Never having had a lot of desire before to engage in chairmaking, I take it up now because I want a chair in my SITTING room. From the perspective of tools for chairmaking I find it a more interesting subject, to the surprise of no-one less than myself. It’s neat, the scorp, hand adze, spokeshave and even more to be sure.
Seating we saw before in my film on the subject, Now I have taken legs under the process.
Essentially we are working in the medium of shapes and forms for a change from planes and angles. It’s a pleasant enough switch.
Even to the extent of a head-rest or the chair’s comb, putting it in correct technical terms.The piece selected with intention. Hopefully it will get the attention.
I never did have it in my head that I would have some hand-made clogs. Well, it was fortunate or a good circumstance that when my own clogs happened to bust out I was in the clog makers village of Enter down there in the beautiful area of Twente going at it, as I always say, with Jos and Gerald mostly just having some good fun. These two are two of the accomplished clog makers of that village and Gerald was so kind as to supply me with a replacement pair he had on hand, as clog makers often do, which were just my size.
These are really great shoes which I wear almost all the time anyway and you would too when you are in and out of stalls and you got a yard full of chickens under your feet and don’t want to be tracking that residue from out side in to your house day after day.
Hand-mades are of a different order than what I’ve normally got on which come off the automated pattern maker and have gotten a good and thorough sanding at the belt sander.
Only the hand made variety have such crisp lines and traces from the stock knife left over after the skilled clog maker is through at his chopping block.I still have clogs from off the machine like this French style which are more for wearing in the winter.
A painting to replace the one gone missing and revealing an empty space that wants to be and should be filled. My initial thinking was, “Do it like Rembrandt did it?” After all he was married to a woman of Friesland. It means I wanted it on an oak panel. I had just such a suitable oak out the back, all that was needed was to split it up.
Left over from shingle making, now I would make use of this fine Quercus robur for a piece of art. Going at it then by splitting, riving, planing and all that good stuff and more until the beautiful moment that I had a small stack of planks to set aside and dry. And dry they did, first a year out back and then a year in the hay loft, being thin and small and quartered and not wanting much time to get dry enough for the intended purpose.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
When I thought the time was right, that’s when I went into the loft and brought them to my workshop area. This was the time to really get them into shape for a panel because they were now in a state of relative stability, that is to say fairly predictable.For jointery’s sake I went with the tongue and the groove combo., both those at 5 mm. Back sides, I didn’t worry much about it.
The plan was a panel floating in its frame somewhat clamped inside a rabbet on the four sides of its perimeter. Nothing will hold the individual planks together besides the fit of the joints, no glue, no battens, no keys butterflied or otherwise. Truly a floating situation.
In other words I was going for an animated panel yet one not to wild, tamed by the nature of the split quarter-oak.
Please join me further on down the line on-line as the process proceeds, the story unfolds and the space is finally renewed.
It’s always a good time getting together with friends, old and new, taking your axes in hand and going at it for no good reason. And that is just the way it was this time down the French town. Of course it’s not the case that there was no good reason because we were there to demonstrate a good way of getting it done out on the streets for people.
Not many of those had showed as Bernard and Ernest sawed up a good end grain surface and out a knick or knot or two.
And then Yvon and Marc taking a turn on ends of the long cross-cut saw. In these cases no chainsaw will do, leaving its overly roughed up surface there unsuitable for the clean lay-out lines got by ink and bamboo .
All in preparation, lets put it this way and say making a relatively safe place for axes.
So I could get in there having a go at setting clean lines out to out-line the beam within the tree, if I were to put it in metaphysical terms.
My technique being nothing short of iconoclastic, my hair nothing short of catastrophic.
So, with all questions of personal grooming set aside for the moment we can get a’ chopping.
Observant observers will notice a deviation of the notch under the axes in this picture compared to the previous notches further on up the stem. And that’s because it is being chopped another way, called the tree phase way or the trinity notch method, I haven’t officially decided which yet. Not a single notched at all but the culmination of three notches forming one which should be enough explanation to grasp the process involved.
This is useful on the occasion when the line lies deeper in from the outside edge than the length on the blade of the axe used for chopping. Because I am now convinced that the short bitted bandhacke is the way I find preferable to go about it this is what I use on those distances greater than 70 mm. Which is handy because then I have the same axe in hand as I use for removing the bulk of the waste in-between notches and hewing to the line. It’s fine to have a bandhacke set up in a way suitable for left or right orientation just like the side-axe you use, though by no means necessary.
Those side-axes are special tools to be cherished, elevated to a position of preeminence among tools, preserved only for use where they are uniquely suited which is not removing bulk wast or even any waste beyond what is necessary which means no more than 2, three at the most, millimeters at the surface. If you are rough hewing any further from the line than half a centimeter please consider not grabbing that sweet axe until you’ve gotten it down a few, or more, millimeters. It will pay off in lengthening the life of the keen edge we make so much effort to achieve on that one.
My ambition and aspiration is to surface in tandem, me on the right-hand side of the stem and a companion wielding the axe with its flat side the opposite of mine simultaneously down the other side. Imagine it out there in front of a captive audience.
At this stage in the course of these events it’s all coming together so that when the time comes I’ll be ready to whip up a tasty meal here at the fire place. Not only that but I’ll be keeping warm and smoking multiple meat items above in the smoke chamber of the chimney at the same time using the same wood.
Many pokers, tongs, haulers and lifters accompany various pots and pans which can withstand robust cooking conditions and require no washing. Hooks suspended from an iron bar integrated into the boezum construction by sometimes even decorative chain links where cooking pots hang at varying distance from the heating source for temporing and maintaining temperatures desired.
A roast on the spit? I see, (and smell), it before me in my mind’s eye but first winter has to get here and a day could enough to carry out the slaughter and butchery of pigs now to small for providing sufficient provision. So much work it will be for sure but for now there’s time until then.
Is it an irony of a high order to embellish an axe with the Tree of Life symbol, the Lebensbaum the Yggdrasil? Probably from one point of view or the other one the answer could be yes.
Tree O’ Life representations are nearly ubiquitous symbols of fecundity, origination, and continuity not limited in time or place. The cross on the other hand distinctly connotes Christianity with clear temporal and spacial implications.
On the face of it though, that is to say if we are to put ourself in the mind of the one who possibly made/forged, or was it the one who placed the order for? such an axe, (and we are going on then about that one who was actually breathing maybe even as late as say 1950 but which in theory might also have been 1450) no doubt the impuls was one of piety towards Jesus. But I always say that…
When you have systemic disintegration, (election of tycoons, right-wing ascendancy, autocrats moving ahead and putting the screws on, institutional flailing about, all self-evident, nothing controversial about it), against the backdrop of the climate disruption we’ve generated for ourselves that I find really unpleasant personally, keeping a blog updated or in fact having the interest let alone motivation for something like that seems on a general level – the blogs, they just seem to keep coming – a manifestation of that very dysfunction. On the other hand the work in and around here itself goes on apace, for now.
To follow on with the result of this plaster reparation work in order to avoid creating ambiguity or unemphatic impressions by leaving that outcome aspect hanging there, what follows is a photographic display meant to give accurately a representation of the wall as it now stands, from top to bottom.
In the Spring one final handeling gets undertaken with a colored version of the lime brushed on above the section across the bottom which is a lime, trass mixture appropriate for that place set in the tar and then you won’t see those drips there like that anymore.
I will take you back now, back to a time just about one year ago in fact. I remember it so clear, that Fall feel was well and truly here the way it is only when it’s October. October is the boarder month for the stuccador and so I queried mine if it wasn’t maybe to late to begin with plastering the wall and when he said it was no problem and once I had given the instruction to use lime and only lime and taken the responsibility for the consequences myself, he did his job.
But he should have listened to me because January’s four day freeze blew out sections of the good plaster job.
Good, it gives me the chance sooner that anticipated to get that pristine wall looking the way it should, that is patched in a rough and amateuristic way and not so flat and uniform as the look of someone who knew what they were doing might make it, this is much to suspect and not acceptable. But I would never say that to the one who’s done it that way without knowing any beter.
But here it is October again and I am stuccoing. So strange you’d think another time would be called for. But no waiting, best get at it while the lime is fresh and not let it sit around till after winter, that would truly be risky.
I prepared the underground this time with alum to retard water absorption from the initial lime mix. Just simply splashed it on from a bucket with a, I don’t know anymore how you call it, a veger.
But my set-up was the best of all. And quite stable if you believe it or not.
We witness here in the Netherlands the cultural slaughterhouse since these last 30 years and the most grotesque aspect is the gouging out of the eyes of buildings replacing them with artificial ones. Not different from Duitsland but they never had such nice windows there to begin with and the same can be said for France. There is no compromise room in this question, which makes it really a simple matter: Old windows have to be saved to the fullest extent.
The distinction of a Dutch window from a certain period is they had been conceived of as bringing the inside out for public inspection or at least providing for the evidence that the inhabitants surely had no secrets, nothing that could not bear scrutiny in other words a port into the souls of the house’s occupants, their righteousness and purity, the windows open to the street and stretching practically to the eaves they pressed the passer-by to look in and see for themselves the orderliness of the household and by extension the people living there who had had great confidence in there complete exhibitionism. Even to this day a stray glance at a passer-by will likely lead to a defiant yet ever so defensive invitation for open inquiry into the observed persons piety. They have nothing to hide and dare you to question this fact.
More positively, leaving the Calvinistic oppressiveness eating our dust, the windows have developed remarkable proportion and give the gables a sense of openness and lightness, just as windows should. All the more cause to reject the disproportion and heaviness of thermopane replacements.
I manage to somehow capture some of the character of the old glass as I took this shot looking out which you can see as the angle steepens when you look at the upper left corner of the window.
Because the window frame had rotted, and would twist when lifting it open I once broke the pane so after I fixed the wood I took the glass to have it fused back with a strip of lead in the way normal leaded glass gets done and flipped it bottom to top before resetting.
There probably is a trick for making photos of glass because mine sure don’t give a very adequate image of the old pane on the left with its wavy surface that distorts any image on the opposite side and its green tint that comes from adding lead to the pre-molten sand mix, and the trapped air bubbles. I did manage to catch one prominent bubble though, sorry for you that you can’t get the in-person effect.
Gerald has kindly sent me these photos and if I don’t up post them the work will get less notice than it deserves. It goes to show once again that I am never done being surprised by such incredible beauty of Dutch historical (cause what goes on here today in the field is a kind of sickness) carpentry in all its forms, (with the exception of the pompous, rich, classical stuff with columns, architraves, porticos … which has no character, no identity, that is made to make you feel your non-worth and for exalting ideologies and non-existent spooky supernatural figures and usually in the name of fake postmortem rewards for good behavior. I am out fight this and besides, how boring can it get!)
This on the other hand is great. The first thing to catch my eye are the rounded off batons used to close off the joints between the planks. My guess is these are the off-cuts from the sides when the planks were cut down which in itself lead to yet another interesting feature, the tapering planks as opposed to planks sawn against a guide with parallel sides, placed in alternating directions. This way much material gets saved. The rip cuts follow the wane edge of individual boards taken from the bolle.
Here is the closure mechanism also made from the same material cut from the board edges, hardly shaped at all, used once again, in that form as it came from the early processing of the stem. We can speculate that even the handle of the grip has been made from a branch of that same tree, and then wish we could take hold of it ourself and test it out.
I see at the edge of the tarred exterior plank traces left by an axe used to fit the door once it had been hung there.
In their effort to not only make the building more beautiful but protect it, or give themselves the perception they were protecting the construction, the outside of the poplar planks got a layer of tar. Well, unfortunately it’s a layer of the kind of tar which is a byproduct of the industrial use of coal burning but we can choose that tar taken from wood instead of that one.
Or use nothing at all as on the inside which has simply been planed smooth and then burnished through use over its hundred year or so lifetime.
Just a word about poplar as I see it. It has gotten a bad name it terms of construction and carpentry uses but used with some forethought this has become a favored wood of mine and I’m looking forward to extending and expanding my exploitation of this wood further and further.
The old, windows in my front room that need reparation. The older, wood I will use to spice in where rotted sections are removed.
There is just no alternative to it, this old-growth conifer wood out of the pacific northwest. Wood so dense and consistent that it can be like planing plastic, but then plastic that has grown itself over hundreds of years in harsh yet ideal conditions and gives off such a good smell when you cut into it, is hard and yet cuts easily leaving a glass like sheen as a result.
What a shame that it is a resource of the past, exploited beyond sustainable use by industrial capitalists, in reality stolen for the sake of money.
But when we run across some in our work, it’s time to make a good use of it and most of all enjoy this great material.
The initiation picture is a fake, made with one of the gimmick options of my simple digital camera. I imagine that in films they use similar visual effects, and very successfully I might add to it.
I live in a place where I have always been struck by the use of color in buildings of a particular type, a type that above all interests me, that is, it will usually be a dwelling, simple, local in character and materials made from people who worked with their hands often making things or exploiting the fruits of nature and then getting money for doing it, grubby capitalists true but then capitalists of a certain kind, largely unknown in these days. Well, kind of like this farmhouse
Or even like this fisher’s house
Reproductions it’s true but then done with some degree of authenticity or another one. That is to say for example in the blue and yellow house the colors at least can probably be traced back to some original paint. From there probably the museum personnel went to the shop with their sample and had some Sikkens mixed to match, or it’s how I imagine it in any case.
I did the research using the time-tested methodologies in coming up with the color for my front room, what will become known to me anyway as the, “mooi kamer” or the “beautiful room” where special attention is paid to getting it that way.
At this point ceiling and bedstead wall have their coating of paint more or less the way it will appear in the final analysis. No shading or highlighting the various elements is the way I like it so much, anything more suggesting an expenditure of way to much thought on the matter what some might even say a contrivance.
Also the wood work is getting got back into shape in as far as some had rotted or otherwise needed replacement always making retaining as much of the original material as I can or want the answer to the first question that arrises, what to do next?
The apparent reparation of window, its jamb and sill, well these words really don’t do the original Dutch names for the elements justice – only an approximation to give the outsider a sense he or she may be able to contend with – and then the covering of the lower part of this brick wall with the simple wainscot much the same as it was before but with certain liberties taken, for example on the vertical profiling.
So fine to take the milk that I’m getting from the mother goat and after giving shares to the cat, the chickens and the dog making some paint up for the clothings rack.
Having the milk separate and then skimming the thick part off the top helps reduce the strong smell that can emanate for the first week while it cures, but it’s not necessary as far as I’m concerned.
I use a pigment used to stain the rumps of ewe sheep as an indicator the ram has done his job. Well, it’s a cheap one and one I picked up and have for the occasions as necessary, this time with the addition of a bit of kalk which intensifies the color effect.
Don’t forget to do your best and make up a sample in order to make the best judgement of the end results.
Well, and if you as a reader of things here find this whole concept extremely interesting my videos channel has interesting and informative videos of me mixing many different colors into many different binding agents.
It is tempting for me to lay the claim that after preparing my material I have stacked it carefully in a dry, darkened corner out of the way in order to give my wood the time it needs to acclimatize prior to installation when the truth of the matter is, other things came up to divert my good intentions of getting the front room finished so the family does not constantly end up cramming itself into the smaller room for that time at home spent in togetherness. So much for well intended motives and good planning and preparation.
Here I am back at it again. Pulling out the profiled oak wainscot material and putting it in its place.
The wall does suffer from dampness and I hope re-plastering the outside with lime will allow it to dry sufficiently from now on. Further what you are looking at is the nailer attached to the brick for hanging the wainscot and more interesting the original baton for attaching a linen mesh under-ground as backing for the wallpaper. Also the original lime plaster carrying its own not uninteresting signs of past use patterns of this room. It is a real shame how so much of this can and does get discarded into the dust bin of history in a typical domestic renovation job. The truth is people are most apt to respond with an insincere, “How interesting” a shrug and then, “Trash it for me will ya.”
I got no bag of tricks or anything up my sleeve for executing this work, it’s not the kind of work I do so much that I need such a bag.
Sand paper not needed because no power router got used, only a shard of glass to make that last profile to the right there.
I had wanted to give my latest posting-up, this one, the title, “Pilluing to the Hilt” but as things evolve it has gotten another equally intriguing title.
Out of my stack of material I hauled this one into the workplace to begin one more bent brace. It has developed what I call a significant splitting suggesting to me that I may want to go ahead and complete the natural consequence of the release of internal tensions freed by sawing.
Looking at the natural split, it is clear where things will end up with just a little encouragement from me and my helpers, glut and commodore, axe and froe, with highly usable wood left for the braces I seek.
And it is so, as the crack exits the side with plenty wood to spare.
Only held up by a few fibers easily severed from on top with a small axe that’s got a long enough reach, so handy for getting down into these splits
From the other direction where the split has begun, I pry it wider open with froe easing it open by cutting through remaining fibers with axe.
And I have removed weakened sections and a full length of full strength- that is to say completely intact structure – is left to me.
Sawn through the middle the separate brace forms begin to emerge.
The surface created like this is crude and yet suggests interesting possibilities to my eye.
This is not normally a good idea, cutting through many fibers, exposing end-grain to let in moisture and the beginning of wood degradation. It’s what the boat builders have learned over the eons and why my sawer has some of that wood in a pile round the back for them to choose from.
The shapes and arcs are specific and so when you got the knowledge you can look through the pieces and you have visualized already just where they will go.
The boat builder can read the codes embedded and make perfect sense out of a stack of twisted branches…
But that’s not me, my desires are more general, I just want stuff that’s not straight mostly for the effect though practicality comes into play as well.
The sawer has sawn the stems I have indicated will suit me fine, to dimensions I can get to play with.
And at home I have my own wood stack out the back and decide it might be a good thing to try out with one good piece lying there some years now.Except my methods are more free-handed.I do come away about with what I expected
What began as a tree, got to me from the lumber yard as a beam 5,5 meters long, 7,5 cm thick and 220 mm wide, was sawn up in two, flipped and joined at the ends to become my new ridge beam 11 meters long, 75 mm thick and ca 110 mm wide.
A ridge beam stretches into the distance.
Remnants of a snap-line showing the track I ripped along.
The measures you’ve got to not take all to literally otherwise you might wonder a bit. Well I don’t use numbers in the joinery work and my tape measure only goes to 10 meters.