Well, the day finally arrived and after a 9.5 hour drive from New York yesterday, today I started my stint of classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I had mentioned in an earlier post that I am doing a weekend class in embellishments leading up to a week long class building the Virginia/Carolina Huntboard. Today was day 1 of the embellishments class with Jeff Headley and Steve Hamilton.
This class is an exploratory of different kinds of mainly Federal-style embellishments. We are creating a mock-.up that ultimately might be a drawer front on a piece. However, we are doing some other things with it that would also be appropriate for a table leg or top. This is all in the spirit of learning and trying different techniques to be used later on our own pieces rather than creating a functional piece during class.
The base material for our piece is a poplar board. Today we veneered one entire face with a light colored Mahogany. Jeff and Steve use Elmers White glue for their veneering work due to the fact that it dries clear and is reversible with water and heat. In fact, that reversibility enters into their technique for adding other features to the piece after the face veneer is applied.
In the pictures (sorry for the blurry one) you can see a bit of what we did today. After the face veneer was clamped for about an hour we cleaned up the bleed-through of glue with a card scraper and scored around the edges in preparation for cross band veneers of a different species. Then the scored areas were coated with water and covered with a wet cloth and a hot iron was used to loosen the veneer. With a sharp chisel we lifted those areas and then re-clamped the piece to dry. You also can see the rounded corners made from a darker Mahogony veneer. These cross banded corners were made from two pieces cut at 45 degrees to keep the grain in a cross-wise orientation as you go around the corner. More cross banding will be put in between the corners all around the piece.
Tomorrow, we”ll be inlaying a small fan and some bell flowers as well as the remainder of the cross-banding and also applying a another stringing/banding all around the edge of the piece. In the interests of time, the fan and bell-flowers were pre-made at a veneer factory. Today we cut them out of larger sheets with a knife. An interesting fact that Jeff mentioned to us was that in the days when this kind of period furniture was being made, there were people who specialized in things like inlay, carving and turning, etc. Furniture makers would often buy their banding, fans, bell-flowers and things like that from those makers for incorporation into their furniture pieces.
I’m having a great time so far and looking forward to more tomorrow. The Marc Adams School is a great place with alot of talented and creative individuals and it certainly gets my woodworking juices flowing! Oh, and did I mention the free ice cream machine in the cafeteria…