videos

Intro To The Donsbarn.com Video Empire

One of the exciting developments at The Barn on White Run in recent months has been our ongoing embrace of video as a teaching device to share what I’m doing with you. Here is the introductory video “blurb” to give you a hint as to where we will be going over the coming months and years (depending on my health, wealth, and wits). My long-term plan is to produce a completed video over several months, then post a chapter of it on-line, perhaps one per week, until the entire contents are available. Then, move on to the next video until I run out of things to teach and show.

We are this close (fingers 1/64″ apart) to having the first one ready to go.  It’s roughly 110 minutes long, divided into thirteen chapters with the first one appearing some time next week I hope.  Since it is our first effort I will be posting these video chapters for free, but subsequent offerings will have a modest price tag.  More details about that later.

I hope you will find the viewing as enjoyable as I am finding the making.

Introducing the Video Enterprise

Gragg Chair Video Session 4 – Fitting and Assembling I

Our latest day of video recording dealt with the beginnings of assembling the pieces into a whole chair, including fitting the individual pieces together to fit the master template based on the many Gragg chairs I have examined over the years.

Once we moved on to fabricating the cross pieces things got fussy.

Chris wrapped up the day by taking some detailed footage of my shaving beam, my primary stock preparation tool for the project.

Gragg Video Shoot Session 3 – Dance Me A Jig

Our recent day of video recording for the Making A Gragg Chair was pretty much all about bending forms/jigs for the components of the chair.  I showed how I make the forms and why I make them the way I do, including a discussion of “spring back” and how that affects my design and layout of the forms.  Somehow that one topic managed to consume the entire day of work in the studio.

These three pictures were ones I took when I was prepping for the video shoot, but I replicated the process upstairs in the studio with the camera running.  In them I am making some form stock, the 1-inch thick double laminated sheet I make from two pieces of 1/2″ baltic birch plywood.  The finished product is what I use to cut the actual bending forms themselves.  I begin with two pieces of 24′ x 48″ x 1/2″ plywood and slather PVA on one of them, then screw them together with decking screws and fender washers.

Here is that panel after finishing along with another double laminated panel made from two pieces of 3/4″ baltic birch type plywood that serves as the ground for the bending forms.  Once they are dry overnight I remove the screws and washers and they are ready to go.  I got all of this material from the closest big box home center.

Here are some images from the session in the studio.

Gragg Video Day 2

We recently had our second day of video work on the Make A Gragg Chair video.

We spent some time on the Special Feature portion of the production and the remainder fashioning the riven wood into thin slats for bending.

Then I steam bent some pieces.

The only dark cloud to the day, and it was a considerable one, was that the barn power system failed just as I was nearing the end of a long and complex steam bending process, causing us to lose an afternoon’s work.  That system failure has turned into a headache of the first order as the solar system quit working for as yet undetermined causes despite many, many hours of trouble shooting.  Then, two days ago the hydro turbine developed the familiar grumble of bearing failure requiring its shipment back to the manufacturer for repair as I do not own the requisite tools.   If my hair had not already turned white…

Black swans, my friends, black swans.  But more about that later.  Sigh.

The next video session will actually be precedent in the final edited video as I walk through the process of creating the bending forms from the patterns I made.  I have not yet decided whether to make the patterns available with the video, although it does sorta make sense to do so.  I am also trying to keep my sense of the time required to build a chair in hope that I can create a week-long workshop for that project.

Gragg Chair Video Day 1

Recently we had our first day of production for the “Making A Gragg Chair” video.  We had been waiting for several weeks to get a beautiful day to film outside while I harvested the wood for making the chairs that will be documented in the video.  Full disclosure — I will actually be making three chairs more or less simultaneously so that we can use subsequent production days most efficiently, getting several consecutive steps recorded on the same day by having three chairs at different points of the construction.

So this beautiful day was spent splitting wood up the mountain with wedges and sledges, then on to a mallet and froe in the riving brake next to the barn.  The setup for the latter was new to me so it was a bit awkward getting into the swing of things, but due to the magic of video editing it might actually look like I know what I am doing.

We also shot the introduction to a Special Feature we will be including on the video, and probably on the web as well, as we record the entire process of me conserving my own damaged chair.

One of the things I am trying to keep track of is the amount of time it will take me to build one chair from start to finish.  I would love to teach a workshop on building Gragg chairs but I need to get the time down to seven days max, six days preferably.  I suppose once these chairs get down I will build one from scratch as fast as I can to see if it is a reasonable project for a workshop.