Sunday, 31 May 2015
On our last day in Holland we paid a visit to an old crafts museum http://www.ambachtenmuseum.nl/
We were greeted by a load of antique woodworking tools for sale, a great start!
Here is my wife and son somewhat reluctantly holding a large jointer plane which was just 10 euros ($11 or £7).
The museum had 160 shops set out with old tools from every trade imaginable. Above was the sign for the chemist, a Moor with a tablet on his tongue, very unusual!
The first of many cabinet making shops had loads of tools and a very nicely made treadle lathe.
Typical Dutch style moulding planes, these turn up quite often in UK tool shops.
A continental smoother, this style is still in production today and popular in Eastern Europe.
The vice was heavy duty and showing signs of plenty of use. Note the spinner on the left which was to balance wracking when the other side of the vice was used. I installed one of these on my first bench which had a Record vice and it worked very well.
Miniature sales samples of a staircase and window, used to show their skills to prospective customers.
A fantastic adjustable hand drill, which still worked fine and could get some real pace up using the two handles.
This lady was very skillfully weaving wool which she made into jumpers. Se had one made with the fur combed from her Newfoundland dog, it was very heavy and warm!
A shot of another vice which clearly shows the vice screw, guide rods and the side spinner.
Lastly, no Dutch museum would be complete without a clog making shop.
More shots in the next post.
Friday, 29 May 2015
We've just returned from a weeks cycling in The Netherlands. The only major woodworking tool supplier in this small country (16 million people) is Baptist, based in the centre of Arnham.
I spotted this huge chair before I saw the store, it was outside a cabinet making shop nearby.
It was a large and very well stocked showroom with mainly hand tools, the machinery showroom was down the street. This weekend I was told they were moving into a much larger industrial unit where they could have a big demonstration area as well. I wish them luck with the move.
Below is just half of the wall of carving chisels.
A fine stock of books and DVD's most in English, there were some very interesting books in German, I should have paid more attention at school!
Here's a fine looking double sided grinder made by Hegner, I have one of their disc sanders which is excellent. It has a nice wide pair of ruby wheels and a very sturdy full width tool rest, the gap between the bars helps with holding chisels and plane blades, as well as accommodating curved and skewed blades. Another really nice feature is the variable speed adjuster, something I've not seen on a grinder before. At 600 + euros not cheap, but I want one!
There was a good selection of axes from various Swedish makers.
Nice to see a choice of replacement handles, axes obviously get used well in the part of the world.
There wasn't an array of European work benches which I had perhaps expected. The only proper bench was a Lie Nielsen, apparently delivered by Tom himself. The vices ran very sweetly.
So if you ever find yourself in The Netherlands then I would highly recommend a visit.
see the web site here https://www.baptist.nl/en/
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
After a long gap my new squares are available at last. The production has been at lot harder than anyone imagined and even now I only have limited stocks. There have been a number of small changes made, the most obvious being they are now made in three sizes, 2", 4" and 6". This was requested by a number of you but I've had requests for other sizes since, it has to stop somewhere!
The guides are now silver anodised and the name badge is engraved rather than a glued in plate.
Replacing the bar are titanium studs, which give just two or three touch points, reducing the chances of the square being thrown off by fluff or debris.
They are nicely balanced and will sit happily on an edge and of course they are dead square both inside and out. The 2" is £16, the 4" is £22 and the 6" is £28.
Friday, 22 May 2015
I recently sent some products to Raf Nathan for evaluation. He writes for the Australian Wood Review magazine AWR (it's amazing how so much time can be spent thinking up a title only to have it shortened to something meaningless!) Anyway the AWR magazine is excellent, I've been an overseas subscriber for nearly 10 years and although in only comes out 4 times a year is well worth waiting for.
This video by Raf shows the use of my 90 degree guide along with the Veritas versions and is nicely done. He'll be reviewing my dovetail guide shortly in the magazine (hopefully in a little more depth!).
I'll have had reviews done in all three UK magazines as well as Germany, Canada and now Australia. I think it's about time a US magazine does a review, especially as that's where most of my tools are sold. I'll have to work on it.
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
In the last year my tool sales have doubled, so something has to give. I took my last six bench planes to Handworks and they were gone in a few hours. I won't be making any more.
In the past seven years I've made about 800 planes, it's a shame it has to end.
But all is not lost. I've long been an admirer and user of the HNT Gordon planes from Australia and a few months ago I started selling their spokeshaves and shoulder planes. I now have in stock their palm smoother which is a very handy little plane for small areas and rounding edges. Some of the stock features beautifully figured gidgee, first come first served! Price £99.
I also have on order their high angle block plane and jack plane which should be here in a few weeks.
Saturday, 16 May 2015
This was the best, show I've ever been to. Customers and tool makers were really looking forward to it and from all I've heard it didn't disappoint from either side.
Jameel Abraham (and his family) deserve a special thanks for all the time and effort put into organising the show, let's hope they'll be another.
The tool chest shown was made by Chris Schwarz, but the hard part was immaculately done by Jameel, a very talented woodworker.
On a personal note, I couldn't have done the show justice without the use of a good bench and what a fine one it was. Provided by Mark Hicks from Plate 11 http://plate11.com/
Mark had a great show as well, selling all but one of the benches he had there.
And finally many thanks to Brian Buckner for the excellent BBQ as well as tirelessly running around making sure everything ran sweetly. See y'all next time!
Although everyone was expecting a good show, no one really knew.......I arrived an hour before the doors opened and this was what greeted me!
Below you can see the queue stretching down the main street.
This show was full of fine plane makers. I was sharing a booth with Phil Edwards (Mr laid back), he was still setting up when the doors opened!
Across was Konrad Sauer, it was good to meet him again and he had a fine selection of planes.
The K13 and the K18 shown below were the stars of the show for me, they felt nice, worked wonderfully and those looks are to die for!
Scott Meeks was opposite me with a good selection of his sculptural wooden planes.
Daed Toolworks had some very fine planes which also caught my eye.
Also opposite me was Wayne Anderson with some real beauties.
Blum planes are unusual in the blade and adjustment design and they have just been granted a patent for the system. I'm looking forward to giving these a try tomorrow.
And finally the highlight of my day. A customer came to thank me for helping him transform his dovetailing and woodworking with my tools and videos. He had brought a special pack of six beers with him as a gift, very touching and gratefully received!
Friday, 15 May 2015
Yesterday was spent setting up at Handworks, what normally takes me a hour took eight, the other exhibitors are a very friendly bunch! Above is my neighbour Dave Jeske of Blue Spruce who did wonders for both our stands with some makeshift lighting.
Below is another neighbour Chris Vesper with a good selection of his wonderful tools.
It's the morning of the show now and I'm really looking forward to it, my YouTube videos passed the 1 million views overnight, so I'm hoping that's a good omen!
In the evening was the much awaited private viewing of the Studley tool chest and bench.
Here's a shot of his superb bench and below the equally well finished back.
For me the bench was as impressive as the tool chest, with wonderful proportions and vices to match.
There was a no touch policy which was understandable, but they had a replica bench with a good selection of vices from the era for everyone to play with.
The main attraction was the chest. It was bigger than I imagined and the no touch policy was reinforced with the whole thing being encased in a perspex viewing box. Here's Roy Underhill giving it very close scrutiny.
A wonderful thing and a privilege to have seen it in the flesh.