Sunday, October 27, 2013

SAPFM Phil Lowe Seymour Night Stand Project


Phil Lowe prepares to route the field for an inlay on a leg.

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers New England chapter at Phil Lowe's Furniture Institute of Massachusetts. This was the second in a series of free presentations where Phil is building a Seymour night stand, assisted by Freddy Roman.

Freddy had originally suggested the idea to Phil, similar to the series Al Breed has been giving to the Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers Period Furniture Group. Phil is another one of those museum-quality woodworkers, and in fact has worked on a number of projects for various museums in the area.

I've learned a great deal from Phil's articles in books and magazines over the years. Once again this just confirms what a great guy he is, like Al very generous with his time and knowledge. We're incredibly fortunate to be in a part of the country where we can spend time with people like this.

I missed the first meeting where Phil showed how to draw up the project due to other commitments, but I'll be there for the remaining ones, 9AM-12:30PM on the following Saturdays:
  • December 14
  • Feburary 22
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
Meetings are open to SAPFM members and guests, but space is limited. If you'd like to attend, contact Freddy at sapfmnechapter@gmail.com. Not a SAPFM member? You can join here for a modest cost.

As an additional bonus, Phil is offering paid workshops the Sunday following each meeting for those who'd like to build along. I think that's a great way to pay him back for his generosity.

This project involves cabinetmaking and joinery, inlaid veneers, stringing, and cross banding, doors and drawers, and shaped feet, accessible to those at any skill level. Phil is using a mix of hand and power tool methods. This is especially helpful for those taking the Sunday workshops to ensure everybody is able to complete their projects.

The goal for this meeting was making the inlaid legs. Freddy had already dimensioned the mahogany leg blanks. Phil demonstrated how to route out the field with a hand router or with a trim router and jig, then clean up the corners with chisels.

He showed how to orient the 1/16" thick tiger maple veneer face to show off the chatoyance to best effect. He glued that in with Old Brown Glue, then inlaid the black and white stringing surround, showing how to miter the corners. Then he scraped the inlaid face flush.


Cleaning out the corners of the field.


Scraping the inlay flush with the leg.

Using the full-scale drawing, he laid out the transitions and coves of the foot. He shaped these on the table saw and router table. Then he removed the excess on the bandsaw. He finished up the foot with a spokeshave and rasp.


The shaped foot and inlaid face. It still needs a few fine details finished off.

I helped out by running Phil's video camera, projecting closeups on a screen and recording it so he can produce videos. After the meeting we downloaded the video to his Mac and reviewed it. It came out pretty well.

Meanwhile, don't miss the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at FIM December 6 and 7. I'll be there on the 7th demonstrating for SAPFM.

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