Monday, 30 January 2017

A Great Book.

I've just re read this book from cover to cover and I'd forgotten just how good it is.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh design some iconic furniture and this excellent 250 page book by Fanny Blake details his life and works including the strong collaboration with his wife Margaret Macdonald.
Mackintosh was primarily an architect and his unusual and mostly asymmetric designs were a result of designing the interior and letting this govern the exterior. He was also a painter and as with so many tortured and troubled artists his work was not fully appreciated until after his death.
Thankfully much of his work, including his buildings, survive and the book is packed with good quality colour photographs.

This bedroom features a pair of wonderful wardrobes and that tall backed chair is one I've wanted to make for many years, maybe one day!

The chair above has a flying bird cut out in the head rest and is another iconic design.
The chair below has the classic squares that feature in much of his work but the whole back is curved into a semi circle, I suspect this chair needs to be seen to be properly appreciated.
In all a fascinating book that's well worth adding to your woodworking library.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dovetail Markers

With lots of shows this year, including the much awaited Handworks I've decided to make batch of little dovetail markers. The wood I've chosen is quarter sawn black walnut and some lovely quartered ripple sycamore.

Here's my prototype which works very well. They will be made in a 1:6 angle and will only be for sale at shows. I'm not getting back into queuing at the Post Office, so please don't ask me to ship!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Great Wooden Lighting.

Joe from London sent me these pictures of some of his lighting designs using oversize lights and bulbs which look fantastic

He's starting a new venture selling these shortly which I'm sure will do very well. I'll post details when the website is up and running.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Great Tip for Bobbin Sanders

Changing the sleeve on your bobbin sander can be a real struggle. When I bought mine, I remember them telling me to use talcum powder but on this 4" by 9" drum there was no way. Of course to those in the know (thank you YouTube) there is a much better way. Put the whole thing in the freezer for an hour and the rubber shrinks enough to get the new sleeve on with no trouble. Of course you have to wait another hour until it warms up before you can use it.
The only thing I would add to this great tip, is to tell the wife about it afterwards or better still don't tell her at all!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Angled Dovetails - Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine

The latest edition of F&C magazine is out now containing my article on angled dovetails if anyone wants to have a go. Other interesting dovetail projects will be appearing in the coming issues.

As usual there is an excellent exploded drawing as well as a full cutting list.

Also inside is a very good feature on Kevin Glen Drake from Glen Drake Tool Works, he makes some great tools.

And the last ever article on the last ever plane by the legend Karl Holtey who has now retired from plane making after 25 years at the forefront of his field.
If you don't already subscribe to F&C, you should, wherever you are in the world.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Chichester College Student Work

Chichester College students have been producing some fine work over the last few years and one of the students Ben, kindly sent me these photos of the first two projects he completed on his level 1 studies.

Christian Notley is the Head of Furniture Studies there and has managed to take students through to the World Skills.

A well executed and highly effective marquetry project, with a very clean French polish finish.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Hand Planing Difficult Woods.

I'm making a small batch of planes for Handworks in May, now Christmas is out of the way it seems very close now!
After band sawing the sides they need cleaning up to ensure no visible glue lines. The lignum Vitae has a reversing grain so tears out badly with standard angle planes. Here I'm using one of my high angle smoothers (54 degrees) to remove the bulk of the waste and then finishing with a finely set Bill Carter thumb plane. They made short work of this batch and were a pleasure to use.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Customer Projects

Matt from Indiana sent me these photos of his first projects using a 1:6 magnetic guide.
The dovetail alignment board was made from apple ply, dovetailing this is no easy task, but it should remain nice and stable.

His first piece was this tiny money box made from curly ash and walnut with a mother of pearl pull. 

Nathan produced 11 sets of these coasters styled after a Paul Sellers project. A lot of work there!
I'm guessing a few ended up in Christmas stockings.

The quarter sawn mahogany was definitely a good choice to help keep them flat over time.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Twisted Dovetails Complete

The twisted dovetail alignment board turned out pretty well. The dovetails weren't as difficult as I had imagined. I've written an article for F&C magazine which will be published in the coming months, if you want to have a go.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Alan Peters Twisted Dovetails

Alan Peters wrote an article for Fine Woodworking back in December 1986, on the twisted dovetail joint. After Alan died I was lucky enough to buy a few things from his widow Laura including the joint he cut for that article.

She was surprised I wanted it. It's never going to be worth much, but as an avid Alan Peters fan it's a nice thing to own.

The wood is Elm and is 34 mm thick (1 3/8"). I'd never noticed this little sticker before.

This afternoon I had a go at the joint myself making a dovetail alignment board in 3/4" thick, quarter sawn English cherry. I got it glued up before I went home so I'll see how it turns out in the morning!