This past week we have been working quite hard on 5 handmade dressers. This week will be a dovetail extravaganza; as we have all the cases completed, our attention will be turned to the drawers.
As the students worked on the cases side, planing, scraping and sanding, I hear the occasional, “Oh no, there is a big dent on my side!” I make a quick run to the tool cabinet to pull out the trusty clothes iron (bought second hand) I say “We’ll just iron it out!”
The best way to remove a dent in your furniture is to get a wet cloth and put it over the dent, then set the iron on the hottest setting and simply iron over the dent. It may take a few tries to get it out; work over it a few times; you will see the steam rising; you may even want to re-dampen the rag again if it gets too dried out.
The water and steam simply raises the grain and will raise the dent right up. You can then scrape right over the surface to even it out.
Keep in mind the sooner you iron the dent, the better chance you will have to pull it up. Also keep in mind that this only works on compressed dents. It is not too successful on a cut dent.
Go get an old iron for the shop; you will be glad you did!
We are well into our annual dresser course with 5 students, each making a beautiful 4-drawer dresser that they will take home at the end of this 2 week class. The week started by hand planing and scraping the insides of the chest sides, then each person hand cut 8 dado joints and then 12 mortise-and-tenons that hold the middle frames together. By the fourth day, all the carcasses were assembled. Then each student, with deep focus, turned to carefully cutting and paring the front dovetail pieces that will hold the front frame together.
Here is Larry assembling the back frame complete with raised panels and mortise-and-tenon joints.
You must understand some of these are business executives, some retired and some not. One student told us his friends think he is crazy for not using his 2 week vacation to go to France or something like that. But he has chosen to spend his 2 week vacation building an heirloom piece of furniture, one that will be around for hundreds of years. Long after that trip to France would have been forgotten, the memories of the man who built this dresser will live on, as will his own memories of having built this piece! So in my opinion this is the best vacation that one could take!
Even now, this evening, as I sit and write, I hear the soft tap of a mallet as it carefully strikes the chisel and the swoosh of the chisel as it pares through black cherry, then the blow of the craftsman as he blows the wispy shavings out of the way. These are the few students who have chosen to stay late into the evening, working with their hands creating timeless furniture of beauty and simplicity, with joinery that will stand the test of time.
Stay tuned, and I will try to keep you posted with the progress!
We recently finished up another great foundational course. The 12 students moved along at a nice pace, and they all had a great time. This class set a speed record thanks to Jonathan keeping the coffee pot full! Or it might be the student from Montana that has done multiple Triathlons and 4 Ironman Triathlons– our newest requirement before taking the class! (just kidding)
We had students that traveled from as far away as North Carolina, Montana, and Missouri. They did so well that I had the opportunity to fit in other teaching, including showing how to make a tapered sliding dovetail, chip carving and foursquaring a board totally by hand!
One student even made a dovetail marker complete with a tapered sliding dovetail!
Of course all the students completed a box with great hand cut dovetails, a shelf and a lovely walnut table.
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To all those that took the class, thank you again and we look forward to seeing you in a future class.