|License plate on an interior wall in Seashore Trolley Museum member/volunteer|
Lary Shaffer's Scarborough Marsh Fine Furniture woodworking shop. Lary's father
was an admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt and had this license plate on his auto.
As luck would have it, recently, Harvard University commissioned Lary to replicate,
in detail, several significant pieces of furniture as part of the restoration
of FDR's dormitory room at Harvard. Lary is currently restoring/rebuilding exterior poplar
window frames for the 1912 Narcissus.
Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.
Lary's grandfather was a conductor on the maiden trip between Portland
and Boston of the Flying Yankee on April 1, 1935. See more on Lary and his
Railway & Railroad family heritage below.
Click Here - Link to FDR's Dorm Room Renovation work by Lary
Click Here - FDR Foundation & Adams House at Harvard
Each of the past two days I had the pleasure of spending some time with Lary Shaffer in his Scarborough Marsh Fine Furniture woodworking shop in Scarborough, Maine. Lary allowed me to take pictures and video of him as he was working on rebuilding, and in some cases restoring, the exterior poplar frames from the Narcissus. The exterior poplar frames hold the ornate leaded stained glass windows and their mahogany sash/frames. Videos below.
Closeup of the first and second eyebrows. Notice the leaded stained glass sash
being held in place by the arched, exterior frames. STM
Lary Shaffer, working to remove the 100+-year-old iron screw
from up inside the exterior frame that holds the large eyebrow sash and stained
glass windows. PWM
Several video clips were recorded over the two days. Each takes the viewer through the various steps Lary has developed and is implementing in his efforts to rebuild/restore/recreate the various segments that make up these poplar frames. These clips are not shown here necessarily in the order they were taken. So, you may hear a reference here and there to points made earlier, when actually, you may not have seen the referenced footage yet :) There will be more than one blog post to share all the work being done by Lary on the Narcissus exteriors poplar frames.
|This first clip (below) will give you some background on the first|
steps of dealing with the original exterior poplar frame segments.
|A poplar frame segment after having it's "tail" removed. PWM|
|This second clip (below) is of Lary's mid-to-late 1800's lathe|
and his use of it for turning wooden "plugs" for the exterior
poplar frames. PWM
Finding wood materials for the restoration that is as close to those used originally is very important. The Museum is very fortunate to have found a local supplier in southern Maine that has had great success supplying the Museum with period wood for previous restorations like the 1906 electric locomotive, Atlantic Shore Line No. 100. John Rousseau of Rousseau Reclaimed Lumber (formerly Barnstormers) has been able to supply the Town House Restoration Shop with some wonderful vintage Poplar for use by Lary to repair/rebuild the exterior Poplar frames of the Narcissus.
|This third clip (below) is of Lary giving some background on|
how he became a volunteer working with Seashore Trolley
Museum and the Narcissus.PWM
Click Here - to see Part 2 of exterior poplar frame work
Click Here - to see Part 3 of exterior poplar frame work
Click Here - to see Part 4 of exterior poplar frame work
Click Here - to see story of finding the reclaimed lumber for use in Narcissus restoration
Seashore Trolley Museum Member-Volunteer Lary Shaffer
|Ernest Moody was Lary's Grandfather and worked for the B & M Railroad|
for 55 years. Image from LS
Lary's Woodworking Shop at
From Scarborough Marsh Fine Furniture Website:
When I was growing up on the Southern edge of the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, there was a family legend that ancestors of mine had been furniture makers in Bleeker, NY. The amount of hard evidence that exists to support this contention is, rounded off to the nearest whole number, zero.
My father was not a woodworking professional, but he could have been. He could make anything. I grew up working with him and still use a lot of his tools.
I have a B.A. Degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in Psychology. I must admit that I was attracted to Psychology by the lovely machine shop that the department used to make equipment for research projects.
After my graduation from SUNY in 1968, I was privileged to be accepted to do a graduate study with Nobel Laureate Niko Tinbergen at Oxford University in England. While I was earning my Doctorate in Zoology, I joined Niko in filming and photography. Again, I was drawn in by the beautiful machines. When I finished my degree I continued to work with Niko as a cameraman on a variety of Natural History film projects for the BBC and Independent Television in Britain. I returned to America in 1976.
Back in the USA, I bumbled into a 25-year career as a college professor. There were no longer any machines to attract me to that position, so I was forced to acquire my own woodworking and metal working tools at home. I retired earlyish from academia as a State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor. I loved teaching and gave it my best, but I was ready to move on.
I have been indeed fortunate to have had many other wonderful life experiences. Two highlights: I became interested in the bicycle as a machine. I later bicycled across the United States from California to Maine in 33 days. On that trip, I had a great deal of time to think about my values and to reassess my life a bit.
Travel writer and friend Redmond O'Hanlon invited me to accompany him on a three month long trip in The People's Republic of Congo as a companion and photographer. This trip is recounted in his book No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo (Knopf, 1997). No machines there, other than the ones I brought with me.
I have had no formal training in furniture making and I regret that. I have a profound respect for the interaction of teachers and learners. In the past 10 years, I have read extensively and intensively about my craft. I have studied the construction of furniture whenever I have had the opportunity. I believe that my woodwork embodies the high standards and attention to detail that were required by my film and academic careers.
I now use machines to do the things that they do best and I do the rest with my hands. The furniture pieces that I make are solid hardwood coupled with traditional joinery. I use the best hardware that I can find or forge.
I was talking with a customer once about a cabinet and he asked: "Can you do anything to make it look like walnut?" "Yup," I answered, "I can make it out of walnut."
Above all, I want my furniture to be honest.