Thursday 30 October 2014

First Time Hand Cut Dovetails from the US.

Joel from Chicago sent me this picture of his great first attempt with the guide, indeed his first attempt without a machine! His comments are below.

'Having finally figured out the basic principle of putting the saw against the line, and using your excellent guide, I got this joint together straight from the saw. I was pretty amazed let me tell you!
Before long I'll be able to get rid of my router table and Incra jig. Nice as they both are using hand tools is much more rewarding, undoubtedly because the challenge is much greater. And I'll keep all my fingers too. Probably.
By the way I love the fit and finish of your jig, I'm sure I'll enjoy using it for many years or until the cat hides it'.

Thank you joel, I think we all have a 'cat' like that!

Monday 27 October 2014

New English Workshop Tool Chest Course

So for those of you who have already booked and those thinking about it, here is what you will be making.

This one is in olive ash with a piston fit tray and soft close lid. Apart from dovetailing (lots of it!) the techniques used include use of the shooting board (again lots!) as well as hinge fitting.

The chisel storage is a tray within a tray which can be angled towards you or........

....removed completely if that's all that's needed.

Here's the discreet finger recess, now who says woodworking isn't sexy?!
An article on the making of this chest, with all the dimensions etc will be published in the Feb 2015 issue (out in Jan) of Furniture and Cabinet Making Magazine.
If you are thinking of booking the course, I know July seems a long way away, it's filling up fast so don't leave it too long!

Sunday 26 October 2014

Cocobolo Smoother

Here are some pics of Jims first wooden hand plane. He's been on a couple of my courses and has devoured David Finck's fine book on making hand planes.

Here are the sides separated on the bandsaw and below is the blade bed being cleaned up with a sharp block plane.

A very well cleaned up bed, flat and square.

Here's the cross pin with the shoulders cut on the table saw ready for the round tenons to be formed with an 8 mm plug cutter.

The plane after glue up, next to a kingwood mini smoother.

And this is it complete, a lovely smoother in Cocobolo.

For anyone who is interested in having a go themselves I will be teaching a course on making a wooden hand plane at West Dean College from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd May 2015.

Friday 24 October 2014

New Tool Prototype

This is something I've been meaning to make for some time, a small mallet from solid Lignum Vitae

Instead of the traditional design, I've used the bulbous teardrop handle from my chisel hammer and kept the overall length quite short.

It feels great in the hand, like a smooth pebble with attitude!
The crude mock up in beech and ash, fairly dense native hardwoods, weighs in at just under 6 oz, whereas the lignum version weighs 12 oz, amazing stuff!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Nice Customer Project from the US.

Matt from Maine sent me these shots of the first project he made with the tools he recently purchased.
The curvy cloud shaped mirror is stack laminated for strength and ease of construction and it must have taken a while to make.

The curves contrast well with the intersecting rectangular box with nicely dovetailed corners.
Keep the projects coming, it's great to see!

Thursday 16 October 2014

Customer projects

First we have a very nice little box made for one of mini smoothers bought at the last Yandles show. Adam's wife and mother said it should be admired rather than used so this is a great compromise, returning it to it's little box after a work out!

The alignment board above was Lawrences first project with the guide. As I suggest in my video he left the legs over long in case things didn't go right at the first attempt, which they didn't. However his second attempt looks bang on, very impressive!

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Great Old Work Benches on E Bay.

I was browsing through E Bay when I came accross this supplier of old work benches

He's selling them for £400 to £500 each as antique displays for large houses but some of them would be far better off returned to their original use. The Scandinavian style is a great bench particularly for dovetailing. I have a version on the drawing board at the moment, but I'm not sure when I'll have time to build it!

This one here caught my eye, well past it's best, but have you ever seen a tail vice that big?!

Monday 13 October 2014

Wonderful Box by Peter Lloyd

I was browsing Peter Lloyds website when I came accross this lovely desk box for sale. At £260 I couldn't resist!

It's made from rippled sycamore and has his trademark curved opening. It sits on my office desk storing pens, glasses etc. as well as being a lovely thing to look at. An essential office accessory!!

Friday 10 October 2014

New Tools!

I have long been a fan of HNT Gordon planes from Australia and I'm delighted to be offering these four tools from their range. I have made a bulk purchase to get the very best price and I'll be passing this on. The radius plane is £99, the flat spokeshave and shoulder plane are £109 (each!) and the curved sole shave is £114.

The wood used is Gidgee a very hard and dense wood from the Aussie outback. All the spokeshaves in this batch have a nice figuring to the wood. Some of the planes also have nice figure, first come first served!

The machining on the brass is superb and both shaves have nice tight mouths. This combined with the 55 degree bed angle means they perform with no tearout even on the nastiest of woods. These new spokeshaves are made to be used on hardwoods.

The shoulder plane I have picked to sell is the 3/4" model. It feels nice in the hand and is the right size for delicate as well as larger work. The iron is bedded at 60 degrees so again no tearout.

All are neatly branded and finished superbly.

Detail of the shoulder plane's tight mouth.

The radius plane is a fairly specialised tool, with a sole curved in both directions. Ideal for chair seats, I've used one to make a very nice textured surface on a door panel. It feels great in the hand and again the fit and finish are flawless.

The iron is hollow ground so maintained the radius on sharpening is made much easier.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Dictum Tool Catalogue

I was browsing through my Dictum catalogue last night (as you do!), if you don't have one of these then get one, they are free and packed with great hand tools all 350 pages of it.

The section on sharpening particularly caught my eye, ten pages long and full of every conceivable sharpening method and choice.

The first three pages were on waterstones from lots of different manufacturers, in lots of differents grits. Followed by a page on diamond stones.

And then a two page summary of the various stones arranged in four categories of course stones, sharpening stones, honing stones and polishing stones.
The following pages have more waterstones, diamond stones, oil stones and of course essential sharpening accessories.
Now when does choice give way to confusion? About page 3 I reckon! In amongst all this useful information there were no positive recommendations. I was confused so what would less experienced woodworkers or even beginners make of this. I guess they try one method, then another and then another, what a waste of time and money, but maybe that's the sales ploy, keep it all shrouded in mystery and make lots more money.
Perhaps I shouldn't have singled out Dictum, Axminster are nearly as bad.
Anyway what we would really like is much less choice and much more help and advice.

Monday 6 October 2014

Customer Dovetails on Youtube.

It was a nice surprise to see this video made by Mike Bandte in Germany. He does a great job.
You can see the video here

Friday 3 October 2014

Oochi Chisels for Sale, First Come First Served!

Before stocking and selling the Oouchi dovetail chisels I asked for samples. These are the two I ordered, 6mm and 12mm, the two sizes I use for 95% of my dovetailing on boxes. They are unused and have red oak handles.
I am selling them as a pair for £80 including UK postage, a saving of £50 on my new price. First come first served. Just to save enquiries these two are now sold.

Here is a fishtail chisel I decided not to stock but would be very useful for cleaning out the corners of half blind dovetails. This cost a bit more due to the work involved and I'm letting this go for £40 inc UK postage, again first come first served.

The handle is red oak and this one has no ring as it's a push style for delicate work. Now sold.