March 2018

At my age, I should be slowing down, but it’s just not happening.  Instead of fewer things to do, there always seem to be more.  This month was no exception.

First off, it was a real snowy March.  We had two big storms, and one that just grazed us.  Lots of shoveling.  Eventually it will all melt… I hopeA friend in Hawaii sent me a piece of Koa.  I guess that qualifies as a native species, although not North American.  None the less, I wanted to make something from that small pieces.  At 11″, it was not big enough  for a box, but just right for a candle holder.  So I drilled it, added tiger maple feet and stainless steel drip cups.  “Maine Meets Hawaii.”

M.A Stevens-Becksvoort photo.

Incidentally, I just had a new batch of these drip cups made.  Prices have gone up in the last 12 years!   I may make them available at a mere $16. each.  They are really nice, my own design, 1 5/8″ high (4.1 cm) and 2 1/2″ (6.4 cm) diameter.  Brushed stainless steel.  They should be available on the web site in a few weeks.A few months ago, Tom McKenna, editor at FWW, asked me if I wanted to be on “Rough Cut with Fine Woodworking.”  But of course.  Tom McLaughlin, the host,  stopped by my shop twice to make plans for the show.  We decided on the ring lamp as a suitable project.  Tom is amazing, in addition to being a nice guy. He mapped out every step, cut all the parts and made all the arrangements.  I showed up at his shop a day early, and we went over the entire procedure.  The next day the film crew and the folks from WGBH in Boston showed up and we got busy building a lamp.  We shot from 10 in the morning  until 6 that evening , and got the lamp done, finished, wired and lit!  A lot of effort for a 26 minute show.  Great fun, especially working with such a group of professionals.This is Tom McLaughlin’s shop in New Hampshire.  I don’t have new clamps like that.  The lamp frame is in the foreground.  Tom came up with a slick way of cutting the veneer for the rings:  capture them between two pieces of plywood, and run them by the router table with a straight bearing bit. The glued up rings came out perfectly.Oh, and by the way, I still had a few things to make in the shop.  Got to keep the orders going out the door and pay the bills.  I made a 40″ (102 cm) round table, two high stools and four chairs.  The backs of the chairs are steam bent, band sawn, and shaped with a draw knife, before sanding.  Maybe one day, I’ll leave the draw knife facets.  That would be kind of cool.I had to buy a whole cow (hide) for the seats, and took them to my upholsterer, who did a wonderful job.  Everything came together well, got oiled, and assembled and will go out next week to Florida.  Those are my old Hartford clamps in the background.Time to celebrate!  That’s great figure  on the table top… and wonderful Scotch.I received lots of positive feed back last month when I mentioned my current reading.   So this month I’ve looked through the bookcase in the shop and come up with two favorite woodworking books: Der Möbel Bau is a fantastic resource.  Even if you can’t read German, it’s full of a plethora of detailed illustrations.  However, knowing German does help. Some of the joints illustrated are pretty interesting.

The second book is mostly for inspiration:Danish Chairs, has photos of  chairs by the well known, as well as the lesser known designers. No need to wonder where my Haystack chair designs originated.   I love it.  Book recommendations could become a regular thing.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2018


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