Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas from Vermont

Snow is finally here and it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas...  We have a great place down the road where we have been going to cut our Christmas tree each year.  The spot is beautiful with horses, hot chocolate, and very nice people.  We always seem to run into friends there which adds to the fun. Melinda, the owner of the place, was nice enough to let our son Ben take a ride on the old black horse and Claire enjoyed being close to but not too close to Ted, the huge draft horse.

I did manage to get some work done also. I am finishing up a 5' Waltham Bench for the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C..  It will be placed at the entrance to their spa area.   I am buffing out the milk paint before it gets a coat of danish oil.  There is a lot of buffing involved in the milk paint finish.

Happy Holidays,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Swivel/Tilt Windsor Desk Chair

I recently finished up another desk chair using my Waltham Arm Chair. These are really great desk chairs. I have always liked using a Windsor chair as a desk chair because I have never liked the institutional look of most swivel desk chairs. I do like their functionality though. This really is a great solution. They are very comfortable and they do look great. The Waltham chair has just a bit more back support as it has one more spindle and they are spaced just a bit closer together. The second photo is a retake of the Cod Rib Arm desk chair that I made a short while ago. Find both of these chairs here on my website.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finished Kitchen/Work Stool

Here are a couple images of the finished high work stool. The extra round off of the top sides makes this a comfortable stool to straddle with a foot on the floor. You can also sit right up on top of it with your feet on the longer stretcher. The through tenons of the stretcher-to-leg joint makes for a very strong joint and is an interesting detail. Let me know if you like these legs or if you'd like to see something different. This stool will cost $450. Click to see it on my website.
That's all for now.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Work Stool

This is a new stool design that I am just completing. The seat shape is based on my previous work stool that I designed around 20 years ago. I was looking for something different and contemplated a round seat for a while but a round seat is much more limited in seating possibilities. This shape allows the sitter to straddle it in one direction and to turn it and sit right up on it when it is turned sideways. The new seat has a fuller relief of the sides and an undercutting of the ends that adds a visual benefit and is nice to feel when picking the stool up by its ends.
The through wedged tenon joinery throughout is new also for this design. The last design was very solid but this one is even more so.
I apologize for the terrible photo but I wanted to show the joinery before I trimmed the tenons and I did not check this image until after I had trimmed them. I will add a photo of the finished stool when I get there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finishing a Windsor Bench

These shots show a few of the final steps of building a piece such as this 6' Windsor bench. Japanese saws are used for trimming off rails and also for cleaning up wedged tenon joints. The grouping of tools are some that are used for mounting rails and for cleaning up before final sanding and finishing. These really are the most important tools in the shop. I can pretty much go into any shop and make do with their power tools but if I do not have a razor sharp chisel, cabinet scraper and proper measuring tools then I feel quite handicapped. One develops a feel for any tool but feel of a chisel of the weight of a mallet are very special. I feel very clumsy if I do not have the tools that I am used to using. I made the mallets in the image and have used them for years. One is for delicate strikes and the other is for a more powerful blow. The blue chisel is more than 20 years old and the metal is polished to a silky smoothness from years of handling. A new chisel has rough edges and milling lines that feel awkward in the hand.
Below is a movie clip of trimming the wedged tenon joints at the underside of the seat. These are the ends of the back spindles coming through the seat.

To see the finished bench go to
Have a good one,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cherry Windsor Bench and Fall in the North East

I am finally ready to assemble a 6' Settee that I have needed to finish up for a while now. Here it sits with a finish sanded seat and back rail. The next image is of the back spindle ends being super-dried to shrink them down before assembly. This is the key to a long lasting Windsor piece that will withstand years of changing seasons. Click here to see photos of the finished 6' Settee.

Fall is always a busy time in the North East as we get ready for the snow to come. I finally cleaned the chimney and stacked the rest of our firewood for the season. Our straw bale house stays pretty warm so we do not need a whole lot of wood. It still seems to take me forever to get it stacked. The rear blade is on the tractor and garden is put away for the winter. Winter is my most productive time of the year as the evening darkness makes it easy to stay in the shop and work longer hours.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

President and Michelle Obama's Wedding Anniversary

The Obama's celebrated their wedding anniversary at the Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. a week or so ago.

They were among my furniture that I made for the Hyatt a couple of years ago. Here, you can see my Waltham Rocker- , and here you can see the 29' Windsor bench that I made for the the hotel .

There are eight of my rockers at the Hyatt and six of them are spread around the common areas on the first floor. The long bench is in the Blue Duck Tavern and there are also eight 4 1/2' benches in glass walled booths in the Tea area. For info on these pieces, take a look at my website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Windsor Office Chair

Here is a better photo of my new office chair. I have been wanting to put one of my chairs on an office base for some time now. I chose my Cod Rib Arm Chair as it is the most modern of my designs. I am very happy with how it looks and feels. The chair has height adjustment, variable tension to the tilt and the tilt can be locked in the up right position. Other bases are available. Go to my website or contact me for more details.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival

I returned home from the show last night and now it is time to unload the van. The show went well and I was very happy with my booth. Last year I used a friends booth but she moved away so I had to figure it out for myself this year. I think the end result was better than a commercial booth. Anyway, I had a two brand new pieces. The Waltham Bench and the Cod Rib Office Chair (that my son, Ben, is sitting in). Any of my chairs can be made with this type of base if desired. I sold one over the weekend with a cherry and ash Waltham Arm chair as the chair portion. This week, I will photograph the bench and office chair and get them up on my website. Now it is back to work to finish up some overdue projects.
Happy Fall,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

At the Show

It's about 1/2 hour until show time on Sunday for the second day of the Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival in Woodstock, Vermont. Here I am in my booth. I took this with my computer which is facing out of my booth. I know, goofy picture, but technology sometimes gets the better of me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Windsor Office Chair and Windsor Bench

I could not wait to mention these two new pieces that I am finishing up. I have not properly photographed them yet so here is a shot from my finishing room. I finally found some office chair hardware that I like and mounted my Cod Rib Arm Chair on it. It is a great feel and an interesting look. I picked the Cod Rib chair for this first experiment because of its modern airy lines. It seems to just float above the minimal black hardware.
The bench is my first one in my Waltham style. Later pics will show the how nice the traditional stretcher looks on this design as well as the stretched out crest rail.
Both of these designs were a bit of a mystery as to how they would look, so I am very happy that they look great, if I do say so myself. I will be taking these to Woodstock, Vermont next weekend to the Fine Furnishings Show. September 26,27.
Now I just have to build my booth for the show...

More pics to follow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cherry Windsor Bench

I recently made 4 New Waltham side chairs for a customer who
then asked if I could build a 5' bench to match the chairs. Here it is. The New Waltham Bench. I have wanted to build a bench like this for quite a while so I was very happy to have a customer commission one. Sometimes I have the time to build new designs without it being a commission, but most times my new designs are the product of a customer asking for something new. Often these new designs are based on my previous work.
Please feel free to contact me about this new piece or any other work that you may have been thinking about.

Happy summer,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherry Pencil Post Bed

Here are a few images and videos showing some steps to making the posts for a pencil post bed. I have already cut the post to a four sided taper on the table saw. the next step is the tricky part. Turning this into an eight sided tapering post with a square base. First, I am using a spar makers scribe to mark the last four sides to the post. Next, I need to chisel out the lamb's tongue that is the beginning of the second four facets of the post. The rest is power planed and finished with a hand plane. The last images show a completed post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pencil Post Bed with Milk Paint

This is my latest pencil post bed. My design has not really changed in years but this is first one that I have painted. This was suggested by the interior designer, Cindy Neal of Texas, who chose the dark brown color of milk paint. It is an original color as it had to mixed from black and chocolate brown. She specified a different mixture of the same colors for a set of Waltham chairs that went to the same house in Cape Cod.
I have to say that I really like the way that the paint shows off the shape of the bed and especially the facets of the eight sided posts. As I buff out the paint, I allow a bit of paint to be taken off of the edges which helps more to highlight the lines of the bed.
The wood is cherry so the highlights are a nice red/brown. This bed is king size and the top of the mattress will go up to the bottom edge of the headboard. All of my beds are custom in that I fit them to your mattress thickness and can place it to your desired height off of the ground.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Windsor Chairs on the Cape

I just delivered these 8 Waltham arm chairs and 2 Tall Waltham arms to a beautiful house on Cape Cod. They seem to work very well with the table and I am sure that they will enjoy the view. Sorry for the bad photos but at least you can get the basic idea.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A fair curve

A fair curve is something that even the untrained eye can appreciate. It may be taken for granted when it is fair and true but it is easy to see when it is not fair and true. It will stick out like a sore thumb.
A fair curve does not need to be constant like a section of a perfect circle. It can have a changing radius along its length. I love this curve of my Waltham arm chair rail where it transitions from the side to the back of the chair. Complex , yet simple. Or simple but complex.
See all of my chairs here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Boats of Bangkok

Some of you may know that I have a strong interest in boats and boatbuilding. About 10 years ago, I was building small boats as well as building furniture. On this trip to Thailand, I discovered some very beautiful boats on the Chao Praya river in Bangkok. All, wooden. These that I have pictured just touches the surface. The two on top are tourist/commuter boats. Both are very fast and smooth riding. The river can get rough with all of the traffic. These are definitely more comfortable than a subway or street taxi. The commuter boats come into the dock very quickly and passengers get off and on in stop about as long as a subway stop. The crew used a bosuns whistle to signal passengers loading and unloading. This seems to serve as a signal to passengers but also to the captain who is way out of sight of the dock. These designs all seem to come from the fishing boats that are still used today. These are fast efficient boats that also in my experience seem quite safe. I would love to have the time to do some real research on these designs. Maybe that will be the next reason for a trip to Thailand. Most of these images are of the Longtail taxis that are the fastest. The large automobile engine is mounted on a pivot that allows it to be swiveled for steering as well as the long prop shaft can be lifted clear of the water. You may remember James Bond using one of these to fend off a would be assassin in Live and Let Die.
Ok, time to get back to furniture.

The orange boat (below) that has a very low stern section is a tug that is pulling 5 very large barges. We once saw tow of these pulling a load and they were both healed over to one side so that the lower rail was actually under water. These fatter boats seem to be mostly water taxis or tour boats. They all would make nice house boats.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am off in Thailand with my son, wife and new daughter, who we are in the process of adopting. It is an interesting country. Very tropical and friendly. It would be nice to speak the language as that is the main barrier to getting a better sense of the place. We are almost through the adoption process. We visited a furniture factory one day. The pictured logs are teak and rosewood from right to left. The woman in the purple shirt is cutting mother of pearl inlay with a small bow-saw. The man carving is working a project of deep relief carving that will take him 6 months or so. the rosewood table and chairs feature the inlayed mother of pearl. The boat is one of many very interesting craft to be seen on the Chao Praya river in Bangkok. Most are wooden and they all see to go very fast.