Saturday, October 21, 2023

Round Pedestal Dining Table

This is a very hefty table designed with a concert of subtle curves that lighten the look. The very solid foot structure lifts the column two inches above the floor to further lighten the look. The round apron has a strong bead detail that sits proud of the surface allowing it to catch the light and eye. The larger bead details on the post echo this detail. The subtle curve of the post blends gracefully to the top to the feet. The top is varnished hard maple with a hand planed soft edge detail.  The base pedestal column is turned by hand from a cylinder of cherry and the feet and apron are made of cherry. Don't hesitate to ask if you have ideas based on this look or other ideas that you may have.

The table is 5' across. The base is cherry with milk paint sealed with Osmo hard wax oil. The top is maple with a varnished top to resist water marks etc.
The semi circle edge detail is inviting to the touch. The strong bead details catch the light nicely.

The customer for the piece had a large roll in the design. We went back and forth with ideas until we found something that we both felt was a strong design.  Below is the final 3D drawing of the table before I began making it. I drew this is a cad program so it it very accurate. During the building process, I can go back into the drawing and find measurements that are critical to the creation of the piece.

Enjoy the Fall weather!


Friday, March 4, 2022

Each Bed: Custom Made for You

 When you buy a bed from me, it is made to fit your particular mattress so that it will finish off at the height that you prefer.  Mattress lengths and widths are standardized and are available in sizes such as king, queen, full, twin.  The thicknesses, on the other hand, vary greatly.  

When I take an order, I get the mattress size, King or Queen usually. If it is King Size, I always confirm if it is a regular King or a California King and there are also a bunch of other King sizes. The standard King is 76" by 80".

Once I have that, I need the thickness of the mattress and I need to know if there will be a box spring. Some mattresses are designed to be used with a special box spring, so I would add that to the mattress thickness.  Most mattresses today are substantial enough to work alone and only use a "box Spring" to raise the mattress up from a very low metal bed frame. These "box springs" are actually just boxes and do not have any spring function.   In general, on my beds, the mattress sits directly on wooden slats that are closely spaced to give the mattress plenty of support.

Now that I have the mattress  thickness, I then figure on a finished height for the mattress.  The customer can suggest a height that they's like, or I can put their mattress size into my drawing and then give them a range of height to decide from.  We always have a short discussion by email about this, with drawings being sent by email to confirm what they will be getting.

Mattress placement drawing. Mattress in green.

Below is a short video showing how I move things around in the drawing to figure out the mattress height. I cannot make the bed without knowing where the mattress will sit because I make the bottom headboard sit at the top of the mattress. Thus every bed is a bit different.

changing the mattress height from 27" to 30"

Besides, making the bed fit to your mattress, I also offer some options for my pencil post beds. They can have hand turned finials at the top of the posts or cross pieces that connect the tops of the posts. These both come at an additional cost.
Hand turned finials are an option.

Enjoy the rest of winter.
Sleep well


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Hybrid Windsor Bench

My goal for the Hybrid Windsor Bench was to create a bench that ventures beyond Windsor traditions.   Made of sculpted parts of warm wood combined with cool clean steel, it would be inviting to the touch and keep the sitter interested in where they are sitting. 

Windsor chairs and benches are defined by a solid seat that has legs and back mortised into it.  In this piece, I have exchanged the wedged tenon wooden joinery with stainless steel bolts and fittings while the back and leg support structure is swapped for CAD designed parts.

Every new design remains a mystery until it is completed and I am very happy with how this came out. The back has a nice give to it as do the backs of my usual Windsor chairs that have my trademark "Floating Back". This steel supported back is quite flexible in contrast to what may be expected. The wood is warm and inviting to touch. I think that this is the beginning of many new related pieces. 


Over the last few years I have taught myself Computer Aided Design or CAD.  For this project, I worked up the design for the piece using the CAD software, but more importantly, I was able to create the files that ran the machine which cut out the stainless steel components.  I emailed the files to a machine shop in the next town over and the files were used to drive a waterjet  cutter to make my parts. Each part is exactly like the next and exactly what I had designed.

The wooden part of the design centers around a seat that is cut from the same pattern as my more traditional Windsor benches and has turned legs that also come from my 
previous work.  The sculpted crest rail is new but is actually bent over the same jig as my other Windsor benches. See my other benches here.

While the steel is cut out by a computer guided machine, the wooden parts are shaped and sculpted by hand and the steel parts are all ground and polished to create touchable edges.  All of the stainless steel bolt fastenings are chosen to create a finished looking surface top and bottom.  The hex heads that are visible on the top of the bench are set flush to the surface. In my mind, these are similar to the look of a traditional,  wooden, through wedged tenon joint.  As in Shaker tradition, joints are not hidden but are celebrated whether they be metal or wood.

I am sure that there will be some opinions on the use of 'Windsor' in the name of this design and I welcome the discussion.

Below is the sketch that led to this design.

Enjoy the fall weather!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Rocking Chairs are Back!!

 It seemed like maybe rocking chairs were becoming a thing of the past, but maybe, with everyone at home during Covid, things have changed for the rocker.  I have finished 3 rockers over the past few months and have another 3 or 4 on my schedule.    

Here are two rockers that I recently finished for one customer. One is in a custom dark brown that I call Delagi Brown and the other is black. One is headed for New York City and the other is headed out to California. 

These rockers have a long comfortable rocking motion and are a great addition to many different decors. The milk paint finish highlights the facets from the shaping of the hand shaped parts of the chairs.

windsor rocking chairs, hand made, vermont,
Black on left, Delagi brown on right

windsor rocking chairs, hand made, vermont,

windsor rocking chairs, hand made, vermont,

Lucy and I, discussing the finer points of rocking chairs.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

6' Waltham Bench with Arms delivered during Covid19

This bench was just delivered last week, during the Covid19 shutdown.  I am luckily still able to work and my usual shippers are also hard at work during this time. Myself and the shippers are sensitive to your concerns about social distancing etc and are open to your thoughts on following protocols that will help you to feel safe about accepting a delivery. 

This is my latest Waltham Bench with arms.  The first benches of this design had my thin crest rail. This one has my traditional rail design that I used on my first Waltham chairs and benches.  I think this one looks very nice and the curves of the rail accentuate the shape of the seat and the curves of the arm rail.  The look is more formal than the thin rail.

This bench has legs added to support the center as do all of my benches over 5' long. 

 Also, the arm rail which floats behind the spindles has a 'knee' brace to support the center of the rail. I add this to all of my arm rails on benches over 4' long.

Try to get out to enjoy Spring a bit. It has been a bit chilly here in Vermont lately but hopefully it will be warming up a bit.

Take care of yourselves and your family.


Lucy, contemplating the patio that my wife and I built last fall. We are eager to use it this Spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hand Cut Dovetail Class at the HatchSpace

Just before all of the social distancing that we are now experiencing, I was lucky to be able to teach my Shaker Bench- Making Hand-cut Dovetails.  I am not sure when I will be able to offer this class again but it was great fun to be teaching again especially with this very nice group of people.

This class took place at the HatchSpace in Brattleboro, Vermont.  They have a very professional setup staffed by quality people. See more about the HatchSpace.

In this two day class, students each make a "Shaker Bench" while learning how to cut dovetail joints by hand.

I do hope to also teach out of my shop but will definitely teach again at the HatchSpace when opportunity allows.  Take a look at my Classes page on my website to see information about this class  and also about my Build Your Own Cod Rib 12 Double Paddle Canoe.

Here are some shots from this last class.

photo by Peter Smichenko

photo by Peter Smichenko

Stay well!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Woodworking Classes Offered This Spring at the HatchSpace in Brattleboro, Vermont

This Spring I am offering two of my most popular woodworking classes at the HatchSpace in Brattleboro, Vermont.    The Shaker Bench class already has enough students to run so sign up soon if you are interested.  We just listed the Cod Rib 12 class but I expect it to sell there as well.
To sign up, go to the HatchSpace website.

Make Your Own Shaker Bench:
Cutting Dovetails by Hand
March 14, 15, 2020, Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm

We will focus on making hand-cut dovetails while making this very useful bench/table.

Build Your Own Cod Rib 12 Canoe
June 14-19, 2020,  Sunday - Friday9am-5pm


In the past, I ran my own program of woodworking classes and these two classes were favorites of students.  I have decided to mix things up a little this year and offer these two classes again.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. Space is limited to 4 per class so you will get a lot of individual attention.