furniture building

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welcome into the shop it’s great to have you here now for this video we’re not actually going to be in the shop we’re doing a series called habit mate so if you’re new to the channel having made is kind of a thing where I go and film and showcase other craftspeople kind of promote craft and for this video we’re doing French Strazza who’s a incredibly talented furniture maker actually is it’s kind of a mentor of mine I took classes with Frank back in 2006 I was actually a Windsor chair class and have learned a lot from Frank over the years he’s got a wide range of skills in the furniture making he does traditional furniture he builds amazing work benches he does marquetry he does inlay he does instrument making does letter carving he pretty much can do it all super talented guy and I hope you guys enjoy this kind of window in the Frank skill and his craft be sure to stay tuned at the end there’s some bonus footage of him cutting a houndstooth tail which is a really interesting dovetail joint that goes on his workbench and also I’m gonna put a link in the description to his Instagram account so you can go follow him and see his work because it’s it’s worth it he’s super talented I hope you enjoy the series and appreciate you guys tuning in you know woodworking is so much more than just furniture making you go and I’ve been inspired by the work of the Masters you know you go to museums and you look at furniture that was made 200 years ago and there’s carving there’s inlay there’s the joinery there’s so many different aspects and I think I find an interest in all the aspects [Music] I guess an essence um a jack of all trades and master of none [Music] you know I’m pretty fortunate to be able to get to work with my hands every day to be able to take rough lumber and and create something and I enjoy working with a freshly sharpened tool slicing the wood slicing the fibres carving the wood shaping the wood the details really are something that I get excited about whether it be inlay or some super fine carving or cutting a tight joint the satisfaction that you get from cutting at joint fits together and whenever I’m building furniture I’m always thinking about how long is this gonna last I want this to last I’m thinking about long term is this something that’s gonna outlive me and lasts for at least a hundred years and hopefully more whenever I’m letter carving I think there’s an element to the carving that you don’t get when it’s machine done with a CNC this aspect of imperfection that’s part of of the piece and that imperfection I think is kind of speaks to the the fact that it’s that it’s handmade and I think people want that in today’s day and age so much of today we’re surrounded by things that are mass manufacture or things that are made to absolute precision and so I think people they feel drawn to this element of something that’s actually handmade that maybe has a little imperfection and the imperfection comes from the fact that it was made actually from a human being that’s actually working the tool through the wood as opposed to a computer or a robot or something like that I think another thing about carving and this is a very subtle thing but sometimes it’s the subtle things that really do make a difference and when you’re carving along with a chisel you can create this infinite cut as the the seraphs terminate so the serif is the point of the letters at the bottom part of the letter that just kind of comes to nothing again with the chisel you can create this beautiful line that again it’s not really possible with with a machine so over the years I’ve I’ve tried to make myself a bench and every time that I’ve made a bench I’ve actually ended up selling it and actually one of my benches I inlaid my name into it next to the dovetails and a client in New York City bought it so somewhere in in a Manhattan on some high rise my bench sits there with with my name and – I asked the client if he wanted to me to change it out he’s like no leave your name in there but having a high quality good workbench I think is central to any woodworking shop and especially for hand tool woodworking I think a workbench has been used as the central tool if you will for centuries so it’s really only been in recent years I think with the mechanization of woodworking and the advent of machinery more in in your woodworking shop that the bench has kind of been relegated to the sidelines of the shop but really having a good high-quality bench is I think essential to to hand tool woodworking really because that’s where everything is done you’re using that bench having good work holding is extremely important having a tail vise to be able to support this down having a good solid bench it’s not gonna move while your hand planing and cutting joinery having a good front vise hold fast all of that is super important to hand tool on this recent bench that I I made I decided to inlay carpe diem which I love that that Latin phrase and you know one of the things about woodworking is there are so many things to to learn and I feel like I’m constantly learning I’ve been doing this for 25 years or so but there’s always something new to learn you’re always learning something the materials are teaching you the tools and then there’s new techniques and if ever I think that I’m getting somewhere and woodworking all I have to do is look at the work of the Masters 200 years ago and I realize that I’m just barely scratching the surface so in essence carpe diem for me is seize the moment seize the day and learn as much as I possibly can and build as high quality work as I possibly can I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to get to work on a lot of pretty interesting projects I think one of the most interesting projects that I got to work on and it was a collaboration I worked with a few other craftsmen we worked together to build two cabinets for the permanent collection of the White House and they were made by an outgoing president now sit in the Cabinet Room against a curved wall and they’re made out of a ski so native Texas mesquite with actually some wood that was from the White House North Lawn we’d used some elements of oak from one of the branches from a tree that was in the White House North long that we cut up and use that and inlay that into the door panels of these two cabinets and so that was a pretty memorable project I would say [Music] [Music] one of my my passions is violin making and you know there’s violins that are made with machines you know they’re all routed out cncs and things of that nature furniture the same way but there’s different ways to look at that but I think when you when you produce something solely with a machine it loses obviously loses the handmade aspect but it also loses the soul that you would actually they feel from the from the craftsman that put it into it you know one thing is is that I will definitely say that I feel like I’ve been blessed to being introduced to the craft when I was young also having wonderful and encouraging teachers when I was young because you know I think any young person that’s interested in a craft should do it when they’re young because their skills that are developed at that age and those skills I’m using even now so much further down the road and I don’t think if I was given those opportunities when I was young I don’t know that I would be able to be able to create this type of work and make a living at it so it’s something that I get to do every day I enjoy doing there’s a satisfaction in being able to create even something as simple as a perfect chamfer around the top edge of of this tool and then to be able to deliver this to the client and see their happy faces and also get to see what they can create with something like this and I and I look at something like this as functional functional art maybe your functional yeah it is it’s a it’s a work table but it’s also it’s supposed to be a beautiful a beautiful piece as well so look at the way this champers right in here I’ll just love that so I like doing the houndstooth dovetails really it’s a little bit overkill honestly but it kind of shows the complexity it’s a complex joint and it shows the craftsmanship and I like doing the needlepoint because it’s obviously something that really would be difficult to cut with a machine and so it shows that it was handmade the one of the secrets for cutting any dovetail joint but is is proper sawing technique and how to saw properly so I start by laying it out using a dividers and laying out the joint and then I cut the the tails with a with a cold distant tenon saw and making sure that you don’t cut past the line hopefully and making sure that you follow the angle but if the angle is a little bit off it really doesn’t matter a little bit off because you’re gonna transfer that onto the pins so you want to make sure that the cut is square across the top edge after the tails are cut I cope out the waist i chiseled down to the line I transfer the tails to the pinboard which is in this case walnuts I’ve got the maple hard maple going onto walnut I like the contrast between the light in the dark and transfer that carefully with a knife very carefully with a knife and then I saw on the waste side of the line and chisel out the [Music] …

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