Tag Archives: Peter Follansbee

Spoon, Interrupted

If you’re like me you’ve been thinking, boy-howdy it’s been slow news these past few months, I sure could use a janky video of hairy dudes burning up spoons beneath a singing owl to stir things up.

We got you.

The backstory: A friend recently sent Paula Marcoux and Pret Woodburn a useful device (CharCone 24) to make small wood leftovers into charcoal. This act of generosity happened to align with Peter Follansbee’s need to rid his shop of spoons which, for whatever reason, didn’t make the grade.

Here’s the video evidence set to New Slang by The Shins.

(Video provided by Paula Marcoux–And sorry but that is not the late Christopher Lee making a cameo at :49)

 

PLYMOUTH CRAFT EVENTS

While the masses stumble about in a pumpkin spiced haze, savvy Plymouth CRAFT people know there’s more to Autumn than imitation flavor-

Riving and Hurdlemaking Weekend is coming up-October 28-29th at the Pinewoods Dance Camp, the same camp where Greenwood Fest is held. Peter Follansbee, Pret Woodburn and me will help you build your own hurdle-gate and work with you to refine your green woodworking techniques and understanding of wood grain and edge tools. All levels of experience are welcome. There’s food created by the amazing Paula Marcoux and cozy lodging is available at the camp. Sign up soon-spots go fast.

Also, don’t miss the Autumn Celebration on September 29th at Plymouth’s own Mayflower Brewery. There’ll be a kimchi demo, accompanying Korean IPA, and music by local favorites The Dinghys. Sponsored by both Plymouth CRAFT and Edible South Shore and South Coast, you can sample the world while enjoying the locally grown and made.

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Barn the Spoon

We took a little break from cleaning up several hundred thousand woodchips and shavings the morning after Greenwood Fest 2017. 

It was then that Follansbee asked me to take out my phone and shoot a quick video with he and Barn-The Spoon-Carder, one of the festival’s presenters. Barn, you see, had just written a new book–SPON: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture–and there was some confusion as to the proper pronunciation of the title. If you are remotely interested in spoon carving and green woodworking, this book is a must-own.

These two need to take this show on the road-

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hurdle-making

Hurdles-

Just 10 riven parts

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Come out of oak trees

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And a few pins besides

Worked by hand

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photo by Marie Pelletier

With wedges and froes

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Hatchets and drawknives

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photo by Marie Pelletier

While the wood is green and forgiving

And all joined together

Satisfyingly

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photo by Marie Pelletier

To fold away your sheep

Or that cilantro

That you keep

Perhaps your look

Before it leaps-

Come learn from

The bearded man named Follansbee

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Who wants you experience

The joy of making useful things

From the tree itself

It’s a lesson in wood grain

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And efficient use of edge tools

Taught in the woods between 2 ponds

Where the fire will warm you

As you carve by the light of it

Nourished by real food

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photo by Marie Pelletier

And friendly company

Hurdles to keep

Your interest in green-woodworking

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photo by Marie Pelletier

Grazed and well-ordered

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Still time to sign up for:

Riving & Hurdlemaking Weekend 

Splitting logs & practical applications, with Peter Follansbee and friends

Oct 29-30, 2016 9 am-4 pm 

Meals provided/lodging available

Pinewoods Dance Camp, 80 Cornish Field Road, Plymouth MA

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PARTY ANIMAL

Well that joiner down by the river finally realized his dream the other day…

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With the help of several friends and neighbors, he raised a frame for his workshop.

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Farmers. office workers, artists, writers, and millers from down the street and from Canada, Australia, Maine–even Newton!–were all there to help.

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Mr Follansbee and Mr Woodburn take full responsibility for this darlin’ frame, nestled seamlessly into the hillside and made of salvaged materials laid out and cut on fair winter days this year.

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While it would have been special to see FREE BRADY carved on the beam, Peter opted instead for a date–4 digits which always ring familiar here in Plymouth County.

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And no frame ever is raised without a hitch or two.

This is how a joiner owns a mistake when he’s helping to build his own workshop:

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After a yeoman’s lunch, cooked on a fire partly fueled by discarded carved panels…

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…the frame seemed almost to finish itself-

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And Mr Follansbee applied a traditional flourish for the newly raised timbers.

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Then, when the last trenail was pounded, a sight rarely seen ambled its way down the hill…

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Look at that party animal.

And though PF doesn’t partake, he rewarded the generosity of those who came to help out in friendship.

It didn’t take long before the newly raised frame saw some of its first use…

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And as the sun set west of the river-

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-we all knew this would be a place where many wonderful things are created.

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Here is a link to Peter’s account of the frame and the process:

https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/tag/timber-framing/

Also, here’s a video by Harry Kavouksorian of the raising:

https://vimeo.com/159696991

Lots of great things happening over at Plymouth CRAFT.

Check out the latest classes:

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events

 

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Swept up Shavings

14 hand-planed thoughts from the dustpan of my mind–

1. We never wear white after Labor Day-

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2. A sawmill operator moonlighting as a rapper is called Lil Wane.

3. Prophecy found behind a wall shingle up at Hatch Mill, circa 1975:

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4. True story:

You’re hustling to finish up some joinery, just going along cleaning out a mortise…

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In your haste you drive the damn chisel too deeply into gnarly grain…

STUCK !

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So you pull and twist and pull again–maybe you shoulda had decaf this morning…

Like Arthur & Excalibur that blade is finally released from its bonds!

…and the butt promptly hits you square in your forehead–

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Instinctively, you thrust the chisel away from your head-

and straight into your thigh.

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You didn’t hear this from me, but the guy’s initials were Ted Curtin Jr.

Injury added to insult.

At least you needn’t hone the chisel afterwards.

(Props to the uber-talented artist Megan Stanley for the illustrations!)

5. Your irony game is strong, WD:

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6. This is what happens whenever you drink cider in Somerset, UK:

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Friar Keegan at work at Muchelney Abbey

7. Is this meant to be distracting?

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8. This could be us but you planing:

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9. From this morning:

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10. Puritans–can’t live with ’em, can’t get ’em to believe in transubstantiation-

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11.

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12. At a pie-shop in Reading:

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13. Sampe Fest is happening this weekend at the Plimoth Grist Mill.

If you’re local, go see Kim and the crew to learn all about this essential dietary staple–You’ll never have so much fun with ground corn!

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New Bread Basket author Amy Halloran will be there–

14. This is your last chance to see Peter Follansbee shave–

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–riven stock, that is.

Plymouth CRAFT has a couple openings left in the  Riving and Hurdlemaking–a Primer on Green Woodworking workshop this weekend.

While BLUE OAK doesn’t condone impulsive actions made while holding a draw-knife, act impulsively right now to save a spot!

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We just arrived-time to split

There are a lot of good people out there looking for meaning in their work…

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And we met a bunch of them at Plymouth CRAFT ‘s most recent workshop on riving wood.

Peter Follansbee led the group and wrote about it in Joiner’s Notes.

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We set up at the venerable 1677 Harlow House. Many thanks to wonderful host Donna Curtin and the Plymouth Antiquarian Society.

Under fair skies and the come-hither of a thousand birds…

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…we talked about trees and processed green wood into usable stock.

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While we cleaved oak and pounded ash, Charlotte Russell led a Plymouth CRAFT class for those who were more inclined toward the textile arts:

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And Paula Marcoux, of Cooking with Fire fame, made a workshop-lunch for us that was, in itself, worth the price of admission.

No sooner had we filled our teeth with poppy seeds then Mr Follansbee gave us a lesson in converting ash into splints–one growth ring at a time.

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It’s an almost magical process and a lot of fun to make a trial of.

It’s pretty much therapeutic. All of this “work” is, actually.

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All around, it was a great day for splitting for those who arrived.

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See you next time?

plymouthcraft.org

Here’s the video:

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Years of academy training wasted…

and other picked up pieces…

Woodworking

…and other craft is ultimately an exercise in patience.

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Working on some old window sash recently with my wife-who has INFINITELY more patience than I do–it occured to me just how much I had to recalibrate after a summer of swinging axes, running saws, and pounding chisels. I learn a lot watching Kim work. It’s not so much a gearing down–the work is just as intense. It’s more like taking a breath, observing smaller detail and using a smaller grouping of muscles. I tend not to yell as much when I’m repairing windows. So much can be accomplished with patience. I wish I had more of it.

Half-ball

…is a ball and stick game played with a tennis ball cut in half and a broomstick. Follansbee used to play this urban game on the mean streets of Weymouth, MA.

In ye olden tymes, we’d dust off the dregs of a long day, find a wall to pitch against, and play this game with an old shop broom.

This traditional street game needs to be taught to our youth, even those from the verdant cul-de-sacs.

Here’s the windup and the proof that even joiners can throw a pretty good curve:

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Speaking

…of Follansbee…

Got an old, Elizabethan reproduction spring-pole lathe turned green oak bowling pin made by a renowned joiner/lecturer/author lying around but no time to bowl?

Try this at home!

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Speaking

…of beards–

After a while you start shaving just so people stop dropping change in your coffee cup.

-Pret

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Pret

…should market his innovative, recycled edge-tool covers.

Here’s an orange juice container covering the end of a little adze-

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And here’s a tasty IPA package securing a saw blade:

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RE2PECT

You’re a bum!

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Wedge Bramhall

…was a great Plymouthian who left us this spring.

While his name suggests otherwise, he was anything but a divider.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Bramhalls Country Store before they close for the season this Sunday, October 12.

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Fall

…kept us busy canning tomatoes on the home front.

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The grapes have been particularly sweet this year and there are lots and lots of acorns on the way.

The squirrels are going nuts.

And at a local living history attraction, autumn leaves are falling on old friends.

If you’re happen upon this image of Pret à Pilgrim, take a selfie and send it to BLUE OAK.

We’ll award something appropriate to the most creative submission!

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Old friend Alex caught up with 2-D Pret.

On-sitely humor:

That’s like a Finnish carpenter putting a Dutchman in a French door.

-Joe Chetwyn

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My kid

…demonstrated his understanding of irony the other day:

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Hewing in The Yard–a motion picture

It’s 2:23 long. It’s a video of guys chopping with axes.

Maybe you need a new hobby…I don’t know.

But at the end there’s a sweet “football” maneuver by Nigel,  who just may be the greatest  dog in the world.

Plus, there is reggae.

 

On another note…

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…there’s nice write-up about Peter Follansbee and his new work situation by Chris Schwarz of Lost Art Press:

http://blog.lostartpress.com/2014/07/14/peter-follansbee-has-left-the-building/

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There Once Was a Chest from Nantucket

Here’s a video follow-up to BLUE OAK’s previous post about a 17th century chest found in an attic on Nantucket.

Michael Burrey, who brought the chest home from the island invited good friend and colleague Peter Follansbee to have a look at it. While it does appear to have been made in England rather than New England (pit-sawn rather than riven rails) it’s difficult to pinpoint its provenance beyond that. The chest does have some intriguing features, however–a framed and paneled back, which Peter has seen in Plymouth, MA joined work. As is so often the case, there are more questions than answers.

More important than the chest itself are the two men surveying it: Michael and Peter are two renowned heavyweights in the field of historic carpentry and early New England joinery. It’s rare to get them in the same room and rarer still to document what they have to say. Though the survey and video are brief, the knowledge and experience in the room that afternoon was towering.

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That’s a hella sweet chest, Michael!

“Thank you,” replied the taciturn Mr. Burrey…

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…as we placed what is very likely a 17th century chest into the back of his appropriately-named Plymouth Voyager. We ferry back and forth some interesting things from the island of Nantucket. This trip, after a day of re-installing repaired windows at North Church, had a little detour on the way to the docks.

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The Pacific Club, home of Sylvia Antiques and more MLB Restoration.

John Sylvia, of Sylvia Antiques, had a grandfather who was a cabinetmaker. And it would seem he knew a 17th century piece when he saw one. Maybe that’s the reason he didn’t cut up or do anything which posterity would regret when this chest came into his possession. I’m not sure how long it stayed up in Mr Sylvia’s Nantucket attic, but grandson John had the good sense to contact Michael Burrey, who in turn contacted Peter Follansbee, and a couple weeks later, this relic from centuries gone by was on the HyLine to Hyannis.

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We had a nice chat on the crowed ferry with John (left above). Topics ranged from piping plovers to excavation. From the It’s a Small World Dept, we came to find out that John had once dug out a 60’s vintage pilgrim house foundation several years ago, possibly while Michael and I still worked for the museum. You just never know when there are going to be connections. I think about that now before I flip someone the bird in angry-traffic.

The chest had mostly pit-sawn elements (rather than riven material, more common in New England joinery) which I’m given to understand is one of the hallmarks of an English-made piece. Peter Follansbee, no doubt, will blog about the particulars of this well-traveled furnishing, once he’s had a chance to look at it closely.

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Some details:

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A few blown tenons, a lot of dust, and the usual wearing…kind of what you’d expect from a 400-year-old attic-dweller living on a windswept island.

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