Figure Can’t Trump Form

Note: The content of this post has been moved to my new blog.  You can find the new post here:


A Little 17th Century Carving

Earlier this year, the museum I volunteer at took down a red oak tree on site. So throughout the volunteer season, we’ve been working on several projects from the wood that we split out of that tree. I’ve been working on a carved box (you can call it a bible box, or document box or whatever, but it’s just a box). I worked on carving the front panel over the weekend. The design was inspired by the work frequently done by Peter Follansbee. I’m not a big fan of working with oak in general, at least when it is sawn and dried. But working with green, riven stock is fun. It’s a different skill set from fine cabinetmaking really. And while I don’t like the look of flat sawn, kiln dried oak at all, I love the look of the riven stuff. So different.

Molding Planes & Mahogany: Chocolate Soufflé

Molding planes.


Over my years of acquiring and tuning old molding planes, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re very similar to our children. Sometimes when tuning up an old molding plane, they’re very well behaved, doing exactly what you ask them to without a single struggle. Other times, they’re defiant, ornery, and make you want to pull out what’s left of your hair. So it was with these three. One was the good little child while the other two were the devil twins. Still, when they’re finally all cleaned up and on their best behavior, there’s nothing in life (or in woodworking) that can bring a parent more pleasure than their children (or their molding planes).


Mahogany: Hand Tool Chocolate

A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the hand tool devil woods, hard maple. Well, if hard maple is the over cooked steak of hand tool woods, mahogany is the chocolate. It’s rich, smooth, and sweet to work. If I had to choose only a single species of wood that I could work with for the rest of my days, it would be mahogany.

If you’ve never worked with it before, the genuine South American stuff I mean, not the African species that sometimes gets passed off for the good stuff, you really owe it to yourself to do so. Is it pricey? Maybe a little. But good mahogany is worth every penny, and then some. Try it for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree. But prepare yourself. Once you’ve used a bit of the good stuff, it’s tough to settle for anything less. Don’t say I didn’t warn you :-).


More in a few days.