. With all these standards met, you will get much more demanding and search for an oak log that meets all these calls for and can be slow-growing. In some locations, yow will discover this timber at sawmills and log retailers, and typically even firewood suppliers can have quick sections that match the profile.

See Also

For those who’re skipping the log-splitting facet of this work, you possibly can come near this materials when you search for straight-grained quartersawn boards. When utilizing sawn inventory, I want air-dried to kiln-dried. To me, the kiln-dried stuff appears stiffer and fewer cooperative. Air-dried is more durable to seek out, nevertheless it’s on the market. Flat-sawn boards can be utilized in joinery; they definitely are prevalent in surviving English work of the Seventeenth century. They require some cautious planning and way more effort in working, however you can also make joined work with flatsawn inventory – it simply gained’t be as a lot enjoyable as working with riven stuff. When utilizing riven stuff, you’ll be working the wooden inexperienced, or unseasoned. When you’ve got flat-sawn inventory, it must be seasoned. The final rule of thumb is one yr of air drying per inch of thickness. Once I use sawn oak, I wish to air dry it exterior, then carry it within the store for just a few months earlier than breaking it all the way down to rough-size items.

Oak
Many of the oaks are ring-porous hardwoods, that means their development rings are comprised of two several types of cells. The fabric that grows within the spring is usually extra porous than that from summer season development. This ends in a definite division between the spring or “earlywood” and the summer season or “latewood.” Additionally seen on the end-grain view are the ends of the medullary rays. These are cells that radiate outward from the log’s middle, or pith, towards the bark. Ring-porous hardwoods, with solely a few exceptions, break up predictably each in keeping with the expansion rings and perpendicular to them, alongside the medullary rays.

Fig. 1.6 This part of finish grain is strictly firewood, however the construction of the oak reveals clearly. Simply contained in the bark is a slender band of greyish-white sapwood, then the majority of the fabric is the darker-colored heartwood. Radiating out from the middle are the ends of the medullary rays, exhibiting up as nearly silvery brilliant traces. Concentric development rings encircle the very middle, or pith of the tree, on this case rotten and bug-eaten. This one has nearly all the things that may go flawed with a log; the pith is off-center, the log is out-of-round, the medullary rays are twisted and bent and there’s insect harm. There’s additionally cracking alongside the expansion rings and harm to the tree at a few factors in its life. Burn it.

The top grain of a giant oak reveals two distinct colours within the wooden. The outer inch or so (slightly below the bark) is the sapwood. This materials is the a part of the tree that conducts the sap. It’s extra liable to decay and infestation, and is taken into account weaker than the darker-colored “heartwood.” In oaks, the better proportion of the tree’s diameter is taken up with the heartwood. A younger sapling is all sapwood, however over time because the tree grows, there’s a transition by which the inside layers of sapwood bear a chemical turn into heartwood. For our functions, the principal distinction between sapwood and heartwood is the better resistance to decay that heartwood displays. In woods resembling ash or maple, a lot of the usable inventory is sapwood. Within the oaks, the sapwood is usually discarded, and the heartwood is the stuff of selection.

When splitting out oak inventory for furnishings work, the radial face is the very best one to make use of for quite a few causes. The first profit is the dimensional stability of boards oriented this fashion. In a straight-grained instance, there’s little shrinkage throughout this radial face, thus little to no distortion, both. One other characteristic of this radial aircraft is the benefit of working it – the wooden cuts extra simply on this face than on the adjoining tangential face. So the carved work is all the time performed on the radial face. Mouldings are sometimes lower on this aircraft, additionally. When utilizing riven oak, the inventory is often oriented so the radial faces compose the entrance of the piece.

The fabric nearest the middle of the log is known as juvenile wooden. Shaped when the tree was a small sapling, this wooden is usually very fibrous and may embody twisted grain. There isn’t any clear distinction between the place the juvenile wooden leaves off and the workable heartwood picks up. Every log is totally different. If the innermost fibers seem straight-grained, you possibly can attempt to maintain as a lot of that inventory as attainable. One place the place you may push your luck with the juvenile wooden is if you find yourself attempting to separate out the widest panel inventory you will get. (I’ll cowl that intimately once we get to splitting and dealing panels.)



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