June is that rare month in which we get the best of spring but without the heat of summer. This year the month was about perfect. The peonies were spectacular, and the lemon lilies and Siberian irises put on quite the show.
With almost perfect weather and a profusion of flowers, it was hard to get into the shop. Since I had way too much to do in May, the garden behind the shop was a bit late getting started. I made five raised beds using 1 x 8 black locust boards. Still waiting to score more locust for 5 more beds. That way, I can garden 5 each year and leave the other 5 in alfalfa.
I got to finish a few more “thank you” projects and then carve a 7′ basswood sign for a local cheese maker. Spring Day makes an assortment of extremely tasty cheeses.
Letter carving is one of my favorite shop activities. It’s quiet, relaxing and requires a fair amount of thought and concentration. Basswood is the ideal carving wood: soft, with almost not difference between early and late wood. Once the carving was done, I gave the entire sign two coats of spar varnish, painted the letters dark blue, sanded the board and added the frame, which was was torrified poplar. It looks almost like walnut. Once wood is torrified, it becomes dark, very decay resistant, and stable. The completed sign got three coats of spar varnish.
In between paying and “thank you” projects I managed to complete the metal sculptures I made at Haystack School of Craft in May. After the meticulous and lengthy sanding and etching, I made bases for the pieces. The forge-welded (Damascus) steel really looks stunning, all 352 layers.
All three forge welded pieces, as well as the three plain steel projects are for sale. Check out the Specials page.
The last weekend in June was a great two day workshop at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, ME. We spent two days making a Shaker 3-step stool, using only hand tools (well, we used the band saw downstairs to cut the arches in the stool sides). Next year I’m contemplating a simplified version of the lap desk.