An Extended Thanksgivukkah Weekend Campaign Furniture Campaign
After a feverous bout of Thanksgivukkah eating binges and family gatherings, interspersed with long periods of time in my man-cave workshop, I’ve finally come up to take a breath. Literally, because I’ve been working with some Burmese teak again, and I’m always wearing the dust mask, particularly with the turning I’ve been doing over the last week. The Teak dust tends to stick to things because of the oil content of the wood, as well as the fact that each turning chip is a positively charged particle looking for a place to stick. Up until recently, I’ve never been much of a turner. I never could get comfortable enough with the tools to really want to spend some time honing my skills.
I picked up a set of the Easy Wood Tools at Woodworking in America (thanks Woodcraft) because they came highly recommended by Chris Schwarz. I also wanted to build a set of the Roorkhee chairs he featured in both Popular Woodworking and in the upcoming book on Campaign Furniture, due out early 2014. I also wanted to make them out of Teak, so every cut counts, and I didn’t trust my skills enough on the lathe with the traditional gouges. Easy Wood Tools are a game-changer for me. They really make turning fun, bordering on mindless in fact. The changeable, super-sharp carbide tip and square metal post allows the tool to remain perfectly referenced on your tool rest and against the work itself. The level of control and feel possible from these tools can produce a nearly perfect surface on curved and rounded faces. The first set of “test legs” I turned last were from some ribbon stripe Sapele I had lying around. For the six legs, I can spot only a few minor mistakes.
These six legs became the first installment of a much larger campaign on Campaign Furniture I recently embarked on. These three-legged stools (one pictured above) are a surprisingly comfortable, easy weekend project. Plus, if you’ve never worked with leather before, this is a great place to start. Walking into a leather & hide store is what it must be like for a non-woodworker to walk into a Woodcraft — lots of people with beards speaking a language you don’t quite understand. With a little help from the management, I walked out with a few tools, hardware and some leather scraps for around $60. I chose the copper rivet method of binding the leather over the more labor intense stitching method, plus the copper should age nicely over time. I’m just going to let the leather age naturally, versus dyeing them. With a little UV and wear, they should build up a nice patina.
These folding stools are a nice gift you can make for a tail-gating/sports enthusiast (perhaps the next one will be made from Ash and baseball glove-colored leather). In our home, they occupy the front and back interior entryway, where you can sit and comfortably take off your shoes. Just don’t assume a 4 year old can navigate a three-legged stool on the first attempt, my nephew confirmed that last night. I’ve also heard some people say that they can be an easy way of offering additional seats for guests during a party. I’ve got something a little bigger in mind for that purpose, a set of teak Roorkhee chairs I just finished turning this past weekend.
The rest of the teak I have remaining will have to wait until the book on Campaign Furniture comes out from Lost Art Press. So go out and get yourself some Easy Wood Tools and start training for your next campaign.