We’re Not Dead Yet!

Hello all:

With a title that nods to Monty Python, here’s a quick update on what’s been happening at the shop during our period of silence (online, that is).

Bill has been moving well along on the Peter Scott desk, with the bookcase assembled, its cornice molding installed and the panel doors well along.

Bill refining the cornice molding joints

Top view of bookcase cornice

Bookcase upright and in proper perspective.

Panel Doors, nearly complete.

Brian’s Scott tea tables are well along:

Tea Tables

Detail of the knee. Note the cover fascia assembled over the leg and blended with it.

The Chinese chair, based on the Wentworth original in the CW collections, has its carved frame parts joined now.  The arm pieces go on next.  From a collaboration by Mack and Kaare:

Chinese Chair. Left arm assembly temporarily clamped in place.

Kaare at work on the arm assemblies.

Mack has been working on preliminaries for the coming reproductions of the Mount Vernon candlestands:

The practice work for the candlestand legs.

And despite a relapse of the injury to his left hand, Ed now has the large bentside glued and nailed to the spinet:

Spinet Bentside Assembly

Ed wants to thank the other guys for their help in getting this done the day before Hurricane Irene hit the region!  Whoa!

Oh yes, almost forgot. Brian has gotten good practice in on the treadle lathe we have in the shop, borrowed from the gunsmiths.  This is one of the Osage Orange mallets he made.

Osage Orange Mallet on the Treadle Lathe.

Of course, we know the beauty is in the details.  This post is just to update our projects. It takes a lot of time to write the technical posts and time has not been on our side lately. These pictures will no doubt spur questions.  We will do our best to answer them. Thanks for your patience, everybody.

The Hay Shop

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17 Responses to We’re Not Dead Yet!

  1. mwh says:

    I’d be curious to hear about the turning with Osage Orange. I would have expected it to be gnarly stuff to work with.

    • An Osage-Orange tree came down in Hurricane Irene and you’re right about them being gnarly. The trunk looks like the tree from the movie, Poltergeist. The osage orange pieces we were working with were pretty small. Also, we split the wood out from the log so we picked the straightest pieces. I found it turned like ash, but with a more consistent annual growth ring. However, since I like to use a skew to cut the mallet head, I had to pay careful attention to grain direction or I’d get tear out.

  2. Mark Maleski says:

    Thank you for the update. Contemporary instruction teaches to finish the panels before assembly into the frame, so you don’t have unfinished edges showing when the panel shrinks in low humidity. But it looks like Bill’s panel doors are assembled and pinned without finish. Is that done to be period correct, or do you all feel it’s not necessary to finish the panels before assembly?

    How was the detail on the upper part of the panel done? Carved, I presume…though I’ve always suspected you’re hiding a router table upstairs. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comments/questions. I certainly agree that finishing panels prior to glue-up is a good practice. Unfortunately, I rarely do it! Personally, I often find the timing is off and the project would be delayed by finishing first. More importantly, we typically work with very thin finishes – 11/2 – 2 lb cut of seedlac or boiled linseed oil mixed with turpentine (usually 2/3 oil with 1/3 turps) – that can often be worked or floated into the hidden part of the panel or trusted to bleed into it a bit. Obviously thick paints would be a different story. As for the 18th century, it is very difficult to discern what they did. Years of waxing, oiling, and/or refinishing often mask the evidence on fine furniture. It is possible that makers would have counted on that routine maintenance to remedy any unfinished edges that show up over time. Our general impression is that they probably did not pre-finish panels, but we’re not going to write that in stone. We’ll have more to say on this in the near future and yes, the panel’s upper portion was carved…more on that later as well…

  3. mwh says:

    Thank you!

  4. Jack Ervin says:

    Thanks for the update on all the projects. I was there the weekend before the earthquake and hurricane irene. I spent quite a lot of time talk in with most of you there and the blog was brought up. My being in the shop has given me a better perspective of the layout of the shop in general. Your shop was the main reason for my trip there but other shops draw my interest also. I definitely plan to return but want to spend more than two days and see more of the other trade shops as well as the history enactors. In the mean time I will be coming back here to catch up with updates as you post them.

    Jack Evin from Texas

  5. Kerry Grubb says:

    Would like to thank you guys for taking the time to give reports on what is going on in the shop. Always look forward to it. Keep up the good work. See you in January.

  6. Ken Heiser says:

    With some 30 plus days passing since the last update, I am guessing the Wentworth chair is complete and ready for finish. I am curious how you plan to approach finishing this piece with so many reflective surfaces. Will you use any dyes or stain and will you burnish raised elements of the carvings prior to, or during the finishing process to contrast them against the background? What are you using for finish? Shellac or oil? I am looking forward to seeing the end result, it is a beautiful piece of workmanship.

  7. Tim says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed studying all of the posted images, thank you. The subtleties and beauty of the furniture in their place of creation came through very well. All of the pieces have a quality of proportion and artistry that briefly pause my mind, so as to take in the object as a whole.

    The door panels look really great, as do the legs of the tea table. Are the inside grooves of the bookcase plowed into the side of applied? I look forward to experiencing more!

  8. Bill says:

    Wow, I really miss you guys. Any new updates? My wife and I just had our first child in August (a beautiful baby girl named Emma), so we won’t be able to make our annual Grand Illumination pilgrimage and I need a cabinet shop fix.

    If possible, could someone post some more details on the treadle lathe in the last picture? Maybe even some plans like you posted for your workbenches?

    Thanks, Bill

  9. Tom says:

    Definitely dead now…..

  10. Mike says:

    Time to break out the black arm bands. 10 days till 4 months since the last post!

  11. Dennis Heyza says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at the Hay Shop. See you all on the 26th.

  12. Bill T. says:

    Great to see you all at the annual Pilgrimage to Colonial Williamsburg, a/k/a the 18th Century Woodworking conference. I’m always glad to pay a visit to the Hay Shop, however brief.
    Bill’s desk and bookcase are looking great, with the shellac going on. I hope I don’t wait another year before I visit again, like I did this time. It’s only a one-hour drive from my house, so you’d thinkg I might be able to make it down there more often!

  13. Ian H. says:

    I’m not sure if this is the right way to contact the shop, but I stumbled on this page doing some web searching on Peter Scott. I seem to have found an original Peter Scott desk and bookcase and I am trying to find some information/patterns for feet, since the originals have been replaced. Any help with my quest would be greatly appreciated

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