Month: October 2010

Norm’s

There are not that many variations that I found on the internet for rocking horse design, most actually all that I saw are mainly 3/4″ thick pieces screwed together.I was looking for table dimentions the other day in my books and saw “The Classics From The New Yankee Workshop” a book that Aunt Sally gave me for xmas I think,  fifteen years ago maybe? it feels like a long time regardless. I am not a fan of the look he gets when his pieces are done but I have  respect for his methodical approach and efficient use of the tools at his disposal, I spent many a sunday morning watching him in the late eighty’s, early ninety’s and getting a better understanding of the methods of a modern woodworker, and this while I was working in a cabinet shop in Baltimore. I learned more from magazines and his show than I did at work. Needless to say he has put the tool industry and the woodworker on the fast track with his show.

This is a pic I took from his book of the rocking horse he does, to me it is deciding Norm, different from any I have seen and heavy clunky wood. The original is at Old Sturbridge Village in Mass. It was probably machine-made to some extent too, it has that look to me.I some times feel like we humans get stuck in the methods others use and it quickly becomes the way its supposed to be or something. This seems to be the most popular way to make these guys that I found, plans offered or ready-made,nothing wrong with it its a good design, but with so many resources at our disposal we can learn and get ideas from what is out there and make our own. It may not be liked by all or be comfortable or even rock well, like so many things in life efforts do not go unnoticed, someone else might not see it or get it but you do and in some way get better for it. I met an art teacher once who never said anything bad about others creations and it struck me, here is a guy who knows a great deal about art and doesn’t disregard anything due to personal preference, it made art seem so free, and it’s not like you would make something hideous and say “here ya go, its art” chances are you wouldn’t allow it, someone else may not like it though, and that’s ok.                                              I just felt like Andy Rooney there for a second.

Another beautiful week here in the north county, we had our first frost last night.I took this pic the other day I was working on a roof,the yellowish bomb to the left of the silo is a Hickory, one of my favorite to look at especially this time of year.

                                                                       I can’t get enough of this!

RIDERS UP!

I Finished a rocking horse that I was commissioned to make. There are a few ways to make the body but right away I thought to build it like a shaving horse with rockers, basically Windsor chair construction where the seat is the main component for holding all the necessary parts together.

 Three can ride, or at least a pregnant ladie and her daughter!
 I used Poplar for the seat (or body) and head, and Ash for the legs. The rockers (I described how I make them in a previous post) and lower deck are riven Red Oak from a log I have here at HQ.
Poplar I always enjoy working with but I don’t do much with Ash, its available and grows well around here, except this boring beetle has become a real threat to it, we have these purple boxes  hanging from some of the trees. I think it’s an effort to count the little guys and get a feel for how bad they are getting. People rave about Ash especially in green woodworking, the Britts love it, or at least Mike Abbott. It’s really good for bending and of course you’ve got your batts, baskets and tool handles. I wanted to make the animal part of this thing a lighter wood, Palomino? I like the way the three different woods contrast each other. Any way its great stuff, planes really nicely, seems more forgiving than the other woods in this horse that rocks and is a seat.
Sawed the head out and carved some detail, I originally wanted to make it a “Rank” ride,pull the chin in towards the neck a bit but it was getting too involved, maybe next time.
The Bean helped soften the edges on the lower deck pieces.
Its been beautiful here in the north county, the trees are starting to bust into color, the nights are chilly and the days are comfortable. get out and make something.