|Project by anneofalltrades||posted 06-01-2015 05:24 PM||2325 views||9 times favorited||14 comments|
My first official “big name” commission has been signed, sealed and delivered to Mark Harrell, Mr. Bad Axe Saws. The majority of the build took place in the 12 days leading up to Handworks 2015. There were many firsts in this project- first time using blacksmith made hardware, first time cutting stopped tapered sliding dovetails by hand, first project done entirely by hand (including resawing the bookmatched front with my antique 4ppi Rip Saw), first breadboards, first time using my dowel plate, first time insetting hinges, first time making tongue and groove panels by hand… the list goes on.
This piece has a cool story; not just because it began my friendship with Mark; it was a piece of many firsts (that actually turned out better than I could have hoped) and all of the wood used came with a special history of it’s own. The Black Limba came from a gentleman who had been a cabinetmaker. His whole career he had been setting aside and saving the best of the best pieces from his projects to use someday when he retired. An unfortunate accident left him unable to build furniture with a huge collection of precious hardwoods collecting dust in his basement. He and I met when I was first getting into woodwork, and one day he called me up and asked me to bring my truck over to his house. He gifted me his entire collection on the caveat that I use the wood happily, share my work generously, and pay it forward in my own way as I went. I’ve been doing my best to do so since.
The oak backing, in it’s former life, traveled literally millions of miles as tonnage on the Trans Continental Railroad. It was given to me by my 94 year old woodworking and life mentor, Frank.
The build itself took place amidst a huge transition in my own life, my husband and I were just in the process of buying a dilapidated farm we hope to restore and use as an education center for kids. Mid-winter, we packed up and sold our house with my cozy, perfectly set up shop and moved all my tools into a building with no heat, no electricity, and a leaky roof. A series of funny/unfortunate events kept pushing the start of the project back further and further until finally, I had 12 days to finish and deliver Mark’s Saw Till in time for Handworks. 276 hours later, I packed it up (the finish was still wet when I did!) and delivered it just in the nick of time.
-- Anne, Seattle