The Learning Curve

As usual, I am finding myself a novice in too many ways all at once! My grand plan to announce new classes here was foiled when other web avenues filled the classes. I will be announcing the date that I will be ANNOUNCING the classes from now on. I'm sorry if anyone missed the chance and encourage you to sign up for the mailing list on the site to keep up with other announcements.

On a more fun note, I'm having all sorts of fun trying new things in the shop. I've found myself up against a material issue, namely, watching all my air dried white oak crack up in my overly dry workshop! This has forced me to try bending posts for my rockers out of kiln dried white oak. Much to my surprise, I've been having great success. Below is a post that was steamed for two hours, then covered in plastic and bent. The plastic keeps the moisture from leaving with the heat, which extends bending time and makes it so the surface wood isn't shocked and cracks.


I've built a new steamer out of pvc. As you can see, the pipe is supported and insulated, both to keep the heat in, but also to keep the pipe from slumping from the heat. I like the way that the moisture from the steam is not absorbed, which I think gives me wetter bends


I'll be updating my results as I get more. I am suspecting the using quartersawn wood might also help, as it dries with less stress on the tangential face, which is where checking tends to occur.

I've also been learning more about the osmo oils. I like the satin for first coats, as it is "loose" and easy to wipe off. It's incredibly even looking. But it's too flat, so I've been mixing it with the gloss for a topcoat that builds to a higher sheen. I find the gloss just a bit too "sticky" when applying. The mix builds well, although it takes a while to cure.


Here is an old chair that I applied the mix to, I love the results. Two coats brought it back to life!


Finished Rocker

Here are a couple of shots of the completed rocker, although, I hadn't finished trimming the rockers to the rear leg yet. This one is before the fuming and finish.


This is the finished chair. I used Tru Oil on it, which was interesting to work with, almost like shellac. It built fast and very even. It's a gun stock oil and I use it, or other varnishes like Spar to help give a little amber depth to the newly fumed chair. A chair that is newly fumed can look a bit greenish brown and it takes a year or two to get that amazing amber tone, so the varnish helps nudge it along.


I am always tinkering with my designs, but this one is as done as I can imagine right now. After a few strides in this direction, I am very pleased with the proportions, aesthetics, process and comfort. I'll take some beauty shots soon and post them, there are lots of little moments that I want to document. I think that this will be a chair that I want to make for a long time.

Moving Forward

As I mentioned in the last post, I just returned from Kentucky/Ohio where I shot a video. It was a great experience and I hope the product shows it. But now, something even more special has happened, I am actually getting some much needed shop time. I'm making and cementing the details and process for a new rocker. I am very excited and will share the progress as I go.



Here is a positioning jig to help with the reaming of the bent rear posts. While I was out in the midwest, I spoke with Megan Fitzpatrick about a series of articles on bending turnings that I've been considering. I am having lots of interesting developments in my turned and bent parts that I look forward to sharing.

Here is a shot of the all important rotation reference. When reaming in bent parts, it's vital to rotate them correctly and the same as the process goes on.



I've been restless in my desire to push this work forward. Stay tuned to watch the progress.

When I was in Kentucky, I got to roam around  the city as well as enjoy Chris Schwarz's workshop.

Here are some pics of the shop and the town. The architecture is wonderful and sets a great scene.



And for those interested in keeping up with my rescue pup Georgia, she's doing great. Settling in and starting to thrive and overcome the crippling fears that she had when meeting new folks. But last week she had a snag (literally) that cost her some discomfort and me a load of cash.


But she's a tough gal and has taken it all in stride.


How I missed that loose wire in the fence, I'll never know, but she's a quick healer and spunky as ever.