Monday, February 02, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fun Bunk Bed!

There's seems to be a run on beds these days. In addition to the contemporary headboard I posted about recently, I'm working on the bunk bed pictured below and another bed with an upholstered headboard. More on that one at a later date.

This bunk bed has a built-in bookcase on one side, drawers in the staircase leading to the upper bed, a few secret compartments, and all kinds of other neat features. It's a huge amount of fun to try to put myself in the mindset of a nine-year-old as I imagine what I can do to make this piece really special.

Since most folks eventually grow out of bunk beds, the lower bed and its nightstand (not pictured) will be nice enough for the young lady for whom I'm making this piece to take with her when she leaves the nest.

Is Lie-Nielsen Worth the Price?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes if it's a tool one uses constantly.

I recently purchased this Lie-Nielsen #4 smoothing plane, and it is a pure pleasure to use.  I chose the bronze version because it's a good bit heavier than the ductile iron version they offer.  I like to think that a heavier plane contributes to smoother performance.  Hopefully it will at least contribute to leaner biceps!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Contemporary Headboard In Progress

I'm presently working on a very contemporary headboard for a distinguished gentleman in New York.  For all of its elegant simplicity, it poses many interesting challenges, mostly those concerning the piece's weight and the correct veneering of its larger surfaces.  Below is a drawing of the piece.

Here's the piece where it stands tonight.  The large ends are veneered, and I'm in the midst of making a larger vinyl vacuum bag to accommodate the headboard's face.  That's the large sheet of plastic you see in front of the piece.

I love the veneer we're using on this bed.  It's rift-sawn, smoked white oak from Austria.  "Smoking" is similar to the "fuming" popularized during the Arts & Crafts period, but is essentially a longer, more extreme version.  Once oiled, this wood goes a very, very deep and rich dark brown.

I'll write more about this one as it progresses.


If Lucia isn't the cutest baby on the planet, then she's definitely the cutest baby who knows how to handle a back saw!  I hope this photo doesn't get Jamie in hot water with the Mrs.

Sorry I've been away so long, folks.  I've been super-busy in the shop, which is my favorite problem to have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oak Library Table

I'm sorry I've been away from the blog for so long, kind readers.  It's been a very busy time at the shop.  I've recently completed a suite of museum cases for our state capitol (more about that in another post soon), several stain-grade architectural projects, and a variety of smaller odds-and-ends.

Presently I'm working on the library table below.  It's in red oak which will be bleached and limed.  The photo shows the piece where I left it tonight.  Tomorrow I'll be refining some of the shapes a bit more and adding feet--almost more like big toes--to the ends of the bases.

For those of you who follow theses posts and wonder if I actually turned the big columns on my grandfather's old lathe, the answer is yes.

Here's a series of shots detailing the construction of the breadboard ends.  This first photo gives you a sense of the overall design.  A 3/8" stub tenon fits into a groove running the length of the breadboard.  Longer tenons are spaced along the tabletop's width.

During the penultimate dry fit I bore 17/64" holes through the breadboards and the tenons on the end of the top.  You'll see below how the outermost holes in the tenons are elongated to allow for the top's expansion and shrinkage.  In fact, only the two center tenons are glued for this same reason.  

Below you'll see the final joint with its pegs sheared flush with the top's surface.

Lastly, here's a shot of finish samples I'll FedEx to my client tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Amazing Shop Improvement!

Anyone who has worked through a Virginia summer without air conditioning will appreciate the photo below. I was reluctant to leave the doors open last summer as I'm constantly moving between shop and office. With steel gates like these, I can open the doors in the morning and leave them open until I leave at night!

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Gargantuan Jointer Next Door

I thought I'd seen some large jointers in my time, but the one pictured below, which is sitting in a field next door to my shop, is simply gargantuan. It's an American Woodworking with a 20" cutterhead, but the the tables are a full 27" wide. It has a huge oil cup, presumably because it's still got its original babbitt bearings. My 12" jointer is the same brand and of a similar vintage (ca. 1910), but was retrofitted with ball bearings at some point in its past.

This monster has a 7.5 hp motor. I've heard that enormous jointers like this one were frequently used in the casket making industry, but I've never found any more detail about how, exactly, they were used. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable shoving a 19" wide piece of maple across this thing's tables--would you?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Check Out Our New Web Site!

Bankston & Bailey LLC has a brand new web site!

Check it out HERE!

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