Street Painting and Krenov Tribute

Viewer Project - By Tom Buhl from Santa Barbara, CA
Added on June 16, 2010

I recently received a nice email from Tom Buhl (you may recall his Bubinga Sideboard) about a very cool street painting festival he participates in. He decided to do a tribute to Krenov this year and sent me a few photos. I thought this was very cool art and asked Tom if he could send more pics and nice write-up about the event. Fortunately, Tom came through. So please enjoy this very unique viewer project entry. Oh and at the end, Tom talks about his latest piece, a Krenov-inspired Cabinet.

I Madonnari 2010

For the past 20-plus years, I have been an artist at the Santa Barbara I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival. This event is held over Memorial Day Weekend in front of the iconic Mission Santa Barbara. I began participation as a father-daughter activity when my daughter, Crosby, was five years old. Now grown up and living in Los Angeles area, Crosby still comes up to assist when her schedule allows. Alas, this year’s plan was superseded by work demands. The past five years my wife, Gastil, has provided much appreciated assistance.

In the past we’ve done images of classic art including Picasso (4x), Diego Rivera (2x), Kadinsky, Titian, Cezanne (2x) and others. Contemporary images have included a few from Cirque du Soleil shows as well as images from photographs taken on travels. These included Portofino, Italy; Trevi Fountain, Rome; a cafe in Recco, Italy; and some domestic images such as Chaco Canyon and New Orleans.

This year we produced a tribute to James Krenov who passed away in 2009. He was an outstanding woodworker, designer, teacher, mentor and author. For the image we created a border of details from several of my recent pieces. Then we used an image of James from the cover of his book, THE IMPRACTICAL CABINETMAKER: Krenov on Composing, Making and Detailing for the larger area.

I Madonnari is an annual benefit for the SB Children’s Creative Project. It is a treat to work alongside highly skilled artists as well as school kids, and hackers such as myself. All are very supportive and helpful of each other. The compliments fly in great abundance. Sunday and Monday afternoons draw large crowd of locals as well as SoCal day trippers, all coming to view the art and artists and to enjoy Italian food, beverages and music. I look forward to the event because as I work on my piece, I’ll see and visit with friends and associates that I haven’t seen in over 20 years and make new friends as people comment on our projects.

Should you find yourself in SoCal come up to Santa Barbara and say hello. My drawing compelled a number of woodworkers to introduce themselves. Others shared stories of their father or grandfather who were woodworkers. Fun stuff. Thanks for checking it out. The photos here are just a few of the incredible images created for the event. To view my full, best of, collection of images, please visit my website.

Krenov-style Display Cabinet

With the passing of James Krenov in 2009, I felt a need to finally read his books and produce something in that style. Jim Budlong’s FWW article(s) provided a nice starting point. Woods selected were Pecan for primary case components, Lacewood for top and back panels, and Alder for the stand legs.

Rather than dowels, I used enclosed mortise and tenons for the top, and wedged through tenons on the bottom. Narrow sidelights have small stub tenons top and bottom to secure them vertically. The sidelights and door used brindle joints with the rails running unbroken (sort of) along the top to allow unification of the grain patterns. The outer stiles on the sidelights run full length and were butt joined (glue) to the case side for a somewhat seamless look on the side profile. Back panel consists of two Lacewood panels with the rails, once again, running full width.

Shelf supports, door pull and door stop/catch were created similar to Budlong’s article and consistent with the Krenov look. Brusso knife hinges were used, not without some issues. Opps. With the top/bottom overhangs greater than some similar cases, I could not get the screws closest to the pivot point inserted without gouging the top, which of course I did and still couldn’t get them properly set. One broke off and the other hole remains empty. Hopefully, the tight hinge mortise and construction will allow the door to hold up with only one screw on the door side of the hinge. The door is usually opened only for me to show off the inside. So perhaps…

The stand was a bit tricky as I wanted it to reflect the slight mitre of the sidelights (nine degrees). The front legs have that same mitre as well as the more obvious curve. The front apron was created from three pieces glued together with a spline. This didn’t seem very strong so I made a hidden structural apron which was perpendicular to the legs. I used glue blocks between the show and structural aprons to further strengthen that area.

Finish was thinned poly with just a bit of linseed oil applied with a rag. After the initial coat, I wet sanded subsequent layers with a progression of wet/dry sandpapers from 320 through 600 grit. I was stunned at how beautiful the Pecan looked once it received a bit of finish. It seemed a bit brittle to work with, but I love looking at it.

To continue the exploration I think I may produce a similar case but this time with bent lamination of the apron, door and sidelight rails. That will be my first bent lamination attempt. Many small steps have so far led me to great fun and challenges. I look forward to many more. I do not remember any specific issues but I am positive that Marc responded to several queries I had while producing this piece. His help and encouragement is amazing!

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