Thursday, July 10, 2014

Friday's Fisher House Tour

L to R: Robin, Karen, Julia, Tom, Chris, and I

 Last Friday morning, Tom and Karen Lie-Nielsen, Chris Schwarz, Julia Kalthoff, and Robin Macgregor met me at the Fisher house in Blue Hill. Though Tom and Karen had visited a few times years ago, I gave the whole group a full tour. I shared the back story as we walked through the house discussing what the winter’s investigation has found. We pulled out a few drawers and looked at some construction details. There were definitely objects we passed by as they have no documented connection to the Fisher family. Besides the furniture and the 1814 house itself, we looked at some of his tools that are on display. 

Photo credit: Chris Schwarz

I showed them his turning tools, a few files, strops, auger bit, etc. We also looked at this interesting framed (tenon?) saw. None of us had seen anything exactly like it before. 6 tpi with a cutting depth of about 3” on an 18” blade. What do you think? Tenon saw?



Through tenoned tote

Fisher's workbench (you're looking at the back)

We also looked at Fisher’s only surviving workbench (of the many he made) with mitre boxes and backsaw. It probably won’t surprise anyone that Chris made a lot of keen observations about the bench. And now that he’s pointed some of this stuff out I am even more excited about it. I plan to replicate it in the not-so-distant future. After the bench and various vises, I brought them over to the recently discovered lathe. This piece I have not had a lot of time to examine yet because I only found it a little while ago. 

the lathe

Awesome use of  a tree crotch!

We spent a good two hours at the house. That’s better than the three I spent with Freddy Roman. Somehow I’ve gotta boil this tour down to under an hour for the 200th Anniversary Event in two weeks. I’ll keep working on that. They all seemed to genuinely enjoy their time at the house and I was grateful to have them take an interest in my research. 

After lunch, most of the gang went back to Rockland but Chris and I drove over to my studio. I showed him my little space and we discussed the benefits of small shops. I also got him to sign the bottom of the traditional cabinetmaker’s tool chest I’m making. Now that the thing is Schwarz Certified, I will be able to finish it up and bring it to Leonard’s Mills in fall. Thanks, Chris.

From there we drove out to the Hull’s Cove Tool Barn. Chris wrote about the visit here. We each got a few things but Chris didn’t get a certain item he was pining after. He did, however, show me a delightful Millers Falls mitre box. The former owner babied this thing and even built a custom base for saw storage. Pretty cool, I’d say. I have been looking out for one of these for a while so I‘m glad Chris pointed this one out to me. (My apologies to Ric “Canadian Gravity Latch” Archibald who we ran into while shopping. He also wanted it but I guess I was closer. By Ric’s request, here are some shots of the carrying base.) 

Mitre box

Slot for saw storage

Small built-in drawer on the other side

All packed up and ready for travel

Chris and I had a good time talking about his work, my work, and the Jonathan Fisher research. There have been so many things uncovered thus far but I know there is still so much more to go. I look forward to bouncing thoughts and ideas off of Chris, Don Williams (whom I’ve been consulting), and the readers of this blog. It looks like this thing has taken off and I anticipate a fun ride.


  1. Thanks for posting this. That tenon saw is fascinating. I wonder if it came about as an experimental design or just as a sort of fix to produce a tenon saw without having a full saw plate and back.

  2. I saw a similar saw on Ernest du Bois blog just today. His is a miter saw, and is metal framed. but very similar in design. I thought you might be interested to see it.

    Picture of the saw:

    and blog post:


    1. Thanks, Nathan. Good find. I did pursue this idea of F's saw being used as a mitre saw. It is possible but I have found no evidence of it being used that way. More research to do! Thank you!

  3. I really like the Mitre box. It's so nice. Thanks for great sharing.