31 December 2008

The New Year

The last post of 2008... a quick one just to wish everyone a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Happy New Year - Rob

29 December 2008

The Lady Lives

The festivities of the last couple of days have come and gone so now it's the inevitable slow haul 'twixt Christmas and the New Year, always a bit of an effort. In many ways, though it's pleasant to get back to a bit of normality with grub 'ordinaire' (or just using up the leftovers) and a winding down of the excesses of the Christmas period...still got a 15 yo bottle of Dalwhinnie to get through yet, courtesy of my daughter.
I'm delighted to report though that the Christmas Fairy survived the rampant attentions of the old bloke in the red suite during the night of Christmas Eve and was there in all her shining shimeriness on the top of the tree Christmas morning with not a dishevelled strand of tinsel out of place!
As I mentioned earlier, we had a Secret Santa event on UKWorkshop this year which has proved to be very popular. SWIMBO had wrapped up my present very smartly and stuck it under the tree with all the rest...even my furtive attempts at 'feelies' (doesn't everyone?) failed miserably to work out exactly what was inside the package. It didn't help 'cos the parcel was a padded envelope and when it was eventually opened it was stuffed full of shavings, so to the person who made my gift (should you be one of the readers of this inane misive)...a curse on you, may your plane blades remain forever blunt!...t'were a cruel, mean and heartless trick to deprive the 'Bloke' of just the merest, tiniest, inkling of the delights inside. I could feel though that there was something that sort of moved when it was squiggled around in the packaging but I didn't have a scoobies as to what it might contain...imagine my surprise and delight when all was revealed, a concoction in ebony and brass, which turned out to be a centre finder (after a bit of investigative work to try and fathom out what it was) My thanks then, to the kind soul who must have laboured long and hard (or at least cracked the whip over the elves) to make my gift... very much appreciated.

24 December 2008

That time of year...

Here we are again, it's that time of year...Christmas Eve. The last bits of shopping have been done, shelves are buckling in the larder, the tree is up in the lounge and has been decorated (including the Christmas Fairy) with presents under and there's ice in the freezer for the 'g and t's' (essential accompaniment for cooking the goose) on Christmas Day. The kid's have got their stockings organised for the small bits and pieces that Father Christmas always leaves (even though the chimney's been blocked up now, how does he still do that?) and there's a bottle of Tattinger in the fridge for Christmas morning...that's after we come back from our walk around the cathedral in town.
I've tried in some small way over the last year to make the Blokeblog an interesting and entertaining read... I hope that wherever you are on this small planet of ours you've found some amusement from these workshop witterings.
As a small crippled boy said a long time ago "God bless us, every one"...Merry Christmas - Rob

21 December 2008

Thank God for A2

Now don't get me wrong, I'm enormously grateful for any of my pals on UKWorkshop that contribute timber or tools to the cause (and I hope in some small way that I can reciprocate) and such was the case with my very good friend Waka who generously let me have one or two off-cuts of timber that would have otherwise been disposed off, or at best continue to take up valuable space in his 'shop. This is how I came to be the owner then, of a small parcel of kiln dried American White Oak, which I have to say is one of the most difficult timbers that I've had the misfortune to try and work with. Maybe it's the kilning process, but it seems to consist of layers of bullet hard, dense timber alternating with softer mushier stuff...and all of it has this 'carroty' feel to it under the edge which makes it quite unpleasant to use, 'specially if your trying to chop anything with a chisel as in dovetails pins and sockets. Contrast that with a decent English Oak that's been properly air-dried...it feels like you're cutting a very hard cheese, the tool just seems to slice effortlessly through the timber. Anyway, this little project is coming along reasonably well now in spite of the timber, it's just a case now of cleaning up the inside faces, finishing and then the big glue up, which'll be fun!
All I can say is thank God that all my chisels are LN with A2 steel!

19 December 2008

Demise of the Christmas Fairy

So much for my planing skills! How do you plane down a few lumps of end and long grain stuck together? I had a go last night and found it almost bloody impossible to hold the things on the bench top, 'specially when it needs to be tapered so that each piece of the laminate is about 1mm thick. I got fed up with it in the end and shoved them all though the bandsaw...
I think I'll be continuing with my little unit in American Oak over the weekend. Next job will be to mark out and cut the mortises for the twin stubb tenons on the two shelves, which'll be interesting as I haven't done any of those for a few years now.
On a different note, we're having a 'Secret Santa' event on UKWorkshop and I picked up my package from the Post Office the other day. On the back of the parcel was a salutary warning that should it be opened prior to the 'Big Day' it would result in the immediate execution of seven Christmas Elves as a reprisal...which then begs the question, 'Who is this Father Christmas guy anyway and what sort of clout does he have?' I'm thinking here that if seven go up against the wall (worry not, it ain't going to happen, 'cos the parcel has been entrusted to SWIMBO's tender care) will the old bloke in the red suit have enough elfpower to fulfill all the Christmas orders at the North Pole? It sure is a puzzle, but at least with all the redundancies about at the moment he shouldn't have too much bother in recruiting some extra labour!
But the biggest conundrum of all though, is what's going to happen to the Christmas fairy? If he's willing to top seven of his most dedicated followers, there's no telling what he'd do to her. Bit of rape and pillage?...who knows, don't really bare thinking about. Only time will tell, 'cos if she's still there on the top of my tree on Christmas morning I'll know that all is good in the world.
If you know what might have happened to her had I opened my parcel...answers on a postcard!

18 December 2008

Gunfire and the Marie Celeste

I managed to get out into the 'shop for a bit last night to do a bit on these hygrometers I'm making and got three glued up and into the AirPress bag. Pete advised me to use epoxy for the glue up as if PVA is used the water in stuff will make the cross-grain pieces bend too much. I also got some of the backing boards lipped ready for a bit of veneering later on. I'm not quite sure how many of these things are going to turn out well so I'll probably keep the best one.
I'm sorting this entry out at work today and being the festive season we've had a few mince pies (courtesy of the OC) and coffee in the Squadron office, a bottle of Bell's being contributed by the Sergeant Major so those that aren't driving have a couple of tots in their coffee... and very pleasant too. It's a standown for the Squadron from lunch time today so the place is going to be a bit like the Marie Celeste next week. Good news is that I won the Squadron monthly draw for the third time (the notorious and infamous Jimmy 100) much to my delight. The OC sounded off even more than usual this month as she drew the winning numbers and has never won a bean...more power to your elbow is what I say!

15 December 2008

Bendy Wood

After last weeks Winterwonder Bash, (in which Waka let me have another bit of American Oak) I finally redeemed myself and managed to get the two sides of this little project I'm doing prepared to the right size. I even managed to get the dovetails cut top and bottom without making an utter bloody cock up of it...if you recollect from an earlier posting, I had a slight difficulty in adding up a series of measurements. 'Nuff said. I decided to mark out and cut a few Cosmanesque dovetails...easy enough to do but quite tricky to clean out the bottom of the pins, so time will tell when the complete joint comes together.
Pete came round on Saturday afternoon to return a book I'd lent him and amongst other things we nattered about was the construction of his hygrometer that I'd had a look at the previous weekend, so yesterday afternoon I decided to crack on and make a start on a couple. In essence what I did was to prepare a few blanks of English Cherry end grain sections, tape them together and at some point they'll be epoxied to the backing timber and then shaped.
Disappointingly, the 'shop suffered a small leak due to the very high winds and heavy rain over the weekend...nothing drastic that 10 minutes with a sealant gun won't cure, but annoying none the less. I guess I'll have to get a tarp over the suspect bit this coming weekend just to ensure that there's no more ingress of the wet stuff.

12 December 2008

Kari's pics

As promised, a coupla pics of my scratch stock. My pal Pete (who's a fantastic engineer) saw the Garrett Hack version at West Dean and thought it could be improved on. The beauty of Hack's idea is that it's simple...no more than a saw cut and the thread can even be tapped directly into the wood ('specially if something like ebony is being used) The disadvantage is that as soon as the cutter goes further away from the body, it starts to flex which isn't good. What Pete's done is to take the design of a traditionally shaped stock, machine it out of solid brass and then add an adjustable fence to it so that it's rock solid even when the cutter is used, say, 40mm away from the edge. Pete let me have a high speed steel cutter for it (so it needs to be ground to shape) but it works just as well with a cutter that could be made from something like an old cabinet scraper or saw blade. I haven't used it in earnest yet but I've got a small project coming up where it might be useful.

08 December 2008

Winterwonder Bash

Well, the weekend has come and gone so it's time to draw breath. Wow!!.. what a day on Saturday. We had a Winterwonder Bash at Wilton and had no less than a veritable 'shopful of the great and the good from UKWorkshop. The likes of Waka, Paul Chapman, Paul (Chisel), Pete, Martin, Rod (Harbo) and Simon (Heath Robinson) all turned up, the only one who couldn't make it was Philly. The dining table was groaning with so much shiny metal it fair made your eyes hurt...S&S, Norris, Lei-Neilson, Veritas, Holtey, Festool, Grammercy and Clifton were all represented. In fact Rod even brought along a Japanese plane that I didn't have a chance to play with.
Simon had received a bit of stick from one or two naysayers on the forum about a new Draper router that he'd just bought and wanted some reassurances that it was 'kosher.' I have to say that once it'd been set up and I'd given it test drive I was impressed, a very pleasant bit of kit.
Lot's of folk tried out the new Veritas d/t saw and gave it a positive 'thumbs up' but there were some issues with the new Beading Tool that I need to look at further. Paul Chapman gave us a useful demo on his Festool Domino that he'd bought from Dom on the 'dark side'...a very good piece of equipment but difficult to justify the full cost of it unless used constantly in a professional 'shop. Waka had also brought along his rather up-market ramped shooting board which I found quite interesting to use as it had one or two useful features...also not forgetting Pete's very natty hygrometer (need to make one of those) Martin and Paul also gave me loads of useful info on using a camera. Previously, I'd just used the Nikon D60 as a 'point and shoot' but when used on Manual, it's clear that it becomes a lot more versatile as it then does what you want it to do, rather than the other way round.
While we were all busy nattering in the 'shop, SWIMBO had prepared a really good feast for us all and to crown it, Pam (Pete's wife) had done a couple of scrumptious puds...lime cheesecake and a pavlova, stuffed with raspberry's and fresh cream. A fabulous day enjoyed by all.

On a different note entirely, I had a reply back this morning from Tom Lie-Nielson in the US of A. Guess who's going to be reviewing LN tools in F&C as well?...no prizes for the right answer!

05 December 2008

Lime Cheesecake

After a lot of organization on the Ethernet, the big day is here tomorrow...the Winter Bash. Loads woodworky nutters of are going to descend on my very 'umble 'shop with a vengeance for some serious woody talk. No doubt there'll be one or twelve shiny toys to play around with, 'specially if Waka brings some of this S&S planes. Paul Chapman's bringing one or two bits and I know that Rod has also got one or two surprises to unveil... then of course there's my recent stuff from across the 'big wet' which'll have an airing on the 'morrow.
What's to be done then? Well, tonight I'll need to have a honing session in the 'shop as some of my stuff needs to have a quick re-sharpen (can't have blunt blades for all to see!) but primarily I'll need to get down to Tescos for a load of grub for the day and following week. Good news is that Pam Newton is providing the pud...lime cheesecake, which I know from past experience is not to be missed.

02 December 2008

The Parcel of Lovliness...part deux

I was expecting another little shiny object in the plane package last week and was slightly disappointed to find that it t'weren't there... ho-hum I thought, RL's forgotten to send it, never mind. About 5.30 last night, just as I was getting the tea on, there was a hammering on the front door and there stood my neighbour with yet another parcel from Canada, inside which was the other tool I'd been expecting...so a big 'thumbs up' to Rob Lee and Veritas. I've spoken to the ed. at F&C and he wants me to do the review in the New Year, but first I've got to find out what it does and more importantly, how to use it.

01 December 2008

Smooooth operation.

Steve Allford came down to Wilton this weekend for a training course. He wanted to have a look at the way to make a decent drawer, which involves making a through and lapped dovetail...'cept that there's a lot more to it that that!
I got him started on Saturday morning by making a simple through joint (I have to say that he did that very accurately) and in the afternoon he did a lapped dovetail. The timber he was using was some American red oak that Chisel had given me a while ago and it proved to be ideal for this sort of exercise. The front of the lapped joint was made from a oddment of Brazilian mahogany.
A couple of years ago I'd made an old unit with a couple of small drawers (for holding pens etc in the old computer room) and it was shortly destined for the tip, but then I had a moderate brainwave (such occurrences are getting rarer) I thought that Steve might be able to completely remake one of the drawers on Sunday, which is what he did. Furthermore, he was able to make it a 'piston' fit in the carcass and was surprised that a small handful of wispy shavings was the difference between a binding drawer and one that was a dead smooth fit, so much so that he was able to push the drawer in using just one finger on a lower corner. If you don't believe me, try it!.. a well made and fitted drawer will go in smoothly (if its 3/4 out) by pushing on one corner with finger...if it binds and sticks, it's a sloppy fit.
I gave Steve enough timber for him to make the second drawer at home in 'slow time' so that he ought to be able to end up with useful little desk unit which will no doubt end up in one of the children's rooms. He'd recently also just completed a dovetail saw kit and was eager to give it it's first outing in my 'shop. It's a very pleasant Grammercy saw for which Steve had made an ebony handle...and a cracking little thing it was too.
Inevitably, mistakes were made which I won't dwell on, but at the end of the weekend Steve knew what they were and had learned how not to repeat them in any future projects that needed a top quality, fitted drawer. Lesson for me there, I fancy...
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed one or two new shiny tools...luvly jubbly!

27 November 2008

The Parcel of Loveliness...

As this is the 100th Blokepost, it's appropriate that it ought to be a memorable one...and then some. A very grubby UPS delivery note was on my doormat last night saying that a parcel had been left with a neighbour, so with a rising sense of delicious anticipation I collected it from the said address and transported it very carefully home (why, I don't know, 'cos it had just travelled about 3000 miles from Ottawa) After ripping open the box, nestled amongst all the packing, there were three smaller ones, two of which contained the new block planes from Veritas and the third the equally spanky dovetail saw.
The new DX60 is a very pretty and superbly designed plane. It's far better than the LN 60.5 that I'm currently using, so that one may be kicked into touch, or at least offered for sale at some point. The particular things I found impressive were the way the adjustable shoe for the mouth is completely enclosed and that there is a cunning little stop to prevent it from slamming into the blade as the mouth is closed up. The LN by comparison (it uses the Stanley system) is clunky, awkward and quite difficult to set. The adjuster is also of the standard Veritas pattern, using a Norris inspired system...this sort of thing is found on all their planes, and being a Norris fan...I like!
Then of course, there's the design style. Its just eyewateringly, gobsmackingly pretty!! Everything that applies to the DX60 can be said about it's sibling, the NX60...except that the lights need to be dimmed and dark glasses worn 'cos when you take it out of its black velvet drawstring bag there's a very real risk of being blinded by the glare. It's seriously shiny!!...the thing is actually sitting in all it's shining sparkliness in front of me at work as I type on the 'puter (sad git that I am)
The new dovetail saw is growing on me. Like lots of others, I didn't initially like it when I saw pics of it on the Interweb, but you know...it grows on you. Now that I've had a chance to examine one at close quarters and more importantly, to pick it up, it's actually more comfortable to hold than my current LN d/t saw. I'm going to keep both and do a full 'shop test in due course as Michael Huntley wants me to review it for next months F&C and then later to do a comparison test against the LN after six months or so...it's going to be an interesting time in the 'shop.

24 November 2008


So here's a thing. I'm beavering away this last weekend in the 'shop, preparing timber for Steve Allford's course and making a rather large frame for a map of the world, again for the same person at work as the other few finished recently. Sunday afternoon arrived and I had a couple of hours to spare so I thought I'd make a start on this small project to hold some mugs. It'll also have a curved front drawer, which I'm rather looking forward to, as I've never done one of those before. All the timber had been put through the p/t, the edges and ends had been shot in and the surfaces skimmed with the LV LA jack...perfect, everything looking hunky-doodly. I selected the two uprights and proceeded to mark out the dovetails top and bottom, then I moved on to sorting out where the two central horizontal dividers would go...so far so good. Marked out one (the top of the drawer) then measured 120mm for the next shelf...but hang on just a moment, this was only leaving me about 60mm for the next mug and I needed 120mm! Time to check the drawing.
The dimensions for the individual sections were as follows: 15 (thickness of wood) +75 (drawer height) + 15 (first horizontal shelf) + 120 (space for mug) + 15 (thickness of shelf) + 120 (space for mug) + 15 (thickness of wood) You don't need to be a maths graduate at Edinburgh to add up these numbers, which if you've hit all the right buttons, ought to come to 375mm...so why the bloody hell did I mark on the drawing that the total height was 236mm, which is what I cut both pieces to?
Bugger and thrice bugger!!
Staying remarkably calm and resisting the temptation to hurl everything in the 'shop through the window I reviewed my options. Fortunately, Waka who kindly donated the timber in the first place, is coming up to Wilton in a couple of weeks (along with some other notorieties from UKW) so he's going to bring me another couple of lumps of timber...here's hoping I don't do the same bloody stupid thing again. As is often said in woody circles of note, measure twice, cut once...'cept I didn't!

22 November 2008

The Better Picture

Michael Huntley, the ed of F&C came round yesterday to take a few extra pics of the Elm Cabinet II. I'd taken plenty but had managed to get some reflections in the door glass and one or two shots were out of focus, so not quite good enough for publication. After a brew, Michael set up all the gear in the lounge so it soon resembled a studio, cables and lights everywhere. He'd brought with him a set of professional studio lights which he arrayed around the cabinet to take the shots..and I was most impressed! Michael explained that the most important thing is to get plenty of light on the subject and then shoot on the 'manual' setting at f20 and 1/160th or even 1/250th shutter speed rather than the 'auto' that I'd been using to date. However, the rather daunting prospect of spending nearly £300 on lighting gear didn't fill me with much joy until he explained that a much cheaper way of obtaining a good light source was to use 'site lights'...the only thing necessary to do is to alter the 'white balance' on the camera. This morning then, I had a look at the Axminster site and they had them on special offer (25% off) so now I've got four coming in the post which ought to arrive later on this week.

After some nattering on the Interweb today, I'm now expecting an ever bigger parcel from the New World...can't wait!

20 November 2008

The Bigger Picture

I handed over the three pictures I did a few days ago and happily the recipient (more correctly his wife) was delighted so that now I've got a really big map of the world to frame as well...probably the biggest thing that I've ever cut mitres for. Difficult to know what to use for timber for this one, but somewhere in the darkest recess of the 'shop I think I've got some suitable mahogany which could be sliced up, I'll have to have a delve tonight.

I also bought another mangled gouge from PFT last week which I intend to turn into a slightly smaller scribing gouge for the forthcoming table project. I'll also need a new handle and I reckon that's a job for some Ebony or African Blackwood. Now that I've got the internal grinding problem sorted out (the Proxxon is ideal for this sort of job) it'll compliment the existing gouge that Martin let me have a while back.

Whilst we're on the subject, I see from pics on the Interweb that LN have one or twelve new goodies in the pipeline, one of which is a fishtail gouge. I made one (or rather converted a woody rebate plane blade) a while back and made an octagonal handle which is OKish, but the blade's a tad short, so I guess the real thing would probably perform better...besides which, it'll sit well with all the other LN chisels in the rack, not that I'm a collector of any sort you understand...

Meanwhile, I'm waiting with baited breath for a heavy package to arrive from the New World...will say no more.

16 November 2008

Jockfrock...'au naturel'

I've had a really good week, not so much from a woodworking point of view, but I did something that I've wanted to do for ages...become a qualified First Aider. There was a need in my branch at work for an 'appointed person' (the correct name, I'm led to believe) so my boss nominated me for the Red Cross four day course held in town. It turned out to be very interesting and I learnt a huge amount about all things medical and to top it all, I've got a fabric and enamelled badge as well as a credit card thingie to put in my wallet...all good stuff.
I've made a couple of my marking knives in the last couple of days, both for UKWorkshop members, so that's a useful bit of the folding just before Christmas. Fingers crossed, there may be someone else after one as well, so I'll have to wait and see what develops. We're also having a 'Secret Santa' event on UKW this year and I've managed to make a reasonble gift which will need to be posted off round about the begining of December.

So what's with the bloke in the skirt, I hear you ask? Gareth, number 1 son, who seems to be far more comfortable with the kilt than the bloke next to him, who seems to be apprehensively awaiting the imminent delivery of a cricket ball where it's not needed!

Just a passing thought...I wonder if Gareth is wearing it 'au naturel'?

09 November 2008

New Teeth for 'Big Woodie'

What a great weekend in the 'shop, I seemed to have got a huge amount of stuff done. The main thing on Saturday was to start the machining on the cherry for the table, so I managed to shove all the stuff through the p/t so that it was pretty much to size. I'm going to leave it for another few weeks to condition a bit more before the final sizing. Trouble was that the blades on the planer were as blunt as a blunt thing so it was a real effort to shove the stuff through...so this morning they had a long overdue sharpening on the Tormek. The difference was fantastic so it's a New Year resolution (made well in advance) that I must remember to sharpen the planer blades on a regular basis.
So what's with the pic? When I made 'Big Woodie' back in the summer, I must have altered the temper on the original blade (when I ground it from 50 to 44mm) so that it was pretty abysmal and tended to loose the edge after about three minutes...no good at all. I asked Philly if I could have a lump of 6mm tool steel and he let me have a decent bit at Wesonbirt. Well this weekend I prepared it to size (you can see from the pic that Phill has roughly ground the bevel) so that all it needs now is to be hardened and tempered (again, Phill will do that for me as I don't have a big enough gas torch for the job) an then BW will be up and running.
I also did a bit of saw sharpening as well, something I haven't done for a good few years. Martin let me have a couple of old saws to play around with (one was a decent back saw and the other was a very nice cross-cut) I did a reasonable job on the tenon saw, not fantastic, but fair, suffice I think to say, that it's a lot better now than when Maritn let me have it a while ago. The cross-cut has been stripped down and all (or most of) the rust has been cleaned off the blade, the handle has been stripped of all the original gloopy varnish and is now drying, even as I type, in the airing cupboard. It just remains to be set, sharpened and re-assembled and then I reckon it'll look, and perform, pretty well...time will tell.
I also decided to make another small project while I'm waiting for the cherry to condition. When Pete and I went to see Waka, he let me have some offcuts of American Oak and I'm going to make a small display unit for some comical mugs (of which more later) but the thing which is quite interesting is that I'm going to make a curved drawer in this little unit...something I've never done before but which I've always wanted to have a go at. As I said in an earlier entry, flat and square is relatively easy...bringing a little bit of curvature into your work makes life a whole lot more interesting, and ultimately a lot harder, but that's life, init?

07 November 2008

Banana Wood

It being Friday today, it therefore follows that yesterday was Thursday, in which case I was out in the 'shop last night doing a spot of weekly cleaning. Some can work in a mucky 'shop...I can't I'm afraid. It's my view that tidy surroundings promote efficient and better quality work, lots of others disagree, but that's the way I do things.
So, after I'd finished with the brush and broom I decided to have a quick peek at the cherry. Much to my surprise, it hasn't moved at all so I guess it was pretty dry to start with. Tell a small lie, there's one of the rails that's a bit banana shaped (stresses released in the wood after conversion) but nothing drastic, certainly nothing that can't be removed with a bit of judicious work with the LV jack, so I'm thinking that I'll make a start on the frames this weekend and push everything through the planer/thicknesser.
I've just been paid a small amount for the picture frames that I did a few weeks ago so I intend very shortly to order one or two bits and pieces from Axminster. Several years ago I had a Dremel drill and sold it as I didn't think I would have a use for it in a cabinet shop...stupid boy! I need to go and buy another one, but this time I'll get a Proxxon as after examining one at PFT the other day, they're far better made and come with a chuck instead of a collet system. There are several things that immediately spring to mind that it could be used on...grinding the bevel on a scribing gouge, polishing Blokeblades (as in marking knives) and sorting out the last little bit on my Secret Santa gift.
As to what that is, you'll just have to wait and see...

03 November 2008


Had a really great day in the workshop yesterday as I got the design finalised for the new project and all the rods drawn full size. I was a little bit disappointed to find that I didn't have enough burr elm for the panels but I forgot that Martin let me have a very nice small piece of Burr Myrtle (Australian timber) and there was just enough of it to slice up and make the veneers for the panels. Once the drawings were done, I hoicked up the board of cherry onto the bench and proceeded to demolish it with my hand held c/s so that after half an hour all I had was about 20 rough sawn bits of timber and a lot of sawdust on the floor. It's now in stick under the bench for a month or so doing what wood will do...
We're having a 'Secret Santa' on UKWorkshop this Christmas so I spent the afternoon just doing a bit more on my gift, which has turned out quite well and just needs a bit more work to finish it. I was in town on Saturday and went into PFT, just for the mandatory nose round, you understand and I spotted another pair of Record sash cramps...this is the second pair I've had from them in a week and at £25 the pair, it's a bit of a steal. All they needed was a good going over with some coarse sandpaper to remove the rust and crud from the bar, a light smear of oil on the thread and they're good for another 20 years. I had several sets of cramp heads collected over the years but I've always found them awkward and cumbersome to use so I've decided to replace them (A good pal on UKW uses them and has bought them for a moderate contribution to the cause) so everything considered, an excellent weekend.

30 October 2008


Got a pretty quiet day here in the office so I've been scribbling out some detailed ideas for the next project. As I said earlier on, we picked up a rather attractive marble top in France made from fossils and as SWIMBO is well into here fossils it made it's way home in the Landy without mishap. I'm currently I pondering about having two pairs of frames arranged as a cross and linking each pair will be a solid rail at each short end, about 200mm wide or so. Inset into the rail will be some burr elm with an ebony line around the outside of the panel, so the current train of thought is that it could look quite good as it'll incorperate lots of 'birds mouth' tenons and shaping with rasps on the frames. What I need to do over the next couple of days is to get the drawing gear out and start to draft things up full size. The critical thing is to try and get the proportions of the piece as pleasing as possible, trying to incorperate the Golden Ratio (if I can) for the burr elm panels, but not only that, the spaces each side of the panels have got to look right. It's a tricky business and one which'll mean a lot of 'rubbing out' till it looks spot on. The main timber will be in English Cherry as I got a lovely board from Yandles a couple of weeks ago. Once the design has been finalised the timber can be chopped up into rough lumps and left to condition a bit more in the 'shop.

28 October 2008

Added Value

Steve Hamlin from UKWorkshop came down to stay for a course over the last weekend, which proved to be very successful. I was initially a bit worried that I hadn't prepared enough work for Steve to do and that the pace of the two days would be too slow...after all, it's a fair lump of money to part with and I wanted to ensure that I gave 'added value' In the end, I needn't have worried as everything and more, that I'd planned, got covered.

Steve has been doing woodwork for about five years and wanted to learn the basics of bench work. He'd attended a week long course with Bruce Luckhurst earlier and found it reasonably good (he was able to learn about sharpening on that one) but as there are loads of students attending, a one-on-one, intensive and personal course is almost impossible to achieve, which is where the sort of course I can offer has to be of benefit as the Woodbloke Mark I eyeball was never very far away!

Working in strange surroundings and with different tools to the ones you're used to is always going to be a mite difficult to start with and Steve was no exception. He was naturally a little 'hesitant' to start with but this rapidly disappeared when he got stuck in and started to 'flow' with the work...difficult to describe, but best thought of as getting into a rhythm.

I'd organised the meals throughout the two days so that we started off with a really good cooked breakfast, sandwich at lunch time and a couple of tea breaks during the day, with a substantial dinner in the evening, after which we retired to the lounge for some serious 'woody talk' and a few bevies.

I got Steve do do several small test exercises on the Saturday, one of which was planing up a rough sawn piece of American Oak. I insisted that this was planed to exact sizes (set with a gauge) and was straight, true and out of wind. The only planes that Steve used for this was my woodie jack and the Norris AI. Sunday was spent in making a panel in American Cherry and again the panel material was planed from a rough board. All the mortise and tenon joints were cut by hand but I did the grooving and rebating on the router table.

I think I can say with some certainty that Steve got a huge amount out of the weekend and was amazed at just what progress he'd made. He's got a couple of decent projects lined up at home so now he'll be able to crack on and put into practice what he learnt at Wilton...an excellent weekend for all concerned.

20 October 2008

Tormek and Timber

In preparation for next weekend, I stripped and reground all my plane blades on Sunday as it was about time they all got done anyway, so the Tormek was working overtime. I've come up with new sharpening routine in that all blades are ground at 23deg, with BD planes honed to 30 deg with a minute micro-bevel of 32deg which I do on the Spyderco 10000g ceramic stone. This gives a fantastic edge...in fact it's so sharpe it doesn't even feel as if it'll cut you, until the edge is tested on the end of one's finger. BU plane blades are treated in a similar way in that they're honed to 36deg with a micro-bevel of 38deg, giving an EP (effective pitch, a nice Charlesworthian expression) 0f 50deg.
After our visit to see Waka the other week, I've also reduced the mouth opening on my Norris A1 panel plane, which on the face of it, is quite hard to do...how do you reduce the mouth opening on an infill? Very simple, stick a small bit of veneer onto the bottom of the bed with some double sided tape. Purists might argue that the cutting angle of the plane has been reduced, but it's only a tiny amout and makes no practical difference. I still can't get over just how good the Veritas LA BU smoother is, it's far better than my old Record Calvert-Stevens and even that's been fitted with LN A2 blade.
I also had a look round in the off-cuts drawer for some bits and pieces of suitable timber. I've got a couple of decent bits of mahogany for chiseling and chopping mortices, both by hand and machine. I'm going to demonstrate how I cut mortises using the router so I also found another bit of stuff to use in conjunction with the mahogany...if you read this Paul (Chisel) it's the bit that got dropped on my foot...and it's still as hard and heavy! On Sunday I'm going to get Steve to make a small panel, fortunately there were some ideal bits of NA cherry in the drawer with a suitable piece for the panel that will be planed and shot in by hand.
Now that the picture frames are out of the way, the next job is the coffee table. My trusty bit of hardboard needs a fresh coat of white paint ready for the full size rod and once that's been done the English Cherry can be chopped into rough lumps to season a bit further. The design I'm considering at the moment is four frames cross-halved to form a 'X' shape and linking each frame will be wide rail, inlaid with a burr elm with an ebony line. It should be 'interesting' to do as there'll be a load of smoothing and shaping of the frames so it won't be straight forward by any means...
Now who do I know that makes a decent scratch stock?

16 October 2008


Having returned from Yandles a few days ago, I managed to pick up a really nice board of English Cherry about 43mm thick. There were several splits and cracks in it but I reckon there's more than enough to do both the coffee table and the plane restoration projects. There were some even thicker 75mm boards there but the bloody galling thing is that I can't convert them into useable sizes as my portable c/s and table saw will only cut to about 53mm. It's for this reason that I've decided to try and upgrade my workshop machinery over the next couple of years, starting with a much bigger bandsaw (at least a 10" depth of cut) so that these bigger lumps of timber can be processed. A bigger bandsaw will also enable me to cut wider veneers but to do that effectively, I need to plane one of the cut sides so I'll need a wider P/T and so it continues....
I finished reading Robert Ingham's book yesterday and am truly gobsmacked by the quality and sheer precision of his work. I'm not sure that I like all his designs, but no one could argue that the man don't know what he's talking about...outstanding. There are one or two of his pieces though that could be used as a basis for the coffee table frame but one of them might be a non-starter as I'd need a bandsaw with a bigger depth of cut than my current one...bugger! I'm can see that I'm really doing a quite excellent job of convincing myself to change my gear.
On the other hand, the maple picture frames turned out really well. I tried this time to get a finish straight from the plane (my Veritas BU smoother) with only a minimum of sanding using a very worn out bit of 320g paper and much to my surprise, it worked! I finished them with a few coats of blond shellac and wax and just need to get hold of some glass this weekend to finish them off.
Steve is coming down the weekend of the 25th and 26th Oct so I'm starting to get my head round what material is going to be needed in the 'shop for the practical work. I've already outlined to him the schedule for the two days and it's pretty actioned packed, so I'm really looking forward to that, ought to be a great weekend.

09 October 2008

Bubinga or Rosewood?

Me and SWIMBO are off down to Yandles this Sat to have a look at some timber for the new workshop project in the pipeline, that is the small coffee table in elm for the lounge. We got hold of a fossilised and highly polished octagonal, segmented slab of marble from Roussillion in the south of France which is going to make a really great little table, in the style of a Robert Ingham piece, inlaid with burr-elm with an ebony line...not sure what I've let myself in for here as it's going to be just a tad tricky to build. Elm's the timber of choice for this as it's going to go well with the other couple of cabinets in the lounge. As well as the elm (air dried if I can get it) I want to find a bit of something suitable for Martin's plane project which I promised I'd start soon. I'm not sure what to buy but quite fancy a small lump of bubinga but if they haven't got anything the right size I'll see if they can cut something down...on the other hand they've got lots of rosewood of various denominations and sizes...
The picture frames that I took on last week are coming on well. These have been made out of some hard maple and will be finished some time next week, I hope.
One of the lads from the UKWorkshop forum is coming down in a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to that weekend as I think it's going to be quite interesting. Hard work, I fancy, but it should be really excellent. I've sent off all the paperwork and am just waiting for a reply at the moment...I expect something will drop on the mat next week.
Michael Huntley has recieved the article for the elm 'Display Cabinet' and also has the little bit I did on the workshop, so they'll be a couple of bits in F&C penned by my own fair hand and as an additional bonus, all the pics will have been taken with our new Nikon D60 camera, so no more struggling with my little Panasonic (good though it is)
The only thing I'm really hacked off with though is that I missed a fantasic oppurinity to get hold of one of the new Veritas plough planes from Workshop Heaven at a give away price of £99, a saving of £68!

Bugger...need to be a bit quicker off the mark next time.

05 October 2008

Sauer and Steiner

What a day Pete and I had yesterday! Pete picked me up and we had a run down to Weymouth to see two of the 'Woodkateers' namely Martin and Waka, mainly in order to have a look at the new Sauer and Stiener planes that Waka collected at Westonbirt earlier on in the summer (so called) Pete had also made one of his very acceptable scratch stocks and was keen to deliver it but as it happens, Martin put cash on the table so there was another sale there as well...but that's a different story.
The planes are works of art when you have a really close look at them and are beautifully made and finished...and all entirely by hand as I think the only machine tool that Konrad uses is a pillar drill (if I'm not mistaken) The infill on this little lot is Brazillian Rosewood which is superb and has a wonderful grain figure. The mouth on each of the planes is only .002" so that a really fine shaving can be produced and what was particularly noticable is that the Norris type adjuster is very, very fine, far more so than on my own Norris A1 panel plane in the 'shop...impressive indeed.
We were planing some Indonesian Rosewood for the test and all the planes just sailed through it! Interestingly, I sharpened up Waka's LN LA jack to a 52deg effective pitch and compared one against the other and I was surprised that the LA jack (again with a very tight mouth) produced identical results to the S&S planes, so for an every day sort of bench plane, they don't represent very good value, but then I suppose, that's not the reason why anyone would buy them. What was also slightly dissapointing was to discover that the sole of one of the smoothers was convex directly in front of the mouth, by about 2 thou each side. As Pete pointed out, this may well have been caused by the shrinkage of the rosewood infill pulling the sole out of true. Not good.
Would I have one, or some? If money was'nt a consideration then probably the answer would be yes as they are truly wonderful things to use, but as there's loads of other stuff that I need in the 'shop, and have got far to many planes already I think I'll pass on ownership...

30 September 2008

Course and Commission

After one or two false starts earlier in the summer, one of the lads from UKWorkshop forum is coming down to Wilton for a complete weekend course later on next month, so I'll need to get my head round a programme. I've pretty much sorted out the sort of stuff that we can cover...it's just a question of refining the details to suit individual requirements, marking out, chiseling, and sawing will form the main part of the first day and I'm tempted to make a small project on Sunday using the techniques. If all goes well, this could hopefully be the start of quite a good little enterprise as I'll do a full write up on the forum and you never know, I may get some more folk interested in a one day or full weekend course.
I've also just been given a small commission to make a few picture frames for some rather nice, good quality prints, so I'll have to sort out some suitable materials for the job. The prints are sea-scapes and are fairly light so maybe a combination of maple with ebony inserts on the mitres...not sure, will have to examine the wood store to see what I've got.
On an entirely different note, SWIMBO's Olympus E400 camera packed up on holiday and after having it checked out by the guys in a shop, it's completely kaput. Fortunately we've been able to claim on the holiday insurance as it had an 'accident' so we've gone and bought a really good Nikon D60 with an additional 200mm telephoto lens as I found it quite tricky with the little Panasonic compact to get really close to those pesky flamingos! Needless to say, it's going to get a fair bit of use in the workshop as well...

27 September 2008

French Kissing and Porkyroles

Having now pretty much recovered from this holiday, a blog entry is in merited to account for the last few weeks. As is usual with these sorts of events, some things go well and others, well...not so well. We were due catch the 1000hrs ferry from Dover on day one, but owing to a slight miscalculation on the timing (caused in no small part by a large cooked breakfast) I left it too late, and despite a very hair raising and bloody dangerous drive (never to be repeated) in torrential rain through to Dover, we missed the sailing and had to wait for the 12oo crossing.
SWIMBO not a happy bunny.
We managed without mishap on that day to get down to Metz for our first overnight stay and then we travelled on towards Annecy in the French Alps (about 35Km south of Geneva) but as we went progressively south the impending storm broke. Imagine then, we were floundering around in an unknown city at around 2000hrs in the evening, sheet lightning all around and torrential rain lashing down, not knowing where we were going (no good trying to find a camp site as we couldn't put a tent up anyway)
SWIMBO even more of an unhappy bunny, not a good omen...
Eventually, more by luck than judgement we managed to get the last room in a B&B motel (just before the manager cleared off for his pastis) at around 2100hrs and I had a pretty 'chilly' night of it from then on.
The saving grace in this sorry debacle was Janie, fantastic and wonderful Janie, the Tom-Tom sat nav that worked without so much as a hitch all through the holiday and navigated us without fail to any destination. Without Janie I think I would have quite definitely got myself into a lot more of the sticky stuff than I'm used to (as a very good mate always says..."blokes are always in the bloody shit, it's only the depth that varies") and would have probably called it a day pretty soon. Anyway, to cut a long story sideways, it was still pouring the next day when we set off, but gradually the weather improved as we left the low front behind and headed further south. We eventually got down to St Aygulf near St Tropez by early evening and pitched our camp at quite a good site, where we stayed for several days.
SWIMBO still wasn't very happy though as this part of the coast didn't quite match up to the pristine, squeaky clean conditions that we'd found in Switzerland during the last two holidays (I think we'd been spoilt somewhat)...the beach was dirty and littered with fag ends, bottles etc etc, but at least the sea was warm, which was glorious and it was hot, very hot which after the utterly awful weather of the last few days (and in the UK) was fantastic! However we did manage to have a run out in the Landy so see the 'boats' (said advisedly) in St Tropez harbour.
We then travelled on twoards Monaco but the camp site was unsuitable and decided to head inlands towards Castellane (along the Route Napoleon, the 'road' that Bonaparte took to Paris in 1815 after his escape from Elba) and it was at this point that things started to look a little more promising as we managed to find a really superb site. Having made camp, we had a nose round the town, which was delightful. It's an odd thing, but once we got away from the coastal strip, even by a couple of miles, the whole character of the place changed...the interior is a far more pleasant place to spend a few days than the frantic, chockablock, hectic pace of life that's the Cote d'Azur.
The main reason to stay at Castellane was to visit the Gorge du Verdon, which had to be one of the highlights of the whole trip and somewhat made up for my many and varied cock-ups of the last few days. What a fantastic drive round the gorge that day and in superb, really hot weather as well! The whole thing is a deep gash (200m or so) in the local limestone which stretches for about 40miles. It's truly an awesome (I hate that word, but it's applicable here) experience to see the gorge.
After that we moved further into Provence to the town of Apt, where we found a site half way up a hill that was densely wooded.
Another low spot...SWIMBO decidedly unhappy again and to make matters even worse we had the most torrential thunder storm that night, with sheet lightning directly overhead (SWIMBO thought her days were numbered!) and a very violent downpour...my estimation is that the storm lasted for about 6 hours and we had about 50mm of rain. Unfortunately I'd pitched the tent so that we had a river of brown muddy water that almost came in, had I not raised the ground sheet by using tins, snorkeling flippers and anything else that I could find...all this a 0300hrs in the morning. Fortunately, we survived but SWIMBO was still a very unhappy bunny as she was permanently cold. However, things took a turn for the better as the next day we took the Landy out for a run to see the hill top villages of Gordes and Roussillion. Gordes was quite an experience but was totally eclipsed by Roussillion, the staggering thing in that village was to see the sand strata in the local area nearby...amazing! The colour of the sand changed from orange to bright yellow in the space of about 20m!
Anyway, we then decided to head for the heat again for the last week and ended up in a much quieter site near Giens, which is about as far south in France as it's possible to go, being near Hyres. The site we picked was a cracker, and I pitched the tent about 20m from the sea so we eventually were both happy...and it was hot, very hot. The bikes got used that week as well as we had a couple of really good rides out to see the flamingos...fabulous creatures. We spent most of the final week just messing around on the beach, where I was able to potter around most days with a pair of flippers and a snorkel...great stuff and when I wasn't doing that I got stuck into the Bourne Trilogy. We also had a really great day out on the island of Porquerolles where we also just spent time on the beach with a snorkel (much to SWIMBO's amusement, I managed to spot an octopus)
Being a bit of a people watcher, I couldn't help smiling at the antics of the local populace...why do they insist on kissing each other? Even a couple of spotty oiks with punky hair do's and the arse's hanging out of their pants gave each other a peck on the cheek and on one occasion I saw a couple give each other four kisses, a pair on each cheek! Very strange. The stangest thing though is the French blokes with their man-bags. After being unable last year to fit Alpine air horns on the Blokebike, am I going to get an inferiority complex this year 'cos I haven't got a man-bag?..mayebe not.
As someone far more erudite than me once said a long time ago..."France is a beautiful place, it's only the bloody French that spoil it"
Or words to that effect...vino time.

01 September 2008


This will be the last entry for a short while as me and SWIMBO are off on our annual holiday on the 'morrow. The plan is to head for Dover to catch the 1000 sailing for Dunkirque and then onto Metz in northern France for an overnighter at the Ibis. Next day it's on to Annecy in the French Alps for a couple of days and then touring round Provence and the Cote d'Azur. The landy's been scrubbed and polished and you never know...it might make a sedate tour of the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco though not quite as sedate as Lewis Hamilton!
Weather looks good, with the possibility of some rain at times but at least with t'internet we can get a bit of advance warning and take the appropriate gear. All the packing was done yesterday, so all that has to be done tonite is to put a good squeeze of air in the cycle tyres and them load them onto the back of the Landy.
Should be a great trip...onwards and upwards!!

25 August 2008

Westonbirt and the Scratch Stock

The weather gods were clearly smiling on Saturday as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, just right in fact for a trip out to Westonbirt for the 'Festival of the Tree'. The whole show is set out in about 600 acres of woodland at the National Arboretum near Tetbury. There were all sorts of exhibits from toy-making to turning and everything in between, including a display of bonsai trees. There was though, quite a lot of arty-farty tat for sale which was of little or no interest, but I expect that's only to be expected at such a large event. Needless to say, Classic Hand Tools had 'pole position' and their marquee was packed out with a droolworthy collection of stands with some very tempting kit. The only thing I did come away with was a copy of Robert Ingham's book 'Cutting Edge Cabinetmaking' and although I've only skipped through it at the moment it promises to be a definitive 'must have' reference.
All the lads were there and from left to right we have Pete Newton, then Ed Sutton, David Charlesworth, Phill Edwards, Paul Chapman, Mike Reilly and last but not least, Martin the Woodkateer who came away from the show with a rather tasty shooting board made with my own fair hands.
You may be wondering what Pete's got clutched in his hand...well it's the prototype version of my new scratch stock which he made for me a few days ago. It really is a fantastic tool!

22 August 2008

Buns in the 'shop...

I got a email from SWIMBO yesterday at work (she was poorly at home) saying that I had a parcel for me when I got in. No guesses as to what it contained...the LN No 9 Iron Mitre plane. I've never actually examined one close up or taken one apart, but having done so yesterday... it's an absolute beauty! After tea I took it out to the workshop and sorted out the blade honing angles. The bed is at 20 deg and the blade is ground at 25 deg giving an effective pitch of 45 deg so I've increased this slightly by honing a bit more of a micro-bevel on the 10000g Spyderco ceramic stone so that the final finished bevel gives an effective pitch of 48 deg or thereabouts. I found the plate on the back a little awkward to set up as well...LN recommend setting it about 92mm but in practice it seems to be a little more than that to get the correct adjustment, however after a bit of fiddling about I got it to work quite well. The 'hot dog' handle is also great, it's fitted by just using an Allen key...in use my hand falls exactly in the right place to apply pressure squarely onto the bearing surface of the tool, the result of which is that there's no way in which the dreaded shooting board 'tip' will happen. In use on the 'shoot it's fantastic, absolutely the right tool for the job.
I also ordered some Mirka sanding sheets, 180, 240 and 320g...10 of each. I'm going to use these from now on for sanding flat surfaces as the really good thing with them is that any dust created is sucked up by the 'shop vac through the perforations in the surface of the sheet. The only downside as far as I can make out is the extra racket generated by the vac...isn't there a well known saying about having 'cake and eating it'?

18 August 2008

Biker Babe

The weekend has come and gone and a very pleasant one it was too, as Gareth was in Salisbury for a wedding. One of his old school friends (female I might add) had decided to do the decent thing and get married and Gareth was invited. As an added bonus though, his girlfiend Jo was also staying with us and went to the wedding.
Sunday was fairly relaxing but yours truly was in the usual position on a Sunday (in front of the stove) as I'm always ic Sunday lunch and having tucked into a nice bit of roast pig, my daughter Megs turned up just in time for a glass of vino and a coffee...she's now called 'Biker Babe' as whenever we see her now she's encased in black leather...

13 August 2008

Telephonic Discount

Having been paid my ill-gotten gains from F&C a while ago I decided to splash out a bit on a LN No9 Iron Mitre plane, a dainty little tool that I'd long had an eye on but never been able to afford. The order was correspondingly placed with Classic Hand Tools who normally deliver fairly speedily, but when I got home from work the day after, there was a 'fone message...'out of stock, waiting for a big shipment to arrive, muchos apologies' etc etc.
Today I decided to chase up the order to see what had happened to it and got straight through to the boss man, who explained that they were still waiting for delivery but did expect to have something in by the end of the month, more precisely for Westonbirt. With fingers crossed and baited breath, I nonchalantly mentioned that had I bothered to wait then I'd have got a show discount of 10%.
"No problem, we can sort that out over the 'fone right now" and so to the muted tapping's of a calculator at the other end of the line, £26.27 has been deposited into my account, which I suppose has paid for the tripod I ordered at the weekend. All in all a good result.
Mike Hancock is a very nice man!

10 August 2008

Gorillas and Jason Bourne

I'm no photographer...all that mumbo-jumbo about 'f' stops, focal plane shutters and depth of field sounds like one of the black arts and leaves me very, very confused, not an uncommon situation you might think. I need to be able to get hold of a camera, point it at the subject, press the shiny button and expect to get a half-respectable pic. I've been using a little Panasonic compact camera for the shots in the 'shop but recent attempts to take decent finished pics of the Elm Cabinet II have found it wanting somewhat. Apparently the little lenses in all these sorts of cameras are 'wide angle' (whatever that means...presumably you can shoot wide things?) which give rise to a certain amount of distortion in the finished pic, not a particularly desirable thing in pics that are going to get published in the media...and therein lies the problem.
After Michael Huntley came round the other day (who's the new editor of F&C) he asked me for a small article on the interior of the 'shop together with a dozen or so decent photos of the interesting features...plus he's going to drop of stuff for reviewing which again will require a couple of pics. This all means of course, that I'll be doing a bit more work for the mag, the end result of which is that my picture taking equipment needs to be improved a tad.
When Pete came round the other night we got talking about this problem... SWIMBO overheard the conversation and very generously offered me the use of her very gucci Olympus SLR for use in the 'shop, which was fantastic, but as others have pointed out to me, these bigger cameras require a tripod to get the best out of them so this morning I've ordered quite a natty Sony unit that was getting 5* reviews on Amazon. What's even better is that as the forthcoming holiday to the South of France (reverting to Plan A after much consideration...not definite though) is fast approaching she wanted to take pics using the self-timer of both of use so I've also ordered a Gorillapod which will also be useful in the 'shop for closer work at the bench.
At whilst I was in the mood, I decided to order a little light reading matter for the evenings, imbibed with a glass or four of nice French vino...The Bourne Trilogy!

05 August 2008

Beyond ECII...ECIII maybe?

Having got ECII finished a bit of a 'shop vacuum has developed (as far as a project goes) in that I haven't got anything on the horizon or even distantly coming up over the same, but I do have the very fainest germ of an idea or four as a possible next job(s). First and foremost, I've got a largish lump of elm about 65mm thick which looks very promising. It's about 300mm wide and there may be just enough timber in there for a wall mounted cabinet but the problem is that the pith runs through the centre so there's a lot of splitting on one side of it. However it does present a distinct possibility and I fancy having a go at a solid curved door as I have the little plane that I made to shape the Teak Casket last year. To be really sure that the idea is workable I ought to have another piece of elm for any gaffs (of which there are bound to be plenty) and also I'll need material for the exterior sides and interior fittings, be they solid or veneered.
Second and foremost, I bought a quantity of decent English oak a while back which has been earmarked for a couple of wall mounted display cum shelving units for the lounge. I've got everything for that and would just need to get hold of some sheet material for the shelves and uprights. There's certainly enough oak to do something interesting so I need to have some thoughts on what to do.
Third and foremost, Chisel let me have some rather nice spalted sycamore at our recent bash so there's the possibility of a bit more box making. Whislt I'm wittering on about boxes, Robert Ingham in a back issue of F&C had a fantastic little cabinet made from small squares of elm burr edged in ebony...and I know someone who's got a box full of elm burr offcuts!
The main drawback to these plans (for the bigger projects anyway) is that my machinery is too small, particularly the bandsaw, as I can only re-saw up to 150mm and I need a machine that'll do 300mm. Fortunately one's available at a reasonable cost from APTC and it's the same one that Philly and Waka use. The cunning plan then is to write the article for F&C on ECII and squirrel away my earnings from the piece until I've got enough put by to get hold of the machine...that's the plan anyway, but as we all know, plans do change....

04 August 2008

ECII...done and dusted

The latest piece has been completed at the weekend and here's a few pics. It's come out quite well, one or two things on it that could be altered slightly, but I think it's fair to say that it's tuned out to be quite a good piece.