Society of American Period Furniture Makers
Ohio River Valley Chapter
2010 Fall Meeting
We had another wonderful chapter meeting at Dick Reese shop. If you missed the meeting, you can see his shop that was featured in Woodcraft Magazine this past summer. Everyone enjoyed the presentations and camaraderie. We had approximately 30 people attend from IN, MI, WV, VA, KY, and OH.
A Very Special Thank You to Dick, his wife, and their children for being such wonderful hosts! For those that missed the Friday night dinner, you missed a really nice get together and camaraderie (except for the Wolverine who did a war dance on the Buckeye floor mat).
As always, I would like to thank each presenter for stepping up and doing a great job!! As always, we had a lot of lively discussions during the presentations. A BIG THANK YOU to all of the presenters and to all those who added to the discussions.
We started our meeting with Show & Tell, we had some very fine and unique pieces including a Queen Ann chair and a Chippendale pie crust tilt-top table by Larry Bilderback (including a story about carving the top in hotel rooms as he traveled for work); in-progress Bombay chest by Dick Kammerer; a clock and a spalted hard maple table by Peter Howell; Spice Chest by Eric Matson; and a magazine rack by Charlie Watson.
George Walker started off our meeting with a continuation of his previous presentation on proportion theory and how it relates to period furniture. This topic was focused on the moldings, and their proportions. The first proportion was the size of the molding to the size of the furniture and how that varies based on the Order you were using (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, ?) and how much of a statement you want the piece of furniture to make in a room. He then explained that a molding is made up of several different design elements that are pulled together to make the overall molding. Each molding element is proportionally sized to all of the other molding elements. By using whole number ratios between these elements, the moldings are very pleasing to the eye. And again, the human eye can detect these difference between. If you see a non-proportioned molding, your eye can tell that it just doesn?t look right. You may not know why, but instinctively your eyes are looking for these proportions. That is why a complex molding developed from router bits can sometime sometimes look really bad. For those that want to hear this presentation, you can buy George?s new Lie-Nelsen DVD that came out this spring entitled: Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings.
The second presentation covered a number of topics on the reproduction of an arm chair by Jim Conley (my dad). These included how to take measurements, make patterns from rubbings, and make molds of carvings from an original chair in addition to general construction tips. The demonstration started off by laying a piece of paper under a chair and using a plum bob, Jim accurately locate the various joints. From the plan view and a leg template, you will now be able to accurately locate and draw the incline of the back legs in a profile view. Next, Jim showed how he developed his templates for the various parts by placing paper over the chair and rubbing it with a pencil, including carvings. The last neat trick was how to make your own carving molds from an original. For this, Jim kneaded regular modeling clay until it was soft and pliable. He then pressed it into the carving and then gently removed the mold. To preserve the impression, he poured plaster of paris into the mold. This model will not be perfect, but it will give you an accurate representation of the carvings (heights of each elements, shape, and boldness, how the carvings are blended together and curvatures for carving gouges). Just make sure you have permission first and that you wax the surface before applying the clay. The clay will leave behind a little bit of residue behind.
The final presentation was a roundtable discussion on finishing. To be honest, I was not quite sure how this presentation was going to unfold. But with all of the great audience participation we have had over the years, I expected this to turn out well and it did. The session started out with a discussion about adjusting the color of sap wood, to aging wood with various chemicals including walnut shell, tobacco, tea, nitric acid. We also talked about storing tool in leather and that you have to sure that the leather is not treated with chromium because it will allow the leather to absorb moisture and cause rust. (The test is to burn a piece and if the ash is green, then it was processed with chromium.) The discussion then drifted over to how to stain mahogany and followed by a demonstration by Dan Reahard on rubbing out a shellac finish on mahogany. The discussion then moved to spray finishes including conversion varnish, and HVLP spray guns. Dick Reese then talked about how he darken mahogany with pickling lime and showed us some example of the legs he was making for a card table. We then move to the jigs he used to do the inlays on those legs. All in all, it was a really nice discussion by all. Thanks everybody!!
This was another successful Chapter meeting. The accumulated knowledge and talent of the group was evident throughout the meeting and especially during the finishing discussion.
The next meeting (Spring 2011) will be Lancaster, OH on March 26-27, 2011.