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David Barron Furniture
This excellent exhibition runs from 19th - 28th August at its usual venue in Cheltenham.
For all furniture lovers it is well worth the trip and a great day out.
I'm pleased to be showing a number of my boxes, including this jewellery box as well as the little walnut four drawer chest you can see in the background.
I'll also have a couple of planes there for sale including this small smoother in rippled ash and brown oak.
Matt Estlea sent me these pictures of his Roubo work bench, constructed using the method of joinery demonstrated in my YouTube video 'Roubo Work Bench Made Easy'. A number of people have made benches using this method but this is the best I've seen yet.
It was made as student project at Rycotewood College and I've no doubt he will score very highly as well as having a great bench to take forward in his woodworking career.
The Benchcrafted hardware for both the leg and tail vice has been carefully installed and works like a dream.
Last weekend we visited Hampton Court Palace as well as the flower show for our 25th wedding anniversary and had a great time. The sheer scale and magnificence of this palace is hard to capture with my (lack of) camera skills.
One of a number of internal courtyards and below one of the views of the equally impressive gardens stretching out in every direction.
Huge tromp l'oil painting on the wooden walls of the main staircase.
In the kitchens were numerous original tables of similar design.
A large sliding dovetail keeping the top flat and secure as well as allowing safe seasonal movement.
This was supported by a single massive leg and foot joined with draw bored tenons.
A massive oak table with single length boards was very impressive, particularly when this was built there were no machinery.
It was interesting to see the top and been veneered many years ago presumably to cover a very worn top surface. When I say veneer it was more than 1/4" thick!
In the wine cellar lots of old oak barrels which were hooped with wooden staves. I didn't get a chance to ask about these. Were they added wet and tightened up as they dried?
On a very warm day this very helpful young man had the unenviable job of constantly turning the spit roasted joint for 4 hours! By turning the joint the juices never got a chance to leave the meat and the drip tray below was dry. He explained this was the true way to roast meat and that when we 'roast' a joint in the oven we are really just baking it. And yes after all his efforts he did get first pickings of the delicious juicy joint!
Quarter sawn oak panelling was everywhere in the palace, used for it's stability in these thin panels.
The beauty of booked matched quarter sawn panels was also fully exploited.
There were rooms full of this intricate linen fold carving
Needless to say if you have never been to Hampton Court Palace it is well worth a visit. If you want to do the house and gardens it's a full days trip, if not two.
Ben from the US sent me these pictures of his wall mounted tools cabinet which is nearing completion. He has cut some very neat dovetails using the magnetic guide as well as some clean looking sliding dovetails.
Ben is currently pondering the best way to attached the doors which are going to be very heavy. I've had success with three butt hinges per side on a similar cabinet as well as good quality piano hinges (continuous hinges). Any other suggestions would be appreciated at this stage of construction.
Ben also has a website http://schmolzewoodworks.com/ where shows the process of making this fine bench plus many other interesting projects.
The latest edition of F&C is now on the shelves. It follows Fine Woodworking in it's retro, understated cover layout and looks very professional.
I've done an article on the twisted dovetail showing the method in detail. It's not as difficult as it may look, unless of course you want to emulate Theo Cook's wonderful version, see above.
The American theme continues with a good article on plane maker Matt Bickford.
An very interesting article on adding curved platens to a belt sander.
And part three of 'stack marking'. Maybe I'm missing something here, but in all three articles I'm left thinking this seems a great way of making a simple task complicated! Anyone else any thoughts?
Luther from the US sent me these pictures of his version of one of my boxes. This is the one we make on the two day dovetailing course I teach.
It's made from walnut and western maple and has 1:6 angled dovetails.
He has inlayed a small circle to indicated where to tilt the lid.
The mitred lining can be seen, which dips at one end show the method of opening.
Luther said he very much enjoyed making the box and he should be proud of the result.
Following the visit to John's fine house he did a talk the next day to a packed audience. The main purpose of the talk was to launch his new book detailing the work and careers of the people that passed through Parnham. It reads like a 'who's who' of the furniture making world, although many of the students branched out into other disciplines such as architecture. I haven't read the whole thing yet but it's a truly fascinating book, and I highly recommend buying a copy on it's imminent release. John very kindly signed my copy, a true gentleman.
On Sunday I visited John Makepeace's beautiful house in Beaminster Dorset. This was what he has downsized to!
John himself was on hand all afternoon to generously discuss his pieces on display as well as any other questions.
This is a painted version of his Knot Chair.
A very simple and modern chair which was very comfortable, yes you were allowed to sit on them.
His famous layered chair which revealed the coloured layers as it was carefully shaped.
A pretty one in sycamore and bleached burr elm.
John made many pieces combining wood and metal, I prefer the all wooden ones.
This is a detailed shot of a magnificent burr oak side table, about 7' long and 2' wide made from a single board of solid burr.
The fruit table below is whimsical and beautifully made, as were all the pieces.
A chair with a cast aluminium seat and a lovely blanket chest/ seat in rippled sycamore.
The chair below was my favourite in yew, very organic.
A cosy seat for two.
Some of the pieces on display were for sale and I heard John telling someone this pair of Zebra cabinets were available for £65,000! They didn't seem fazed although they weren't being loaded into their car when they left.
The gardens were equally as impressive as the house.
A great way to spend a couple of hours.
Matthew a 17 year old student sent me these pictures of some of his recent work. He is just completing his level 3 qualification in furniture and design and the vanity mirror above is his assessment piece, as well as a present for his girlfriend.
This walnut corner cabinet has a well executed veneered panel with diamond inlay. I'm sure with this standard of work he has a long future ahead in furniture making.
There is an a large workshop clearance auction this Friday 23rd June at Ewbanks Auction House in Guildford. Above is a large board of Cuban Mahogany. You ca view the full catalogue here.
Lots of veneer in thick as well as thin, ideal for restoration.
Some lovely true Lignum Vitae.
A very nice board of Indian rosewood and below a very rare log of Brazilian kingwood, beautiful stuff! I have resisted the temptation to attend, I have enough wood to last a lifetime, or more!
Just a reminder that the John Makepeace talk is on Monday 26th June at 2.30 pm in Beaminster Dorset. More details and tickets here
To get in the mood I'll be re reading this fascinating book about John and his life and work, well worth adding to your collection
We are having a few days away in West Dorset and went to the Bridport Food Festival yesterday, they couldn't have wished for a better day.
There were lots of local suppliers of all things tempting!
Here's my wife trying some local honey.
I was drawn to this larger than life steel robot standing guard outside one of the tents. A great example of recycling it's made from car exhausts.
A beautifully wrapped little parcel arrived today finished off with a blob of ceiling wax.
This little plane is just 30 mm (1 1/4") long with a 1/2" wide blade.
The dovetails are superb for such a tiny scale and the mouth is very tight. Despite its diminutive size it is very comfortable to hold (one handed of course) and works very well.
I have an antique violins makers plane, they make a great pair. I believe Oliver has another two of these planes for sale if anyone is interested.
Joe sent me these pictures of his latest project, a very lovely, delicate walnut console table.
The plugs were shaped by hand on an inverted jointer held in the vice.
Carefully trimming the plugs.
I really like the tapered legs, it looks very light on its feet.
Hand cut dovetails for the drawers.
Shown with a matching pair of bedside tables made earlier.
I was told about this video by Johnny Brooke from The Crafted Workshop, it's nicely done and worth watching. I had lots of questions from left handers asking if the guides will work for them and it's nice to see a leftie in action. I also spied an HNT Gordon spoke shave as well as block plane in use, great tools.
This Saturday from 10.00 - 4.00 pm the Barnsley Workshop is having an open day. http://www.barnsley-furniture.co.uk/
This is a great opportunity to see the workshops as well as the showroom and learn something of the ethos of this world famous woodworking establishment. They take on full time apprentices as well as fee paying students so if you have an interest here then it would well worth a visit in addition to the other attractions. There are usually a few smaller reasonably priced pieces for sale in the showroom, although the rocker (above) is not one of them, price £25,000.
More reasonably priced are these iconic Barnsley tall back chairs at £1,300 each.
The most obvious difference is that they drive on the right side (or should that be 'wrong'). The steering wheel is also on the wrong, sorry 'other', side. However the accelerator and break pedals stay the right way round which is a relief and you don't have to worry about a clutch, you can't hire a manual (stick) car over here. BTW that's not our car, sorry to say.
There are one or two other differences to contend with. At a red light you can turn right, in fact you are actively encouraged to do so by the car behind!
Another quirk is the 4 way stop sign, seen at many crossroads. This means everyone stops with no apparent priority. This turns it into a game of chicken, although being used to the manic roads in the UK I was quite good at this game.
Just to keep us foreigners on our toes I also saw these crossroads signed '3-way' and 'all way'.
Now here is another game of chicken I wasn't so keen on, the railway crossing. They only have two small barriers that come down, one on each side, leaving plenty of room to ignore the barriers and shoot straight through. There were lots of cars playing this game (not me) although when I saw the length of the trains I could understand why they were taking the risk.
On the plus side, the petrol (sorry 'gas') was very cheap, about a third of the price of the UK (I'm not sure which vehicles run on the 'skim milk'). Still it's good to know our onerous government taxes are being well spent on the healthcare, education and welfare of anyone and everyone who wants to come into the UK.
No doubt the low fuel costs explain why there were so many gorgeous burbling V8's on the road. These UV's were everywhere.
If I was going to buy a US car (and I might) it would be one of these. A retro styled Dodge Challenger R/T with a 5.7 litre V8 Hemi engine, chucking out 375 bhp.
Nice number plate.
I came on this trip with my son and for two days we had great fun on an altogether more sedate and more environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Back to the UK in the morning.
So that's it, the show is over! I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Jameel, Father John and all at Benchcrafted for organising this great show. They are very modest about the whole thing but there is an enormous amount of work goes into staging such an event and it was great to see it so well supported both by makers and woodworkers alike.
Above is a glimpse of my stand, I cut 40 of these joints (200 dovetails) over the two days and most were given away, signed if requested.
I must also give thanks to Mark Hicks from Plate 11 who kindly lent me one of his fantastic benches (again!) for the show. The finish of his benches is superb and it wasn't until we were dismantling it that the true quality and ethos of his work shone through. The hardware was top notch and beautifully installed and even parts of the bench unseen in its assembled state, were neatly chamfered. If you are looking to buy a bench just once, this is the one get.
Benchcrafted had a fine selection of their wonderful vices on show and this neat little High Vice was a beauty (as in I want one!)
Ryan was the only other Brit demonstrating at the show (Lie Nielsen), with never ending enthusiasm and a permanent smile.
Ron Underhill delivered a fine show as usual and was a great way to start day 2.
I was sharing an alcove with Dave Jeske from Blue Spruce and he had a fine range of mouth watering tools on display as usual. I had Chris Vesper on the other side but I didn't manage to get a shot of his stand as there were always customers in the way! Any thoughts of my long journey home were dismissed when I thought of his trek back to Australia. Chris (as well as Dave Jeske) will be over for the European Woodworking Show in the UK in September, a great opportunity to see his full range of wonderful tools.
Blue Spruce brought a couple of prototype fret saws which were very interesting. They had a beautiful blade tightening design and they could be swivelled easily to any angle. The fit and finish was superb (of course) and I would have bought one straight away if they had been available. One to watch for.
What I did come away with was a lovely adjustable square as well as sliding bevel, which will join my two Vesper bevels. It's a funny thing with sliding bevels, I don't use them that often but when I do (eg plane making) I never seem to have enough. Well that's my excuse for buying it and I'm sticking to it!
I'll leave you with a selection of other exhibitors from the Festahlle Barn. I'm sorry for not including makers from the others four venues but I didn't get a chance to get round once the doors opened.
Until next time..............
Daniel kindly sent me some pictures of some of his recent projects. He's very pleased with his dovetail guide and has been putting it to good use.
This one is his tea/coffee station with some nice wedged tenons.
The next two are of his sharpening station.
Next up his radio box, he's on a roll!
Even a little hole for the Aerial
A double hinge lid for his screw gun (drill driver).
Here's my offering for the door prize, one of my angled dovetail boxes.
It may seem like offering sand to Arabs, but most of my work is bought by woodworkers, so I hope someone will be pleased.
There will be plenty of other great door prizes to win, not bad for a show with free entry!!!
As well as making some jack planes I've also made a small batch of matching smoothers. They are all in highly figured ash and brown oak.
The iron is 1 1/2" wide and a massive 1/4" thick and hardened to 62 Rc.
Like the jack plane, these will only be for sale at Handworks.