Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bangor Daily News article

They flee from me, that sometimes did me seek...

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder

 Kathryn Olmstead, a local writer and publisher of the wonderful magazine Echoes, is also a contributor to the Bangor Daily News.  As such,  she recently interviewed me and did a write up for the BDN about me and my craft.  It appeared in the past Friday issue, and here is the link right

Friday, February 15, 2013


Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle

Philo of Alexandria

Well it has been awhile and while I won't go into detail about my absence, suffice it to say that one of my other jobs has been taking up a lot of my time and some other issues have been keeping me form posting.  But I am getting back into the shop and will be returning to posting my blog.

Bench, yeah.  Here are a few pics of a bench that I built for a show at the Messler Gallery in Rockport, Maine.  This show runs thru April 7 and assuming it does not sell there, it will then go to Harbor Square Gallery in Rockland where it will be on display. 

This bench is really based on my Comptempary Arm Chair, which owes its roots to Pete Galbert's Rocker.  I did re-design the back so the curve of the end post more closely matches the spindles.

Normally I turn the back rail but as my lathe is 42" and the back rail is 54" I had to shape it with a forkstaff plane...the same plane used to shape hay forks.  It was actually easier that I thought and while the turned pieces are very uniform, the plane shaped rail has irregularities that are pleasing to the touch.  

I also put a lot of time into the spacing and number of back spindles.  I originally thought twenty one would be about right, but visually it was too busy.  I trimmed down to 15, which I thought was about right. 



Getting the sweep of the rail visually "right" is maybe the hardest part.  Too little and it looks lifeless, too much and it can look comedic.  So again, like with all chairs, you have to trust your eye.  Getting this line right is much like getting the sweep of a boats sheer right.  It is very hard to subjectively say what is right or wrong, but when it is right, you know it. 

One thing I didn't consider was as the rail, with it's steam bent curve, is rotated down to add sweep, this in turn pushes middle towards the front of the bench, which nets out a more erect back.  This bench is fine and very comfortable, but my next rail will have a greater bend.

I did come up with a great way to drill the rail using the spindle itself as a guide by using a rubber band.  I make about one important discovery about every year or so and this one does work.  I'll post about it soon.