Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wood and Glue...

Both of course are important to a furniture maker, so I am always on the look out for special pieces of wood and better glues.

Yesterday I went to a lumber shop to pick up a piece of Cherry that I need for some turnings, they have lots of small pieces of exotic woods in the reception area intended for full scale vase and candlestick turnings, of course I had to browse there ;-)))

And look what I found!!!! I oiled it a bit otherwise you won't see the markings but I haven't sanded it or anything.

I hope you can see all the tiny markings in it, it is a piece of Madrone, I have never heard of it before, but it grows along the west coast of the USA and and just look at this stunning spice cabinet where they used the wood for the drawer fronts. I am not sure what I will use this for, probably an 18th century secretary like this one, isn't it just gorgeous.

And then on the subject of glue, I often have to glue hinges and other hardware to furniture and I just hate super glue, it just dries too fast for my liking, so yesterday I found a Duncan glue called Liquid Fusion,

I tried some on a hinge yesterday and it seemed to work great although some reviews that I read said that it failed on metal. It is recommended for metal use though, has anyone used this glue before and what were your experience of it? I like that it doesn't dry immediately and that I have time to position my piece of hardware, so often with superglue it just ends up not quite where I wanted it and any excess glue mars the finish on the wood, so I hope this glue will be a good substitute for super glue.

Have a great day

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Exercise in Geometry

Quite awhile ago I started with an interesting little project that has been on the back-burner for many months. I started working on it yesterday again and decided to show it to you. It is a pole screen that needs to be in a Tudor style, nothing like this was really made in Tudor times (well I haven't found any reference in any case) so after a lot of research I decided to make a flat tripod base with a nice fat turned vase like they used on Tudor dining tables and a brass pole and brass hanging rod, here are some examples of pole screens that I used for inspiration.

Victorian brass and rosewood pole screen
Victorian fire screen
Victorian pole screen

And here is a photo of my mock-up to get an idea of what I am aiming for.

The carving isn't finished, I just wanted to see if the whole idea would work.

A close-up of the turning and the base, in the next photos I am going to show you how to draw the base for anybody who might like to try something similar. There are enough ready made turnings out there to use as a pedestal with a dowel or brass rod for the upright pole and the cross pole that the embroidery will hang from. For the feet you can use turnings or beads. I have used brass tubing with brass door knobs glued into the ends before to make rods for my dining room to hang pictures from, you can see them here.

To draw a pattern for the base I drew a triangle with all three sides the same length. I started with the line in the bottom, then added the one in the middle at a right angle and then the two sides.

Next I marked the center of the two side lines and drew a line to the opposite corner.

I then decided how big I wanted the three ends to be and drew in that line in each corner.

Lastly I looked for a tin lid that was more or less the size that would give me the curve that I needed, I redid this drawing today since it is a few months since I made the original and I didn't take any photos back then. Your center point is where the lines cross in the middle and you can use your pattern to mark this point to position the turning exactly in the center of the base.

I used my scroll saw to cut out mine, I think you will be able to use a knife on soft wood if you don't have a saw. Make sure that your grain runs with one of the long sides to give the piece maximum strength, you can see in which direction the grain runs on my piece of wood.

If you don't want to draw your own base you are more than welcome to use mine and reduce or increase the size according to your needs.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Miniatures at Hever Castle

As promised, some photos of the miniature collection at Hever Castle, it features work of  John Hodgson, you can read more here, unfortunately I can't find anything about it on the Hever Castle website, but I guess it is still there, can any of our British friends confirm this please. Idske, do you know? I am definitely visiting you if ever I go to England again, lucky you, to stay only 20 miles from Hever Castle!

Some of the photos has a horrible glare from the flash, it was pretty dark in there and everything is behind glass, enjoy!

The Georgian house.

The Victorian house.

And it's garden.

And some room boxes.

Have a great mini weekend all.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hever Castle

Well, Josje just mentioned Hever Castle over on her blog A Beautiful World, seems a few of us were there at some stage or the other and I thought I would share my photos of it. We were there early in March 2006, looking at the photos sure brings back many happy memories, I really enjoyed my visit to Hever and would love to go again.

The castle with the draw bridge on the right, I just loved the topiary trees.

Me in front of the draw bridge and my purchases from the gift shop, this was our last day in England and I had to spend the remaining pounds ;-)

Once you are through the gate you find yourself in a courtyard with a Tudor facade. We weren't allowed to take any photos of the inside.

The kitchen, guest quarters, etc that was added by the American William Waldorf Astor in the early 1900's after he bought the castle in 1903.

Me in the lovely winter gardens, I loved the beauty of the bare branches against the green hedges and lawn, our lawn in South Africa dies in winter, not a pretty sight at all.

After you walk for seemingly miles through the gardens, you get to a man made lake, just beautiful, it was really cold that day, if you look carefully you can see the top layer of water is frozen in places.

There is also a wonderful miniatures collection at Hever, more about that in a next post.

Have a great day

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finished Sewing Tables!

Two of my clients has finished the petit point for their sewing tables, it was so exciting to see what they have stitched for their tables.

First to finish hers was Peggy Bugg, Peggy actually stitched it with instructions as to size from me, and brought it to Castine last year where I helped her late one night to put it into her frame.

Peggy chose a design from Annelle Ferguson's book Traditional Needlework in Miniature, (goodness me, the prices that some sellers ask!!!) Peggy stitched her design on 48 count silk gauze with DMC. We both were so tired at Castine that we forgot to take any photos, Peggy recently send me this photo.

Lisa Salati just finished her table yesterday and send me a few photos.

Lisa decided to chart her own design based on the needlework of this fire screen in the Metropolitan museum in New York, I think she did a wonderful job in down scaling the design to make it work in 1/12 scale. Lisa stitched her design on 68 count silk gauze with Pipers silk.

Showing Lisa's screen out of the table, Lisa wanted the design to continue harmoniously in the bottom part of the screen that is hidden when the screen is in the table. She decided to add a pedestal beneath the vase after we talked about it a bit and found some other samples of 18th century embroidery that show vases of flowers on pedestals.

Thank you Peggy and Lisa for sharing your wonderful petit point, both your sewing tables looks really wonderful.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Crochet Inspiration!

I know we all keep things for one day, one such item that I have is a few wooden spools of antique silk that I bought many years ago, I bought all they had, there weren't many colors and I just never have found anything to do with it, until yesterday. Brae posted two days ago about a crochet afghan that she had commissioned on her blog, you can see it here. I did an internet search on granny squares as this is the general name for them, I fell in love with a square that I saw, but couldn't find any pattern for it, so I had to figure it out for myself, not something I have ever done before.

It took a few tries to get it right and I am pretty pleased with the first square.

Here you can see it on the curtain fabric I want to use in the room, together with the inspiration photo.

The colors of the antique silk is just perfect with this fabric, hopefully this will also inspire me to finish the brass bed for which the bedspread is intended. My square is 1 inch big, fortunately the bed is quite big too, I think I will need at least 6 by 7 squares. The colors in the middle photo is more true to the real colors.

Thank you Brae for the inspiration, I am so happy to have found the perfect project for my antique silks. By the way, I made my practice square with cotton thread and I must say the silk is wonderful to work with, a lot easier than the cotton.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Special Gift!

A new follower and friend from the UK, send me a very special gift, one of David Edwards ivory ladies combs. Words can't quite describe how exquisite and fine this is, I marvel at the perfection of the cuts between each of the teeth of the comb, my photos certainly doesn't do it justice.

The comb on top of my sewing table.

A close-up, the comb is only 19mm (3/4") long.

Thank you for this really special gift, Anna!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lester Margon Furniture books

Well, it seems quite a few people are talking about books these days, so I thought I would share mine with you over a few posts, a good time for me to do this as you will see very few posts on wood work this year. I will be working a lot, but won't be able to show you anything for the next year or so, as for now this work needs to stay confidential for a certain reason that some of you might be able to guess, if you think you know, no mention in the comments please :-)

Okay, on to the books, one of my favorite authors is Lester Margon, he traveled a lot in the first half of the 20th century visiting many museums, private collections, etc, took lots of black and white photos and made many measured drawings of magnificent antique furniture.

The first book, all of these books have black and white photos, there are lots of measured drawings but not of every piece of furniture in the book

Two of the pages out of this book.

The second book.

And two of the pages out of this book.

The third book.

And two pages out of this book, these 3 are quite rare and often go for very high prices on Amazon, I simply kept on checking until I found affordable copies, many sellers also don't want to ship out of the USA, but in the end I managed to get them all at reasonable prices and they are worth every cent I paid. A word of warning though, only experienced wood workers will be able to use the drawings for making furniture, only the basic measurements are given, no details of construction, etc.

The fourth book however does give descriptions on how to make the furniture, but once again I think only if you are experienced in making furniture. Some of the furniture in this book are also featured in the other 3 books.

One the patterns out of this book that I actually made two years ago.

My 1:12th scale version that I made in 2011 and donated to IGMA's Guild School auction, I still want to make one for myself some time.

The screen can slide up and down, for those of you who missed the original posts on this piece, you can see them here.

Have a great week everyone