stevenbunn Sat, 12/24/2016 - 16:37

I would like to take the opportunity to wish anyone dropping by this site a very Merry Christmas!

As ever, thank you for coming by. STB

stevenbunn Sat, 12/03/2016 - 18:37

Fitting Tall-case Hood doors take three- Some time you have to do things a few times before getting the hang of it.


A perfect fit, but still shy of perfection
I started making Tall-case clocks with the hope of making a product that I could sell for big money and therefore make fewer pieces of furniture wlile making more money. Then the stock market crashed and tall-case clocks went out of fashion. As I said in an earlier post, when my local antique store had a complete, beautiful, all the bells and whistles English Turban top clock from 1780 listed for $5,000.00, I don't have a chance in hell of selling a reproduction clock for $10,000 or $12,000.00. But this realization dawned on me after I started teaching myself to make clock cases. I always think that I have to make a piece of furniture several times before I get it right. This flat-top clock is basd on plans by Lonnie Bird published a number of years ago in FWW. He teaches classes about building this clock. I built the clock case from the plans in FWW.
Thirty years ago I applied for a job, any job at any rate of pay, at the Irion Shop in Pailoi, PA. While there (they didn't hire me), I saw that they were building eight Philadelphia style Chippendale clock cases. All were pre-ordered for $12,800.00. The price was for the case alone. The clock mechanism and hand painted dial face or faces were additional. This is work that has haunted my dreams for years. One of the sights that made such an impression while at the Irion shop was a show room filled with examples of all the clock hoods they offered. Most of the decoration, and hence the work is wrapped up in the re-movable hood. That was a really good sales idea, I have found that most customers can't really see the piece of furniture they want when looking at a drawing. No matter how detailed. I started working on some clock prototypes based on existing plans, with the long term goal of making a number of examples of different hoods based on photos of antique clocks advertised in Antiques Magazine.
The first door I made for this case was horrible. The dial opening in the inner dial board was out of sync with the bottom door rail by 3/8 inch. I have no good explaination for that disaster. Scribing the assembled door to the opening revealed an oval top arch after I cut the final arch on the top. Think egg shape not anthing symmetrical. I threw the offending door on the scrap pile intending to destroy my disaster before anyone made comments about it. Still, it hung around for years. I couldn't show it off, but I had to much work invested. Some time last month I realized that if I added a 3/8 inch wide filler piece to the bottom rail, I could eliminate the difference in width between the bottom rail of the door and the clock face suround behind the door. With this done I could both raise the door so it was in line with the inner dial board, then recut the square corners at the top of the door, followed by rescribing and cutting the door's top curve of the arch.
And the problem with the reworked hood door. The glued on bottom filler piece stood out like a sore thumb. There was nothing to do but make a completely new door. The new door is pictured at the top of the page. Its about 90 percent perfect. I will tell you about my struggles with the last 10% in another post. I have typed to much, and dinner waits.
Thank you for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 11/26/2016 - 19:34
Turkeys at Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving turkeys in the apple trees
We celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday. Its a bit of a long story, but here goes. The kitchen stove's oven failed earlier this month. That stove was 27 years old so something like this had to be expected. The hassle began with the fact that we finally put an upscale counter top on kitchen base cabinets I made in the dark ages. The old stove was only 24 inches wide, and the existing opening in the new counter top would only allow us to buy a stove of the same width. We ended up special ordering a new stove through a local dealer. A projected delivery date based on a 7 to 10 day wait, naturally stretched longer. The new stove arrived at 5:00 on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. My installer arrived Friday morning at 7:30 AM.
Luckily the new stove was quickly hooked up. I started making stuffing around 10-ish. The turkey went in the oven at noon. As I was killing a little time typing the Thanksgiving greeting written in the previous post, I looked up out the window and saw a flock of wild turkeys marching across the field immediately behind the house. I yelled for Ann to come take a look. She snapped this photo with her phone. I counted over twenty birds in the group. The turkeys seem to have a circular route which they follow when searching for food, which brings them by on a regular interval.
Thanks for stopping by. STB
stevenbunn Thu, 11/24/2016 - 08:49

A quick note to wish everyone a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day, the people around you, and life in general.

God Bless Everyone, STB

stevenbunn Thu, 10/13/2016 - 08:25



The Common Ground Fair Country Fair was an awful lot of fun. I spoke with hundreds of people while working on one of my Windsor chairs. The spring-pole lathe saw lots of use by the crowd. Packing up at the close of the fair, and then unloading everything back at the shop was the usual pain. With the fair out of the way, I am in a rush to take advantage of the last warm weather of the season to get a multitude of outdoor chores done before the cold hits. The storm door on the kitchen entry needs paint. Two cords of wood need to be stacked. The entry to the shop roof has been leaking and reached the point where I couldn't ignore it any longer. So, the past week and a half has been spent peeling off the old shingles and flashing, covering everything with Water and Ice shield, and then reshingling the roof. The Ice Shield was tough to work with as it had a suicidal desire to crumple up like Saran Wrap. But that task is now finished and off the list. Ann has been looking at the main roof of the house and making noise about that roof needing to be reshingled. That's a job I am not going to attempt. Just one more thing to be added to the list. This week's must do project is repainting the shop's windows. I was primed, pun intended, to start today. But rain intervened. Bummer.

I used my new Chair-maker's plane, to which I had added a handle, at the Fair. It worked really well. I was concerned that the top of the handle might interfer with adjusting the plane iron and wedge. This did not prove to be a problam. When holding the plane I noted that my fingers were still well behind the iron when it was seated in the plane. I had about 3/4 of an inch between my fingers and the iron. So I wondered whether I could get away with makeing the plane a half inch shorter? So, during breaks from the roofing project, I made a new shorter plane body. With a handle blank fitted to the body, I inserted a spare iron and wedge. and lo and behold, my hand was still clear of the back of the blade. I've spent the last two evenings whittling a handle for the new plane. Once I finish this version up I'll have to use it a while to see which of the two planes I prefer.

Have a good day. Thank you for stopping by. STB

stevenbunn Thu, 09/29/2016 - 07:38

Large chair-maker's plane available soon!


My new large chair-maker's plane with a tote next to the smaller plane I have used for years.
I have been working on and off again over the last three years to build a chair-maker's plane that has a handle. I have had lots of questions about whether a larger round-bottomed compass plane with a handle would work as well as the smaller one I am used to. I have made several prototype plane bodies and a raft of trial handles while playing with this idea. One after another the prototypes were winnowed down because of excess weight, clunkiness, or difficulty to produce. Handles were rejected for reasons of comfort. Finally I came up with the plane shown here. It is about the size of a Stanley #2 bench plane. The handle is held in the plane body using a sliding dovetail joint.
Everything felt good, but the proof is in the pudding. I ground a blade for the new plane and put it through it's paces over three days at the Common Ground Fair. Experience with the plane led me to add a knob for the left hand to grip when using the plane. In all other respects the new plane is both comfortable to use and fits all the curves in a seat saddle as well as the small plane. I will be working on a batch for sale soon. Look for more information about this plane to be added to the TOOLS page in the coming weeks. In the meantime questions are welcomed.
Thanks for stopping by. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 09/10/2016 - 08:42

News from the shop


Common Ground Country Fair September 23, 24, 25 2016.
I will be demonstrating Windsor chair-making at the Common Ground Country Fair, in Unity, Maine. I will be in the Folk Arts Area, and will be happy to talk with anyone who stops by.
The Shaker 7-drawer dresser is in my son's room. Now if I can only teach him to close the drawers! I have pointed out on several occassions that a closed drawer hides the chaos within and creates an illusion of neatness. That's all I expect of him at the age of 22. I will let his future wife take on the task at some point in the future.
On another note, is anyone out there reading this blog? It has been over a year since I have received any comments on a post. One of the things I have noticed when reading other woodworker's blogs is that the posts become more and more infrequent, petering out to nothing, with the last post dated to 2012 or earlier. I feel compelled to write, even though I agree that many others write better than myself. So, if you read this post please send me a quick email at I would like to know if anyone out there is listening.
Thank you. Have a great day. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 09/03/2016 - 10:19

Cutting the dovetail 'tails' on my drawers


I use this simple jig and adjustable temporary fence clamped to a pair of drawer sides to cut my tails. The fence can be re-positioned to allow for any width or spacing you desire. The set up is straight forward and  easy to set up between passes with the router once you determine the stand off between the (1) cutting edge of the router and (2) the center line to the bit with the edge of the router base.
stevenbunn Sun, 08/28/2016 - 17:51

Drawer Dovetails


Dovetailed drawers with the first coat of Tung oil applied.
stevenbunn Sun, 08/28/2016 - 15:14

Shaker Chest-of-Drawers (Cont'd)


Molding glued and clamped to the front of the dresser.
I am behind on taking and posting pictures for this series of posts. I completed installing the molding over two weeks ago. Then, after final sanding the case, applied three coats of Tung oil.
Alex helped me carry the case into the house and up the stairs into his room, where it now sits. I got the finished case out of the shop as quickly as I did because I didn't want several weeks of saw and sanding dust to settle on it while I worked on the drawers. I spent last week cutting dovetails on seven drawers. This week I glued up the drawers, and then started sanding, sanding, and sanding. Amazingly, I put the first coat of Tung oil on the drawer fronts this afternoon. I expected the sanding to go on for several more days. I still need to turn twelve shaker knobs for the drawers. But the end of the project is coming in sight. STB