Sunday, November 2, 2014

Benches & Foot stools

These photos were taken in May, (note the lovely wildflowers.)  As is apparent from the circular end grain, this piece of elm was cut from a log with a large limb at one end.  End grain is, of course, subject to splitting as it dries, elm not withstanding.  In this case the splitting is minimal.  The swirls and figure of end grain are quite beautiful.  (The mate to this bench lives in the house with us.)  The standard height for these benches is 18 inches. Widths 12-13 inches, lengths 18-20.  The size depends on the slab. They can also be used as small side tables.
This angle shows off the grain to more advantage.  Elm all the way, top and legs.  On this one, the four corners are cut off at 45 degrees.  Others are made with two corners on one side cut at 45 degrees, and two cut  at about 20 degrees.  Actual thickness is  2 inches, but I've undercut all four edges at 15 degree before cutting off the corners.  The top looks thinner and less heavy.  (We want sturdy, but not clunky. Note the actual thickness  above the left front leg.)

Here is an earlier, different footstool, of pine with wedged, ash legs.  It is smaller, only 12 inches by 15, and some 12 inches high.  (The pine came from the most well built out-house any of us may ever see.)  The walls of the pit were lined with pine.  The structure was fir 2x4's, with tongue & groove pine inside, redwood siding outside.  The ventilation was enclosed below the concrete pad and screened.  Concrete pedastals  supported two very well made wooden seats and covers, at two different heights.   There are no photos; too bad. All that remains is the concrete.  By the time we arrived much was rotting away.  A lot of the redwood was salvageable, and the very little good pine became this style of foot stool.  A couple of weeks after we we moved into this house in October of 2013 a woman who still lives in Tripp knocked at the door.  "Hello.  I grew up in this house, can I come look around?"  In September of this year she and several sisters and children all visited the house on the occasion of their family reunion.  As for the 25 years preceding our arrival the two acres was mostly mulched with 38 Chryslers and Dodges we've been told many times how happy they, and many townspeople are that we've moved in.  It was, I believe one of them told us the outhouse had been built by the WPA.  

  Here the sliding dovetails can be seen. The cleat is not glued in place, only fitted snugly in the female dovetail cut in the seat bottom.  (Yes, the cleat is some 1/8" shorter on both sides than the width of the top; it makes a pleasant detail.)  This particular stool was donated to the American Legion Ladies auxiliary of Post 142, Jelkin-Harms, Tripp. They raffled it off during the October Ladies' auxiliary bingo. ( Jelkin is Wilbur Jelkin, killed in WWI.  Harms is brothers Donald and Fred Harms, both killed in WWII.  Requiescat in pace.) 

The foot stool below preceded the one above. (Note the crack in the end, and the somewhat dirty appearance of the pine.)  The legs are set in from the ends more than I prefer, and too vertical for my liking.  Ash legs again, wedged with some Ziricote or maybe Cocobolo, both native to South Dakota...not really.

 The dovetail cleat is thicker than the top, and is therefore out of proportion.  And the ends are not set in as above. Though they are at a very good height for removing or putting on shoes.

 Moving further back in time we see this footstool, made from stock ripped off a small log with a chainsaw.  (Before the arrival of the Amish horses.)  It's clunky, and has filler from epoxy and elm dust in the splits, and is a favorite.  The colors really are true to life; the edges are as golden orange as seen here, and the ash legs as white.  It is made of four pieces glued up and shaped.  It's very comfortable to sit on.  (Do you milk goats?)  It is some 11 inches high and about 10 inches by 16.

The light lines are sapwood. 

No comments:

Post a Comment