Thursday, 7 December 2017

Perfect Dovetail Spacing


I've seen woodworkers go to great lengths to ensure their dovetails are evenly spaced out, the Alan Peters method using callipers works very well. However I've always eyeballed my marking out as small differences in dovetail spacing are not picked up by the eye.
What I do find immediately noticeable is a variation in the width of the pins. I've been toying with the idea of making a double kerf starter which would make identical sets of kerfs to place the saw blade in, but then I remembered I had kept all my used Japanese saw blades over the last 20 years. So with two of these blades, a piece of thin veneer and some double sided tape, I made my own double bladed kerfing saw.

Run up against a square (or using my 90 degree magnetic guide) the test results were impressive, giving perfect pairs of cuts from which the tails could be cut. The technique would be equally well suited for cutting dovetails freehand or with one of my magnetic guides.
This spacing is suitable for finer dovetails leaving an overall gap (with the waste removed) of just 1.75 mm. This was achieved using two 372 saw blades with a 0.6 mm thick veneer stuck in-between.
Whilst I was at it, I made up a thicker version with an overall 2.5 mm spacing for larger carcass dovetails.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Sussex Guild Craft Show in Midhurst


We had the pleasure of visiting the Sussex Guild Craft show at Midhurst over the weekend.
There was strong showing of furniture makers among the numerous exhibitors.
These nesting tables and lovely dining room table are by Edward Johnson.


The box below, made by Andrew Poder, caught my eye, the lid was made by embedding burr oak off cuts in polyester resin.

He used the same technique with these sculptures. I've ordered some of the polyester resin to have a little play.


These block prints are simply amazing! Cut in boxwood by Sue Scullard, the master block for the print below (Edinburgh castle) took two months of painstaking work.



James Mursell with his excellent Windsor chairs was at the show promoting his courses. If you've ever fancied having a go I can highly recommend them, very rewarding for all skill levels.


I'm just testing my favourite of his chairs, a beautiful rocker.



Another very skilled artist was Simon Groves with these wonderful carvings.


......and yes they were all done with this chainsaw!


Lastly this large vessel was turned by John Plater from a huge walnut root ball, he must be stronger than he looks!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Great Way to Store your Magnetic guides


Kevin, a good customer, sent me these pictures of his magnetic storage guide. He has drilled out some steel and faced it with some self adhesive cork tile. Now his guides are within easy reach and don't stick together!

Self adhesive Cork tile is cheap and has many other uses around the shop, I've used it to line clamps as well as the jaws of my vice.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Great Northern Woodworking Show this Weekend.


This is my first visit to this large show, the scale of it reminded me of the Axminster shows of 15 - 20 years ago. It was a bit of a trek from the South coast and took me 5 1/2 hours.
I'm set up in a nice corner of the Classic Hand Tool stand and looking forward to cutting some dovetails over the next 3 days.


I had a wander round and although many of the stands were covered up this one took my eye with some lovely English timber, walnut yew and some great burr elm.


Nice pippy oak boards.

I came across the Vic Tesolin stand, he's getting to be quite a star!


Powermatic is a new brand over here and the machines looked very solid and well built, a bit like the British machines of 50 years ago.

This band saw really took my eye but at £3,500 it is clearly a victim of the current poor exchange rate.

Scheppach make some nice accurate made hobby machines, but they are aiming pretty low with this one. It stands just 27" high and has a cut height of  4"! Still at under £200 I suppose there is a market.


At the other end of the scale this Felder combination machine is a beauty.
The show is huge and there are hand tools and machines to suit every pocket, well worth a day (or two) visit.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Mursell Travisher, an Excellent Tool.


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.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Scrub Plane


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!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Windsor Chair First Coat


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.....