My Tripot: Shaping the Exterior

Fascinated with the form of the tripot, and interested to see what was involved in making one, I have started my own. I couldn’t think of a better way to understand and appreciate it than to make one myself.

Loosely following an article in Woodwork by Hugh McKay on his process of making a pentapot (five vessels in one), I began work on my own.

First, I played around with a sheet of paper and a compass to lay out the overall sizes of the three vessels for my tripot. I wanted their diameters to be significantly different for interest. Since most of the shaping is done on the lathe, I knew that I needed the other two pots to clear the lathe bed when any one was mounted on centres. That limited the overall size of the piece I could make. I figured that it was also important that the three pots meet in the middle, and for the walls to not overlap so much that, when hollowing them out, the cavities would meet.

Once I had a layout that met my criteria, I transferred it to a piece of 1/4” MDF which became my template. I’m not sure this was really necessary, but it was one of the steps McKay used in the creation of his pots (the template did help me when I needed to start again… more on that later).

I chose a chunk of black locust about 8” thick. At the bandsaw, I squared up the blank, ensuring both ends were parallel to each other. I carefully positioned my template on the end grain, avoiding any checks, bark, or knots that could have compromised the strength of the tripot.  With a short screw in the centre of each circle representing a pot, I fastened the template to the black locust. Carefully, I cut to the lines using my bandsaw.

Next, I determined how tall to make each pot. I had to remember to accommodate for some chucking wastage at one end, where the screws would go in to hold the face plate. Again, following the recommendation of McKay, I used a drill press and forstner bit to remove the bulk of the waste. Boring into the end grain of a hard wood was not quick, and the results were not especially clean, with stalagmites and brad point divots abounding. I quickly cleaned up the resulting surface with a hand saw and chisels.

To profile the exterior, the pot could not be simply spun on the lathe and a gouge be presented to the work unless you were impossibly good at quickly applying and removing the tool as the other two vessels off-axis came around at you. Instead, shaping is done with a router with the work mounted on an unplugged lathe. This required some jigging.

I created a plywood platform that got mounted to the lathe bed. For my smallest router, which I had chosen to use for the shaping, I built a cradle to hold it securely in line with the lathe’s axis when resting on the platform. Lastly, I cut a template for the router to follow.

For a clean cut, ease of control, and long reach, I chose to mount a 1/4” up-spiral solid carbide router bit in the trim router. With a pot screwed to a faceplate and mounted on the lathe, I used the router to estimate where to position the template to remove the minimum amount of material, while creating a fully shaped vessel without flat spots. I clamped the template with a pair of clamps and got ready to start routing.

My left hand was on the wheel controlling the rotation of the lathe, and my right hand moved the router on the platform. Taking shallow bites, I slowly worked my way around the pot as far as I could. It took patience and focus to take only small bites, and to keep the router firmly on the platform. Several times, the router caught, tipped forward, and ended up carving deep holes in the side of the pot, requiring me to re-adjust the template to remove the divots. In the end, I ended up deciding that there was not going to be enough material left to make it worth continuing.

I started again. This is where that template came in handy. I simply screwed it to a new piece of locust and cut it out again at the bandsaw. After determining the height of the pots, I cut across the tops of the pots with a coarse handsaw, then split away the waste with a chisel and mallet. This was much quicker and cleaner than using a forstner bit.

At the lathe, I took the shaping process much more cautiously. Analyzing my previous failure, I realized that I would have a better chance of success if I: clamped the router to the platform to avoid tipping; didn’t use a spiral bit to prevent the bit from wanting to pull itself into the work; used a router bit with a short cutting length and a bearing to keep the cutting part from engaging with the other two vessels; and screwed the template securely to the platform. I took all these precautions for the second attempt.

In this video, I describe my setup, and demonstrate the shaping method.

My process worked well, and the extra precautions I took were worth the effort.

After routing all three pots as much as I could, there were a few spots that the router couldn’t access. I cleaned those up with skew chisels and carving gouges.

Next up: hollowing!

Include or Exclude?

Power carving is unlike working with hand tools because you can remove wood without regard for grain direction or knots.  To me, this is liberating as I can focus on form.

As I work, I constantly ask myself, “Do I want to save this section or obliterate it?  My sculpting approach is to simply remove the parts I don’t like and leave the parts that please me.  I often emphasize form and encourage the sculpture to be caressed by using a combination of hard and soft edges (something I learned from the work of Sam Maloof).

Pacific Yew Sculpture

Although I use an angle grinder with a power carving attachment to establish the rough shape, the final shaping is done with abrasives – first on a sander, then in my hand.  The sanding stage is perhaps the most critical stage of sculpting and I spend more time sanding sculptures than I do carving them.

The sculpture shown here is made of Pacific yew with a concrete base.  It will be for sale in my store when I finalize the price.

This is the thirteenth slide from my PechaKucha presentation.

C.Wong-13

Maple Trestle Table, Session 19 – Refining the Sculpted Base

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons;
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs; and
Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks There will be much sanding today. #flairww -11:56 AM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I am happy with how this section of the leg looks. #flairww -12:02 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I think I will cut the tenons flush after all. #flairww -12:05 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut the tenon off and I’m using my block plane to trim it flush. #flairww -12:18 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I haven’t sharpened my block plane through this whole project. I can’t believe it’s still sharp. #flairww -12:20 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The block plane affords many different grips. #flairww -12:24 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When sanding, my objective is to remove all other existing tool marks. #flairww -12:27 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When shaping, I work the entire piece as one – I don’t let one section get further ahead than another. #flairww -12:29 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I will often make changes to the shape so I only move onto finer grits of sandpaper once I’ve established a shape I like. #flairww -12:30 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This area was too difficult to carve with the angle grinder. I’ll use gouges, rasps and sandpaper. #flairww -12:36 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It can be difficult to remove marks and glue in corners. I use a card scraper at a low angle. #flairww -12:43 PM May 19th, 2012

LornaBourke @FlairWoodworks Good call on trimming the tenon to be flush with leg, looks very nice. -12:45 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thank you! #flairww RT @LornaBourke: @FlairWoodworks Good call on trimming the tenon to be flush with leg, looks very nice. -12:46 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Since I’m still in the initial refining stage, I am using coarse sandpaper and will sand in all ways regardless of grain direction. #flairww -12:50 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This section is now shaped. It still needs to be refined. #flairww -1:00 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This surface is far from smooth but I am happy with the shape. I’ll move on to the other leg. #flairww -1:14 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This leg needs a lot of refining! #flairww -1:20 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks 40-grit makes quick work of the uneven surface. #flairww -1:23 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m still using the first 40-grit Abranet HD sanding disc. It’s not worn out, but I’ll change it for a fresh one. #flairww -1:25 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Preliminary sanding with my sander is done. Now I’ll use hand tools to sculpt the tighter areas. #flairww -1:50 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a coarse, round rasp to carve until the point of the V disappears. I’m almost there. #flairww -1:55 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Then I use both sides of a half-round rasp to blend the surfaces. #flairww -1:59 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks By the way, I neither own, nor have any desire to own any fine rasps. Mine are all very coarse and cost about $20-30 each. #flairww -2:05 PM May 19th, 2012

sharpendwood @FlairWoodworks Really like the shaping you’ve done. Very pleasing lines…at least to me ;) -2:19 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When I power-carved the legs, I left this area square. I want to sculpt it to be more round. #flairww -2:28 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh, here is the crotch area completed. #flairww -2:29 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a Kutzall burr in my drill to sculpt this tight area. #flairww -2:42 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The end of this leg is much larger than on the other leg. I’m trying to decide if I should change it. #flairww -2:45 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any guesses as to what I decided to do? #flairww -2:47 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After cutting the bulk of the waste away, I used a gouge to roughly establish the shape. #flairww -2:58 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a flat spokeshave to refine the shape. No templates or measurements were used. #flairww -3:04 PM May 19th, 2012

roncbailey @FlairWoodworks really have enjoyed following this build. It looks outstanding! -3:22 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Both legs are sculpted. Before progressing to finer grits I need to decide if I want to do any more shaping. #flairww  -3:21 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thank you, Ron! #flairww RT @roncbailey: @FlairWoodworks really have enjoyed following this build. It looks outstanding! -3:22 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t like the square edges on the tops of the feet. #flairww -3:53 PM May 19th, 2012

TheWoodBug @FlairWoodworks Now your talking! -3:54 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Whooo! #flairww RT @TheWoodBug: @FlairWoodworks Now your talking! -3:54 PM May 19th, 2012

tulcarvely: @FlairWoodworks what are you thinking of doing? Maybe angle bevel? or rounded? -3:57 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Probably rounded. #flairww RT @tulcarvely: @FlairWoodworks what are you thinking of doing? Maybe angle bevel? or rounded? -3:57 PM May 19th, 2012

TheWoodBug @FlairWoodworks having fun today I can see and making great progress sir -3:58 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @TheWoodBug It is very fulfilling to see it take shape. #flairww -3:59 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m not sure how much I want to round over the ends. I’ll start with the area nearest the legs, then work outwards. #flairww -4:01 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Having the right tools to do this type of work is important but trusting yourself is even more important. #flairww -4:04 PM May 19th, 2012

DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks looks great. -4:13 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Dyami! #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks looks great. -4:14 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Have I inspired anybody to try sculpting part of their next piece of furniture? #flairww -4:15 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This angular corner doesn’t look good to me either. #flairww -4:25 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The near-right side is rounded. I can’t stop here. #flairww -4:25 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Again, I used my round rasp to round the V. #flairww -4:31 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Some people like to undercut their tenon shoulders. It’s not a good idea if you will be sculpting the piece. #flairww -4:31 PM May 19th, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworksThat joint sure looks nice tho! -4:33 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Grant! #flairww RT @gvmcmillan: @FlairWoodworksThat joint sure looks nice tho! -4:34 PM May 19th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks that’s a great point [to not undercut tenon shoulders]. Never really thought about that but will have to keep it in mind if I decide to go “round” #flairww-4:36 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m happy with the shape of this area and will do the same on the other end of this foot, then the other foot. #flairww 5:04 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks At 5:04, I’m going for a lunch break. #flairww -5:04 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made so far today. #flairww -5:05 PM May 19th, 2012

SMeekWoodworks @FlairWoodworks Really can’t wait to see this table when it’s finished. It’s amazing. -5:47 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Wow! That was the most amazing sandwich I’ve had in a long time! Toasted sourdough, guacamole… (back in the shop now). #flairww -8:04 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to start shaping the left side of this foot. #flairww-8:09 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks As always, I started by defining the ankle. #flairww -8:12 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve rounded the leg. Now I’ll work on the foot. #flairww -8:22 PM May 19th, 2012

JC_McGrath @FlairWoodworks add me to the list, this looks great Chris, can’t wait to it done. Inspiring -8:30 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Awesome! Thanks, Jon! #flairww RT @JC_McGrath: @FlairWoodworks add me to the list, this looks great Chris, can’t wait to it done. Inspiring -8:31 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve rounded over the top of the foot as well as the transition into the leg. #flairww -9:10 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m happy with the foot for now, but I think the central section is too flat. #flairww -9:12 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One way to quickly (and tidily and quietly) add shape is to carve across the grain with a deep gouge. #flairww -9:18 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My random orbit sander and 40-grit paper quickly evened out the surface. #flairww -9:21 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks At the bottom of the last picture, you can see a section that needs to be faired, right at the base of the intersection. #flairww -9:21 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The centre section is a little more rounded now. #flairww -9:44 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s another picture of this end of the base. #flairww -9:50 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I turned the base around. This side does not look nearly as good without the extra sculpting. #flairww -9:55 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got one side of the foot shaped. #flairww -11:04 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I thought this was a neat picture. The left was sanded with 40-grit, the right side from a spokeshave. #flairww -11:07 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The shaping is done… next comes a lot of sanding to polish the surfaces. #flairww -11:31 PM May 19th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m done work in the shop for the day. #flairww -11:31 PM May 19th, 2012

Next time in the shop, there will be a lot of sanding!  Bring your dust mask!  Click here to leave a comment.

Maple Trestle Table, Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons; and
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks And… into the shop I go! First thing I do: turn on the lights; then remove the clamps! #flairww -1:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll cut the tenons flush. #flairww -1:38 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because I want to do other things today, I’m not using my small, fine-toothed flush-cut saw. #flairww -1:41 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I then used a block plane to set the tenon flush. #flairww -1:43 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The base is assembled. It still needs to be sculpted. #flairww -1:50 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut two attachment strips which will be fastened to the legs and mortised into the battens. #flairww -2:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The purpose of these strips is to secure the base to the top and conceal the centre two bolt holes. #flairww -2:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In the finished table, only the two outermost bolts will be used. #flairww -2:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It took some careful layout to position the battens. Next, I’ll fasten them with screws. #flairww -2:39 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a 17/64″ transfer punch to mark the location of the 9/32″ clearance holes. #flairww -2:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The smaller punch is easier to use because there is no friction between it and the hole. #flairww -2:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The mark could be out by 1/128″ but I don’t care. #flairww -3:00 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To guide the drill bit, I used my drill press to drill through a block of scrap wood. #flairww -3:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks E-mails are coming in non-stop today. #flairww -3:10 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One attachment strip is mounted. #flairww -3:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use my cordless drill/driver to install the screws most of the way but always finish by hand. #flairww -3:17 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s a picture of the base for you to look at while I tidy up my shop a little. #flairww -3:19 PM May 17th, 2012

CashFromCraft @FlairWoodworks I find setting the cluch to be helpful when driving a number in the same operation. -3:22 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @CashFromCraft The drill’s clutch can be helpful, but I don’t find it accurate enough due to density variances. #flairww -3:24 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @CashFromCraft I have a much greater sensitivity when using a screwdriver than a power tool. #flairww -3:25 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks why not adjust the torque setting on the screw gun? -3:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A screwdriver allows greater sensitivity. RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks why not adjust the torque setting on the screw gun? -3:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Next, I’ll trace the position of the attachment strips onto the battens. #flairww -3:41 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll remove the two centre bolts which are no longer needed and rout the pocket for the attachment strip. #flairww -3:46 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ready to rout! #flairww -3:57 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My router fence slipped and caused this gouge. I’ll have to patch it. #flairww -4:21 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To fix the gouge, I first routed a straight-edged pocket. #flairww -4:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I turned the head of my marking gauge around to scribe a straight line. #flairww -4:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut a patch and scribed it onto the batten. #flairww -4:45 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I fit and glued the patch in place. After the glue dries, I’ll trim it flush. #flairww -4:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to finish the patch before starting the sculpting of the base. I’ll sand the underside of the table in the meantime. #flairww -5:15 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I simply unbolted the battens to allow uninhibited sanding of the surface. #flairww -5:26 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first Abranet HD 80-grit disc lasted for almost half of the surface. The one on the bench is dull. #flairww -5:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the first time I’ve used the Abranet HD discs aside from testing. What’s nice about them is they’re either sharp or not. #flairww-5:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That means there is no doubt about whether the discs need to be changed. #flairww -5:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I consumed three 80-grit Abranet HD discs smoothing the bottom. #flairww -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks that doesn’t seem like long. Mine last multiple projects. -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks wait, isn’t abranet the mesh ones? That’s what I was referring to. -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke The regular Abranet discs are mesh and seem to last longer but don’t cut as quickly as the Abranet HD. #flairww -5:50 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If I only did horizontal, flat surfaces, I would have bought a Festool sander because they have less vibration. #flairww -5:52 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks But I find the size and balance (and weight) of the Festool sanders not as conducive to sculpting, especially with one hand. #flairww -5:53 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The Abranet HD discs are more agressive than regular Abranet discs. From the HD 80-grit, I could go to regular 80 or regular 120. #flairww -5:54 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks According to this twitter feed, it’s now been one hour since I glued in the patch so I’ll go back and finish the job. #flairww -6:00 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my side rabbet plane to clean up the inside edge of the patch. My #4 bench plane flushed the surface. #flairww-6:06 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Do you know what comes next? #flairww -6:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yep! The attachments strips fit in the mortised battens! #flairww -6:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Sculping comes next! #flairww -6:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to trim the end of this leg so that it does not cover the bolt. #flairww  -6:14 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Cancel plans for tonight – I’m power carving! #flairww -6:29 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m wearing a long-sleeved jacket, gloves, goggles, ear muffs, and a dust mask. #flairww -6:33 PM May 17th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks tweet-along’s hidden side benefit: work timer -6:36 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Sculpting is going well so far. #flairww -6:51 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The legs are rounded at the top and transition into a rectangular cross section at the bottom. #flairww -7:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve finished power carving outside so I brought the base back inside where I’ll refine the shape with rasps and sandpaper. #flairww -7:57 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks what did you power carve it with? -8:02 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke I was just thinking that I should take a picture of my grinder and Arbortech disc. #flairww -8:05 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks How is it to control? Taking a grinder to wood has always intimidated me (concrete & metal I grind away on). -8:07 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke It is certainly easier to dig into wood and cause a catch (than with concrete or metal) but I have great control. #flairww -8:09 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The surface left by the Arbortech disc is far from smooth. #flairww -8:12 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I’ll have to pick up an arbortec blade and try it out. Can you recommend one? -8:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Arbortech and King Arthur’s Tools are two makers of power carving wheels. #flairww -8:16 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke I use THIS ONE. The carbide cutters last a really long time! #flairww -8:17 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke If you’re serious about power carving, it’s a great way to go. It cuts in all directions. #flairww -8:18 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The Lancelot and Squire wheels don’t cut well on the draw stroke using the cutter’s face.  The edge of the cutter does the cutting. #flairww -8:19 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ready to refine… with 40-grit! #flairww-8:25 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This sharp 40-grit paper doesn’t make dust – it makes little shavings! #flairww -8:28 PM May 17th, 2012

This video shows how I use my 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) and a 40-grit Abranet HD disc  to sand the sculpted legs.  I normally wear a dust mask while sanding, but I I forgot while thinking about camera angles.  Use a dust mask!  The CEROS is very good at collecting dust when used on flat surfaces but not as good when sanding rounded surfaces.  The Abranet HD discs are less effective at catching dust from the regular Abranet discs.

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I’ll check on a PC [power carver] later, but is there a particular model (grit?) good for a newb? -8:30 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks excellent! -8:30 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke As far as an angle grinder, look for one that is compact and lightweight. Power isn’t really a factor. #flairww -8:54 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Paddle switches are suppoed to be more reliable than sliders which can get clogged with dust. #flairww -8:54 PM May 17th, 2012

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks things are coming together nicely. keep it up. -8:56 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The sander does not do well on more severe convex sections. #flairww -9:01 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The foam interface pad allows the sander to handle curves like this but doesn’t fair the surface as well and is less aggressive. #flairww-9:01 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll first fair the concave sections with a rasp, then use the sander with the 3/8″ foam interface pad and finer sandpaper. #flairww -9:03 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When it comes to rasps, I like them as coarse as they come. I rely on them to establish shape, not for smoothing. #flairww -9:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t use templates or layout lines. Instead, I trust my eye and sense of touch. #flairww -9:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks All I had for lunch was a slice of tiramisu, so I think I’ll need to stop for food soon. #flairww -9:14 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A round spokeshave would work well to fair this concave curve. #flairww -9:26 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s where I’ll leave it for the night. #flairww -10:21 PM May 17th, 2012

Next comes more sculpting.  Care to leave a comment?

Maple Trestle Table, Session 2 – Playing with Slabs

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a link to the previous session.

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I like the split but it’s best shown on the side where the lower half protrudes further. #flairww -11:18 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The split is barely noticeable on this side. I’m going to change that by reducing the thickness of the top. #flairww -11:21 AM Apr 16th, 2012

cobwobbler @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to use mu angle grinder with an Arbortech wood-carving wheel. #flairww -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because they are unique! RT @cobwobbler: @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I would normally do the outside but it’s raining today. I put up tarps to contain the mess. #flairww -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I wear tight-fitting gloves, goggles, ear protection and a dust mask when power carving. #flairww -11:27 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here you can see the effect that I’m going for. #flairww -11:40 AM Apr 16th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:48 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The shape is established. Now for sanding. #flairww -11:54 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the pile of shavings I produced. #flairww -11:57 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Notice that they are shavings, not dust. #flairww -11:58 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks They actually worked perfectly! RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:59 AM Apr 16th, 2012

BillGriggs @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Nah. One scoop with the dust pan and it’s gone. RT @BillGriggs: @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I put the round blade of my convex palm plane in my flat palm plane to quickly even the surface. #flairww -12:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To work a concave surface, either a short-soled plane works well. For more severe concave areas, I’d use the round plane. #flairww -12:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A plane works more quickly than a sander and does a better job of fairing the curve. #flairww -12:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With a sharp blade set for a fine cut, the plane even handles knots with ease. #flairww -12:19 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have no problem working to within 1/16″ with the angle grinder which means less cleanup later. #flairww -12:22 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I follow up with 80-grit on the sander to further refine the surface and remove any tearout. #flairww -12:32 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It doesn’t look right. More shaping is required. #flairww -12:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -12:50 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworksI can’t say enough about them. They are so versatile. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -1:00 PM Apr 16, 2012

FlairWoodworks My palm plane is too short to remove this hump so I’m switching to a longer plane. #flairww -1:17 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Perfect! #flairww -1:20 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If it feels fair, it’s fair. #flairww -1:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a thin-bladed knife to clear loose material out of the cracks. #flairww -1:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I broke off the end of a hacksaw blade to clean out the cracks. It’s longer and more flexible than my knife. #flairww -1:48 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using this wooden block plane. It’s less fatiguing to use than metal planes, especially one-handed. #flairww -2:00 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was the first plane I’d ever made. It works well, but the body needs some shaping. #flairww -2:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I also rounded over one edge of the sole where my fingers curl over. #flairww -2:10 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That feels so nice! #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! – 2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Especially! But by no means only. RT @CashFromCraft: @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! – 2:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my block plane to begin rounding over the edges. I’m using my sander with foam interface pad to finish. #flairww -2:47 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The stretcher is done… at least for now. #flairww-3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And here’s a look at the other side. #flairww -3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for a lunch break. #flairww -3:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any comments or questions so far? #flairww -3:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood They are tools, after all!! RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww

FlairWoodworks Now that lunch is finished, I’m looking for materials for the rest of this table now that the stretcher is done. #flairww -4:54 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Playing with bookmatches for the top (like @Mansfinefurn). I have three slabs with which to work. #flairww -5:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -5:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d probably cover the gap in the centre with glass. #flairww-5:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yikes – where’d all the space I had go? #flairww -6:07 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Three more pieces of maple for other table parts. #flairww -6:16 PM Apr 16th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:31 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not on the roof! RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:34 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And I begins… #flairww -6:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

paulchinetti  Digging that! @FlairWoodworks: Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -6:43 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @paulchinetti Thanks for the feedback! That’s what I’m going with for now. #flairww -6:45 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. #flairww -6:56 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

FlairWoodworks I think I know what you want to say. RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks haha shush! i remember seeing the term “kiss match” in my IP [Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking] handout, but it was never explained -6:59

FlairWoodworks Tip: bring a water bottle to the shop and take a sip whenever you take a pause. #flairww -6:59 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Really? I’ve never heard the term. -7:01

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks its some skull and bones krenov talk that no one knows outside of those circles… -7:02 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks i think its a slip match, then flip one sheet end for end – 7:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious From my understanding, a slip match is just sliding the slices apart with no rotation or flipping. -7:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks yeah but this is a kiss match! -7:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks like a dis… -7:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay – I’m with you now! That “other” name is more exciting though. ;) RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks like a dis -7:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Surfacing lumber is a great core and upper-body workout. It even works your legs. #AllInOneGym #flairww -7:26 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Scott Grove calls it spin matching. -7:27 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One side of one slab is roughly surfaced. #flairww -7:41 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I need to find a way to rotate these massive and heavy slabs in my small shop. #flairww -7:42 PM Apr 16th, 2012 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood I don’t know, but it’s what i’ve been planning for the conversion table. RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:51 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh! The cat’s out of the bag now! RT @Tumblewood: 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD -7:52 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I crosshatched the surface with chalk. Now I’ll start planing.#flairww -8:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Only traces of blue chalk remain. Dinner time. #flairww -8:35 PM Apr 16th, 2012

I set up my video camera to record in time-lapse the flattening of the two slabs by hand (nothing too exciting).  Watch the video below.  (Duration –  4:18)

Keep going and read about Session 3!

Maple Trestle Table, Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks Does this (the right side) look like a nice stretcher? #flairww @Morton -3:43 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks @Morton It definitely has potential -3:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

sharpendwood @FlairWoodworks I like it. Is the crack near the center a problem? @Morton -3:58 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton the whole thing looks like a giant pump. (A women’s high heel) -4:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm. I am not seeing it. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton the whole thing looks like a giant pump. (A women’s high heel) -4:01 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton it also has the shape/curvature of the back leg of a chair. -4:04 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now, THAT, I see. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton it also has the shape/curvature of the back leg of a chair. -4:05 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton good, I’m not crazy… -4:13 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s often good to be crazy. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton good, I’m not crazy… -4:14 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks you could make a chair/throne for enjoying all of those giant pieces of cake you eat!:-) -4:26 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Actually, I have a piece of spalted maple reserved for that, tucked away in the corner of my shop since 5 years ago. -4:27 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I faired the curve with my low angle jack plane. #flairww -4:36 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I smoothed one side with my jack plane followed by my random orbit sander. #flairww-5:18 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks is that split going to stay attached or will it spit off? Hopefully you can incorporate it… -5:23 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster It’s going to stay attached. -5:26 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks I think so. Assuming the blue line is a cut-line, I would have the closer end be symmetrical (same width) around the crack. -5:34 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Morton Symmetry was not going to happen. It wasn’t in the cards. -5:36 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Is that stretcher vertical (as shown in latest photo) or horizontal? -5:37 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Morton I think it will be vertical. -5:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Ah, cool. Like that better. Symmetry doesn’t matter (to me) then ;) -5:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Glad to have you on-board! RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Ah, cool. Like that better. Symmetry doesn’t matter (to me) then ;) -5:39 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just stopped and took a minute to resharpen my low-angle jack plane’s O1 blade. #flairww -5:47 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my 1200x diamond stone on the hollow-ground blade, then stropped it. Quick and effective. #flairww -5:48 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Side 2 took a long time to smooth. I started with my low-angle jack and finished with my random orbit sander. #flairww -6:37 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks looks good. Can’t wait to see the finished piece. -6:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used three 80-grit Abranet sanding discs to smooth the two sides of this piece of maple. #flairww -6:39 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You can use a handscrew to help hold a board vertically.#flairww -6:43 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I think that the cut edge will be the top. I’m unsure what to do with the square edge. Two wide chamfers? #flairww -6:48 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any ideas or suggestions of what to do with the edge?#flairww -6:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks carved ‘twist’ -6:52 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s almost 7pm. I need to get some dinner before the#Canucks game at 7:30. #flairww -6:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks On the edge? Hmmm. Thinking…. still thinking… RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks carved ‘twist’ -6:53 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks face to top, then top to opposite face, um, not sure how else to describe it -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks I like the bulk of it. I say leave it. -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @MansFineFurn I think I understand what you mean. I know how I would do it. -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks show me -6:55 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @mansfinefurn Have a look at this – the apron of Table with a Twist. #flairww -6:55 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @WatkinsWoodWork Something about live edges and square corners doesn’t sit right with me. -6:58 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks yeah, more or less like that, but with a faster transition. -6:59 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @mansfinefurn Here’s another pic of the other side. #flairww -6:59 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Exactly! #flairww RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks yeah, more or less like that, but with a faster transition. -7:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks or get wild to a twist, to the middle, then twist it back -7:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @MansFineFurn I’ve experimented with reversing twists but didn’t like the effect. #flairww -7:02 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks For me – I’d keep the wide, flat edge. I like how it looks smooth and flat compared to the side. #flairww -8:11 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm. Contrast. RT @Morton: For me – I’d keep the wide, flat edge. I like how it looks smooth and flat compared to the side. #flairww -8:12 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Wow – that is really cool (twisted apron). Thx for the pic. -8:12 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks for the compliment. RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Wow – that is really cool (twisted apron). Thx for the pic. -8:13 PM Apr 15th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks abranet is great, isn’t it? 8:16 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Love it. RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks abranet is great, isn’t it. 8:16 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Keep going and read about Session 2!

Small Ash Side Table

At 11:45 am on Saturday, December 17, I decided that I would make a small table as a Christmas gift.  I documented my process live on Twitter and what you see below are the updates.  This was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, the @ symbol indicates a username.  Every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username and they are the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you will see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are people the author is talking to.  The other symbol you will see is #, which serves as a category.  I tried to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

Saturday, December 17:  5-1/2 hours

  • @FlairWoodworks: I’m going to try to design and build a table today, starting right now. Follow along with hash tag #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:48 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: The first step will be to find some cool wood. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:48 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: This odd piece looks to be the right height for legs. I’m thinking pedestal. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:51 am
  • @gvmcmillan: @FlairWoodworks Good luck cutting that safely!
    December 17, 2011, 11:54 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: Smoothing the power-carved surfaces with a hand plane.
    December 17, 2011, 12:24 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I’d like to use this piece for the base and top of the table. #flairww (I later changed my mind and used the part marked “BASE” for the top and vise-versa.)
    December 17, 2011, 12:46 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: You didn’t think this was going to be just another table, did you? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 12:48 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I cut a clean surface on the end of the leg with my sliding tablesaw. How would you do this? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:07 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks I’d have done something similar with my Excalibur sliding table. #Flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:15 pm
  • @BobbyHagstrom: @FlairWoodworks Probably with a sled as I don’t have a sliding T-saw :( hehe… I’ve done stuff like that freehand-lots o’ clean up #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:20 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I need to glue two pieces together to make a wide, more stable base. Note the chalk alignment lines.
    December 17, 2011, 1:32 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks Nice grain alignment. #Flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:37 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Come on, glue. Hurry up and dry! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:48 pm
  • @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks ash?
    December 17, 2011, 1:51 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @MansFineFurn Ash!
    December 17, 2011, 1:51 pm
  • @gvmcmillan: @FlairWoodworks Without a sliding table saw, I would have used my compound miter chop saw. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lunchtime! The glue ought to be dry enough to continue work when I return. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 2:21 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Any questions so far? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 2:24 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lunch is done and the glue dry enough to flatten the table’s base.
    December 17, 2011, 3:03 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I need to cut a notch in the upright (leg) to receive the top. This is probably the most challenging part.
    December 17, 2011, 3:48 pm
  • @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks are you winging it or do you have a design?
    December 17, 2011, 3:51 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: With a saw cut to establish each shoulder, I use a chisel and mallet to clear the waste.
    December 17, 2011, 3:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @MansFineFurn I’m designing it as I build. This is fun! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 3:54 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I used my side rabbet plane to clean up the sawed surfaces and adjust the angle.
    December 17, 2011, 4:00 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: That’s a good fit! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 4:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here’s the other side of the joint. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 4:13 pm
  • @TheGravedigger: @FlairWoodworks That did well.
    December 17, 2011, 4:14 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The top looks too thick so I’m going to taper it out towards the edge. I tilted my bandsaw table for this cut.
    December 17, 2011, 4:22 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The bandsawn surface is pretty flat. The burn marks are from when I hesitated feeding the board.
    December 17, 2011, 4:25 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: A few minutes with a handplane removed the milling and burn marks and reestablished a flat top.
    December 17, 2011, 4:28 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The upright is secured to the upright with a pair of long lag bolts.
    December 17, 2011, 4:43 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Sorry I’ve been forgetting to add the #flairww tag.
    December 17, 2011, 4:44 pm
  • @sharpendwood: @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, enjoying watching your progress.
    December 17, 2011, 4:57 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @sharpendwood Well, sculpting is the next step. I will wait until daylight before using my angle grinder to carve the upright. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 5:13 pm

Sunday December 18:  3-1/2 hours

  • @FlairWoodworks: After I finish lunch, I’ll be back in the shop working on the table I started yesterday. Follow along with #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 11:55 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: I’m using my angle grinder to sculpt the table’s upright. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 12:20 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Smoothing out the rough-carved surface is going quickly with 80-grit on my Mirka CEROS random orbit sander.
    December 18, 2011, 8:44 pm
  • @ArtsConnectBC: RT @flairwoodworks: After I finish lunch, I’ll be back in the shop working on the table I started yesterday. Follow along with #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 1:02 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Preliminary sanding with 80-grit is done. Now on to fine grits. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 1:02 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The upright has been sanded to 180-grit. I’ll finish sand the top now.
    December 18, 2011, 9:21 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here’s the table assembled. I just need to shape the base. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 2:01 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks Right, Chris. I look forward to *yours*, though. I like what I see, but cannot imagine what the hole’s function is.
    December 18, 2011, 2:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @woodbard hole? You mean the pencil holder? :) (It’s actually just a knot hole.)
    December 18, 2011, 2:13 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks I knew the hole would be a critical part of that table. Thanks!
    December 18, 2011, 2:23 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks Pretty darn cool, Chris!!
    December 18, 2011, 2:29 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: In classic Chris fashion, I carved the edges of the base to follow the grain. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 2:43 pm
  • @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks looks good, Chris.
    December 18, 2011, 10:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I plugged the screw holes. Can you see them? #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:06 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks Juuuussssttt barely, and ONLY with image blown up,Chris. Wonderful job matching the grain with the plugs!!! #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:09 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Time for a final inspection before the application of the finish. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:11 pm
  • @JC_McGrath: @FlairWoodworks barely for sure, excellent match
    December 18, 2011, 3:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here is the table with one coat of lacquer. I’ll give it a light sanding followed by a couple more coats. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:27 pm
  • @ed_elizondo: @FlairWoodworks That durn good work.
    December 18, 2011, 3:31 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lacquer and shellac are my two preferences when I need a quick-drying finish. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:31 pm
  • @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks just faintly. Would have missed them if I wasn’t specifically looking. Well done.
    December 18, 2011, 3:52 pm
  • @HighRockWW: @FlairWoodworks cool table Chris, I like it.
    December 19, 2011, 4:37 pm
  • @Tooltutor: @FlairWoodworks that’s a sweet table! Can’t even see the plugs.
    December 19, 2011, 6:38 pm

Some Pictures of the Completed Table

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Feels Like Summertime

Yes, I realize that the temperature is hovering around 5 degrees, there’s still snow on the ground, and the sun doesn’t come out much. But what I mean by summertime is that I can spend my day out in the yard doing my darnedest to cover the ground with sawdust and wood chips. I started around noon by deciding that I’ve been working too hard lately and that I needed a day off to have some fun. I went down to the shop and opened the pair of barn doors leading into the back yard, only to be greeted by a light misting of rain.

Undeterred, I hefted my Triton Superjaws into the dampness and hiked up to the garage to find a nice big chunk of wood to carve. I found it in a block of acacia, measuring approximately 24’x26’x10″ and weighing maybe 60 lbs. It had been drying for about a year, so it still had plenty of moisture in it, making it heavier. I lugged it around the side of the house and clamped it in the Superjaws. Then I went to fetch my 4″ angle grinder equipped with an Arbortech cutter. The three carbide cutters make quick work of stock removal and last for what seems like an eternity.

Without an inspiration, I worked decisively. I started by carving away what I saw as defects. Defects, in this case, include bark and cracks. After I carved away the bark inclusion and checking in the middle next to the pith, I decided that I was looking at the bottom of the carving.

Many of my carvings have three legs so that they never rock, but I decided to do something different. I carved out four feet, one in each corner of the blank. Next, I fetched a scrap of 3/4″ plywood and used it to ensure that the feet would make contact. The board rocked, so I trimmed off a little off of a high foot and tried again. Once the board no longer rocked on the feet, I clamped the plywood in the Superjaws and placed the carving feet down on the plywood. It was not necessary to clamp it in place because in this case the workpiece had adequate mass to stay put.

Working on the upper half of the carving, I once again started by carving away cracks and bark.

Left with only good wood, The carving was still big and blocky. One of the things that I don’t like about some of my previous carvings is that they look like they came from a square block of wood. My goal with this carving was to make it look more organic – to have it come alive. I started by taking off all the corners and reducing material left and right. The legs ended up looking like those of a creature, rather than a piece of furniture. I hollowed out the areas between the legs and rounded over some areas to better showcase the grain.

I found myself carving into the night (or at least the dark). It is not unusual for me to be working for many hours straight or in poor light and I continued on making noise and dust. Until, while holding the grinder away in my “rest” position away from the wood while inspecting my work, I heard it contact something – my leather glove I soon discovered. The cutter had put a hole in the tip of the glove’s finger, but that was all, fortunately. I took that as a sign that I’d finished for the day and shut off the grinder and packed everything inside for the night. It’s best to know when to stop. I looked at the clock. It read 6:08.

I continued shaping the sculpture over the course of two years.  I sanded the sculpture March 2011.