Chairs: Shaping the back legs

June 17, 2017

The rear legs of a typical side chair have a backward curve near the floor. This keeps the chair from tipping over backward. The tops of the back legs are also angled backward so that the chair back is at a comfortable angle.

The wood for the back legs should be cut out from a board that has a compatible grain direction for the shape of a the leg. If the grain direction is wrong the leg will be prone to break and it will also look bad.

 

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Chairs . . . slowly

May 22, 2017

Side chairs present a number of difficulties. The chairs I am making have back legs that are spread out at the top three degrees so that the legs are closer together at the floor. This keeps the footprint of the chair small. The back legs are also turned in three degrees. This simply looks better.

The seat on this type of chair is narrower in the back, and wider at the front. Read the rest of this entry »

Homily for Jane Gale’s Funeral Service

May 18, 2017

Windowselection+034_editedI cannot imagine Jane Gale without this building. The Gales’, Thompsons’, and Warrens’ were connected by marriage and family. And these families were all connected in the founding and support of this church. Eliakim and Phebe Warren and their children came to Troy first. Later the Gales’ were joined to the Thompson family. And then the Gale-Thompson family became connected to the Warren family. Read the rest of this entry »

Annual Rector Report; Given as the Sermon at the 10am Eucharist on the Third Sunday in Easter, April 30, 2017

May 3, 2017

SPCEtchingToday is the Annual Meeting and Election. I want to share with you our successes of this past year. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone. I would especially like to thank some of the people who went above and beyond to help St. Paul’s. I want to say something that connects today’s lessons to the Gospel. To finish, I want to bring you a hopeful message about plans for the future. Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Easter Sermon

April 17, 2017

SPCInteriorFlagsIn the Name of the Father . . .

Christians all over the world gather today to celebrate and proclaim our oldest credal statement: Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen Indeed!

This Easter greeting is standard in the Eastern Orthodox churches and often accompanied by three kisses on the cheek. I started out Roman Catholic and as a kid in Chicago I don’t remember the Easter greeting. I remember Ash Wednesday, fasting in Lent, giving up something for Lent, and Easter baskets. That’s about all I remember about Easter from my childhood.

When I joined the Episcopal Church I had to learn the Easter Greeting. There was that awkward moment when a church lady said, “Christ is Risen!,” and then gave me that church lady look. Then she fed me my line, “The Lord is Risen Indeed!” and I repeated it back to her, and she looked at me like she was very disappointed in me.

It is hard to get the Easter message right. It is not just a period of ashes and fasting followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s not just Palm Sunday followed by Easter Sunday and remembering the right words to say when someone challenges you with, “Christ is Risen!” Read the rest of this entry »

re: A question about repentance

April 8, 2017

PalmSundayPulpitI preached a sermon on Sunday, March 19, 2017 (Lent 3A), in which I offered an interpretation of St. Paul’s understanding of the “Wrath (of God)” (Romans 5:1-11), and the kind of forgiveness that Jesus promises us in the example of the Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42).

Later that day I received a question by email asking about the role of repentance. The person asking was taught that forgiveness follows repentance. This is the way most people think about God’s forgiveness. Basically, that it is a transaction. I’m not so sure.

I responded pretty much like the following and I have permission to publish it.

St. Paul recognizes the problem of human sin and self-deception (Rom 7:15), but he struggles to come up with a way to reconcile the consequences of sin (misery), God’s anger, and God’s mercy and love.

The Johannine texts (those books attributed to John the Apostle) seem to be a later stage in the development of a more nuanced understanding of the inter-related dynamic of hatred, scapegoating, and violence. For instance, in the case of the story of the Samaritan women at the well (John 4) we have a situation in which Jesus is handling what looks like a pastoral problem.

The woman seems to be held in general disrepute, and Jesus offers her living water. This living water will sustain and preserve her forever. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit directs people to live lives according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit affirms people in their status as beloved children of God. The Holy Spirit guides people toward honest self assessment. The Holy Spirit provides healing and upholds people in their faith in the Lord.

The living water is nourishing to the point of creating in us proper desires that are completely satisfying, and it opens us up to the recognition of our deepest and worst sinful desires (without falling into despair or resorting to denial).

Repentance is crucial to moral and spiritual health. In the past it was generally assumed that a person only needed to do some basic self-reflection to arrive at what exactly is in need of repentance. With the knowledge we have now about unconscious motivation, I would suggest that experiences of God’s Grace and the promise of forgiveness tend to produce genuine gratitude and repentance. This is more in line with the way Jesus deals with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well.

My own experience in talking with people confirms this. Remorse (not true repentance – “a turning around,” but regret and self-loathing) is late in coming, and often provoked by the experience of bad events or circumstances. This process gives support to the false notion that God actively punishes people by bringing misfortune.

So, finally I come down on the side (mostly) of reminding people they are forgiven, and trusting true repentance will follow.

Chair Parts

December 23, 2016

I’m starting to make the parts for four chairs in red oak. The old chairs we have are falling apart. The chairs I’m making are based on a 1940s production chair.

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Bent laminated crest rails

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Small Stroke Sander and Paper Belts

November 28, 2016

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I built one of these sanders back in 1982 by following Andy Marlow’s plans in Fine Woodworking magazine. When I bought some large 3 phase machines in 1984 and moved my shop to a commercial space, I gave away the little stroke sander.

One of the first things I did in setting up a home shop last year was build a new stroke sander like my old one. This time I used larger angle iron and made the traveling table out of heavier stock.

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After I mounted the motor, pulleys and a v-belt, I clamped a piece of angle iron to the sander frame. Then I used a big gouge to turn the glued-up pine squares into round drums. That was an unpleasant job! Read the rest of this entry »

Sharpening

October 7, 2016

I recently posted a short description of my sharpening method over at Madcap Woodwright, but without a picture. I do have oil stones and water stones, but avoid them if possible because the oil or water, along with the black steel left on the stones gets all over me and the work. The very accomplished  woodworker at Ishitani Woodworking has his water stones on a tray bridging a sink under a faucet and over a drain (starting at 9 min. into the video). This looks like an excellent way to clean the stones after use, and generally keep the mess under control.

I probably will install a utility sink in my basement shop at some point, and follow suit. Until then, here is my sharpening set-up.

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I just use two diamond blocks. A 30 year old coarse interrupted one, and a newer continuous 1200 grit. Both DMT brand. I use cheap window cleaner to wet them. I clamp my 4×24 portable belt sander in the front vise and hollow grind (if needed) on the front wheel with a 60 or 80 grit belt.

Robland X31: Three Legged Horses

October 3, 2016

 

My out-feed table on the Robland X31 works very well. I can rip boards and stack them right on the table. On the other hand it has taken me a while to work out the best way to stack wood at the front of the saw. In the past I usually set up regular four legged sawhorses, and I was forever tripping over the near-side legs!

These funny looking sawhorses work great as in-feed supports for the table saw. They are just shy of the saw table height, and with a bit of weight (an extra board maybe) they don’t tip over. I can put a stack of lumber on the horses and easily walk through them as I pick up and feed the wood into the saw.

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Three Legged Horses: Made from 1/2″ black pipe and fittings, and soldered at the joints.