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David Barron Furniture
A little while ago an Article by Neil Erasmus in the very good Australian Wood Review (AWR) magazine, showed an ingenious method of reinforcing mitred corners. I can't find my copy but I'm sure this is the cabinet he used them on, please correct me if I've got any of that wrong!
You can see some of Neil and Pam's great work here http://erasmusdesigns.com/index.php/furniture-all
His method involved joining two Dominoes at right angled which allowed the splines to be inserted in line with each board. I'm sure he used finger joints but I dovetailed mine.
The four sides of my box were cut square and the dominoes cut at the maximum depth the machine would allow.
They were then mitred on the table saw. The twelve Domino joints took just under an hour to do. They were then trimmed to length leaving a small glue gap at the bottom of the mortise.
The splines were glued into the two opposite sides making sure they went in all the way and then the other two sides were glued on.
In-between other jobs, I've managed to finish off a batch of dovetail markers. I enjoy this close miniature work but it takes a lot of concentration and care to get clean dovetails. Each leg is just 45 mm (1 3/4") but they are just the right size for the job.
These are a one off and I'll be bringing them to Handworks in May.
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.
With lots of shows this year, including the much awaited Handworks http://handworks.co/ 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I've had these Incra squares for years now and they have seen plenty of use, especially the 150 mm version. They have holes for a 0.5 mm pencil every 1 mm and then below holes at 0.25 mm intervals in-between. This may seem a bit odd going to the nearest 0.25 mm using a lead which is 0.5 mm thick but it really works well. You can place a sharp awl bang in the middle of an intersection of lines for marking pivot hinge positions etc.
Sadly the Incra branded pencil available then wasn't very good and the lead was always breaking. This fine pencil from Staedtler may cost a bit more (£4) but it works much better.
The lead is supported right up to the tip drastically reducing breakages as well as annoying blockages.
It also has a rather nifty twist rubber (eraser) which is replaceable.
A friend Bern, made this wonderful square from the Anarchist's Tool Chest. He made it from some lovely quarter sawn rippled holly which I'd had stashed away for years. Bern is a very skilled woodworker, you can see his work on Instagram under berncarpenter
Here is the latest in my series of forthcoming articles for Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine.
With its compound angles dovetails and curved tapering lid it took a lot longer to make than the first two boxes, but I'm pleased with the result.
It has very discreet pivot hinge lid which, although nice and cheap, has to be installed very accurately to work well and look good. This is even more challenging in angled sides!
I really like this scallop for opening the lid, delicate and unobtrusive as well as easy to create using a rasp followed by sandpaper wrapped around a Sharpie.
The latest issue of F&C as arrived and a good one as usual, including a test of the excellent Skelton panel saw, below.
But what really caught my attention was a new product launch. Now I've been in sales and marketing for many of my life and if there's one thing I can't stand its long winded bullshit! Please read this until the end, it's priceless!
Jeremy Smith, Marketing Manager. 'Tesa 62510 offers companies in various sectors a powerful solution for constructive bonding that creates new possibilities for innovative mounting designs through promoting new combinations of materials, enhancing the end result and delivering a more efficient means of processing.'
Has anyone guessed?......... yes of course it's double sided sticky tape!!!!!!!
But what really made me smile was the dry comment that followed from the editor
'Phew! You probably wouldn't want to get stuck in the lift with Mr Smith.'
Paul kindly sent me these pictures of his very neat first attempt at dovetails.
In his words, 'I cut my first dovetails. I used all your tools to do it and I must say I'm pleased with your system'
On my recent visit to Dansel gallery http://www.danselgallery.co.uk/ I picked up a few magazines from the early 1980's. This one with Alan Peters on the front cover immediately caught my eye.
It was interesting to see the work benches on offer from that period, both from Scandinavia and both still in production today in exactly the same design.
What struck me was that both benches have very practical shoulder vices, which are sadly lacking from any of the mainstream benches on offer in the UK today.
Both manufacturers have different solutions to the issue of moving the jaw in and out smoothly. The Sjoberg bench has a free spinning circular plastic face which works well except it has a tendency to twist the work on the final turn. The Lervad vice has a fixed rectangular jaw secured to the two rods. To me this seems the better solution with the only small draw back being its inability to hold tapered work. Going by the far greater numbers of Sjoberg bench that come up for sale on E Bay I guess this was the more popular.
It would interesting to know the prices then, perhaps I should do as the advert says and send a stamped address envelope and wait for a prompt reply!
A little package arrived yesterday from Classic Hand Tools. You may think this is a nice Christmas present, but I actually ordered it back on July! I understood that I would have to wait but when the first one arrived after about 10 weeks the handle was smaller than the others in my set bought about 10 years ago. At some stage the standard handle size was reduced, although the distributor was unaware of this. If you are looking to supplement your Blue Spruce chisels then it would be as well to quote the length when ordering.
After another 10 weeks the replacement arrived however it had a cocobolo handle which didn't match the rest of the set! This mistake finally got Blue Spruce into action and my correct replacement arrived in about 10 days. These chisels are great for finer dovetails and I now have the matching 3/16" to complete my set, all I need now is a new chisel tray!