2018 in Review

In just a couple of weeks, 2018 will enter the history books. I thought before it slipped away I would reflect on the work that came out of my shop during the year. There were a lot of firsts for this old timer over the past twelve months. Lots of mistakes, lots of learning, yet lots of fun.

I started the year off with continued work on a walnut and ambrosia maple prie-dieu I was building for the Rector of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. I completed and delivered this piece in February. There is an article on this build in issue VI of, The Lost Scrolls of Handwork. Please visit Salko Safic’s, Journeyman’s Journal for the December 15, 2018 release.

March saw some much-needed reorganization. I rearranged the shop a bit to take advantage of the natural light. The building of a twenty-drawer hardware cabinet helped consolidate the wood screws, cut nails, and various other pieces of hardware I had stored all over the shop. 

The month of April was rather special for me. Not only did I make a tenoning clamp and chairmaker’s saw

and an eighteenth-century style frame saw.

But that’s not the reason this month was so special. April is when I bought my very first carving tools. I had wanted to start carving for quite some time but kept putting it off for some reason. Having stared at Peter Follansbee’s work until my eyes bled, I bit-the-bullet and bought some Hirsch Werkzeuge Carving Tools. I narrowed the purchase down to a few straight gouges and a V-tool.

The rest of the month was spent trying my hand at 17th-century style New England carving.

The merry month of May was spent working on a two-tier side table in an effort to show off my newly acquired carving skills. I also started this blog in May. Having spent the month bent over my workbench carving, I decided to give my back a break and build an elevated carving platform.

We had our kitchen renovated in June as I continued plugging along on my two-tier side table. When the kitchen work was completed, I made a carved honey-box to dress-up the counter.

July saw the completion of the two-tier side table.

With all of that carving under my belt, I decided to carve an ash box, which became known as the Beckham Box, as a wedding present for my niece.

I also carved a new stand for my bride’s Ron Box. The fourth of July just happens to be our wedding anniversary.

August is when I fell in love with cherry lumber for carving. It was during August that I started experimenting with different carving patterns. I became obsessed with running cable and S-scrolls. Having purchased John Fiske’s book, When Oak Was New, I became familiar with terms like guilloche, rondel, and nulling. 

By the end of the month, I had completed my first carved cherry box and was well into a second one with a drawer.

In September I became aware of the Art from the Heat, artist market, to be held at my church in November. I had no idea what to expect when I signed up, having never shown my wares before. So, I buckled down and started producing.

I completed the cherry box with drawer early on and then proceeded to make some smaller boxes.

One in red oak

… and one in black oak.

I thought perhaps I needed something other than boxes for the artist market, so I started to make some treenware items.

Like a small wall hung saltbox

… an oak trivet …

… and a silver tray.

October proved to be my most productive month. I carved a nulling pattern in walnut

… as well as in oak.

I also tried my hand at some wooden utensils. These things are harder than they look. My hat is definitely off to all the spoon carvers out there!

Another major accomplishment was a six-board cherry coffer.

I did a bit of practicing for an upcoming paneled coffer by carving a few serving boards.  I did one in cherry …

… one in walnut, and …

… one in ambrosia maple.

I also managed to knock out another carved box. This one was in alder.

With October behind me, I took a much-deserved break as I prepared for the November Art From the Heart. 

The artist market was a huge success. I managed to sell just about all of my wares and came away with two commissions! One, a mahogany box, carved with overlapping lunettes, which I finished the last week of November.

The other, a northern red oak box, carved with a strapwork pattern, which I finished the second week of December. Whew … what a year!

8 thoughts on “2018 in Review

  1. Dave Polaschek

    A good year, Ron. Thanks for sharing the ride.

    I’ve been reading through “When oak was new” and am up to the section on coffers. It’s an interesting book, and thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Liz Gauffreau

    Photo essays such as this one are rapidly becoming a favorite form of blogging to read. Congratulations on your publication in Journeyman’s Journal! I took a quick peek at your article. Kudos to Salko Safic for producing such a high-quality publication!

    Liked by 1 person


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