François' Blog

Finished this sewing box in elm.

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I just made another Krenov-style maple drawing table.

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24 Oct 2013

Butsudan

woodworking

A butsudan is a shrine used in Buddhist culture. This one is made with the same elm wood that I used for a coopered box. Difficult to work because it is so hard, but it has a wonderful color and grain.

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A friend allowed me to saw his pear tree. I made 5 nice boards, about 1.30m long and 6cm thick. The widest are 40cm wide, with a wonderful pink color. We will see how it ages. Next step is in about 3 or 4 years, when it is dry enough to make furniture. Watch this space!

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I just finished this box with coopered top. The wood is from elm that a local farmer cut down when they died from the elm disease 30 years ago. It is dry alright. Difficult to work though.

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Here is another desk in maple in the spirit of Jean-Michel Frank.

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I recently finished a writing / drafting desk in maple (from a James Krenov design) and an ash chair in the spirit of the Giò Ponti Superleggera. The seat is weaved by hand and takes a lot of time and material. More pictures on my professional website at www.atelier-desvallees.com

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Today I installed the 3 walnut pieces to the chapel in Antibes, southern France.

The altar The lectern The pedestal (I didn't carve the statue! anyway it is made of stucco, not wood)

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I just finished an altar, pedestal for statue, and lectern for a nearby chapel.

The wood is solid walnut, the design is modern, using a coopered technique.

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This sideboard was made for a customer who has already a marble top. I used wood from a walnut I cut 3 years ago:

Felling the tree - January 2008 Hoisting the logs for initial drying under a tarp After sawing in 80mm-thick boards - April 2008 Dry assembly - January 2011

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Here is the table after assembly.

And how it looks now, after 2 coats of Tung Oil and wax With the model I built to check the proportions

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My customers had this old table top in walnut. They asked me to design a new base for it. After a few drawings, we settled on an oval base. I made this 1/4 scale model:

After we were satisfied with the design, I went ahead with the curved apron in laminated walnut: Then I cut mortises and tenons, shaped the feet with the bandsaw, then cleaned them up with rasp and drawknife. Next step is the glue-up, then finishing etc.

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I just finished these two bed stands in oak, with the same Art Déco style as my desk. Just like the desk, they are built with secret miter dovetails for strength.

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Here is the finished desk. The rotating drawers presented a special challenge. The laminating of the curved sides was actually pretty easy (I used ash sawn into 2mm-thick slices, then glued in a quarter-circle form), but the knife-hinges were difficult to adjust.

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This was indeed a major glue-up. I used almost all my clamps. Notice the gluing blocks, to ensure pressure at right-angle to the miter. These are sawn-off after the glue has set, then the surface is planed and cleaned. Next come the drawers, two of which are mounted on knife hinges to pivot towards the outside.

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I have almost finished this desk for a customer, this time in oak. I chose to do hidden miter dovetails instead of biscuits. It requires more work, but I know for sure it will never open. The glue-up should be interesting.

The panel under the drawers is assembled with sliding dovetails at the front and back. Only the one at the front is glued, to allow for seasonal expansion of the top.

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I just started my business making custom furniture. My professional website is http://www.atelier-desvallees.com My shop is in Cagnes sur Mer, near Nice, France.

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I just finished this cabinet in cherry. It is already full of woodworking books and others. The wood is from a large cherry tree I felled 3 years ago. I got very nice planks for the top. The design is copied from a Seth Janofsky design, in a Krenov book (With Wakened Hands), except I used shoji paper for the doors instead of cedar.

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I just finished this desk in Elm for a friend. I bought the wood in Italy, it has a wonderful color and grain. Since the boards were 8cm thick (more than 3 inches), it took me a lot of work to resaw and bring to thickness.

It is composed of a table, and a chest of drawers. The table top has 2 parts joined at a right angle with a miter, reinforced with butterfly keys.

The chest has 4 drawers of progressive heights, assembled with dovetails. The back of the chest and the drawer bottoms are cedar.

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I just came back from Devon, England, where I followed an excellent course with David Charlesworth. I improved my skills at dovetails and drawer-making. This is in Hartland, in beautiful North Devon, where I had 2 weeks of fine weather. Recommended.

Secret-miter dovetail Clovelly, a former fishing village converted to tourism, about 5km from Hartland. Just south of Hartland Quay

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