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For 8 years Jack was a sculptor, working in the North American hardwoods of walnut, maple and cherry. His work was characterized by clear finishes, hard and soft lines, exposed joinery, curved dovetails, contrasting laminations and exquisite organic form. He left the field in 93 due to a neck injury from too much sculpting. Good news, he recovered from that with physical rehab, no sugery.
Thanksgiving Chair - In walnut. Chairs are the toughest pieces of furniture to do well. One must get the comfort factor just right. The joinery is small, subject to high stress, and exposed. Functionality cannot suffer due to pleasing the eye. So one day on Thanksgiving I designed this chair, my first, and it becamse a big favorite. It's so comfortable....
Fancy Chair - In walnut with maple contrasting laminations. The back is a three step lamination with tricky carving to get it to come out just right.
Shellback Rocker - In curly maple with rocking footrest.
Furniture doesn't grow itself. :-) Here's a typical intricate glueup. Notice the extra "ears" for clamping. There's 6 clamps in this glueup, each adding compression in a different axis. This allows the entire assembly, made up of a total of 8 pieces plus dowels and laminations, to be glued up in one shot.
Design takes time, and sometimes it takes paper models. These all became actual pieces. The upper middle one had the top redesigned during construction when a better idea came out of the blue....
Table and Chairs - In walnut, taken on the ground floor of the Tower. You can see the beautiful Cherokee Marble the Tower walls are built of, and some of the arch detail.
Table and Chair Detail - The table is in birdseye maple with walnut laminations, chair in walnut. The dovetail tablelegs became a bit of the most liked elements of my style. Note the intricate coutouring on the table top.
Demilune Table - In walnut and maple. Demilune means "half moon". The tricky part about this piece was the pie shaped top sections and undercarriage joinery. The feet were turned first, glued onto the legs, the legs and feet shaped, then the dovetails done, then final shaping. A piece of great delicacy.
Flying Rocker - Front and Rear views - In walnut. This was my first rocker and became a gift to Martha. The rear view is especially nice - Can't you see yourself sitting in it and taking off! It's been on loan to a couple to rock their kids in for 8 years now, so it's time to get it back! :-)
Here we are shaping the bottom of a rocker runner, to get all the micro bumps out. Over the years, I spent thousands of hours with a dust mask on. Handsome, isn't it? :-)
Here's Jay Wiggins, my apprentice for two years, mimicing a new exciting rocker design under construction. Funny!
The Woodworker's Guild of Georgia had an annual picnic and "floatable race" where us woodworkers had tons of fun building wacky or ingenious rafts. That's Jack standing on his dragon raft. Martha designed the head, which is a royal dragon because each side has a different eye color! :-) This is where the dragon head at the Tower came from. Due to the 6 widely spaced inner tube feet, the dragon raft was very stable, even though tall. In the background is a hand made closed deck canoe, the most ambitious floatable that day by far! We had a fun time that day. Several wacky floatable wouldn't even stay above waterline once a person stepped in or capsized instantly. :-) After about a dozen floatables were launched, we had a "race". The canoe came in first of course, and guess what came in last? :-)
Dancing Side Table - In curly maple and walnut. Making this look like it's about to start dancing depended on those great legs! The interlocked streaky walnut at the bottom was a bit of fun too.
Grand Piano Coffee Table Detail - Cherry is so beautiful when young. As it ages it rapidly goes dark, due to exposure to sunlight. Here we see curly cherry, with details of a dovetailed drawer and tableleg. In back of the leg you can see a shelf.
All this was built in a tiny workshop in the Tower. Here's a shot showing the workbench, the fabulous Emmert vise holding two rocker sides, and the tools in back. That's our future kitchen counter!
The Emmert vise is legendary. They stopped making these vises over 50 years ago. They're pattern makers vises, used for building wooden patterns for iron and steel foundry molds. The design stabalized about 1880. It was so perfect they couldn't improve it a wink, and so the vise remained unchanged in design for over 60 years, a feat unheard of today. A fellow bought the factory, near Baltimore, and found enough reject pieces among all the junk to make, believe it or not, 150 vises. Mine is one of them. It's crooked here and there, but we don't care! :-)
Demilune Desk Fancy Joint - Ya gotta have fun. Here, instead of using a hidden sliding joint, we expose it and make it downright interesting. It's a "tusk and tenon" joint. The curly maple apron can slide 1/4 inch each way over the walnut. This allows the desktop to expand and contact as air humidity changes. Without this sliding joint the desktop would crack.
Dragon Carving - In walnut. This was my only large carving, for a friend who saved up all his mony and traveled around the world for a year, and wanted a special chest to store his photos and things from the trip in. It was a sea captain's chest, with all sides carved, including hinges, lock and a secret key. The top is what an ole sea captain's chest might have looked like on a long journey, with sea maps rolled out after his pet dragon got out....
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