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David Barron Furniture
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago
I was surprised to learn that James's travisher was his best selling tool, I had naively assumed that his spokeshaves would be more popular. That was until I used one! It worked superbly both across and with the grain. He sells them as a complete tool or in kit form for about 2/3rds of the price. As I noticed one or two of his well used travishers had a worn nose I decided to buy the kit and inlay a lignum Vitae block.
Here's a couple of shots after initial shaping of the block on the band saw.
The nose needs to be relieved so that the blade can make contact in the hollowed seat and this was done with a medium rasp ( below).
Here are some shots of the finished shave which took about 1 1/2 hours in all to complete.
The instructions say that the shaving exit can be through the top (as recommended) or via the rear. James says the advantage of the top is you can place your thumbs behind the blade for the best control which is certainly the case. I also found that you could see exactly where the shaving was being taken which was very helpful when I came close to the lines. This is a wonderful tool to use and I will be using it on a work shop stool in the near future.
One of James's suggestions for finishing the underside of the seat on the Windsor chairs was using a scrub plane. The idea was to leave a textured surface which would be felt when the chair was moved or picked up, I was impressed and chose to use this on my chair. Sad to say I've never used a scrub plane, it was remarkably easy and good fun.
Instead of buying a new one (even Lie Nielsen and Veritas versions are reasonable) I decided to adapt a plane I already had, this little ECE block plane. It is very comfortable to hold but has a gaping mouth, which while not great for smoothing, is ideal as a scrub plane.
Ten careful minutes on the grinder and the blade was reshaped, now I just need a project to use it on!
I managed to find time to clean up the glue and do the final scraping and sanding. Having pondered a number of finishes I used a penetrating oil (details at the end) which will need many coats.
The continuous arm Windsor designed by James Mursell looks great from any angle.
I simplified the seat shape from the more traditional design and managed to find a board with some nice olive colour running the middle (sorry Simon, you'll have to be quicker next time!)
I managed to find some olive ash legs as well.
Contrasting wedges were used for the arm spindles and it's worth taking a little time to make sure these are centred and the correct width.
The finished I used was Devon Wood Oil as warranted by the Royal Household, if it's good enough for the queen.....
During the 5 day course James shared many little tips, here we have taped up the prior to drilling to minimise the risk of tearout. The blue string gave something to run a sharp knife against making removal much easier.
Banging in the wedges for the legs, tilting the stool so the leg is vertical to the bench.
The chair was then levelled from side to side and then shimmed for a backwards lean of 1/2" (I think). When all this was done without any wobble left, the legs were marked with the gauge shown and then cut to the lines.
In order to arrive at a design he is happy with for each chair he has made up to 6 versions. Many of these can be found handing on the wall of one of his barns, including the first chair he ever made.
James's farmhouse was the setting for morning and afternoon tea as well as a lovely lunch.
I had been admiring the oak dining table we used for a few days and it turned out that it had been made by Edward Barnsley for James father back in 1958.
And here we all are at the end of the course complete with the shop dog. It was a great course with lovely people and can highly recommend the experience to anyone. All our chairs needed final cleaning up and finishing which will be done in our own shops. Mine needs to wait as I've got preparation to do for the North of England Woodworking show next week.
Today we shaved spindles and marked out for the initial fitting followed by an afternoon of sanding.
We were all just flagging when Matt kindly broke out the beers to give us the energy for the final push.
Here's one of James's continuous arm Windsor's which we all should have made by the end of this week, a very elegant and inviting chair.
James had a selection of all his chairs in the workshop and this rocker is my favourite.
A hinged jig on the drill press ensured perfectly angled holes and the sight lines pre drawn on the blank made sure they were in then right place. A reamer followed for perfect tapers.
Next we moved on to some welcome hand work, here's Simon chipping away with an adze. With a baby at home he's just swopped one ankle biter for another.
Dan's seat decided to split during his adzing which meant starting again from scratch. The electric adze certainly helped James to get him back on track.
James's travisher is his best selling tool and when I used one it's not hard to see why. Here's Matt enjoying some cross grain shaping.
This week I'm learning how to make a Windsor chair, along with a few friends, from the expert James Mursell. All hands to the pump with the double bend on the chair rail.
Initial sizing of the spindles was done with a Veritas cutter and an electric drill, after that the fitting and tapering was all done by hand with spoke shaves, an afternoons work.
Through all the activity the workshop dog relaxed, keeping one eye open for the tennis ball!
Bern Billsberry very kindly brought everyone one of his ingeniously simple pencil gauges made from a design patented back in the 1860's. The oval hole and matching stock are locked with a small turn of the head and the small scale of the gauge is just right for the scale of marking. The execution is perfect as usual. Catch up with his Instagram posts at 'bern carpenter'.
Here's Bern modest as ever, looking a lot better on his long road to recovery.
Tucked away in his tool box was his little boxwood gem. Again beautifully made to a tiny scale and fully functional.