Tuesday, 27 June 2017

John Makepeace Visit.


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.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Very Nice Student Work.


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.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Wood Auction This Friday


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.
https://www.ewbankauctions.co.uk/index.php?option=com_bidders&auction_id=375


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!


Saturday, 17 June 2017

John Makepeace Talk


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
http://www.beaminsterfestival.com/john-makepeace
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
https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Makepeace-Spirit-Adventure-Craft-Design-John/1850297126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497767952&sr=8-1&keywords=john+makepeace

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.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Oliver Sparks Violin Makers Plane


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.
http://oliversparks.co.uk/

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Customer Project


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.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Dovetail Guide on YouTube


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.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Barnsley Workshop Open Day, Saturday 3rd June.


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.
 This Radius Chest is a time consuming masterpiece.
 This cufflink box above is a very reasonable £445 and the breadboard below is an apprentice exercise priced at £90. It is all hand planed to exacting tolerances, I still have mine as a reminder!
 And to finish these wonderful library steps with curves everywhere, priced at £25,000 I wouldn't mind seeing these library these went to.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Driving in the US


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.