August 2016

Summer in Maine is short and fast.  Three months and it’s gone,  but it’s great while it lasts.  This year has been dry, but we still had a plethora of flowers, including morning glories and black eyed Susans.

IMG_8772IMG_1890Working in the shop, I had a few pieces of furniture and a pile of smaller items, “thank yous” and fixits.  First, a Deer Isle coffee table.  This is how it starts: two frames, with lapped corners, then 16 legs are added one by one.

IMG_1896I had a piece of live oak, that a friend sent from Florida about 14 or 16 years ago.  It looked like it wanted to be a mallet, so that’s what I made.  Live oak  has an oven dried specific gravity of .98, meaning it’s heavy, and just barely floats.  Just right for a mallet.

IMG_8780Friends brought in a hammered dulcimer that I made back in 1977.  It needed new corners, where the strings angle around the sides to connect with the pins.  While I was at it, I also had to re-string it.  I have a tuning wrench, but no pitch pipe, so they’ll have to do their own tuning.  With 23 pairs of strings, that’s quite a job.

IMG_8771I also had a bit of fun on the lathe.  Another friend wanted a top, the kind you spin with your hands.  So I spent the morning trying various shapes and woods.  Clockwise from the top: cherry with brass screws, dogwood, spalted maple with a hickory shaft, lilac with a cherry shaft, persimmon, solid lilac, and Osage orange.

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If you’ve never worked with Osage orange, it’s a real treat.  Bright yellow, it eventually develops a brown patina.  This is what the lathe bed looked like afterwards:IMG_1903At the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, we had the annual Friends weekend.  Having been a life member for decades, this was the first time I’ve attended.  It was a rare treat, and extremely informative.  First Leonard Brooks took us through the Trustees Office, all three floors,  showing various improvements and changes made over the years.  Next, museum curator Michael Graham showed us the new acquisitions displayed in the meeting room of the dwelling house, maps, boxes and chairs.  Finally, Brother Arnold Hadd took us on a tour of the Shaker bog.  Even though it was a foggy and drizzly day, it was impressive to see the bog, the islands and the lake, which fed and powered the Shaker mill.IMG_1913The following week I ran  a single step stool workshop  at Sabbathday Lake, and we made a bunch of these:

IMG_8785I addition I made another of my favorite round stands, what I consider to be the simplest, yet the most contemporary.  A 16″ top supported by a 7″ turned disc, below, on a post that  looks straight , but is actually slightly curved.  The legs are simple arcs dovetailed into the post.  Another  is due in October.IMG_8791Finally, after 20 some years of hoarding antique library card catalog drawers, I’ve decided to sell a few.  They are extremely handy for hardware, jewelry, spices, or collectibles.  They all show signs of age, and have a variety of hardware and finishes. Dovetailed front corners and finger jointed back corners.  The fronts have oak faces, although these can be replaced. Just cut the fronts at the dovetails, and add new fronts to cover the rod holes.  Making the fronts just over 5″ tall allows you to store CDs in the drawers. I’ll have them posted on the main site, as well as under Specials.  Cost is $60. for two or $100. for four, shipping included.IMG_8784As a parting shot, I want to remind everyone that all my furniture is gluten free.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2016

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