August 2017 #232

In the August 2017 issue, Christopher Schwarz shares  the “Almost-forgotten Fore Plane” –  an inexpensive bench plane that belongs in every shop (even that of the most hard-core machine user)*. Caleb James shows us how to weave a “planflet” pattern for a contemporary folding chair (he showed us the frame build in the June 2017 issue). Practice your pattern routing as you build a handsome Greene & Greene-inspired pantry shelf (by Norman Reid and Jeffrey Fleisher). Discover how to design your own shapely contemporary legs with expert instruction from Rob Porcaro. And the renowned furniture maker and teacher Phil Lowe shares his technique for diamond-paned divided light doors.

In this issue’s “Tool Test,”we try out the Walke Moore Compass Guides and the OmniSquare Multi-function Layout Tool. In “Design Matters,” George Walker shows us how to “See Like a Designer,’ and Peter Follansbee shares some period inventories and a look at how a chair can be used to transport bodies. In “Flexner on Finishing,” Bob Flexner takes a trip outside of his usual topics to talk about period apprenticeships (and how they’re not quite as romantic as me might envision), and Adam Godet discusses how good joinery helped his emotional recovery from a car wreck in “End Grain.” Plus, “Out on a Limb,” “Letters” and “Tricks of the Trade” from readers.

*Note the engraving on Chris’ otherwise prosaic Stanley No. 5 – that’s by Catharine Kennedy.

The Almost-Forgotten Fore Plane

Learn to set up and wield one of the most useful (and inexpensive) handplanes. by Christopher Schwarz pages 23-27 Kevin Drake, a furniture maker who trained under James Krenov, stood before his wonky-topped workbench one day many years ago and hesitated. His urge was to start flattening the benchtop by planing across the grain...

Paper Cord Weaving

Simple Danish ‘planflet’ weaving produces eyecatching results. by Caleb James pages 28-37 Danish paper cord is three-ply, twisted paper, a strong material that Hans Wegner used on his now-classic CH25 lounge chair – a piece that inspired my chair. In the last issue (June 2017, #232), I showed you how to make the frame...

Greene & Greene Pantry Shelf

Cloudlifts and ebony accents add spice to utilitarian storage. by Norman Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher pages 38-42 This project began, as many do, with a need. Norm’s overflowing pantry shelves needed relief. So we set out to build a shelf that could hang on his kitchen wall to store cans and boxes for ready...

Shapely Legs

You needn’t rely on ready-made patterns to design good-looking gams. by Rob Porcaro pages 43-47 Legs with engaging, flowing three-dimensional curves can add immeasurably to the aesthetic success of such pieces as tables, stands and chests. In this article, using the legs for a small floating-top table as an example, I’ll show a practical...

Diamond Divided Lights

These doors are all about the angles – learn to bisect them using geometry and it’s a snap. by Phil Lowe pages 48-54 When I walk into the American decorative arts Gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., I am always drawn to a great Federal piece that was built by Cotton...

OmniSquare

OmniSquare Multi-function Layout Tool

This clever and inexpensive milled aluminum square functions as a try square, miter square, bevel square, T-square, combination square and (in a pinch) a compass (the compass function would work better were there a groove on the end of the blade in which to set a pencil, which the maker mentions, but leaves up...

Walke Moore Compass Guides

by James McConnell page 14 Designed as solid anchor points for placing compasses and dividers on the edges and corners of boards to mark curves, two of these Compass Guides from Walke Moore Tools allow you to make perfect circles or arcs anywhere on projects without fumbling to align a compass leg. (The round...

See Like a Designer

Look for the ‘bones’ to observe how form defines design. by George Walker pages 16-18 It happens during almost every furniture design workshop. At the start of day two, a carload of students shows up 20 minutes late. One would think they’d be embarrassed, but instead they burst in all giggly and excited. Then...

Tool & Furniture Records

Nicholas Disbrowe, Samuel Sewall and chairs as corpse transportation. by Peter Follansbee pages 58-61 As I study 17th-century oak furniture, I come up with many dead ends. The surviving objects tell one part of the story, another view into this world is found in the written records of this period. The holy grail of...