January 2018

Like a fresh coating of snow, the new year always holds endless possibilities.  January was quite a mix of weather, from extreme cold, to snow, rain, ice, and more snow.The garden shed in the early morning, just before sunrise.  Along the road, at the end of the driveway, the first rays of the sun highlight my sign.

A few days later, the fresh snow is coated with ice, after a rainstorm and sudden freeze.  Spectacular to look at, but no fun to walk or drive  on.

Again, a busy month.  The schedule is beginning to fill up well into next summer.  Word has leaked out that I’m no longer teaching, and thinking about retirement.  I’ve been over occupied so far, between keeping the driveway clear, an un-welcomed run-in with a router, playing chief cook, bottle-washer and chauffeur, continuous revisions on the forthcoming book, I actually did get to spend time in the shop.  Finished up a few odds and ends, and sent a few goodies out. The only project I managed to complete was a small bookcase, dovetailed, adjustable shelves, and frame & panel back.

At coffee break, with one of my favorite Elizabeth Louden mugs. I think of the designs as stylized trees.  Love the color.  The finished piece turned out quite well, and was delivered today.

I also had a request for a few Shaker knobs, which I’m not to keen on making, but do on occasion.  For years I lugged this sample board with me to shows.  Now I hide it in a wall cupboard in the showroom, so as not to encourage any more knob orders.  There is nothing quite as exciting  as standing at the lathe all morning, turning out 28 identical knobs, knowing they are not going onto a piece of my furniture.

Once in a while I get a cute cut-off, and this one looks like a miniature square.  Could be used as such, but went into the firewood pile instead.

However, most of the month was taken up by a cherry corner cupboard. It’s  fun piece to build, so I thought I’d take a few in-process shots.  The corner cupboard is one of the rare pieces I actually make a full scale cross sectional drawing of, since there are so many odd angles and locking, mating pieces.  The two opposite front face frames  are a challenge to glue up at 22 1/2° each.Notice the green tape.  I gave up on the weeny blue tape years ago.  You stretch it over a sharp edge and it breaks. The green tape, on the other hand, takes an amazing amount of tension, even on a freshly milled 90° edge.  I lay both pieces, (cut from the same board) side by side and tape them.  Flip them over, glue the joints, fold and tape.  A perfect joint, no clamps required. Don’t bother trying this with blue tape.Next, the two face frames are attached to the top, middle shelf and bottom.  Looks more like a boat hull than a piece of furniture.  It’s a bit fragile at this point, but once the two long sides are on, it stiffens right up. The sides are trimmed at 45°, to let the actual back bypass the two sides.  It’s virtually impossible to clamp a 45° corner without smashing it, so a band-sawn cut-out is called for.With the back in place, the end looks something like this.  Except for the narrow pieces of the face frame, all other parts are dadoed to capture the shelves on five edges.All that’s left is the three horizontal face frame members, top molding, a wood door on the bottom, and a glass door on the top.  Oh yes, and sanding and oil.  With three more days, or less snow and a better behaved router, it would have been finished.  Something to look forward to in the February blog.

C.H. Becksvoort © 2018

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