Tag Archives: craftsman

Fairmont Unity Urn




A unity (or “companion”) urn is meant for two people. The cremains of the (typically married) couple each has their own compartment. Companion urns are commonly used for couples that make the decision to be together after passing. Many families will choose to purchase a companion urn before both couples have passed. This personal decision is made so when the couples pass they can remain close.

The materials used in the Fairmont consist of maple, for the main body and bottom plate; quilted (or “tiger”) maple for the top, which is inlaid in either Thuya or Amboyna burl (depending upon availability; both look very similar), ebony and paduak (the reddish color wood).

The approximate size of the Fairmont is 14 inches long by 11 inches wide (measuring the bottom plate) and 6 inches high. The main body, top and bottom plate of the Fairmont is crafted in 3/4″ thick maple. The “feet” on the bottom plate are ebony blocks, with softened edges – what is often called “pillowing”, because the end result is a block of wood that resembles a pillow in shape.mission

The exact size of the internal (and thus external) dimensions of this urn is dependent upon the size of the two people whose remains will reside in each chamber; the urn in this picture specifically was for a man of 200 pounds or less and a woman 160 pounds or less. The internal dimensions are calculated by simply converting the person’s weight to cubic inches – a 200 pound man would require 200 cubic inches of space. I will over build the dimensions by about 10 percent for safety. Typically, urns are accessed through the bottom – and that is the case here, with 4 wood screws of moderate size.

For no extra charge, a crest decal is provided, with the appropriate details customized. The decal is sprayed over in several coats of shellac (as is the whole urn), for protection. For an extra fee, a laser engraving can be done – please ask me for details.

Materials: Maple, quilted maple, paduak, Thuya or Amboyna burl, ebony.

Dimensions: Approximately 6″ high x 10″ wide x 14″ long.

Finish: Clear shellac, finished with three coats of Briwax.


Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Liturgical


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Lexington Urn



Constructed using traditional wordworking techniques, this wooden cremation urn design is at once both classic and contemporary. This wood cremation urn brings together woods from around the world, including birdseye maple with paduak accents and an amboyna burl top. The cross is made of ebony. The result is an exceptional work of craftsmanship that provides a dignified and beautiful memorial. Finished in two coats of shellac and hand-rubbed with 3 coats of Briwax, this urn opens from the bottom where it seals securely with screws.

Note: the exact size of the urn is dependent upon the size of the person (and thus cremains) this is intended for. When ordering, I will contact you regarding these specifics.

If you wish not to have a cross on the urn, another symbol (within reason) can be substituted if desired.

Approx dimensions: 6“H x 11″W x 7“D

Materials: Birds-eye maple; paduak; amboyna burl; ebony.

Dimensions: Approximately 6“H x 11″W x 7“D

Finish: 3 coats of clear shellac, with a wax topcoat

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Liturgical


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The Sentinel Mission Style Pulpit





Solid. Handsome.

That’s an accurate description of The New Mission Workshop’s vision of the mission pulpit (or lectern). Made of all quarter-sawn white oak, this massive structure is as solid mechanically as it is visually.

The New Mission Workshop pulpit features raised panels, corbel supports under the main table, a privacy gate, and a removable book riser – for those times when you need to use an overhead projector, computer, or other apparatus. The legs, massive at 4 inches across, are also quarter-sawn on all four sides – unheard of today.

The Sentinel Mission Pulpit, the grandest product New Mission Workshop offers, came about as a commission from a pastor in a small church.

Dimensions: Approximately 42 inches tall to top of privacy gate; the top table is 36 inches square.

Finish: Aniline dye, with 3 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane topcoat.

To see a documentary on how the Sentinel was built, click here.



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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Liturgical


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Craftsman, Mission, Arts and Crafts – Whats the difference?

People use the terms “Craftsman”, “Arts and Crafts” and “Mission” interchangeably to describe a popular style of the early 1900s; but what is the real difference amongst them? In this short article, I hope to spell out those distincitions.

arts and crafts chairArts and Crafts.

The Arts and Crafts style is the earliest of the three. This style began in England, Australia, America and Canada between 1880 and 1910 as a backlash response to the industrial revolution of the time. It was instigated in the 1860s by artist/write William Morris, who created the “Morris Chair” we still have with us today. The backlash was by artisans fighting back against “soul-less” mass-produced items from large factories. Also, it was a backlash against lavish ornamentation of the Victorian age. They were in favor of the master craftsman, who created all the parts of an item and assembled and finished it, with help from apprentices. This is in contrast to manufacturing plants, whose goal it was to turn out the most pieces possible.

The hallmarks of this movement was simplicity of form, to the point of exposed joinery, while emphasising the beauty of the material being used, primarily wood. They also brought in elements they found in British textiles that featured flora and fauna. Usually, they employed carvings, inlays, curvature and other ornamentation.

Machinery was not all together rejected by the craftsman; generally, they used it to lessen the mindless repetitive tasks at hand, such as sanding. Use of machines was generally kept to a minimum though.

In this photo, you can see the typyical hallmarks of an Arts and Crafts piece – the straight and curved lines, simpleness of form and intricate carving.

Mission ChairCraftsman.

In America, homes were built that tried to incorporate the stylings of the Arts and Crafts movement, with a modified interpretation, and it was called theCraftsman style; it is an American domestic architectural, interior design, and decorative arts style popular from the last years of the 19th century through the early years of the 20th century. The name comes from a popular magazine published in the early 1900s by furniture maker Gustav Stickley called The Craftsman. It was a great marketing term, as it evoked the image of the piece being made by hand by an artisian, which was exactly the case.

The design lines of the Craftsman style are generally thicker and larger than those of the Arts and Crafts style. Craftsman pieces typically did NOT use carving, inlay, curved boards, and other “decorations,” all of which Stickley was opposed to in his early years of production; however, Stickley’s designs evolved as well, and so it is hard to define a certain piece of furniture as “Stickley” over his 15-20 years of work, as it began to look more like Arts and Crafts in his later designs.

In this photo of a Morris Chair, you can see an example of the simple design, using straight lines and expose joinery with little embellishment that is so typical of the Craftsman movement.


Mission styling is the same as Craftsman. But how did this happen? A salesman of Stickley’s was travelling around, trying to sell some items out of Stickley’s catalog. Interviewed by a reporter, this salesman stated that there was a table like “that one” (pointing to a drawing in the catalog) ,  in a “Spanish Mission in southern California.” The newspaper had printed the story with the word “Mission” in the heading and sidebar, and it stuck.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in BlogNotes, The Craftsman Style


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Craftsman Mirror: Win!

Crafstman MirrorWhile watching a decent woodworking TV show, WoodSmith Shop, I was interested in the Craftsman-Style Mirror they had featured on a recent show. Christmas was coming, and the mother-in-law needed a gift, so, I thought this would be a good one. The show detailed how to make the trickier parts of the project (thought it was a simple project), and they were giving away the plans free! Get them here.

So what went right, and what went wrong?

What scared me the most was making the cove molding, which sits under the shelf. They wanted me to use the angled table saw trick, which, admittedly, concerns me, putting side pressure on a blade. Just doesn’t sit well with me. Instead, I used a large Core Box router bit, taking several passes, and it came out beautifully.

The crown molding under the cap was a bit tricky, but I was never good at crown molding to begin with. Nevertheless, it adds a wonderful touch.

The small, 1/4″ muntins were delicate, and a bit tricky to make, but also add a great deal to the piece, breaking up the large glass surface.

I used quarter-sawn white oak, but they used plain sawn white or red oak. That is their picture you see here.

The tricky part was the mirror; they don’t tell you how to procure one in the plans. I went to a glass dealer and he cut me a nice 1/8″ piece, not bevelled, and not side polished, for only $25.

I used a special hanging bracket they highlighted in the show, which is well worth the $8 at Woodcraft. This is a hefty piece, probably about 15 pounds, so a good mounting is essential.

If you’re looking for a nice weekend project that will please the woman in your life, this might be it.

In total, the project was about $50….well worth it. It was well received by the mother-in-law.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in BlogNotes


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The Concord

Concord Mission Clock New  3$495

Simple sophistication with comforting tones is The Concord. A mighty presence, The Concord is not just about height, but a more evolved mission style. Embracing the traditional and dramatic quarter-sawn white oak, with it’s sparkling ray fleck, The Concord is perfectly matched with Paduak (“pa-dook”), an African hardwood, deep red in color.

The quarter-sawn white oak is fumed; this is the traditional method often used by Stickley and others early in the Arts and Crafts (or “Mission”) style. Fuming is the process of placing the piece in a confined space with industrial strength ammonia for about 2 hours, which causes a chemical reaction with the tannin in the wood, changing it’s color to an ashen gray. Once a top coat (shellac, in this case) is applied, that beautiful, rich mission-brown color comes through. The color won’t fade or change at all, because it is a chemical reaction, and not a dye or stain. Even if it is sanded, the color is still there – up to 1/16th of an inch deep. Fuming also allows for a consistent color all over the piece – if all the pieces came from the same board(s). It can be a technically tricky finish to use, but the results are outstanding. Top coat is a polyurethane – either satin, or semi-gloss with wax.

Inset is a complementary 4”x4” leaf ceramic tile, made by a local artist (style subject to availability; contact New Mission Workshop for more info).

“Mr. Ashley’s clocks are literal works of art! The materials are of the highest grade and the workmanship is outstanding. Not only are the products of top quality, but the service provided by Mr. Ashley is unmatched. He truly cares about quality; both in material and service.” – Charles, Minneapolis, MN.

“There are not enough superlatives to describe how beautiful and wonderfully made this clock is and what a delight the artist is. And Patrick made this just for me! Such care and craftsmanship – it is truly a work of art. All materials are exceptional and the whole is a treasure for generations. I adore it and will be a repeat customer. Enjoyed the whole process. Thanks, Patrick!” – Karen in Georgia

Materials: Quarter-sawn white oak, with Paduak embellishment; 4”x4” tile (varies)

Dimensions: Approximately 17“H x 9“W x 5“D

Finish: Amonnia fumed oak; Paduak; Polyurethane topcoat

Price: $495

Concord Mission Clock New 1

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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Craftsman Clocks


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