More Fine Furniture from Fremont Occasional Woodworks

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Okay, maybe not.

In anticipation of our biennial Pig Out, I’ve constructed a picnic table from a free online plan.  Of course, I made a few modifications and added my own touches to it, but by and large, it’s the classic design that most of us grew up with.

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Things become ‘classic’ for good reasons, they endure because they work and have broad popularity.  In this case, we have a strong, sturdy piece that can be made from readily available construction lumber with minimal skill and tools.  It is also accommodates everyone, from tall people to small dogs.

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As is usual, the simpler the better.  But the best thing about this project is…

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It’s finished.

Cheers
Tom

 

Deja Vu all over again*

Hey Folks,

*With apologies to Yogi Berra

Well, here we go again with a pair of Roorkhee Chairs, again modeled by the inimitable Peggy Tzu.

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Significant differences in these chairs include Wickett & Craig English Bridle Leather, and doubled & hand stitched arm rests.  As before, the wood is African Sapele, and the finish is garnet shellac with dark wax.

Wicket & Craig produce what I think are the finest leathers in North America; they have been tanning hides since shortly after the Civil War.  The investment in this leather for these chairs is nearly double what I’ve paid in the past.  Additional labor is also required as these vegetable tanned leathers are not “shot through” with color, so every freshly cut edge needs dying and burnishing.  Finally, I’ve upped the game yet again by doubling and hand stitching the armrests.  All this means that the chairs are more expensive, but I think that it’s worth it; I hope you think so too.

Cheers,
Tom

BTW- The modern renaissance of the Roorkhee chair is entirely due to the efforts of Chris Shwarz who has taught hundreds to make them (including myself), and has freely shared his design and expertise.

Tree-less in Seattle

Hey Folks,

One of the advantages of living/working in an older, established neighborhood, is the mature street trees that provide shade and comfort in an otherwise harsh urban environment.  Unfortunately, these same trees can disrupt sidewalks and cause problems with sewers and storm drains as they get older.  Such was the determination of the City of Seattle when they decided to remove the two trees from the front of my shop (they did repair the sidewalk).  So now instead of the dappled shade of a tree lined lane, my little building stands alone and exposed on the busy street.

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Fortunately, the City’s Urban Forestry Division is sympathetic to the problem.  So after a valiant but failed attempt to save our trees, they have selected replacement trees that hopefully will be planted at the end of this week.  Our new trees will be Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica vanessa).  Although they won’t grow as tall, or as broad as the Red Maples that we once had, we’re looking forward to watching them grow.

Cheers,
Tom

Green Wood?

IMG_2410Yeah, I’d say it’s green alright.

Hey Folks,

I was given a few freshly cut willow logs last Autumn and I had planned to make some hand carved spoons from them.  It turned out that willow is too soft to carve easily, so I just left them in the yard.

After a very wet Winter, and a few sunny days while I was away, something happened.  The willow decided that it wasn’t done yet and sprouted.  I’ve decided to bury these in the garden and watch what happens.  Maybe I’ll have a willow coppice someday.

Cheers,
Tom

A Pair of Roorkhees

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Hey Folks,

Peggy Tzu and Uli are modeling my two latest creations, a pair of Roorkhee chairs.  If you’ve followed my blog, you know that the Roorkhee chair was a staple of the British military forces in India during the 19th century and into the 20th.  They are campaign furniture, and can be disassembled and packed away until needed (essentially an elegant camp chair).

Because of the sling seat, the thigh strap and the articulating back, these chairs are extremely comfortable to sit in for long periods of time.  Uli is also demonstrating another remarkable feature of this design.  Notice the small book under the front leg of the right chair.  Because the joinery is all conical mortise and tenon, and not glued, but held with straps and buckles, all the joints of the chair can rotate to accommodate any uneven surface; making them perfect for outdoor venues like concerts, picnics, and British officers’ quarters in the field.

The russet (orange) chair is sold, and headed for Virginia this weekend, but the black one is for sale at the shop.

Cheers,
Tom

BTW- The modern renaissance of the Roorkhee chair is entirely due to the efforts of Chris Shwarz who has taught hundreds to make them (including myself), and has freely shared his design and expertise.

Woodworking as performance art

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Hey folks,

Years ago, I happened to walk past a butcher shop in a village, in England.  The butcher was in the  windowed front corner of his shop, butchering a half hog for all the world to see.  As I stopped to watch, I thought, “There stands an honest man, who not only shows his product, but also his craft.”

When I put the Nicholson bench in the front window of my shop, I had that butcher, and his shop, in mind. So this week I’ve been putting the finished surface on a run of Roorkhee chair legs, while working in my storefront window. I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed that so many folks just walk by without even looking up from their cell phones. Oh well, I guess as they say, “Don’t quit your day job.”

Hey wait a minute… 🙄

Cheers,

Tom

 

 

Pig Out!

Hey Folks,

The date has been set for our biennial pig roast (our sixth),
Sunday, July 16th.  We decided to try a later date than previously, in hopes that we’ll have better weather.  Although, we now have a new picnic shelter, so weather should be less of a problem in any case.

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The pig goes in the box at 11:00AM, we start eating around 3:00PM.  Stop by anytime after 10:00AM.  If you don’t want to miss the pig emerging from the box, it’s best to show up before 2:30PM.

We have lots of pig, if you have a side dish, dessert, or a favorite beverage, bring it along (pig roasting is thirsty work).

As in previous Pig Out!s, we look forward to sharing with all our customers and friends.  If you’re not yet a customer or friend, but would like to become one, …welcome!

Cheers
Tom