Cracked Ice

Smoke

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I recieved a commission to build two shohin stands for two trees earmarked for the ABS conferance in Texas in 2008. One stand has been delivered, this is the story of the final table. The table is for a Shohin pine. It is rather rugged, semi cascade in nature and contains deadwood. Like all my tables I try to keep them simple yet functional, artistic yet understated.

The first stand was a comprimise in design between me and the buyer. The cascade stand I have carte blanch on the design. I have been trusted to come up with something I feel will accentuate the tree while not overpower it. I needn't worry about that since both tree stand perfectly well on their own.

The table is out of black walnut ans I started by planeing down a plank of walnut to 5/8 inch thick. All the components of the top will be taken from this piece of wood. The top is made with a lap joint for expansion and shrinkage. It consists of a center board and a frame of four boards. The center board sets in the dado of the frame. The frame is made 1/16 of an inch taller than the center board to make the center insetted.

Since the top will be fitted to a sub assembly which the legs attach to, I cut the wood for them from the remaining wood left from the top. This was planed down to 1/2 thickness. The subassembly is mitered and mitered again for the leg attachment points giving me the three mitered corner seen in traditional Japanese stands. The legs are cut from 3/4 stock planed down to finish and cut on the band saw.
 

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Smoke

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After cutting out the legs, the legs are mitered to fit into the miters on the sub top. The legs fit into a miter and are glued in place. To make sure the legs are straight I needed a jig to keep everything in place and square.
 

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Smoke

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A "U" shaped piece of poplar was cut that would fit exactly between the legs where I could clamp the legs in place while the glue dried. Wax paper under the "U" would ensure that the jig did not get glued to the sub top.

At this time the top of the table was routed for asthetics. It recieved a groove around the top edge and the bottom was relieved by 3/16 with a 1/4 inch beading bit in the router table. This is done with the top on edge and run around the entire bottom of the board so as to make a groove when the top is back horizontal. This will give a pedestal effect when it is attached to the sub top.
 

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Smoke

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After the legs have been glued up and have dried, I can begin sanding the top edge of the sub top. A line is drawn around the sub top at the intersection of the beeded groove I routed in the top. I need to make sure to not round over int this portion of the stand or there will be a gap when the top is attached. After making sure all is right zI begin to sand down the profile of the sub top. It is about a 3/8 inch roundover. This will give a nice effect when the top is attached.

Once the sub top is prepared and the legs are good and dry I can attach the top. It is dry fitted and indexed and then glued in place for good. Clamping gives good bonding and once dry, joints only come apart by spitting away wood. In other words, the glue doen't fail, the wood does.

Once the top is dry I can add the stretchers. These are the wood strips in between the legs that will hold the ends of the cracked ice. Get ready here it comes.
 

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Smoke

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The cracked ice effect is added with hand made 1/8 inch walnut dowels that I turn with a drill motor. Very dangerous since the dowel whips in the drill and has come apart and stuck me in the wrist before. Once the very time consuming task of adding the ice is done, I can final sand. This takes many hours and is really the heart of the project. Many hours of work constructing a small gem like this can be ruined with a crappy finish. DON"T SKIMP ON THE SANDING!

The table is finished out with lacquer and will be shipped soon.

Good building, Al
 

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bonsaibaka

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Beautifully done!

I look forward to seeing this (and the tree) at next year's convention.

Thanks for showing your steps in creating this. I really like this style and have always wondered exactly how they were constructed.

regards,
Mike
 

Graydon

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Many hours of work constructing a small gem like this can be ruined with a crappy finish. DON"T SKIMP ON THE SANDING!

"If you don't take the time to sand things properly before finishing you will have to make time to sand them a whole lot more after finishing."

A quote from a pesky old finisher that worked for me years ago. I have found it to be applicable on everything I build.

Nice stand Al.
 

Ashbarns

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Well Al I showed this process to my son who is also a fine carpenter and he endorsed the procedure as the work of a master craftsman. He only confirmed what I already knew but it was great to hear that from him.

Ash :)
 

Hans Vleugels

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Hi Al,

Thanks for sharing this. And my respect for creating such a nice stand...

Wish I had the same talent...

Regards,
Hans
 

irene_b

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Al, as usual your work is fantastic!
Multi-talented fella you are.
Irene
 
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Really nice work Al!

I have some experience in cabinetmaking and I have to ask if those legs are attached with something more than glue, since from what I've been told "end wood" needs something more?
 
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Al, thanks for sharing this. I find your standmaking to be rivaled only by your ability with trees. They go hand in hand, and I would be proud to own some of your stands.
 
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I see no correlation between stand making and bonsai design, but that in no way devalues Al's woodworking ability. His stands are so nice and of such quality that we featured his stands in a gallery at AoB not long ago. This was our first and only gallery to date featuring stands, although we are talking to a Japanese craftsman about another....stands, pots, accents, mudmen, scrolls, they all make up our art and derserve to be recognized.

I remember when I recieved one of Al's stands that he custom made for a tree of mine. The attention to detail was impressive and it remains one of my favorites to this day.

Will
 
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I sure do. What's the difference???

You do? Maybe it would be easier, since you see a correlation, for you to tell us what they have in common.

Briefly, I see no more correlation between cabinetry and bonsai than I do between arc welding and bonsai. Certainly one could stretch logic and pull a couple minor simularities from thin air, but all in all, they are very different in many ways, drawing on different skill sets and talents.

Mainly bonsai is an high art form, cabinetry on the other hand can be a high craft, maybe in some cases a low art, and in rare instances such as when the design is more than fuction, when form and function meet to create more than the sum of the parts, it can be art. Think of the Chinese hand carved stands.

Al has made a very nice stand here and he certainly produces quality stands, however the stands from Japan and China are of a different level, some no doubt are very artistic and in themselves cross the border from craft to art.

In the end, a stand is a stand, a bonsai is a bonsai, used correctly together they achive visual perfection as far as displaying the bonsai goes, however, they are not the same, nor does the creation of either use the same tecniques, skills, or talent.

Thius was a great tutorial on the process of creating a stand, I personally would like to see more like it.


Will
 
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You do? Maybe it would be easier, since you see a correlation, for you to tell us what they have in common.

Briefly, I see no more correlation between cabinetry and bonsai than I do between arc welding and bonsai. Certainly one could stretch logic and pull a couple minor simularities from thin air, but all in all, they are very different in many ways, drawing on different skill sets and talents.

Mainly bonsai is an high art form, cabinetry on the other hand can be a high craft, maybe in some cases a low art, and in rare instances such as when the design is more than fuction, when form and function meet to create more than the sum of the parts, it can be art. Think of the Chinese hand carved stands.

Al has made a very nice stand here and he certainly produces quality stands, however the stands from Japan and China are of a different level, some no doubt are very artistic and in themselves cross the border from craft to art.

In the end, a stand is a stand, a bonsai is a bonsai, used correctly together they achive visual perfection as far as displaying the bonsai goes, however, they are not the same, nor does the creation of either use the same tecniques, skills, or talent.

Thius was a great tutorial on the process of creating a stand, I personally would like to see more like it.


Will

Well here we go again. There is a great deal of artistry in fine woodworking, and there is a greatdeal of artistry in fine bonsai. Your idea of what art is, is nonsense. Your definitions are amorphous at best, refusing ever to define art. So you speak in circles about art and talent being some mystical numenous something that you get to decide who has it and who doesn't.

When you can define in a simple sentence or two what you believe is the proper definition of art, then you may have the chance to actually teach someone something. Until then, just keep posting one out of every three posts on AoB. Someone other than the other 5 top posters may someday listen.
 

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