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Thread: Hand tool project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Bel Air, MD
    Posts
    100

    Hand tool project

    I figured since I would say a good 90% of my time on this piece was spent using hand tools I would post it here since probably qualifies as a hand tool project. This is one of those pieces that there is just no way to get around using hand tools. I roughed out the sides at the table saw with a dado blade and surfaced all the material to rough dimensions with a planer and table saw but just about everything else was done by hand. With all the compound angles and contoured shapes it just canít be done properly with power tools.
    This piece has been setting in the corner of my shop for some time but I decided it was time to finish it. I actually started this back in May of last year when Peter Tremblay came down to spend a week and start a Bombe desk he was building for himself. I worked on it for a week then and after that it mostly sat in a corner of the shop while I worked on other commission work. I would pull it out now and then and work on it for a few hours here and there after I would wrap up another piece but nothing substantial. I decided I wanted to take it to the upcoming furniture show I will be exhibiting in so I pulled it out last month and finished it. I have to admit it was a real challenge. One thing I don't really care for on the piece is the feet. They are just not as crisp and clean as say a Philadelphia piece but this is a reproduction so as much as it pained me I stayed true to the original and went with what I felt to be a less than perfect ball and claw foot that is historically correct. I am notorious for shooting from the hip so to speak when I build pieces but on this I worked from drawings. I got the drawings from Craig Bentzley. I have to say Craig has the best drawings I have ever seen. It was 4 full scale pages and for a wonder I found no mistakes in the drawings while I was building the piece which is really saying something on a piece of this scale. While I may have been able to puzzle out how to build this without them I honestly wouldnít even want to try. Given the price of Craigís plans it was my best purchase of the year when I consider how much time they saved me.

    The piece is constructed out of a single 22Ē x 12í 12/4 mahogany board. The top is a Honduran mahogany crotch I resawed off of a huge slab I had. Quoting Peter my finishing schedule is beyond complicated so I will not go in to the particulars but it is shellac with a top cote of lacquer with the grain filled. For the secondary wood I used poplar instead of the traditional white pine. I started with the intention of using white pine and it was just too soft. After fighting with the dovetails I gave up and moved to poplar.
    I will make a separate post regarding this but I need to find a professional photographer in the Baltimore / Philadelphia area to photograph the piece for me preferably with a studio. If anyone can point me in the right direction or knows someone who would be a good candidit it would be a huge help.







    Diamanwoodcrafters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    PA
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    11,303
    Looks excellent, Dave. The curved bottom looks like it was designed soley to torture anyone who might want to make the piece, as I can't see a non-woodworker who would have a sense of how much complication that adds.

    Could call those dachshund feet....They look good, though.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    3,635
    Hi Dave. Beautiful as usual. I remember you posted a pretty mind blowing piece a year or so ago. Love to see such great work. I hear you on the pine. I'm working on a cabinet right now where the shelves are white pine. I like the look of it better than poplar (unless I can get poplar that is consistent in color), but its awful stuff to work with.... just soooooooooooooooo soft, it breaks out or dents if you breathe on it funny. My preference for secondary wood is soft maple for areas that will be seen sometimes (e.g. drawer sides) and poplar for just about everything else.

    Anyway, awesome! Thanks for sharing. Way nicer than anything I've ever built or will be able to build any time soon.
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    1,031
    I'm speechless. Makes begginers like me feel really how small we are

  5. #5
    Beautiful period work David! As for the poplar vs white pine, I feel your pain. I tend to use pine for the secondary wood on New England pieces, but sometimes it is a bear trying to find good stock with tight grain and decent hardness. It must be worse for you living in the Mid-Atlantic area. My strategy has been to check for good stock on each trip to the lumber yard and buy it whether I need it or not. Sifting through a pile sometimes yields boards with a significant percentage of the length being quarter sawn. It is still a hassle though and a quick "thumbnail test" for hardness isn't always accurate.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  6. #6

    Photographer

    If a Pro does not work out, you might find a local photography meetup, and have people do a session photographing your piece. Many of the guys in a local one I belonged to were beyond excellent and the meetups took place at a studio.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Bel Air, MD
    Posts
    100
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    Beautiful period work David! As for the poplar vs white pine, I feel your pain. I tend to use pine for the secondary wood on New England pieces, but sometimes it is a bear trying to find good stock with tight grain and decent hardness. It must be worse for you living in the Mid-Atlantic area. My strategy has been to check for good stock on each trip to the lumber yard and buy it whether I need it or not. Sifting through a pile sometimes yields boards with a significant percentage of the length being quarter sawn. It is still a hassle though and a quick "thumbnail test" for hardness isn't always accurate.
    Dave,
    I actually had a pretty good stash of really nice dense white pine but burned through it before I started this piece. The material I was able to find just didnít cut it so to speak. If it had just been an issue of difficulty working with it I probably would have just pushed on but I was concerned about the durability of the wood over the long term. This piece was built to be around for a long time and I didnít want the drawers or drawer runners to start failing after some use.
    BTW I love the making knife I have of yours. I canít even tell you how many surfaces on the piece have lines I scribed with your knife.
    Diamanwoodcrafters

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Overland Park, KS
    Posts
    197
    Beautiful work Dave as usual. Great materials and finish. I am always amazed at your productivity. Cal

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    279
    Dave, I am personally very pleased to see you post another project. My goal is to be able to spend my retirement (assuming i ever get there) making pieces similar to the ones you have posted here over the years.

    The hand work, attention to detail, overall style, etc, etc, etc . . .simply excellent.

    thank you again for posting, and best regards, Patrick

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    9,832
    Beautiful piece.

    Pine is a pain, it is my primary wood due to its being the cheapest wood available. Currently my main source has 1X12s for $0.89 a foot.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    3,635
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    Beautiful period work David! As for the poplar vs white pine, I feel your pain. I tend to use pine for the secondary wood on New England pieces, but sometimes it is a bear trying to find good stock with tight grain and decent hardness. It must be worse for you living in the Mid-Atlantic area. My strategy has been to check for good stock on each trip to the lumber yard and buy it whether I need it or not. Sifting through a pile sometimes yields boards with a significant percentage of the length being quarter sawn. It is still a hassle though and a quick "thumbnail test" for hardness isn't always accurate.
    I wish I could find good white pine (though maybe I could if I tried harder). Nice clear straight grained white pine is lovely stuff. I can actually find clear, straight often QS white pine by digging through the piles of at the BORG, but the stuff is grown so fast it's about as hard as Styrofoam.
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  12. #12
    Chris,the pine in those stores seems to be ponderosa .I much prefer the sugar pine or northeastern white pine .Northeastern is Pinus strobus. Both have better texture than ponderosa. Check with a real lumber dealer. I have a slight preference for the northeastern as it usually has less pitch and paints easier. There are a number of things sold as 'white pine'.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    3,635
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Chris,the pine in those stores seems to be ponderosa .I much prefer the sugar pine or northeastern white pine .Northeastern is Pinus strobus. Both have better texture than ponderosa. Check with a real lumber dealer. I have a slight preference for the northeastern as it usually has less pitch and paints easier. There are a number of things sold as 'white pine'.
    Thanks. I wasn't positive what it was but I thought it was probably eastern white. I got in the habit of going there on the recommendation of a local hardwood dealer who didn't have any and flat out said digging through the stack at the BORG was just as good and cheaper than he could get anyway. Wouldn't surprise me if it not eastern white though....its just sold as "whitewood" or "white pine" and it wouldn't surprise me if the actual species varies from time to time.

    I've been meaning to check with other lumber dealers, but haven't bothered since I was still using up pile of picked thru BORG boards. I still need to get some wood for the back so perhaps I'll do a better search for that. I would not mind having a stack of high quality eastern white pine around. I would love to find some rough sawn stuff, since by the time I get to it the presurfaced stuff has moved and I can only get 5/8" out of it. That's fine for most of what it gets used for but it would be nice to have the option for something thicker for those times one might want to use it as, GASP, a primary wood. In the right project it can be quite lovely.
    Woodworking is terrific for keeping in shape, but it's also a deadly serious killing system...

  14. #14
    Those stores do sell regionally bought varying stock .The stuff we get here has more difference between the winter and summer wood than what I like ,but for stain ,some prefer it.

  15. #15
    Just now saw those pictures ! Great stuff!

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