Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Eagle has Landed

According to Chris at Lost Art Press, the final print edition of Chairmaker's Notebook is now shipping to those who pre ordered as well as anyone ordering a copy now. I'm obviously thrilled and some of you who know me closely will be pleased to see that I actually took a vacation in celebration!

Here I am in La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica with the lovely Stephanie Hubbard. The Park is in both Panama and Costa Rica and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. This shot is near a waterfall in the primary rainforest that we hiked 3 hours in a riverbed to get to. Wet feet, a deadly bushmaster snake, bullet ants and poisonous spiders the size of your face made it a day that I'll never forget.
We stayed at an eco lodge (no non solar power and gravity fed water) called Selva Bananito which was way off the beaten path in the rain forest. The owner is obsessed with preserving the lands and habitat for the jaguars, pumas, ocelots and other large cats. His dedication and efforts were inspiring and it was a pleasure knowing that our vacation dollars were keeping his land from becoming another Chiquita style plantation.
But beyond all that, it was the much needed rest and recharge. Now with the book done and a decent rest, I'm ready for my next project...whatever that may be!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jo got Schwarzed

I have a whole post written to announce the availability of the hand bound editions of "Chairmaker's Notebook" the Johanna Smick is producing. But I'm away from the office and Chris already posted on it, reducing the number of available copies from 45 to 15, so I figured I should post quick to give Chairnotes readers the chance that I promised them! Visit www.monkfishbindery.com to order yours and check back in for a proper post about the book (although Johanna has great posts on her site all about it)

Friday, February 27, 2015

I will not be intimidated...much

My toolbox build is progressing in tiny bits between other work and chipping ice off my roof. I've decided to focus on putting the chairmaking essentials in this box and then to make another for jigs and common tools. I want to be so comfortable working out of these boxes that I can stop the tedious packing and unpacking cycle that constantly invades my world.

 I'm following much of Jim Tolpin's advice and creating organization of the tools first and then designing to fit them. I mocked up a few boards and loaded it with weight and found that at 25" tall X 26" wide and 12" deep that it was just a bit unwieldy. I plan on moving this thing around a lot, so while cramming in 80lbs of tools sounds great, I know that one wrong move will be enough to ruin my day (week).

Now the box is 9-3/4" deep X 22-3/4" tall and 24-3/4" wide. It's a similar dimension to a box that I used for years, just a bit taller.
The hardest part so far is not actually cutting dovetails for the first time in 15 years. It's the two North Bennet Street toolboxes in the shop mocking me while I cut my joints.
This is Charlie Ryland's box. So you can imagine that when I reached for my trusty dovetail saw, I felt a pang of self consciousness.
Yes, this is my weapon, Stanley's finest $7 saw. I filed the teeth off and cut new teeth with zero set. The handle is no joy, but it tracks beautifully and cuts a laser thin kerf, which is helpful when you are as rusty as I am at this. Of course, unlike Charlie and his white oak, I am cutting my joints in pine... lovely forgiving pine.

My mock up box gave me some practice, and after making some rookie mistakes, I got back in the groove. No, I will not be showing the mistakes, those toolboxes are still staring at me.