stevenbunn Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:20

A House for the kids

Recent visitors will have noticed that I have not posted anything new since July. This is because my time since July has been taken up with building a new house on our property for my younger son and his fiance. See the picture posed below.

Thank you for dropping by STB

stevenbunn Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:12

Building A House for the Kids

stevenbunn Fri, 07/05/2019 - 20:21

A Newly Turned Miniature Stretcher


One of the miniature center stretchers I turned today.
I recently finished a bonnet top hood for a tall case clock. I will post several pictures of the hood in the coming days. This week I have been turning parts for a new batch of my 1/4 scale miniature Sackback Windsors.  Shown here is one of the newly turned stretchers which I have just sanded. Turned out of a split out piece of maple, the stretcher is one half inch in diameter at its widest and six inches in length. With these done I can start assembling the miniatures this weekend.
Thanks for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Sun, 04/28/2019 - 16:21

Making and installing fluted quarter columns on the clock case

A close up view of one of the turned quarter columns glued and clamped in position
As I stated in an earlier post, one of the aspects of case construction I wanted to explore was making and fitting fluted quarter columns to a clock case. Following Franklyn Gottschall's plans, I glued up a 2-1/4 inch square turning billet from four smaller 1-1/8 inch square lengths of cherry. The laminated squares were seperated by strips of brown paper. Gottschall's drawings show the columns turned in one piece with the column's base and top sections turned at the same time as the center shaft. I followed this procedure. The flutes were cut using a 1/4 inch diameter grooving router bit. This created three grooves down the length of each quater column. Frankly, Franklyn, the result looked clunky. Most of the antique clock cases I have examined have much more delicate and numerous flutes on each quarter column. I decided that the columns as made were junk. I glued up a new laminated turning billet. The column base and capitals turned out OK on the first rejected column stock. I  carefully trimmed these elements off the duds and glued them in place in the case. I then re-routed the flutes in the new turning using a 1/8 inch diameter grooving router bit, with the grooves cut on 1/4 inch intervals. This spacing created 1../8 inch wide flutes. I think this looks infinitly richer than the first effort. The completed fluted shaft quarters were carefully trimmed to length and glued in place. Not bad for a couple of days work.
I am already thinking about turning several examples of column profiles based on photographs of clock caes featured in Antiques Magazine. A great thought, but given my time constraints maybe something for the next life time.
Thanks for stopping by. STB
Another quick comment. Based on Google reports exactly four people visited this site last month. Those four visits probably recorded my own views of the site as I checked on the site. If this number is valid, this is really depressing. Bummer
stevenbunn Sun, 04/21/2019 - 17:12

Making and installing Ogee Feet on the Clock Case

Ogee pattern feet fitted to the base of the clock case.
This week I concentrated on fitting a panel to the front of the case's base, making and fitting base molding, and then making the ogee bracket feet. Gottschall's plans show a simple flat panel for the front of the base. I wanted to do something different. I ended up deciding to try a molded panel mounted in high relief that stands proud of the front frame. Alternatively I thought about doing a panel shaped like a beaver skin. You see this feature on a number of antique clocks. It intriques me, but I could only pick one of several options.
I used a block plane and several of my hollowing planes to shape an opee profile on a length of 1-1/2 inch thick pine. As simple as the basic molding profile is, the result when finished is striking to the eye. The bracket feet are glued and screwed to the underside of the case.
A few additional points I didn't include in last week's post.
When I work on a new design or prototype I frequently build things in pine. When I inevitably screw up it is less painful to ripe something off and start over. I started this project with the intent of improving my skills in making bracket feet, decorative quarter-round fluted turnings, and working with my collection of molding planes.
Thanks for stopping by, STB
stevenbunn Sat, 04/13/2019 - 20:44

Working on a base for a Gottschall Tall-Case Clock Case


A tall-case clock case based on a design published by Franklyn Gottschall
I thought I would take a break from working on hand planes. So for something completely different I decided to built the lower clock case for the Gottschall hood I built several years ago. When I started out looking for an apprentice position years ago, I visited the Irion shop in Paoli, PA. At the time I did not know of that shop's reputation for creating reproductions of classic Philadelphia Chippendale furniture. While there I saw eight tall-case clocks, all the same, all presold for $12,000.00 each not including the clock works or the painted dial faces, under construction. What I saw blew me away. The show room had a display of the different styles of tall-case clock hoods mounted like art on the walls around the room. That visit has stayed in my mind ever since.
With the economic down turn of 2008-2009 I was lucky to have a back log of orders which carried me along for several years. Building Windsor chairs is the core of my business, but the slow down in new orders made me think long and hard about other market niches to explore. Unfortunately, the entire antique business and interest in reproduction clocks hit the skids as the economy cratered. Why buy a reproduction clock case from me for $12,000.00, when you could walk into an antique store and buy a real 1770 turban top tall-case clock made in London for $5,000.00. And even then no one would touch it dispite the give away price. Not a good time to start building tall-case clocks. Which of course was what I did.
I built several clock hoods to display in the shop to include one based on a Franklyn Gottschall design. Long story, but I have had this beautiful hood hanging in the shop. It lacked the rest of the lower cabinet. I will post pictures as this project progresses.
Thanks for stopping by. STB
stevenbunn Sun, 03/17/2019 - 13:23

Squirrel-tail Palm Planes

Two of my latest batch of squirrel-tail palm planes
One of the frequent questions my wife raises is 'is there anything you can make that will sell for $75.00 or less at a craft show?'  Up to now my answer has always been no. My chairs sell in the range of $1,000.00 apiece on up. When I go to shows I expect to make contacts with potential customers, but it rare for someone to purchase a chair on the spot. Still Ann's question has been nagging me for years. And, admittedly, I would like to make something small that would be attractive to the many woodworkers I speak with at shows.
Over the past several years I have spent more and more of my time in the shop working on a variety of specialized planes suitable for Windsor chair-making. One of the designs I recently came up with was a pair of prototype squirrel-tail palm planes, one with a flat sole and the second with a convex sole. After playing around with the design and putting the first planes through thier paces, I have made a first batch of the palm planes with convex radiused soles. As I write this post I have not yet heat treated the blades I ground for this batch of palm planes. I will get to that shortly.
My palm planes are available with bodies made from either quarter sawn european beech or tiger maple with european beech infill. The wedges are made using Central American rose wood.The planes are 1-3/8 inches in width, 4-3/4 inches in length, and stand 2-3/4 inches in hieght. The stop against which the wedge seats is reinforced with a brass rod running from side to side. As with all my plane blades, the blades for these planes are made using O-1 tool steel which I grind and heat treat myself. The blade for the palm plane is cut from 1 inch wide steel stock.
As well as selling these planes through my website, I will list several on ebay. The planes will sell for $75.00 plus shipping.
Questions or comments please contact me.
Thanks for stopping by, STB
stevenbunn Sun, 02/03/2019 - 12:18

New Chair-makers Plane with a Tote


My latest design of a chair-makers plane with a tote
I am listing one of my new chair-makers planes with tote on ebay. I am currently finishing up work on a batch of ten, but have not yet heat treated nor tempered the blades for that group of planes. Several are ready to go so I am interested in putting them up for sale to see what reactions to this latest design will be.
I have been working off and on for a number of years, is it six or eight?, to arrive at a design which I am satisfied with. I have a box full of earlier prototypes filled with rejects which I keep around to document the journey. I arrived at a workable design about three years ago, and used that plane at the Common Ground Country Fair, where I demonstrated Windsor chair making for three days. That particular variant lacked a front knob. I used it like some of the European design hand planes which lack a front knob. Three days saddling seat blanks left me with several impressions. The tote worked well, as well as the smaller plane I have used for years. But, the lack of a front knob meant that my hand partially obscured the plane's throat when I was bearing down on the front end of the plane. Adding a front knob to the design meant either lengthening the body of the plane, or reducing the throat opening. Neither option really appealed to me. On the other hand, using that plane made me realize that in use the plane iron could be taken in and out of the plane without the tote being in the way. This meant that I could shorten the length of the stock, allowing for the addition of a front knob, move the tote's forward, and still reduce the overall length by a good inch.
With this experience in hand, I made another prototype resulting in the design pictured above. The finished plane is 7-1/4 inches long, 2-1/8 inches in width, and 6 inches in hieght with the tote. The tote is secured to the stock of the plane with a sliding dovetail joint. This batch of planes uses a plane body laminated using cherry and maple.
I am asking $225.00 plus $17 and change for priority mail.
Thanks for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Mon, 01/28/2019 - 20:01

Chair-maker Planes Listed on Ebay

One of my small chair-makers hand planes
I recently listed five of my latest batch of chair-maker planes for sale on Ebay. This plane is a must have tool for anyone wanting to make a Windsor chair. It performs the same task as a travisher, but in my opinion is easier to use, easily rolling in your hand to fit all the curves found in a chair seat. I use this plane to smooth the seat saddle after I have roughed out the saddle with a mallet and gouge. Made using maple and beech. The blade is made from O-1 tool steel which I have heat treated and tempered using a forge in my shop.
I have made hundreds of chair using a hand plane exactly like the one  pictured above. I ask $145.00 for each plane, plus shipping.
I have finalized my design for a larger sized chair-maker plane fitted with a tote. This version is roughly the size of a #2 bench plane. I have been working with several prototypes of this design now for about six years. Work with these prototypes has led me to pare down the plane in overall size and improve its performance to the point where I think the design is ready to introduce for sale. I am currently working on a batch of ten planes, sold under the imprint of Henge Hill Tools. These will also be listed on ebay when finished.
Thank you for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 10/27/2018 - 14:49

Work in Progress


Two of three Tracy Fan-back side chairs I am making for a customer
Thank you to those of you who stopped by my demonstration at the Common Ground Country Fair. It was a pleasure to talk with you all. I think I ended up talking more about woodworking in general than Windsor chair-making. By the end of the day Sunday I had completely lost my voice.
Last week I was browsing through the college library looking for something interesting to read. I found a book "Preserved in the Peat" written by Andy M. Jones which describes the  archaeological excavation of a Bronze Age burial on Whitehorse Hill, in Dartmoor. "The dig revealed an unexpected intact burial with with an unparalled range of artifacts. The cremated remains had been placed with in a bearskin pelt and provided with a basketry container.... Within the container were beads of shale, amber, clay and tin, two pairs of turned wooden studs.
The wooden studs were radiocarbon dated to 3,709 +/- 33 BP (Before Present Era) No one seems to be able to say Before Christ anymore. This discovery of lathe turned wood is the earliest evidence of wood turning in Bronze Age Britian. Pretty cool and something I think is of interest to the those of us who are wood turners.
Thanks for stopping by. STB