Wednesday 16 April 2014

Lovely Ladle

Went for a walk - found a branch, carried it home.
Sat in the sun, made a Ladle.
Its all just a bit of fun really.
Have a go - its quick, fun and useful.

Sycamore Spoon

Get your knives out...
This is my favourite spoon so far.
I just had to go and cook / eat with it straight away!

What to do with a large crack

I forgot I even had done this,
did this a very long time ago - its one way of turning
a crack into a feature!

Green Woodwork & Turning

I like this type of woodwork at the moment.
My wife says 'what about a fork / tongs etc?'
So I just pop out to the workshop and make her one...
Most of these are from a Whitebeam log I salvaged from
being used as firewood.
It was standing dead so in fact was bone dry
and therefore harder to carve than if it were green.
Garricks Birthday Present.
2 Bodhron sticks, Yew & Box and Yew & Ebony.
I got my oldest to help with these...
I have everything in this new workshop even a kitchen sink...
Busman's holiday teaching turning!
Mind you my students are not normally 9 years old!

Sunday 13 April 2014

Nic Westermann Spoon blade

 Well just after buying myself some lovely Birds eye Maple at Yandles,
I walked past Nic Westermann's stand, he is a blade smith and had
some lovely marking knives, axes and carving blades for sale.
Check out his cool site here:
So I got this blade for £34 and was very happy it came without a handle!
I like making handles...
Great idea to have it hollow ground inside - genius in fact!
Almost Japanese?! Nicely forged and very accurate 6mm bar tang.

Very good mirror polish on the back - only a few minor grinding marks
visible - but far enough from the edge to not be a concern.
I got back that evening and whittled up a Hickory handle.

A bit too long me thinks, I must cut that down with my new Huntley saw!

So that evening I tried it out on some Sycamore, no time to waste,
My Dad was coming next day so I only had a little time to get it done...

Working nicely - good job Nic! Working UP the grain a treat!
Oh and thanks for helping me sort out my Chipbreaker at the show as well!

That will do - must not over cook.

Yandles - Japanese Tool enthusiasts come to the show...

So this is me at the Yandles woodworking show.
I pulled a lot of shavings with my Mon Tsunesaburo Kanna.
I got to a nice point where I could drop a weight on the end
of the shaving then just pull a perfect gossamer shaving, straight and true.
Got some nice feedback, few people have ever seen a plane do this,
its not a common thing a western plane can do!
Got into some interesting conversations...
Wish I had more pics of those lovely shavings!
Many thanks to all those who were there,
Andy, Harvey, Michael and Sue, John, Ian, Ray and Lillian,
I also met up with lots of old friends, acquaintances and
woodwork nuts and work colleagues!
Michael and Sue Huntley (
Setting up the show - Sue did a great job of welcoming everyone,
but had to field off lots of questions about her arm in a sling!
(nothing woodwork related!)
(Apologies for the unflattering head shot Michael!)
Michael did some saw sharpening and also had his
'Huntley Oak Saw' for sale, which I purchased!
About time I gave it a workout - Michael designed the teeth specially
and has had them made to his specs, the only Japanese Saw that
I know is specifically for Hardwoods, such as,  ummm Oak of course!
Talking of Saw sharpening John Tuffrey
asked if I had any blunt saws (which I do have a few of!)
and kindly used one as a demo throughout the day, he wanted to finish
it for me - but I managed to persuade him to leave me some work to do!
I was very grateful for the tips he shared with me - I have all the kit now,
time to get sharpening - its the new skill I want to master!
Thanks again John, I am very inspired!
Now where did you get that optivisor from again...
Luckily John had a plane that needed tuning up,
By the next day we had it taking some nice shavings!

Andy ( doing a chat on sharpening.
We had a great day, lots of banter and things to learn!
I really enjoyed getting my hands on some of his lovely Kanna,
and a real Inomoto Dai!

The Kanna ready to go!
 I had a great surprise when David Barron walked in while we were setting up,
Had a nice chat (as always - great bloke) and of course popped over to his stand...

Every year David's set up gets slicker and his tools better!
I mean those new squares are genius - the best new tool update
in design I have seen for a long time.
Little did David know I only wanted one thing from this show...
one of his 1:8 dovetail guides, but then I got cold feet,
as it was a luxury item I really don't need, BUT just as I was saying
my goodbyes I spotted his seconds section - with one guide left,
a 1:8 as I had wanted - I was so stunned I could not believe it and
thought there must be a mistake - in my head, I ended up
checking with David - this is 1:8 for hardwoods isn't it?!?!
So thanks David - I also ended up with a few other little pieces,
more for the fact they come from the man who inspired me,
to start this blog!
Do I need another Metal hammer head?
Probably not.
A David Barron Hammer head meets some of my stock waiting for handles.
Some nice heavy Bronze, Steel and Brass friends I have awaiting...

Yandles - Getting ready and buying stuff...

Tuning up my Kanna with the Veritas straight edge and
feeler gauges - going to 0.05 mm for those
fine shavings at the Yandles show...

I made this right angle square to use my
home made scraper plane to run against.
I used genuine antique Japanese Oak
and an old knackered Kanna blade.

Tuning up the mouth with an Ebony insert
and paper glued onto the bed to increase
the tightness of the blade fit.





Saturday 8 March 2014

My New workbench begins

Well we all have loads of books about woodwork
(Well the sort of people who read this blog do I guess)
So what I thought I would do is get the best of the best,
By this I mean the best design elements of workbenches
From my favourite, or most respected makers.
These books above have some great workbench related ideas in them,
got to condense the info in this world, too much..

So here is my list of needs, wants, observations and specifications:

1. I hate planing workstops flat - been doing this for years what a bore...
So the top must be flat and stay flat. (ish)
So based on Robert Inghams idea of using 30mm MDF for his bench top,
I will use 2 pieces of 25mm MDF for a 50mm MDF top.
I will sit this on a solid 40mm Beech top giving me a 90mm thick
and very heavy but stable worktop, I hope...
2. I have never found tail vices useful - had one for years and having used
a traditional cabinet makers bench with end vice and
dog holes I have come to the conclusion it is not for me.
Not now anyway, so...
My bench needs the option of adding an end vice and dog holes later if needed,
but not now as I have the luxury of having more than 1 bench to work on.
4. What is it with the Roubo worksbench?!?!
This French craftsman Andre in the 1700's has a strangle hold lately on the type
of bench everyone is using, he has some top name advocates,
but for me it is the cost - I cannot afford to buy or make one!
Boy do they look nice, I love there simplicity, stability and proportions 
and yes I just answered my own question,
but for me I just want to fulfil my wish list, cheaply!
I am sure I will make another workbench one day anyway...
I would love to live with one, making with it for a month or so
to see what the fuss is about but that is not going to happen.
Anyway I digress back to my list
5. My new workbench must be HEAVY, stable, tall, and thin.
6. I need to make it by adapting an Emir workbench I have already.
7. I want a reinforced centre section - I always thought this was a failing of the
 traditional woodwork bench, strong on the sides but use a mallet in the middle
is never a good idea, something I always teach,
(I am a secondary school design and technology teacher)
is that you must work over the leg area.
It certainly helps keeps the volume down when you have
25 students working in a room!
8. I want an apron at the front with a sliding deadman OR some way of
supporting long timber lengths when planning as this will really be a
planing bench - or elaborate Japanese planing beam! (sorry joker to self)
9. I need a large quick release vice with a big wood jaw on it, flush with top.
10. Finally I want full length planning stops on right and left hand sides of the bench.
Again this is inspired by Robert Inghams bench.
Note I already have adapted my other workbench following ideas
gained from David Charlesworth and have 2 vices mounted in line -
which is so logical I am surprised I have not seen more makers do it.
I also want to keep the option for adapting this bench later,
I do like that Veritas twin screw thread end vice - I could keep one of the
sheets of 25mm MDF clean and drill 3/4 holes in the other
so I can alternate the tops perhaps?

Jim Kingshott tool storage

Ever since I read 'The Workshop' by Kingshott
I wanted a tall set of drawers like he used for his Carving chisels.

I went into work today and a friend said:
'Do you still want some drawers because I have got you some?
Just use some petrol to get of the sticky tape...'

There was LOADS of sticky tape...
Somebody during transport obviously was in charge
of the sticky tape budget, and wanted to spend it. ALL.

16 drawers with about 6 - 10 chisels in each perhaps?
Well I have to line the drawers next...
Also I like the idea of putting them on wheels - something Robert Ingham does a lot.
I can then wheel them to the bench but keep them stashed anywhere I want.