30 November 2009

Senior moment...biggy!

Not a great deal of time spent in the 'shop over this last weekend as the call of the paint pot has still been beckoning but the finishing line is now a broad stripe more or less in front of me rather than a smear on the distant horizon.

What time I did manage to have though was spent in veneering the last of the picture frame mitre attachments for the 'shutes, made from 18mm mdf, lipped in iroko (horrid, nasty stuff) and veneered in teak. The next thing to do is to shoot all three in so that they're a dead 45deg and after that it'll be the long mitre attachments. One good aspect of this job is that I've got another one to make after Christmas . When that's all done and dusted I have it in mind to get hold of another router with a Micro Fence at some later date, as my current Bosch is now over ten years old and was never a 'state of the art' machine when I bought it...so it's probably time for a replacement. I'm not completely sure about the additional fence as it depends on the accuracy of the one supplied with the Trend, which by all accounts seems quite good.

The current project (which is really only constructed out of gash materials loafing in odd corners of the 'shop) is a 'drop box' for the circular saw. There was a good piece on UKW on how they work and how to make one, so I'll give it a go and see how it works...beats all the faff of making a cyclone!

I usually like to take a pic or four of the stuff I make in the 'shop, just as a record of what I've made. I should have taken a couple of shots of both of the items I recently produced for the Secret Santa event, which have now been parceled up and are winging their way speedily northwards, courtesy of Royal Mail...

but I didn't...I forgot.

What an numpty!.. particularly appropriate today as it's St. Andrew's day.

26 November 2009


An interesting development has happened at Axminster as they are sponsoring a hand tool event at Oxford and Cherwell College, which is one of the premier training establishments in the country. UKWorkshop forum have been generously offered a bench space at this event by Ian Styles from Axminster, to be manned by forum members over the course of the weekend.

Several of the 'great and the good' from the stratospheric, top-end furniture making world including Robert Ingham and David Charlesworth will be holding workshops during the course of the weekend, so it promises to be an event to savour...

I'm in the process of recruiting likely bodies to man the bench...so far we're up to seven

I'm the one second from the left!

23 November 2009


When I had my music system set up a few years ago, I used to like listening to quite of lot of current stuff. One band I used to like a lot (amongst many others) was Dire Straits and indeed, I had all their albums as LP's (remember them?...and 'specially the long, LOUD version of 'Telegraph Road'!) Occasionally you do hear them now on Radio2 with the 'Woohoo'track seeming to be one of the most popular.
So what has this inane preamble, got to do with woodwork activities...if anything remotely at all?

It so happens that I've been laying a laminate floor over the weekend in our bedroom which was tiring as it's all at floor level, so it's up and down all the time. Of necessity, of course, you need to cut the stuff to get the end section and then the return for the start of a new row.

Therein lies the issue...sawing the laminate boards!

I decided to use my best, newly sharpened panel saw from the 'shop to do this, thinking that as it's only some thin 8mm mdf covered with a smear of paper thin plastic, it ought to sail through it...wrong...BIGGY mistake.
To be completely truthful it did to start with but after about an hour of supposedly cutting, it then began to 'rasp' it's way through as if all the points had been stripped off the saw teeth.

So what's this got do do with Dire Straits?..remember 'Skateaway'?

That's what my saw was like at the end of the day..slip sliding away!

21 November 2009

A tool too far...

The official Blokelist has now been compiled for Christmas and has been distributed to all parties concerned. It reads thus:

The Big Christmas List (BCL) '09

Countersink Axminster, 410039, £30
Countersink Axminster, 202213, £30
Plug cutter Axminster, 501265, £12
Kell Sliding bevel, Workshop Heaven, £28
Kell Centre finder, Workshop Heaven, £15
Chattahoochee pencil, Workshop Heaven, £3
Bessey XC5 clamp, Workshop Heaven, £5 each
Bevel Box, Axminster, 211591, £28
Zona 300 saw, Chronos, £10
Clifton 466 awl, Workshop Heaven, £16

I did though, for the tiniest nano-second, think about adding just one small and insignificant item to the list:

Domino Axminster 574256 £580

...but that would have ensured a very unhappy Christmas and would have been a tool too far.

20 November 2009

Shiny trinkets, part deux

Concerted efforts in the 'shop have come to a bit of grinding halt at the moment as I'm plodding ever onwards with the decorating. I'm happy to say though, that the finishing line is in site, even if it is on the horizon...the good thing however, is that it's getting closer all the time. Paint work on one of the doors and laying the laminate floor has to be done this weekend, so by COP on Sunday night the room should be almost finished, with just a few bits and pieces left to tidy up...hopefully.

In between time, one of the 'shutes will probably have to be finished by mid-December, which is doable but will need a bit of careful planning to get it sorted. The same person though, very kindly sent me a selection of toggle clamps which were surplus to his requirements. Although I've used clamps from Axminster for these 'shutes I'll no doubt find these ones will come in very handy for jigs later on.

On a different note, Ian Styles from Axminster has very generously set up a special Hand Tool event for UKWorkshop members at the High Wycombe branch. It's going to be a LN affair with Tom L-N and Denib P (whose name is unpronouncable anyway!) demonstrating all manner of shiny toys.

As it's being held at an Axminster 'shop though I daresay there'll be lots of other goodies to play with...

17 November 2009

Of shiny trinkets

It doesn't take too much common sense to realize that a cosy evening in front of the telly with a bottle of vino collapso and a bag of crisps is now constantly interrupted by adverts (especially the 'smelly' ones) for the impending 'season of goodwill'...Christmas.

Say what you will, but I think most people round about now (once Nov 5th is out the way) start to think about what sort of arrangements they're going to have for the festive season.

Goose or turkey, a bottle of malt perhaps and what about Boxing Day...cold 'cut up' or another roast?

With that in mind, I've been trying to put together a suitable list of stuff that I'd like, in much the same way as I did last year. Nothing too expensive, but a selection of items that would be useful in the 'shop.

But, therein lies a slight problem...I can't think of anything!

Now you might find that amazing, but I've got almost all of what I need to make the sort of stuff that I like to do, so this year it's been a bit of a struggle. However, rising manfully to the challenge I've come up with a few bits and pieces such as some countersinks (really exciting) and a set of Veritas plug cutters, which would be quite useful in a limited sort of way. The LN countersink though is desirable, but is it actually required?..a nice trinket to have though. A couple of items that I don't exactly need but would be very pleasant to have is a Kell sliding bevel and centre finder which would add a dash of extra 'bling' to the Tool Wall. Perhaps one of the most useful things would be a Zona 300 saw for cutting very fine dovetails as you might find in box corners.

What I'd really like though is a new bandsaw but there are just a couple of teeny weensy little problems with that idea, the first being that I've now blocked up the chimney...(how else do you expect presents get delivered?) and the second is...

...it won't fit into my Christmas stocking!

14 November 2009

The demon drink...

Like most woodies I like to make sure that everything's 'just so' before lights out...tools are oiled, electrical sockets switched off, bench swept down and floor reasonably clean...you know the sort of drill, so the last time I saw my two shooting boards they were nestling side by side being as good as gold...apparantly.

Somehow though, by pure cunning as only 'shutes know how, they'd managed to smuggle in a drop of the demon drink and were getting more than a bit cosy with one another.
"Oi,oi" says I... "you can pack that mucky game up right now!"...all to no avail as the next time I turned round...

they were at it like rabbits!

Now I'm fairly broadminded like most blokes, but this is stretching the bounds of credibility just a smidgen too far...shooting boards having a bit of unsolicited nooky!...whatever next?

Well, the results of that brief, steamy and passionate affair...

... a baby 'shute!

You'll note though, that the progeny has some slight genetic differences (as you would expect, naturally) to it's parents but somehow seems to have been born full sized which is to me a puzzle as I always thought new born infants were smaller...maybe not so in this case.

I wonder if it's worth letting Sir David know that some weird and wonderful 'goings on' are happening in deepest, darkest Wiltshire?

10 November 2009

The Blokeblade Special

I thought it was worth taking a couple of decent pics of the 'Blokeblade Special' before it's dispatched to it's new owner. The handle is made from Australian Lace Sheoak and finished with several dozen coats of white polish. The blade is tool steel hardened and tempered...I also engrave my initials on each of these knives, together with the date in Roman numerals.
The box is made from an oddment of Indonesian rosewood and lined with maple. The two blade supporting blocks should also have been made from maple as there was a bit cross-contamination when I polished the lining and the blocks together...the polishing rubber was picking up rosewood dust and depositing it on the maple.
All in all though, not a bad effort.

08 November 2009

A hole too far...

After a couple of crappy weeks as far as the decorating goes, I've finally managed to get a the first coat of paint on the walls, so it's all downhill from here...still a lot to do, but it's looking a bit better instead of worse.

But do you know why I detest it so much?..here's a bunch of reasons.

Stripping off wallpaper for starters. Not too bad until you find much later on that there's still bits of the beige lining paper stuck to the plaster that you missed...nnnngh!
Then there's the dings left in the plaster made by the scraper...which need to be filled again...and again ('cos I missed a bit)...and again ('cos I found another bit I'd missed)
There's also all the 'leccy sockets that have been surface mounted and need to be hacked into the brickwork at floor level amidst clouds of choking dust...great.
Wallpaper that's been fitted around light switches 'cos the eejit who did it in the first place couldn't be arsed to unscrew the fitting and stick the bloody stuff underneath!
Perhaps the most intensely irritating thing though, is when previous owners haven't removed ironmongery (like hinges on doors) and have just painted nonchalantly over it, so that there's about ten bloody layers of paint to chip away before you can get to the screw slots!

Hells teeth...buggeration doesn't even come close!

On a saner note though, my additional little job for the Secret Santa is coming along quite well, despite a small cock-up when I realised that I only needed to tap one 10mm hole but had, in fact, tapped two. All was not lost though as with a little bit of careful and considered work on the bandsaw, the affected bit was removed and replaced. The bolt for this small project though has turned out rather well which considering the disaster zone indoors is something of a minor miracle.

06 November 2009

Fat ladies

As I mentioned earlier, I spent some time the other night in the 'shop sorting out a Secret Santa gift which turned out quite well, but I'd also had it in the back of my mind to do something else as well, so last night I was out doing a little bit of sneaky experimenting.

The job hinged around being able to screw a thread into wood and although I'd seen it done elsewhere it's something that I 've never attempted...I found it surprisingly easy. I remembered that what's needed is a very hard, dense timber so I retrieved a gash bit of African Blackwood (and they don't come much harder) from under the bench and drilled a 9mm pilot hole in it ready to tap a 10mm thread. As it turns out, 8.5mm was better as the resultant thread seemed to be a bit 'tighter. ' I also tried some rosewood which is slightly less weighty but the thread was a little 'woolly' so it appears the 'harder the better.'

My first foray at this little project seemed to go well to start with but slid downhill rapidly after that as the gluing process went a tiny bit haywire (as it often does) and the timber cracked down the middle...too much crampage. Even with something as straight forward as this it always pays dividends to be completely prepared...

...but I wasn't, so it broke!

Fortunately it was only a very small bit of Blackwood that was rendered unusable so with a little more ferreting around under the bench I dug out a lump of Indian Ebony (which is almost as hard) so I'll have another crack at it over the weekend.

I also need to make a 'Blokebolt' as well but that ought not to cause too much of a problem as I've done a few for various planes that I've made.

Judging for the UKWorkshop Competition is almost complete with three out of the four judges having given me their verdicts, so I'm just waiting for one more. Once that's in I'll should be able to collate everything and sort out the winners and 'runners up.' After that I've just got to sort out my prize for the best WIP thread...

... and then the fat lady really has sung!

03 November 2009


The 'shutes are coming along quite well and you can see from the pic that the iroko fences have been fixed in place. The 6mm coach screw at the left hand end is in a 7mm hole so provides an element of adjustment to enable the fence to be positioned at a dead 90deg. The running boards have also been screwed in place and you can see my LN No9 has been set up to just shoot in the end of the fence.

The Secret Santa event is gradually gaining momentum and I've been really stumped about a suitable present...I just couldn't get any ideas together (how unusual I can hear you muttering) and then today, by an altogether strange sequence of events (don't ask me what or how) I more or less stumbled on something that would be appropriate and hopefully, very acceptable. I've just been out to the 'shop for the last couple of hours having a little fiddle about...and happily it's all now done and dusted, packed away in a drawer, waiting to be wrapped.

The judging in the Competition is now under way and I've had one result in so far. It's way too early to give any indication of who's going to win in each category, but it ought to be a very interesting couple of weeks...

...and if you know where that hyper-link came from, you're probably a grumpy old git like me and Victor!

01 November 2009

The plane that tips...

Much as I detest the paint pot, I have to say that some sort of progress has been made...no paint on the walls yet, but all the electrical sockets have now been sunk into the walls (instead of sitting on top, which again irks me) and all the filling, including re-plastering the original fireplace has been done. All I'm waiting for now is for the stuff to dry and then I can get cracking with the roller.

In the meantime though, I've been asked to make a couple more 'shutes with all the attachments and thus far this afternoon I've managed to sort out the basics of the main boards. The two timbers in the sash cramps (iroko) are the main 90deg fences with a little bit of long grain material biscuited on. This is one of my rather ingenious little adaptations that I've cunningly incorporated so that if the plane tips in use (and it does happen, even with a LN No9) then a little slither of material can be glued on and then shot in again, thus ensuring that break out from the piece being planed is kept to a minimum.

The white material is part of a slightly dimpled chopping board (which can be smeared with oil) and enables the plane to run more smoothly. You can also see in the pic a wear strip made from birch ply that runs on the section of the sole just below the cutter. This is so that the upper surface of the shute won't get worn away, if again, the planes tips...

...and it does happen!