March 2017

It’s been pretty snowy here in Maine.   We got about 16″ mid month, on top of what we already had.  Spirit enjoyed it.  I didn’t.  Time spent shoveling is time not in the shop.  I wasted an entire day clearing the driveway, the roof and a path around the house.The snow hasn’t been in a hurry to leave, either.  This is what our walk through the woods looked like yesterday.So, a good bit of time was spent indoors.  First, I built another Deer Isle Granite table.  Next up was a rolling Free Library cabinet.  The upper section with shelves is two sided, one side 9″ deep, the other 7″.  The bottom is open for large books, atlases and magazines. Then, another Shaker round stand, the cool one with the wine bottle post.  The turning is pretty straight forward,  although after 40 years, I’m slowly getting the exact shape down to where it looks identical to the original.  The transition to the wide part of the post is quite low, and very gradual.Once the three legs are cut, shaped, dovetailed, tapered and sanded, they have to be let into the post.  I prefer to do that by hand, as opposed to a router.  I transfer the dovetail profile onto the post,  make two stopped saw cuts and go at it with chisel and mallet.  First, the bulk of the waste is chopped and pared away.  Then I apply graphite to the leading edges of the dovetail and force it into the slot.  The graphite shows where more material needs to be pared off. Usually 6-10 tries to get to the end.  Each slot takes about 20 minutes.  Once the legs are glued, the bottom is rasped, filed and sanded flush.  The legs just flow right  into the post at that 1/8″ shoulder.  And the radius of the post continues down the top edge of the legs.  Then the top brace is drilled, beveled, sanded, glued and wedged to the top tenon.  Finally the top is cut, edged and sanded  to 500 grit.  For this stand I had a figured board that had been in the attic for almost 30 years.  Great color, and the figure really popped out.  Hard to see on a photo, but the light shift when moving the top, was quite impressive.Next on the agenda is another 15-drawer chest.  It will take a while, but it’s such fun to build.  Just under 300 dovetails.  Sit, chop, listen to music.Here it is on the last day of March, and we’re in for another snow.  No fooling.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2017



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