August 2017

Busy doesn’t begin to describe August.  Sometimes I tend to take on more jobs than I can easily handle within a given time period.  That’s in addition to the small projects, chores and crisis that invariable appear out of nowhere.  I do however take time to walk the dog twice daily.  Not just for Spirit’s benefit, but also my spirit.  A long walk through the woods tends to clear the mind, and put things into perspective.

Fall is definitely on the way here in Maine.  Temperatures have gone into the low 40’s at night, summer flowers a fading, golden rod is in bloom and a few leaves are starting to turn.  This is one of my favorite walks along our north-west stone wall.




However, most of my time was spent in the shop.  First, three Shaker inspired benches, one huge, and two very small ones.  All had the lap jointed “butterfly” braces under the seats.  Unfinished, they looked interesting sitting on my bench.

The parts, upside down also made a nice pattern, the large bench having three legs with 3 “butterflies” each, while the two smaller benches had two legs and to lapped butterflies”.  All parts were stained black, and taken in for a sprayed satin lacquer finish.

I also made a small writing desk, with a two board cherry top and tiger maple base, with the Shaker arched feet.  It turned out very well.

The last three days of August were taken up with another photo shoot for FWW. Here is one of the many drill press set ups.  Benches and chairs require a host of angled drilling.

The Shaker settee, is based on an Enfield, NH design.  The original was about 4′ long, while this one was 6′, requiring an additional pair of legs.  And 22 ash spindles, tapering from 5/8″ at the bottom to 3/8″ at the top.  I started with 5/8″ ash dowels, tapered them on four sides to 3/8″ on the jointer, and then rounded them with a block plane.  A pile of shavings.

The trickiest part was attaching the back rail to the spindles.  It takes real effort to align 22 spindles into 22 pre-glued holes.  I enlisted the help of my FWW photographer.

Next, the legs were turned, drilled and with their horizontal rungs, attached to the seat,   Once in place, the legs were cut to sit flat. Lastly the whole settee was stained black, to match the black, low coffee table.  Did I forget to mention that had to be made as well?

I really like the ebonized look.  Shaker noir.  It will be even better with a sprayed satin finish.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2017



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