This is what we've been all about lately: waiting on baby. I think we're close.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
|Swietenia macrophylla - Honduran Mahogany|
My good friend Freddy Roman recently shared a link to a blog post about the author’s time at a Wood Identification class taught by furniture conservators Tad Fallon and Randy Wilkinson. Included in the post are seven video clips from the class. The clips are a great watch.
|Quercus Rubra - Northern Red Oak|
This got me thinking again about wood identification. At the Institute where I studied, we got an introduction to basic microscopy for conservation examination but I never got time to delve into wood I.D. from endgrain samples. It wasn't until after I graduated that I began to experiment with this technique.
In order to do this kind of examination, you really only need a 10x jeweler’s loupe looking at cleanly sliced endgrain. They can be had for $10 or less. Though I have and use one occasionally, I find the desire to photograph what I am seeing. Without a microscope in my studio, I utilize macro photography. I purchased these inexpensive macro lens filters for my 17-85 lens and Canon 60d. With adequate lighting, a tripod, and cropping in photo editing software, I can get usable images for comparison to samples in wood ID reference material.
|Swietenia macrophylla - Honduran Mahogany|
I am not a conservation scientist so my conclusions are not definitive but as best as I can tell, the attributions in these captions are right. The bible on the topic is Bruce Hoadley’s Identifying Wood but I also find The Hobbit House site helpful when identifying pieces. (Scroll down to bottom of their page to look up specific woods.)
|Juglans Nigra - Black Walnut|
Often identifying primary woods (show surface hardwoods) on antique furniture is easily done without this intrusive of an investigation. Sometimes, however, a little confirmation of what I already suspect is helpful.
Monday, November 17, 2014
“In some instances it may be necessary for a man to keep knowledge to himself, as his own property, and upon which his bread may depend; but I do not see any impropriety in persons of the same branch informing each other. In trades where their arts depend on secrets, it is right for men to keep them from strangers; but the art of cabinet-making depends so much on practice, and requires so many tools, that a stranger cannot steal it. But in every branch there are found men who love to keep their inferiors of the same profession in ignorance, that themselves may have an opportunity of triumphing over them. From such I expect no praise, but the reverse. Their pride will not suffer them to encourage any work which tends to make others as wise as themselves; and therefore it is their fixed resolution to despise and pour contempt upon every attempt of this kind, in proportion as it is likely to succeed. But those I will leave to themselves as unworthy of notice, who only live to love themselves, but not to assist others.”
-Thomas Sheraton, 1793, “The Cabinetmaker’s and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book”
Saturday, November 15, 2014
|The Jonathan Fisher House|
This past Monday night the Jonathan Fisher Memorial put on its annual meeting. Among other things on the meeting’s agenda, I was elected to serve on the board. I am honored as I look forward to becoming more involved in the preservation efforts for this unique historic site. I am not sure exactly where I will be spending most of my board service time, but I do know they would like some help with the internet and marketing load. I also have been asked about environmental monitoring for the care and protection of the artifacts. As it is a volunteer organization there are more needs than there are volunteers to fulfill.
|Detail of "Blue Hill, Maine" (circa 1853-1857) by Fitz Henry Lane|
|Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.|
The meeting’s featured guest lecture titled "A Genius in His Profession: The Life and Work of Blue Hill Architect George A. Clough" was given by the Maine State Historian and Director of Maine State Historic Preservation Commission Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Both he and our own Brad Emerson have been researching George Clough’s (1843-1910) architectural practice in both Blue Hill, ME and Boston, MA. A Blue Hill native, Clough worked as Boston’s first city architect. He designed a vast number of buildings in both Massachusetts and back home in Maine.
|Carriages in front of Clough House in Blue Hill, ME|
|George A. Clough, Architect|
|"Ideal Lodge" of Blue Hill designed by Clough for Effie Ober Kline|
Shettleworth highlighted Clough's work in Maine specifically and talked much about his time in Blue Hill designing new and renovating a number of the old homes he grew up with. Shettleworth’s talk was enlightening and I appreciate his willingness to come this far Downeast to speak at our meeting. Thank you, Earle.
|Clough designed the Suffolk County Courthouse on Pemberton Square, Boston|
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I recently felt the urge to put up a little shelf above my desk at home so that I could clear my desktop a bit. Not looking for anything super elaborate (and not wanting to spend much time on it), I decided to screw an old board onto two brackets and attach it to the wall.
Conveniently, a client of mine gave me a few orphaned walnut table leaves to reclaim them to some good use. So use them I did. I did very little to them other than partially strip the crusty finish, scratch a molding profile on the front, and cut out a cyma reversa-ovolo-cyma recta profile on the brackets. Then I stuck it on the wall. Now my clutter has class.
Posted by Joshua Klein at 7:21 PM
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
- Stalker and Parker, “A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing”
Monday, November 10, 2014
Last Sunday, we woke up to snow. The first snow of the year, actually. It kept coming and coming. The forecast didn't look optimistic so we buckled down and waited out the storm. We ended up with 8-10” of snow/slush and lost our power by that afternoon.
|Harvesting in the middle of the snow storm!|
|Our wintry loot|
Tree limbs were snapping and cracking all around us. One falling limb had narrowly missed our windows. It was pretty intense. Then Monday came. Then Tuesday. Wednesday… You get the idea. It was a splendid thing Friday night when the lights came back on. We felt civilized again.
|Our mud oven survived|
So thanks to all friends who shared their shower, dishwasher, generator, and food with us. My nine-month-pregnant wife really likes hot running water so we are grateful.