I spent the afternoon with Peter Follansbee at his shop at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts – watching him work for a profile I’m writing about him for Popular Woodworking Magazine. “The Peter Show” – as some Plimoth employees refer to it – consists of Peter working in his shop as visitors pepper him with questions … Read more
Tag Archives: Peter Follansbee
We’ve just added to our store what I think is one of the most important woodworking books I’ve seen in some time: “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th-century Joinery,” by Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee (Lost Art Press). Sure, given my interest in all things early modern, I’m partial to … Read more
Whether or not you’re able to attend the Woodworking in America Conference (Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Greater Cincinnati), you can still learn top-notch woodworking techniques from our expert speakers. Read more
The cost of this stock is physical exertion, but it’s fun and rewarding.
By Peter Follansbee
From the October 2011 issue #192
Buy the issue now
The riven oak that I use for joinery work is the best stock available; but it comes at a cost – the labor invested to produce it. Money can’t buy this material; you must split and plane it. But the rewards are many. The oak produced in this manner is unsurpassed, better even than quartersawn stock. Each riven board is perfectly radial, and consequently very dimensionally stable. Straight-grained oak, freshly split, or “green,” works like a dream. The effort involved in splitting and “dressing” the stock is physical, but fun work.
VIDEO: Watch bodger Don Weber split a log.
BLOG: Read Peter’s blog on period shop practices and joinery.
TO BUY: “17th Century New England Carving,” a new DVD from Peter Follansbee.
IN THE STORE: “Mechanick Exercises” by Joseph Moxon.
Straightforward work with V-tools and gouges creates a lively result. By Peter Follansbee Pages: 51-55 From the June 2009 issue #176 Buy this issue now Seventeenth-century New England joiners produced a variety of furniture forms; the most common surviving pieces are carved boxes and chests. The joined chests’ structure is a frame-and-panel format: often three … Read more
Period inventories offer a tantalizing glimpse – but not the complete story. By Peter Follansbee Pages: 22-23 From the June 2010 issue #183 Buy this issue now Seventeenth-century joiners made furniture in a style quite different from what came later. Their work relied almost entirely on frame-and-panel construction featuring mortise-and-tenon joinery. Nails played a big … Read more
Panel seat requires beefy tenons for support.
By Peter Follansbee
From the October 2010 issue # 185
Buy this issue now
Seventeenth-century chairs come in many styles: plain turned chairs with woven seats, carved joined chairs in leather or wool, and one particular type of chair that is a little unusual these days – the turned chair with a board (really a panel) for a seat.
These chairs come in both four-legged and three-legged versions, from fairly austere to extremely complex and decorative. They can be made of ash, beech, fruitwoods and yew. Typically they are made with large-scale components, resulting in a massive appearance. The four-legged variety was made in New England during the 17th century, and, although there are many examples of three-legged ones surviving in England, there is no evidence of one being made in New England. I usually use ash for the turned parts, and any hardwood board for the seat panel. Oak is my first choice; I’ve also used elm or cherry.
I often make the three-legged version; it is challenging and fun to make, and it always gets a lot of attention. The geometry involved is a little more sever than with the four-legged chairs, but not all that different. The distinctive element in these chairs is the joinery at the seat-rail height.
The joinery in three-legged chairs with board seats differs from four-legged chairs with woven seats. On a fiber-seat chair, the seat rails are at staggered heights; thus the tenons do not interfere inside the posts.
Web site: See more of Peter’s work and read his blog.
Web site: Discover more about Plimoth Plantation.
Blog: Read Adam Cherubini’s Arts & Mysteries blog.
In our store: We feature a three-legged Chinese stool in the Winter 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine. Read more