Tuesday 31 December 2013

Last Project of the Year.

So here it is, a wood store for our recently installed log burning stove, I just need to order some logs.
Projects like this make a pleasant change (apart from the cold and rain!) from fine furniture and tools.   It was quick to make and I particularly enjoyed doing the cedar shingle roof.

That just leaves me to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year, with plenty of woodworking!

Friday 27 December 2013

The Crown Plane Company

One of my Christmas presents this year was a neat little compass hollowing plane made by Jim White of the Crown Plane Company in the US. Mainly used for cleaning up hollowed chairs seats (James Mursell has one), I thought it might be a nice texturing tool for box lids or cabinet panels.
The finish is not to highest of standards, but then this is a very reasonably priced plane. The blade however has been beautifully shaped and sharpened, this is clearly a tool made to be used.
I know this is a personal thing but why do the Americans love dying wood? This plane is made from maple and it just looks a mess with this dark brown dye. If you want a brown plane why not just use a brown wood?

Jim took over the company in 1999 from leon Robbins who started it in the early 1980's, so it's been going for some time now. They keep a low profile but obviously do well (despite the brown dye!). If you want to see their full range of planes see here https://www.crownplane.com/

Friday 20 December 2013

Dovetailing Course at West Dean College, Available to Book Now!

I'll be taking a weekend course 'Hand cut dovetails made easy' at the famous West Dean College from 9th - 11th May 2014. You can book on line here https://www.westdean.org.uk/CollegeChannel/ShortCourses/Courses/Courses.aspx?ref=WE4606
Above is last years class looking very pleased with themselves!
Below is the class of 2011.

The course is classed as intermediate and would suit active woodworkers, although you don't have to have cut dovetails before. Some of the novice dovetailers produced remarkably crisp dovetails.
All my dovetailing tips and techniques will be covered and I will have saws, alignment boards and dovetail guides available for use.

Everyone will go away with a box made by themselves, similar to this one. The cost of the materials is included in the course price of £224 and there is a 5% discount for booking on line, so don't delay!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Chisel Handle Upgrades in Glorious Rosewoods.

Richard Wile from Canada enjoys upgrading his chisel handles, here are some Blue Spruce with wonderful cocobolo handles.
I remember teacher Bruce Luckhurst commenting drily that woodworkers will buy anything made from  rosewood and brass and he was probably right, especially rosewood of this quality.
Now you may think the pieces below don't look very promising but hiding behind that gnarled exterior is some precious Brazilian rosewood.

Here is a set of the new Veritas PMV 11 chisels with accurately turned handles from those gnarled lumps. I love Brazilian rosewood, it is subtle with great depth to the grain and the wonderful colours will hold up long after the more flashy cocobolo has turned dark purple.
You can see the full post on Richard's Blog http://richard-wile.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday 16 December 2013

Customer Box From Australia

Here's a fine box from Stuart in Queensland Australia.
It's made from quarter sawn silky oak with an American black walnut lid.
The dovetails were cut using one of my 1:6 guides and they look very sharp and clean.
I particularly like the tented lid coming down to a nice thin edge.

I sent quite a few orders to Australia recently, they must like their wood work as much as their cricket, although the less said about the Ashes tour the better!!

Saturday 14 December 2013

Happy Customer!

I get lots of positive e mails from customers but it's always nice to see the results. Jim from CT USA bought a 1:8 jig and a 372 saw a few months ago and is very pleased. This cabinet, made for a friend, had six dovetailed drawers all assembled straight from the saw with no missed cuts or paring. Nice job!

Jim made himself a dovetail alignment board and while not as fancy as some he must have made it accurately to produce such fine work.

His version of Bench Crafted moxon vice uses two veneer screws to give a 4 1/2" jaw opening and a 25" capacity between the screws. The jaws are 2 1/4" thick and the top is 1 3/4" thick with a depth of 14". It is made of hard maple and is capable of some serious dovetailing!

Thursday 12 December 2013

Fantastic Antique Tool Catalogue!


I bought this 1925 Melhuish hard backed tool catalogue recently and it's really interesting. It sits in an era that was still resisting the inevitable advancement of mechanisation.
168 pages of every kind of woodworking tool, a wonderful reference of times gone by.

Although not named there's a full page of Norris planes. Some of the currently very desirable planes were no more expensive than the others they were just less popular and presumably less useful. Perverse how they are now much more valuable.

Here's an intriguing but very comfortable looking shooting board plane, although that should clearly be a shuteing plane (my English master would not have approved!)

Another shuteing plane with board and at £3.65 a bargain! You'd get 200 times that for a good one now!

A good selection of vice hardware including large wooden bench screws, where have all the screw boxes gone?

Whilst there was some electric machinery on offer, most was hand cranked, amazing!

Whilst I wouldn't fancy hand cranking my table saw or band saw, this scroll saw is a different matter. I can just imagine the feel and control you would have making delicate cuts.

There were plenty of tool boxes and wall cabinets which was a little surprising, I would have expected most craftsmen to have made their own.

Likewise there were a wide choice of benches (I don't know why the picture turned out this way!)

And finally a pair of gentlemen's workbenches, which when closed up would have looked like a sideboard. They are not very practical but then they wouldn't have seen much use. I have tried to buy one of these on a couple of occasions over the years but been outbid. I would like to own one and I would also like to make one, one day!

Saturday 7 December 2013

Christmas is Coming!

No they're not for me, they're just waiting to go to the Post Office. Orders have really accelerated over the last couple of weeks and I seem to be spending most of my work shop time packing tools.
This batch had two from the US, two from Australia, two from the UK and one each from Ireland and Germany.
I have plenty of everything in stock so keep the orders coming!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Shop Photos From Ohio

I received these photos from a customer in Ohio. I was flattered with his name for the middle section, the 'Barron Board'.

 It has a selection of my magnetic guides as well as a chisel hammer. The board is made from 3/8" Douglas fir with a 1/8" x 3/4" steel plate grooved into the rear. It also doubles up as a magnetic bulletin board.  Nice to see he has kept my card.

That's a very clean and well ordered work shop, it makes me realise just what a mess mine gets into. He's even got some pictures on the walls!
Thanks for the photos Jay, there's still plenty of room for more tools on that 'Barron Board'

Monday 2 December 2013

Woodworkers at the Midhurst Show

First up here's Colin Norgate's stand, he does very well at these shows.
You can see a distinct and very pleasing oriental influence.

James Mursell looking suitably relaxed in one of his fine chairs.

Anthony Jackson is new to me and this cabinet immediately caught my eye. It is CNC machined followed by a lot of hand sanding and is really tactile.
It is one way, but not my way, I think I'm getting old!

John Platter's work is excellent. As a turner John has looked to break loose from the uniformity of round shapes with great success.

Brendon Devitt - Spooner produces fine work from solid timber and none finer than this walnut dining table.

And lastly was another new maker to me Tom Aylwin. Again CNC plays a big part in his work and to great effect. These boxes are beautifully made and well crafted as well as being reasonably priced.

My apologies to all the other disciplines who didn't get a mention.
It was a great show and I'll be back again next year.

Friday 29 November 2013

Wall Cabinet by Alan Peters

I was making room for my latest delivery of dovetail saws when I saw this little cabinet on a high shelf. I bought it from Alan's wife Laura not long after he sadly died, along with a hefty quantity of fine wood.
He used it as a training aid on his trips to the US. It had doors at some stage as there were small hinges fitted but these are missing.

It's only 20" tall and quite cute. I asked Laura whether Alan made it and her reply was a very firm 'Alan would never have kept anything he didn't make himself', that was good enough for me!
This is never going to be a valuable piece, just one of those nice things to own.

The sides are typical of Alan's work using crown cut timber with the arched grain running up the middle.

Two pairs of twin through tenons were used to join the top rail.

The base is through dovetailed and the drawer has half blind dovetails which completes three traditional forms of exposed joinery all in one piece, a great piece for students to copy.
The drawer is also a nice piston fit, another of Alan's trade marks.

The top of the drawer front has an angled rebate which serves as a pull. The diagram below from Alan's great book shows this detail and also shows his intention for opening the missing doors, which will be a great help when I finally get round to making them!