Sunday, May 3, 2009

With regard to the "old ways"


For a few years now, I have enjoyed building rustic furniture.  I started out making 3-legged stools, the first of which used square mortise and tenon joinery, with the tenons being roughed out with a hatchet.  Given the labor-intensive way I built this stool - not to mention, it was my first one to build - I started thinking about how I could speed up the process.  This led me to discover some of the nifty products such as tenon cutters that log furniture builders were using.

I soon purchased a Log Man tenon maker and a set of forstner bits.  At that point I was able to achieve round mortise and tenon joints very quickly, which led me to build a few more stools, some bedframes, and a handful of other items.

So I had this neat equipment that allowed me to churn out products more quickly, but I also had a constant draw back toward hand tools, and a more laborious (albeit enjoyable) way of working.

That first stool was a very rewarding project for me. I remembered the satisfaction I had when it was complete, knowing that - although it took some time - it was achieved with hatchet, mallet, drawknife, and chisel.  No screaming saws, no sawdust filling the air.

I guess you can say I came full circle, plus I've now added a froe to my arsenal.  :)  Yep... I've found great pleasure in riving (splitting with a froe) logs into chair legs, shelving boards, or any number of parts for a given project.

That "doing it the old/hard way" is the same mentality I carried over when I started building these wooden rings.  I wanted to sell items that were truly hand-crafted.  I knew that turning them on a lathe would mean I could churn them out more rapidly, and that meant I would make more money off of them.  However, I didn't want to create a 'disconnect' from the work.  Just like with the furniture and larger items, I wanted to be really involved in the shaping of the rings.  Granted, I do use a drill to start out, but most of the time I'm sighting down the ring as I turn it, sand, turn it, sand, aiming for a pleasing fit and appearance.

Some of our rings will be slightly out-of-round, not perfect.  But that's their appeal and charm!  In this way you will know they didn't come through a highly-automated assembly line.

Besides, our fingers were designed in a generally-round-but-not-a-geometric-circle shape.

;)

We welcome you to check out our handcrafted wooden rings.

2 comments:

  1. Hi- I just wanted to say that I love what you're doing. In fact, I just placed an order today for one of your rings on etsy that my boyfriend and I are planning on using as his engagement ring. I've been searching all over the internet for truly hand-crafted, artisan wooden rings & have definitely found what I was looking for (and then some) in Stout Woodworks. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    Cacey- Austin, TX

    P.S.
    You truly have an eye for style. It shows in your rings and the design of your website & blog. I'm willing to bet that Stout Woodworks is going to be a real success!

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  2. Hi, Cacey!

    I enjoyed making the wavy zebrawood ring for you guys!

    Thank you so much for the kind words! It is very encouraging and means a lot to us!

    Frank

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