Someone screwed up- they cut the ends off of a valuable collector’s piece of furniture because…..? Some of his pieces were originally painted black, so that’s how this one will end up. The most interesting of 3 repairs, I’ll post details from the others shortly.
On the cusp of teaching a class about what I do for the first time has made me reflect on what it is that I know and why I could possibly be qualified to teach it to anybody. I have often said to myself when I am reading a good writer (currently Ta-Nehisi Coates) - “man, I wish I could write like that”, but realizing , on some level, that this writer has been writing non stop for years, probably decades and through this unending practice has honed his (her) skill set.
Well, thinking about it, that’s why I am qualified. I have been working in wood professionally for fifty years. I’ve made a lot of the mistakes and learned the hard way. The first 15 yrs., outdoors, I was working to 1/16” tolerances and that was beyond what was expected for most of the work that I was doing. Then I came ‘inside’ and work was pushed to 1/32”+/- installing doors and hardware and millwork.
That’s 35 years looking at the tiny lines on a tape or rule. Now, I can tell you if something is plumb or square by looking at it. It’s just a lot of practice that makes that possible.
I’ve been making furniture for 7 years full time. I’ve found some things that work, some that don’t. I can show you how I do things…. but the actual skill set to make furniture has to be honed through practice individually. Someone in a woodworking class that was visiting Wharton Esherick in his studio asked what single thing he could recommend to improve their woodworking skill. He looked around the room, pointed at the teacher, and said “get rid of him”.
I’m a little ambivalent about what I can teach.
This was made over the last winter/spring by 6 of us in the woodworker’s guild as a lectern for the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington. The panels are cherry, and the rest, including the top, is of soft maple.
I designed the stairs so that the new stringers fit over the concrete (11” treads, 7.25” rise). The new railing matches other existing railings on the house and the bottom of the rail is carved so that you can swing around the corner. The new deck will be built on the next trip (to Atlanta) and will be 7.25” higher, just a little below door level.
The only post I hadn’t replaced on my back deck was rotten and full of carpenter ants. I had to replace a couple of deck boards and put in a set of stairs down to the back yard. Mostly I used red meranti which is a very hard, heavy mahogany replacement carried by my local lumberyard. There is a lot of layout required in this stair design, but once the stairs are established, the railings are layed out from the nosing of the top step to the nosing of the bottom step. The flats at the top and bottom follow those steps, and give a nice, inviting look to the stairs. The flat rail at the bottom keeps water away from the newel post. I think that it is a mistake to space balusters too far apart, it looks like you’re cheaping out and with a few more, it looks right. These are 1 1/2” balusters spaced 1 1/2” apart. A subrail top and bottom makes assembly much easier and adds nice detail to the railing.Read More