I guess this is what happens when our Englishman chops dovetails and sips scotch late into the night..
Ok.. anyway, nice week, didn’t feel too productive,but that’s just how some weeks are. I spent most of my time mocking up my stand for the display cabinet, figuring out height, shape of legs, apron and all that. I mocked it up in poplar, which for those of you who might not know, is cheap, abundant, and not the prettiest wood. So, it’s perfect for roughing out shapes and getting a template to go on. I’m sure as we spend more years doing this a complete mock-up might not be necessary, maybe just one leg to get the shape. But, for here in school and for the learning process, seeing full-scale really helps to visualize the final outcome. Yup, being that poplar is a light color wood when I came to a dimension that I thought looked good Robert told me to spray paint it the color of the wood I wanted to use. See, a darker wood on a leg for instance will look thinner than the same dimension on a lighter wood…Don’t believe me…then go try it! So I painted it and it then looked too skinny, back to the beginning. I finally decided on the stand and got the wood roughed out to a bit larger than the final D and let it set over the weekend to settle. I’m going with the afrimosia for the stand, kinda almost caramelly in color after the oil is applied, and a small hunk of bocote for the bank of drawer fronts.
Afrimosia is on the right, bocote left.
This was the plank of afrimosia, it took three of us and Robert (who has the combined strength of two Russian powerlifters) to rip this guy in the bandsaw. It was 11 feet by ….however wide it looks in the pic?
Enter the wood room, (this ones for you Scott Aspelin)
All kinds of primo stuff in here, narra, kwilla, black limba, claro walnut, port orford, deodar and lebanon cedar, becote’, boxwood, english sycamore, wenge, olive, afrimosia, shedua, monterey cyprus, swiss pear….. you get the idea…all in large 8/4 plus planks. Which brings me to something I haven’t mentioned, but was one of the first things we learned here at IP, “grain graphics”. Being able to cut into a plank and get the grain to do what you want, to flow with the piece and have your eye not be disrupted by swirly or crazy grain. (ie- those old oak kitchen cabinets). With thin stock you just don’t have the option to do that.
For example, on any kind of leg it would be ideal to have the grain going straight down or compliment the curve on all sides, or on a concave front cabinet you want the grain on the top edge to smile, and the grain on the bottom edge to frown. There are exceptions to these rules, and for the most part these separate details might go unoticed, but as a whole the observer should see continuity and possibly say, “I don’t know why, but that just looks good.” Probably because the maker took time to work with or make the grain do what he needed.
It might be hard to see here, but the top of the frame, which is slightly concave, has a smile in the grain lines and the bottom piece has a frown. Maybe just click on the pic, it will get bigger and you can see what I’m talking about…
So I’m learning, it’s the subtle things that go into this craft that allows the piece to sit in a room quietly and be a joy to look at.