Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (back frame)

I've been working on the back frame which is probably the easiest part of the project in that there is no tricky joinery until the wing frame is added. Everything is dry fit so that I can work forward to making and attaching the wings(which will be really tricky).

The back frame is attached with a simple scarf joint. ( the clamps are holding the back in place temporarily)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Old woodworking equipment

This is a really old lathe that I got from a friend and a great older woodworker named Don. It is a Goodell Pratt from the 1920-30's. I have it set up to a motor with a flat belt drive. It is relatively small with 18" between centers and runs incredibly smooth. I hope I work as well when I'm as old. I will post more on some of my old equipment later.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (rear leg chamfer)

Here I am working on adding detail to the rear legs. I create reference marks to use as a guide to hand work the chamfer that you see on the right. It would Probably be easier to use a chamfer bit in a router with a stop, but I find it almost as fast and much more fun using a spokeshave.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shoals pale ale review

The first time I tried Shoals pale ale from Smuttynose Brewery was at a Beer festival in the late 90's. I remember enjoying it so I decided to give it another try. The case box was freshness dated which is a complete bonus. As much as I love to support the micro brewing industry, my biggest complaint is buying stale beer.

Deep amber color obviously coarse filtered with yeast and chill haze. Great head retention and foam laces glass top to bottom. Nice malty front with an orange hop presence. Serious hoppiness. More of a kettle hop than a dry hop. Bitterness is part hops part yeasty bite balanced with malty sweetness. Enjoyable.

Wing Chair Documentary (seat frame together)

The seat frame is roughed out and dry fit. The trapezoid seat means that there is some angle joinery(mortise and tenon). The rear legs will be stylized with a lambs tongue into a chamfer before the seat frame is assembled. The secondary wood is soft maple which was cut down in the mid 80's by a local farmer. It actually makes unique primary wood in that it has worm holes and spalting. Ive been watching the Phitin Phills try to drive in runs to no avail. Time for a beer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (rear leg jigs and knee blocks)

I just finished making the jig to cut the top angle of the rear leg. I got the idea of these jigs from a Chippendale sofa article in Fine Woodworking magazine.

As you can see, I glued and shaped the knee blocks that extend the leg letting it flow into what will be the seat area.

I spent a couple hours late last night making this jig. I rough cut the rear mahogany leg and the jig allows both rear legs to match each other. A second jig will have to be made to cut the top part of the rear leg so the angle of the seat back matches near perfectly. The things they don't show on New Yankee Workshop is how long it takes to make all the jigs Norm Abram uses. Once you make the jigs and patterns for chair making you can produce the next one much more rapidly.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (shaping ball and claw)

The cabriole leg is shaped mostly with a Nicholson 49 file. I periodically give the leg shape as I complete the ball and claw to visualise the complete leg.

The ball is shaped almost completely with a 1/2" bench chisel.

My hands really react with mahogany(turning black). If this happens to you, soap and water won't work well; use lemon juice.

The talon is completed.

The ball and claw is complete.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wing Chair Documentary (Beginnings)

I started a new project this week and I thought that I would document my progress over the next month or two. This is an adult size wing chair. As far a the design goes, it is somewhere between a Philadelphia and a Newport style.

It all starts with a good full size plan. Any tricky joinery can be worked out and most of the patterns can be made right from the full size plan.

Above on the right I have a solid billet of Honduras Mahogany(the real stuff) with the leg pattern marked out. I am drilling out the mortise while the leg is still square. My furniture has mortise and tenon joints whenever possible. Dowels are much easier but not as strong.

Here's the leg cut on the band saw. A lot of work still left to do.

Here is the foot marked with a various reference points such as claw width, ball height, etc. I am sawing the claws to make it easy to remove waste. If you are interested in learning how to make a ball and claw foot, I would suggest buying a guide from Olde Mill cabinet shoppe at I have no affiliation with them, but they have a great book on how to make a ball and claw foot.

Starting to shape the ball.

Top and bottom of ball complete.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


As I'm sitting here late on Sunday enjoying a Ommegang Dubbel, I just realized that it is now brewed in Belgium. If you like Belgian dubbels than I would highly recommend Ommegang, and at $5 750ml its a great value. The original Ommegang that I have had in the past which was brewed in Cooperstown was good but not quite as rich and complex as the Belgian brewed. It also makes a great base for cooking mussels.(mix Ommegang, cream, garlic, onions, parsley, butter, sea salt and cook mussels for around 8-10 minutes; awesome)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What is your favorite beer?

I think it is kind of an interesting question; Over time beers from the same brewery change. Or is it your taste and taste bud maturity that causes change? The Sierra Nevada of the late 80's is not the Sierra of today. One of the greatest beers I ever had and certainly a turn on beer for me was champagne bottled Stoudts Gold in the late 80's. My memory of Stoudts Gold was that it had a luscious mouth feel, full malty hop balance, and superb drinkability. I can almost see the tiny bubbles rising in the glass as slowly as an Everest summit. While its still a good beer, its not quite the same experience. One of my favorite beer styles and one that I would like to see craft brewed is a Belgian style Scottish ale. Le Cheval Blanc of Canada used to make a tasty example. Scotch Silly is another fine example.


To my world of furniture making and beer which are two of my three favorite things in life. I often find myself, after a days play in the real world, in my garage wood shop and then finally relaxing with a real beer. I plan to rant about some of the projects that I am working on and hopefully rave about a beer or two(I am getting too old to go to three or four).

As far as woodworking goes, my interests are in eighteenth century furniture forms especially chair making. This is a Philadelphia wing chair frame that I finished today. I always begin with rough lumber. In the case of this chair, the cabriole leg with ball and claw foot and the rear legs are mahogany. The secondary wood which will be upholstered is soft maple and poplar. I will post some more pics on how I made this at a later time. I will also be talking about some of the cool tools that I have accumulated, many of them very old.

As far as beer goes, as long as it reaches me in good condition, I can appreciate all styles from light session beers to sour Belgians. Last night my wife and I shared a Maredsous 10 (triple) which is definitely on the list of best buys at less than $7 bottle in NJ. I was in the OBX for my vacation at the end of the summer and had a really good British style IPA that was reminiscent of a fullers esb and an excellent porter. They were made by St Georges brewing company of Virginia. St. Georges also had two Lagers, but lets just say they are a great ale brewery. The porter reminded me of some of the old Entire porter batches from Yards brewing(more on that later).