Shak{er}ing It Up {Part One}

I am what I refer to as “ornate sensitive” when it comes to furniture. I like my lines clean and simple but warm. Furniture most people wouldn’t consider ornate, I do. I certainly have an appreciation for ornate furniture, for the craftsmanship that goes into it.

Yes, Andy teases me about this, especially because it’s entirely arbitrary and confusing. I can see a dresser with curved drawers on the front even if the rest is basic and find it ornate; a week later I can see a vintage side table with turned legs at a flea market and love it.

Your guess is as good as mine why I feel this way. I guess I just like my details and art on the walls and pieces I can easily change out, and not incorporated into my furniture.  The best way I can explain it is that I have a visceral reaction to the thought of ornate furniture in my house. I know that’s weird, but it’s true.

What this essentially comes down to is that I like Shaker and Mission style furniture. So when Andy showed me these side tables from Fine Woodworking and asked if I wanted him to build me two out of walnut we were given I eeked with joy. I loved the simplicity of them, how they let the wood speak for itself and the clean lines. Even though I really love the straight legs, I wasn’t too picky either way. Andy decided to go with the turned ones since the walnut grain would look gorgeous through them—and it meant he could use the lathe.

The lathe almost always wins.

Andy has been working so hard lately on things for the house, and getting his wood shop in order, he really needed to do something or himself. Making fine furniture is something he loves to do for us as a family so when he gets the chance to he absolutely will. I let Andy have some time to himself down in the wood shop but when I couldn’t take it any longer I grabbed the Nikon and headed into the cave.

I never get tired of seeing, and being amazed by, the beauty of wood behind bark. I mean, look at this.

The further I walked into the shop, the more pieces I saw coming together. First I saw Andy on the Jointer shaving the bark off the sides of each board and beautiful walnut shavings methodically coming out of the base.

Then I looked up and saw the back workbench covered in walnut boards. Beautiful, dark, rich, walnut boards. Andy informed me these were going to be the top of each side table.

A glance to my left showed some of the legs ready for turning, and a few more boards glued up together to make the other legs. Andy showed me how they were glued and said if you glue the faces when they set up and are turned round it will be harder to tell they aren’t once piece—as long as you match the grain and color.

It’s hard to believe each of these legs were ripped from pieces that looked like this.

I still haven’t decided whether we’ll be using them in the livingroom or up in our bedroom. I’m just excited to start getting some handmade shaker furniture around here. I think of these items as heirloom items we can eventually pass down and I love the thought of it.

I’m so excited to see how these turn out. Today Andy has been putting the tops together and turning the legs, so I’ll be back later this week with an update on them. You may wonder why I didn’t wait until they were done to post on this. I try to show things in real time so I knew I had to write about these as soon as I could. Just. So. Excited.

Until the next update you can just imagine me doing the running man with a huge dorky grin on my face every time I walk into the basement and see these in process.

I love being married to a carpenter/construction/work ox.

Happy Woodworking,

Heather

 

Woodshop Upgrades

Do you remember last January when I posted about my love of a lathe, and how I wanted Andy to update his shop a little?

I knew you did. You’re so good like that.

It’s been almost a year, so I thought I would update you on the four new pieces we’ve acquired. Soon after the lathe blog post last January, we picked up our Shop Fox band-saw and jointer from an industrial wood-shop supply place here in Maine.

Our next piece, our planer, was found through some interesting Craigslist selling & buying. We sold an old fridge, and our oil hot water heater. Andy ended up getting another call about the fridge—and per what he told me, only went online and searched our town name to see if it was still listed for some reason. He swears he removed the listing—and that he wasn’t specifically looking for tools or a sawmill.

I’ve decided to believe him, with a little eye squintiness and smirk going on because I’m not 100% sold.

The search turned up a Jet planer. Even though he wasn’t the first one to call he was the first one over there with a pickup truck, and cash to pay for it. He got it for about 1/4 of what it’s worth. A little sharpening of the planer blades brought it back to near mint condition.

Finally—are you ready?

No really. Are you? Because this is exciting.

We have a lathe. Not a 30 year old piece of junk lathe but a nice lathe. I’m not sure how the conversation started between Andy and our coworker, but I do know it turns out he was upgrading from his Jet lathe. We ended up buying it, with bowl chucks, for about 1/2 of it’s retail cost not including the chucks. I might be just a little excited.

To be clear, I’m still slightly intimidated by my scroll saw so I’m ogling the lathe from a slight distance at this point.

It’s just so wonderful. Andy got all the adjustments done he needed, and then cut a piece of firewood on the bandsaw and decided to turn a “woodworking mallet”.

There’s just something so wonderful about wood shavings all over strong hands from woodworking.

I think the finished product looks like a solid oak replica of an old corked bottle. I can just picture it white washed with a beautiful hand-painted label on it.

Even though it’s meant for woodworking, or so I’m told (I am admittedly very gullible in some aspects) I still love that this was turned from a piece of firewood.

That my friends, is why I love lathes.

Happy Woodworking,

Heather