Sunday 28 December 2014

Workbenches Live on E Bay

I flicked through E Bay, as you do at the weekends, and came across a couple of interesting benches.
The first is an Axminster bench from a few years back which I believe is made from Rhodesian teak, a hard, heavy and beautiful looking wood when finished. If anyone has seen the Clifton rep at shows he has one of these and it's a real beauty.

The vice isn't as flexible as a leg vice but it looks a pretty sturdy thing. The blue rings in the top are for a holdfast. Link here

The other bench looks much older and has an angled leg vice, it looks sturdy although the top is not very thick.

The angle on the vice is meant to hold work securely down to the ground, missing the vice screw, not sure if the angle is large enough to successfully achieve this.

There is a lovely old wooden screw which should have a lovely feel if it still works well. I noticed it has no garter so the jaw is not attached to the screw but it would still work fine without one.
Link here
Both benches have reasonable starting prices, the top one is in Salisbury and the bottom one in Derby.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Christmas Greetings from New Zealand.

These pictures were sent through by an English couple working out in new Zealand for 18 months.
First up is a toy showing Santa at the bandsaw! The box is marked Graupner Holtzminiaturan, made in Germany.

Next is a fine box made with the most basic of tools, featuring very well cut free hand dovetails.

 The wood is Rimu a native New Zealand timber.

A well made set of wooden hinges in the style of Peter Lloyd

The floating panel lid is finished flush with the sides which gives it a solid contemporary look.

Friday 26 December 2014

Dovetail Box from Down Under

Tommie, a good customer from Australia sent me these pictures of a very nice Jewelry box he made as a Christmas present for his wife. She was very pleased and after showing it to her friends he now has a few more to make!
The light wood is Jakaranda and the dark wood an unidentified Queensland hard (very!) wood. The base is new Guinea rosewood.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Wonderful Hand Made Box!

A customer from Pennsylvania in the US sent me these pictures of a box he's just completed. On the face of it, it's just a standard veneered, rectangular box. But when you open the lid the whole box opens up, fantastic!

The design was inspired by the 19th C craftsman John Betjemann and sons ltd of London. Even the drawer opens by a spring loaded mechanism. All the mechanisms were made totally by hand and completely hidden within the structure of the box.

The mirror inside the lid is removable.

 The lining seems to have been very well executed as does the |French polish finish.

Here's the hand made rear hinge and detail of the edging.
Brice's next project is a four drawer chest with six automatically opening compartments as well as a 72 note musical movement. I will post the pictures when they come through although it may be some while off yet!

Friday 19 December 2014

A Nice Swop.

One of the directors of a local commercial wood yard asked if was interested in a board of burr oak. As it stands I have enough timber to last me 10 years or more, but a board this nice was too good to refuse! It measures 9" wide x 46" long x 2" thick and is nice and dry.

We agreed a swop for a dovetail guide and a Lignum mallet which left both of us happy.

On a completely different note I've also bought this old Junior Whitehead band saw dating back to around 1950. Although it's only a small machine just 40" high I had to remove the door and cast iron table before I could lift it and even then it was a real struggle. They don't make them like that anymore!

Saturday 13 December 2014

Tool Box Find.

These pictures were sent in to me by Ronan, of some tool boxes he acquired, starting with a large one above. They belonged to an ex Vauxhall worker who was a keen woodworking (and metal worker by the looks of things!)

Below is a late Norris A5 with the engine turning clearly visible on the sides.

This looks like a steel soled gunmetal shoulder plane by Slater, very nice.

Lots of nice cast steel chisels.

The two shots to finish with are of an engineers chest which like the others was also crammed full of tools. All in all a very good find.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Very Nice Customer Project.

This is a lovely Krenov inspired cabinet made by Matt from Indiana USA.
The Macassar ebony is a combination of solid and veneer. I love the way he turned a simple rectangle into a very pleasing delicate piece by adding a little drawer box in the corner. A reminder that sometimes less is more.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Great Moxon Vices!

On last weekends dovetailing course there were a couple of fine Moxon vices brought along. This is Simon looking very pleased with himself and for good reason, his vice was superbly made. Below is a close up of one of the beautiful lambs tongues.
He also surprised himself (and his wife!) with the quality of his dovetailed box.

Below is Normans vice which has some interesting features. He made the mechanisms himself, milling the mild steel to fit the threaded rod. The screws move in and out rather than the wheels which prevents any annoying protrusions, a very good idea.

  The other really clever addition was these two pieces which slide into position and can be used to prevent vertical racking when clamping a small depth such as the shoulders of these dovetails. They work by dropping in the other side of the box which is the same thickness enabling the vice to clamp without a hint of racking.

Here's a shot of one of the pieces from above, ingenious!

Monday 8 December 2014

Dovetailing Course at West Dean, a Good Group!

So here's the class after two days hard work, everyone finished their box comfortably in time, this was the fastest class I've taught and one of the best. Stuart came down all the way from Newcastle, an eight hour journey by train(s).

Here is Pete's box. He had only cut 20 dovetails before the course and he produced a near perfect box.

Below is Martins box, as he was more experienced he took on the box with a pivot hinged lid which is normally reserved for the three day class.

As I expected he did a great job. below is a close up of his curved and chamfered integral handle.

And this is the start of the black pig suede lining.

The rest of the class made a tilt top lid on their boxes, I like these.

Below is a shot of the mitred linings showing the tilt. All these were dry fitted to a tight friction fit, involving plenty of work on the shooting board.

Some people worked standing up whilst others worked sitting down as I do most of the time.
John had a different method, or maybe he was just praying to the dovetail gods!
They'll be more from the course in the next post.

Thursday 4 December 2014

The Colours of Wood.

It always surprises me how much some woods change on exposure to sunlight. Some change very quickly like this lignum vitae mallet, below shows what 1/2 hour in direct light does.

Leaving it out of the sun for few hours restores much of the grain detail but still leaves it a nice dark colour, as below.

And this is some Kingwood which reacts very much more slowly to exposure. This is the end of a large board that had been laying in a workshop for the last 30 years, I was assured it was Kingwood but wasn't sure until I made the cut.

look at that wonderful purple grain! No wonder it is such a prized wood.