Posts Tagged With: Pittsboro

Woodworking Show a Success!

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Liquidambar Gallery Show Ad

WB Liquidambar

Show Installation

My first experience with showing some of my woodworking projects turned out well. With the help of the gallery owners at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts in Pittsboro, NC, I ended up selling 33 of the 34 items I made for the show. That was well beyond any expectations I had. And while my two month run as featured artist has ended, the gallery owners have asked me to create some additional pieces to show and sell.

I will certainly plan to make more items going forward but first I will need to catch up on several other projects which have taken a backseat to preparation for the show. In fact, as February begins I am still finishing up some Christmas presents that should have been done in December!

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Showing my Work, Part II

Yesterday was the opening of my first woodworking show at Liquidambar Gallery in Pittsboro, NC. The gallery was busy all afternoon, with a constant stream of visitors. I am happy to say that my pieces were very popular! Sales actually began on Saturday, the day before the official opening. In just two days, they have already sold 9 items. The show continues for 2 months, so it would have been nice to have some additional inventory . . .  but who knew?

One of the pieces which sold quickly was a little box for storing tea bags. I just finished it recently and hadn’t yet posted a photo.

tea box 01

Tea Box

This box is about 9″ x 9″ x 3″ tall. the sides are walnut, and the top is quilted quartersawn white oak. The handle has a cutout of the Chinese symbol for tea, and is made of padouk and maple. The inside of the box has maple dividers to organize tea bags. This piece was designed to feature the oak top, which is one of the prettiest pieces of wood I have encountered. I made a few earlier attempts to make use of this piece, but this tea box is probably the best fit.

Since this piece went so quickly, I may try to find another distinctive piece of wood to make something similar. But the new owner of this box got something which is truly one of a kind.

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Newest Tool is Very Old

My Newest Oldest Tool

My Newest Oldest Tool

Roy Underhill, the traditional woodworker with the long-running PBS show, “The Woodwright’s Shop,” has a storefront school in downtown Pittsboro, NC. If you visit the town, you will often find students building projects with hand tools — no power tools here! On the second floor of the school is a store with a huge inventory of hand tools. Hundreds of hand planes, chisels, saws, folding rules, braces and bits, and dozens of specialty tools used back in the day. It is a great place to go and look at examples of how things used to be done. You can actually hold history in your hand.

As I try to improve my hand tool skills, I often go over to that tool store and occasionally pick up something for my shop. Recently, I came home with perhaps the oldest “new” tool I have ever acquired – a wooden jointer plane. As I looked at some of the store’s inventory, Ed, the proprietor, showed me the jointer planes. We tried out a couple of different ones on a piece of lumber he had on his bench, and they had a nice feel, even with very dull blades. I grabbed one more from up on top of the cabinet, and examined it. Ed looked at it and noticed that it had a “Butcher” blade in it.

“W Butcher Warranted Cast Steel

It was 26 inches long, and had a metal owner’s mark tacked on to the end. He estimated this plane was from the early 1800’s, and it was obvious that it had been used a lot in its lifetime. I tried it out and the blade was very rusty and dull, but a little time with the sharpening stones can fix that. The area right behind the mouth had been worn down over the years and was just slightly hollow. Ed commented that if I didn’t buy this plane for the $20 shown on the price tag, it was going back on the shelf with a new, higher price, now that he had looked at it more closely.

So, I bought it and brought it home. I spent a couple hours on the blade, getting it razor sharp. The iron is made of two different metals bonded together – a softer one for the main body, and a harder one for the cutting edge. I had no idea that this was being done that long ago.

I know some will find this blasphemous, but after some thought and deliberation, I put the hollowed sole of the plane on my 8 inch, 220 volt modern power jointer. Taking only a few thousands off at a time, I got the hollow out and the sole flattened. I then bathed the plane in linseed oil, and later applied some paste wax.

Owner's mark on the end of the plane

Owner’s mark on the end of the plane

The plane iron had an interesting mark on it: “W. Butcher Warranted Cast Steel.” A little internet research revealed that Mr. Butcher was known back in the 1800’s for producing some of the finest steel for tools and razors in the world from his foundry in Sheffield, England. This hand plane very well could have been produced in the early 1800’s and this would have been the original iron.

The best part is . . . this plane works amazingly well! I took a rough piece of ash and had it completely flat and ready to work in short order. Notice the shavings in the photo above. Ah, but where does one store something like this?? It won’t fit in a drawer, or even on any of my shelves. Time for more tool storage! I had been thinking of building a hanging tool cabinet, and this new plane provided the push to get started.

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