Handcrafted Country Carvers Throne PT 2

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 02-08-2013 10:10 PM 1545 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well friends, it has been one cold temperature spell the last few weeks here in my shop as you may have realized from past blogs. I finally got a chance to tend back to my main project, something new to me as I have never created a seat of any kind before.

I have found the process a lot to learn regarding proper pitch/splay when boring in the legs. It is really nothing all that complicated all the while nothing to get careless with either.

Soon the time approached for me to address my ideas to the springpole lathe and it had been quite a while since my last dance. I will not shy from the fact that I was a bit concerned and excited about turning a leg design, concerned for the now rusty greenhorn skill set I had built up a while ago but the excited feelings were there for the love of getting the lathe to make a proper song while turning the shavings loose to the ground!

So with some sketches I realized after some practice work to literally learn through the turn! These are my first official leg turnings and for the small amount of time I have been turning I was pretty satisfied with the output. Like anything you have to get at least 50 of these in your regimen before you feel like you can crank these out with accelerated ease.

The pieces of this puzzle are short in number although I was amazed at how much the craftwork contains attention to the overall piece. Lots of additional care will be used from shaving, sanding, shaping and fitting to attach this work. So far I have been able to greet each piece with the ability to learn and soak up this first attempt for further education in making things to sit on. It is extremely easy to become forgetful that any one thing we build takes a repeated exercise to attain an extended skill set for the desired work to be properly crafted. This very vital lesson was exposed to me through the meditation of consistently carving swedish spoons. Without that stage to learn on I would have had no solid reminder that any one thing we create most likely takes a a dozen at best before our whole instincts agree the job is crafted to the proper level of attaining one step of it’s understanding, performance and output.

I love the fact that for me this project although masked as an easy do it your selfer is nothing of the kind. I wanted challenges, the legs must have turnings, the seat will receive hand work of shaves, sanding and pride. I cannot stand thinking of such a piece as people dressed in commercial smocks with corporate pins high fiving that it will be done in 2 hours as it roars out stuck together by the sounds of factory. I would rather see some imperfections and embrace their charm without too much inner self doubt and know that every one of them I target as no more than an invitation to learn more of the dying craft! Once you have a love of the hand crafts you will find it extremely hard to ever find peace within expression through the faster and more accurate machine. You must be available to take those loses in trade for the commitment to the cause of traditional crafting. Also accept many others saying things like ”Your crazy, do it this way and your done already!”, lol. Oh what the hell high five then, lol!

Millers Falls brace and bit for boring the holes and the bevel gauge for setting the angle! Very important to feel for the bit lightly pushing through the other side then flip and drill. This way it will reduce the very willing problem of tearing out and messing things up more than needed.


Over to the old wood lathe, I had some closet pine dowels just about the diameter I could use and went to work on a layout for the leg.

Patience and a lot of touch is required. Once the whole body is in motion the turning becomes easier.

One of these is ready for some old style copy work. You make the first, if your happy with that then there is your template for the rest.

Getting some really nice shaves, I put the tools through some diamond stone sessions, stropped them up and they agreed to a sharp ready cut. With that said, my old pine dowel was not always grain friendly, lol.

With no room on the lathe I fixed my tool tray to my old school tool tote, lots of fun goodies in there! If you did not see, check it out!

Performing things this way forces your instincts to make the piece with every bit of skill you have. If the skills are not where you like, keep turning, I know I have much more practice although the work is a real joy.


Lightly tapping in the legwork I can see what the rough of things looks like. I as all of is want to see every proportion from all angles.

Ok, a rough version of the legs and top. They are not tapped or fitting through yet, this is literally a rough for composition. The legs will receive additional tapering, rounding and inspection. It feels really good to accomplish something new, my first legs!

Well gang, lots more trouble to get into with this one, but I am happy with the process so far. Hoping for more human temperatures like 40 degrees or above, lol.

Thanks for taking a look, and stay safe in this ever changing weather!

Be well and enjoy your work!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

9 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4384 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 10:50 PM

The legs and stool look very good so far Joe. I read somewhere that in the past a turner was able to do about 40 chair legs a day using a pole lathe. I doubt I could equal that on my motor driven lathe!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3458 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 11:35 PM

Nice job. Put a hand-hole on the top and it would make a great “milk” stool.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 02-09-2013 04:51 AM

great job, but expect nothing less from you.. all your work is top notch.. looking forward to seeing it completed… keep up the great work.. Papa

-- Papa...

View Brit's profile


8305 posts in 3892 days

#4 posted 02-09-2013 09:14 AM

Joe, what a fantastic job you’re making of that stool. The legs are perfect with just enough embellishment. Great photos too. I especially like the shot of your lovely tool tote in action. However, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness for that old saw in the scrap pile behind it. Is there no hope for it?

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3628 days

#5 posted 02-09-2013 09:30 AM

Very nice !
(and I don’t say this because I am always partial to anything done on the spring pole lathe…)

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bĂȘte mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3652 days

#6 posted 02-09-2013 03:01 PM

Hey friends I thank you very much! No worries Andy that saw will get some good care very soon thanks to your great blog work! I am thankful to have such talented friends on this site that constantly inspire my work!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Doug's profile


1235 posts in 3810 days

#7 posted 02-09-2013 03:16 PM

Thanks for the blog Joe. Sometimes it seems that the most simple projects aren’t so simple, huh? I’ve discovered that using hand tools is no small task. I have yet to build a chair or stool using only hand tools but I can almost bet that it would teach me new things about the wood, the tools, and myself. Take care.

-- Doug

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3740 days

#8 posted 02-10-2013 02:50 AM

I am in awe of you hand tool guys! And a pole lathe! That is REAL woodworking.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3889 days

#9 posted 02-11-2013 10:50 PM

That is impressive. Really.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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