Monday, December 28, 2015

Another neat little detail

Peter Follansbee was helpfull with another little detail he writes about On his blog. You often find scratch stock "mouldings" not running the entire length of a board. Often used to flank a panel, for example in my case on the styles. A moulding running the entire length of the style, adjacent to the panel would be way to long and look out of place above and under the panel. So it fades in gradually, becomes full depth along the panel and fades out again when it reaches the other side. A picture makes it more clear I hope.

And more in detail.

I think it looks awesome! You can also see the very simple decorative pattern in the style. At  first I wasn't so happy how that one turned out, but somehow it looks much better in the door, then lying flat on the bench.

Peter Follansbee is often mentioned in my blog when I wrtite about this furniture style. He certainly is one of the well knowns experts in this field. I am not too familiar with all the names in furniture history study, so there could be many more names. But his study was especially about the HOW and WHY and that makes it so usefull for us woodworkers. I don't think he ever wrote about making a spice chest like mine. Maybe it wasn't a very common item in New England back then in the 17th century? There sure are a lot of English examples.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Finishing the door

I was determined to get the door of the cabinet finished this extra long christmas weekend. So in between the festivities, cooking dinners, entertaining the guests etc, I managed to squeak in some workshop time.

First job was chopping the lock mortise. No pictures from that job. I drilled a hole for chip clearance and then chopped until the lock fits. Not much more to say about that. The lock will be fitted from the front so the mortise looks like a big ugly hole at the moment.

Next job was fitting the panel in the frame. The panel is flat on the front (with the carvings of course), so needs to be bevelled at the back. Again, nothing special. I didn't take any pains to make it look nice and symetric, it only needs to fit. In the past this was a job often done with an axe! I am too much a coward for that, so I used a plane. I was afraid it would be very difficult to get the exact right fit, but it happens to be pretty easy. I marked the a hickness of the groove width, minus a little bit on the edges of the panel. Then beveled the panel until I reached these markings, Checked the fit and planed some more until the panel fitted the grooves completely. A quick  picture of the fitting proces.

A more difficult, or better said, a more adventurous job was drawboring the mortise and tenon joints of the door. I didn't want to use glue, just pegged M&T's. This method of building furniture is thousands of years old. Basicaly it is a hole drilled through the styles where the mortise is. A similar hole is drilled in the tenon but offset towards the shoulder of the tenon. When you drive an oak peg through the holes, the tenon is pulled very tightly into the mortise, making the shoulder fit as tight as possible. You'd better look up "drawboring" to find a better description.

First came the making of the pegs, Some straight grained oak was split with an axe and then shaved to more or less the right size. I use a dowel plate to make them truely round and to just the right size. My plate is a random piece of steel with a couple of graduated holes (large to small) drilled on the drill press. Don't let anyone tell you that it needs to be made from some special wondersteel. For a hobbyist this home made version will continue to work for a very long time. I used a pencil sharpened this time to point the pegs.

Then the nerve wracking action of driving the pegs home. If the offset in the tenon hole is too much, this doesn't really work, you can't drive the peg home and you risc breaking things, the peg in the first place. Luckily this happened only once, but next time I am going to use a little less offset with 6 mm pins. The one that broke was replace by a peg in a straight through hole with a little glue to keep it in place.

Here the pegs are shown before they were cut off.

And here is the door as it will be fitted in the cabinet. Now it really starts to look like something!

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Last weekend, my wife and I visited Rome for 4 days. That was one of the better city trips in my life! When you are still doubting if you should visit Rome, stop doubting and book a ticket. We booked a room through, Residenza Ave Roma on the boarder of the Tiber in the middle of the town. Heartily recommended.

Some quick Iphone shots.

The weather was brilliant. We got lucky.

Baroque churches on each and evert street corner. Not my first choice in art styles, but here they are magnificent. The St. Peter Basilica was very impressive, it's huge! Make sure you do the climb to the top of the dome too.

St. Peter himself.

And yes, they know ho to use a little bit of marble.

I liked this chair in the St. Angelo castle.

Of course, the pope needs one or two small money coffers.

And of course we visited antique Rome.

It was hard to write in straight lines back then too.

Hi fellow! Thanks for the visit.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


This is one of the styles. I had planed a very shallow wide groove and started to gouge in some decorative cuts. Oops, there is a mortise in there!

So, one step forward, at least two steps backwards. I have allready made a new style, Wacked the two mortises and this time inserted the tennon in the hole before I started cutting with the gouges.

And that brings me to another point. I am not quite sure yet if I really like this decoration. When it lies flat on the table it is more 1970's popart then 1670's renaissance. But standing it up, the light works different and it looks a little better. It's also weird that I now have the fresh wood exposed in between the now almost a year old surfaces of the rest of the wood. It really needs a sunbath before it looks like I want it to look.