Andrew Brant

New Years Resolutions

Andrew Brant
New Years Resolutions

As most of you probably know, I'm settling into a new shop in San Francisco. I've got a beautiful yard with a little workshop, and plenty of room to make furniture. So I'm on a mission. Make all the furniture in my house, and if anyone wants to buy something or I wind up with extra, sell them. But make it all like what I would want to have for the rest of my life. 

I've made a few things so far in this house - a large poplar bookshelf, a ton of random tables.  This weekend I built a Walnut burl table to put next to the couch.  But nothing yet that's truly 'For Life'.

Luckily, I found some beautiful reclaimed burl I was very ready to use. and needed two end tables for our couch. 

I started with a unique tool - a 'Farrier's Rasp'. I am told this is what you use on a horse before you shoe it.  Either way, it's large and excellent and sculpting away the somewhat fragile bark and edges of this burl. 

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 12.47.00 AM.png

I used a small F-clamp to my temporary bench.  This holds the wood perfectly well for this kind of rasp work, but the key is always to use two. I use shelf liner between the clamp and the work so that the work doesn't get marred. 

I followed this up with some planing.  The surface is uneven, but for this kind of table it doesn't need to be perfectly level. 

This worked fairly well, though I may end up going back at it.  These home store saw benches don't have enough weight to move the plane against and I can get out the toothed blade for this veritas low angle jack plane.  

The top of this table is 'flat enough' - flat enough for a few glasses or a spare plate, for a magazine or a lamp or some pictures in a frame. But not anywhere close to jointer flat. Working the burl is hard, and slow. 

 I followed up the planing with lots of wet sanding with  Arbranet disks,  which acted more like polishing. These are interesting - they take off a lot of material quickly, but I'm not sure the advantage over sandpaper.  I'll have to look into it. It did get the job done, just cost a bit more money than sandpaper would.   After I let it dry, I oiled the bottom and got that reasonably smooth, screwed on the legs and oiled the top. Three coats later and it's in my home next to the couch.   All in all, I finished a table pretty similar to the first table I made four years ago in about a quarter of the time. I have another that I will probably make to match the other side of the table, mostly while I focus on other projects. 

I followed up the planing with lots of wet sanding with Arbranet disks, which acted more like polishing. These are interesting - they take off a lot of material quickly, but I'm not sure the advantage over sandpaper.  I'll have to look into it. It did get the job done, just cost a bit more money than sandpaper would. 

After I let it dry, I oiled the bottom and got that reasonably smooth, screwed on the legs and oiled the top. Three coats later and it's in my home next to the couch. 

All in all, I finished a table pretty similar to the first table I made four years ago in about a quarter of the time. I have another that I will probably make to match the other side of the table, mostly while I focus on other projects. 

 I'm really happy with it. I will love it's sister the same and I may return to this table for more work later, but I'll keep it.   1) Ditch hairpin legs. They are great, they were great. They are extremely pragmatic, clean and easy. I will always have a few on hand for the odd table I need to have in an hour. But my home has enough of those. Goal #1: Legs made of wood.   2) These new power tools I have room for are fun and the benefits of breaking down stock into workable pieces is wonderful, but I really love the hand tool work. Even the random orbit sander, my holdover from the furniture refinishing days, needs to step aside. Time to burnish some scrapers and sharpen more planes. Goal #2: Even more hand tool work  3) Finishes: All oil finishes are wonderful, but I have to figure out the best way to make them shine.  My guess is that the secret is sharper, better surface prep first. Goal #3: Make surfaces that pop.   I think it's going to be a great one.    

I'm really happy with it. I will love it's sister the same and I may return to this table for more work later, but I'll keep it. 

1) Ditch hairpin legs. They are great, they were great. They are extremely pragmatic, clean and easy. I will always have a few on hand for the odd table I need to have in an hour. But my home has enough of those. Goal #1: Legs made of wood. 

2) These new power tools I have room for are fun and the benefits of breaking down stock into workable pieces is wonderful, but I really love the hand tool work. Even the random orbit sander, my holdover from the furniture refinishing days, needs to step aside. Time to burnish some scrapers and sharpen more planes. Goal #2: Even more hand tool work

3) Finishes: All oil finishes are wonderful, but I have to figure out the best way to make them shine.  My guess is that the secret is sharper, better surface prep first. Goal #3: Make surfaces that pop. 

I think it's going to be a great one. 

 

artist, printmaker from chicago