Wednesday, February 9, 2011

17th Century New England Carving DVD

Many of you are familiar with Peter Follansbee who builds authentic reproduction 17th century New England furniture and writes the blog Joiner's Notes.

Peter works almost exclusively in oak. He splits the logs, planes the boards, carves them, and joins them. From start to finish, he works wood exactly as they did three centuries ago.

Most of his pieces include ornately carved designs which mimic those found in museums and private collections—pieces he has examined first-hand.

Lie-Nielsen produced an 88-minute video in late 2010 featuring Peter and his carving techniques. In the movie, Peter explains the tools and materials, and the postures and grips needed to replicate these patterns.

You only need a few carving tools (he uses four or five gouges and a v-tool, awl, dividers, square, ruler, marking gauge, punches, and mallet) in order to produce this style of carving. This is great news for those who would like to try their hand at it but who don't want to part with a ton of money.

The proper handling of tools, and the procedure for carving decorative motifs and three different patterns are thoroughly covered. Peter starts with some practice cuts, followed by a simple repetitive design and two more layouts which escalate in increasing complexity upon the first.

Peter very clearly and concisely explains and demonstrates his techniques. He removes all the guesswork and leaves you feeling confident about being able to accomplish this style of carving.

The video captures various angles while Peter is working—close up and far away—so you can see his stance, the way he holds the tools, and the cuts he's making.

Included in the DVD are pdfs of some simple layouts, a glossary of terms, a list of selected reference material, and a photo which shows the incisions made by Peter's tools so you can see the sizes and sweeps of the gouges.

If you are interested in learning to carve pieces like this, the video will definitely help you. Combine that with the vast amount of knowledge that Peter generously offers for free on his blog, and you will have a firm grasp on how to do it.

In case you've never seen Peter in action, you can view a video I shot of him at the WIA Conference in 2009 which shows some of his fancy moves.

Here is a link to an article that Peter wrote for Woodwork magazine in 2009 which shows one of the patterns that is featured in his DVD.

Peter was featured on a Woodwright's Shop episode—season 27, number 2701. Here is the link.

The photo of the carved box is from Peter Follansbee's website.
The photo of Peter is one I took at WIA.