Society of American Period Furniture Makers
Ohio River Valley Chapter
2006 Fall Meeting
I am proud to say that we had another wonderful chapter meeting in Lancaster, OH. Everyone enjoyed the presentations, camaraderie, weenie roast, and hay ride. We had approximately 25 people attend from IN, WI, MI, WV, VA, KY and OH.
A very special thanks to Brian and Kindra Neeley for being such wonderful hosts and opening up their home and shop to us!! They also took care of all the logistics including lunch, weenie roast, hay ride and the hotel. Thanks to Brian’s parents David & Carola for helping out and making the meeting a success. Finally thanks to Brian’s Aunt Janice who made the wonder homemade pies and displayed her unique two tone (curly maple & Cherry) period furniture pieces.
As always, I would like to thank each presenter for stepping up and doing a great job!! In addition, we had a lot of lively discussions during the presentations with other methods and tips being discussed. Again, a BIG THANK YOU to all of the presenters and to all those who added to the discussions.
We started our meeting with introductions of new chapter members and another who joined SAPFM at this meeting.
For Show & Tell, we had some very nice and unique pieces including a Pennsylvania Spice Box that was sized for jewelry, Russ Tipton’s carved shell-top corner cupboard (Gottshall), a taper leg jig, and a discussion on how to layout drawers in chest of drawers (without a tape measure) with two dividers.
The demonstrations started out with Dan Reahard showing his current project: a demilune table attributed to Levin S Tarr of Baltimore MD that is in the Williamsburg collection. Since this was a work in progress, Dan was able to disassemble the legs, apron and back stretcher to show his construction joints. He based his construction methods on Steve Latta’s Fine Woodworking article on a Baltimore card table. This table is very similar to Steve’s table that was featured on the cover of the magazine, except Dan’s table did not have the gate leg and top leaf. Dan did a great job describing how he did the bricking to build the apron and how he attached the legs to the apron. The two front legs were attach the way Steve Latta described and the back legs used mortise and tenon joints. It will be a spectacular piece when he gets finished.
The second demonstration was on how to make a padded slip seat by Mark Arnold. Mark’s talk started out with how to size the wooden base and the gaps you need to leave between the seat and the slip seat to accommodate the fabric. He then proceeded to construct the seat using modern materials. He started by installing the web, then the foam pads and finally the covers. He discussed the various materials to use for both authentic reproduction and the one he did using modern materials. Remember; only put “sanitized” tacks in your mouth.
For the third demonstration, we all hopped on the hay wagon for a ride to another barn to watch a Wood-Mizer bandsaw mill in action. This demonstration was by Brian Neeley and his dad. They loaded and slab up a piece of crouch walnut for one of our members. It was a very interesting demonstration showing how to cut up and slab a log and what to watch for. One thing I didn’t know was that the heartwood in a fresh (wet) walnut log is a poplar like green with dark streaks.
We ended the first day off with a weenie roast over an open fire with fresh sweet corn from the Neeley’s farm and homemade pies from Brian’s Aunt Janice. Yummy, good eating!
The next morning we started off with the fourth demonstration on how to sharpen carving chisels by one of our favorite carvers, Dan Reahard. Coarse sharpening is done with diamond stones, medium sharpening is done with a fine and hard Arkansas oilstones (and kerosene for lubricant), and polishing is done with leather strops with profiles for the gouges. Dan also uses ceramic slipstones to shape the interior surfaces.
The fifth demonstration was on color and finish by Brooke Smith. As usual, Brooke did an excellent job showing the effects of various dyes, fumes, and finishes on several types of wood. He also showed us how to make your own colored waxes for that old period furniture look.
The sixth and final presentation was on how to carve the dome inside a shell-top corner cupboard by Russ Tipton. This project takes a lot of wood to build up the dome. Russ described how he constructed the dome structure by first determining the inside and outside radii of the semi-circle shapes needed. The blocks were then cut out and glued up to make the rough structure. Russ then showed us his router jig that he mounted to the block. This jig is used to mill away the excess (stepped) material, a 1/8 of an inch at at time. Once the dome shape is roughed out, he used sandpaper to smooth out the dome. The final step is to cut the flutes in the dome. Again, he used his router jig but before he got started, he adjusted the router’s offset so that it would take a full cut in the front and a smaller cut in the back. The dome is then cleaned up with sandpaper and painted white. These structures were probable painted to hide the entire layers of wood used to get the structure large enough to make the dome.
As with all of the Chapter meetings, I am continually impressed with the accumulated knowledge and talent we have in our group. The quality and educational value of these demonstrations are on par with the best conferences out there. Our size allows us to get up close and personal with the presenters. It was truly another wonderful experience sharing knowledge and fellowship.
The next meeting (Spring 2007) will have two presentations on carving a Ball & Claw foot, a discussion on sizing period furniture using classical dimensioning and the history and use of planes. The location and dates are to be determined.