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
stevenbunn Sat, 08/20/2016 - 17:51

Shaker Chest of Drawers Construction (Cont'd)


Cherry face-frame members have been glued to the front of each drawer divider.
The blue painter's tape masks the case sides and front at the top of the carcase to preserve a clean straight join for the molding which will be installed next. The case top edges were cleaned up with careful hand planeing and belt sanding, then masked before the rest of the case was sanded to 220 grit. STB
stevenbunn Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:39

Shaker 7-Drawer Chest Construction


The frame and panel back fitted and installed in the case.
The panel was constructed so that it was a little over sized in both length and width. Then it was carefully trimmed on the tablesaw and jointer to achieve a tight fit in the case's back opening. The rabbets in the case sides and top were 3/4 inches deep. The back panel was constructed so that it ended up being 11/16 inches thick. This allowed the panel to sit in the rabbets with the top and back edges about a 16th of an inch strong. This exposed lip was planed flush with the back panel for a clean sharp appearance.. Then the back was cleaned up a beltsander and orbital sander. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 08/13/2016 - 09:41

Fitting Face Frame in the Case Front (Cont'd)


Face frame fitted and glued to the drawer dividers
After carefully chiseling out pockets for the dovetail pins in the case front, glue is applied to both the leading edge of the dividers and the dovetailed pockets. To keep from chipping out the dovetails, I drive them to depth using a block of scrap wood and my dead-blow mallet. With the frame members seated, I clamp the frame stock to the drawer dividers. I pay attention to aligning the top surface of the frame member with the top surface of the divider. Use another hand-screw clamp to help pull things into line as needed.
I will finish up by fitting a small vertical piece of frame stock in the middle of the top drawer opening to form the drawer openings for the top two drawers. After that I will cut and fit tapered feet to the case front at the bottom pf the piece.
Well, I've spent enough time pecking away at the computer. You all have a good day. I'm off to the shop. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 08/13/2016 - 09:12

Fitting Dove-tailed Face Frame Stock to the Case

Dovetailed face frame dry fitted in the case front.
On this piece of furniture the face frame is decorative. The drawer dividers have already been installed. The dividers are screwed to the case at the front, from underneath, and left to float in the dados to allow for wood movement in the case sides. Because the dovetails are not structural, the dovetailed pockets chiseled into the front of the case don't have to be cut to the full depth of the frame stock. So I carefully under cut the dovetailed ends of the face frame using a cross cut sled with a stop block on my tablesaw. The face frame is then snapped back in place in the case front. I use a square to line up the top edge of the face frame member with the top surface of the drawer divider. Then use a marking knife to scribe around the dovetail pin. I waste away as much material as I dare with a laminate trimmer and fluted straight bit, and finish the pocket for the dovetail by paring to the scribed lines with a bench chisel.
Stock for the 13/16 inch square face frame pieces were cut from the same piece of cherry, and then numbered so that there is complete grain match across the frame members on the case front. Sawn stock was jointed on all four sides to eliminate saw kerf marks. The photo above shows a burn mark dispite being passed over the jointer. I will have to clean that up with sand paper before applying a fnish to the case.
Past vistors to this blog will remember that the dovetailed drawer dividers on the Shaker workbench were structural and that the dovetailed dados in the front legs were cut fully thru the legs. Scroll down to see this if you are interested.
Thanks for visiting. STB