16 March 2014

The bloke.co.uk

I'm going to dip a toe into the slightly dubious world of craft fairs and to that end I've got a couple of gigs booked this year.  The first is in July and the next at Christmas, both to be held at the Guildhall in Salisbury.

I've no idea if anything I make will sell, but as part of the promotional aspect, it's been suggested that I have some business cards printed so that they can be given out at the events.  SWIMBO thought it would also be good idea to have my website details on the cards as well so a couple of weeks ago we nipped down to PC World and bought a package for less than £30 which enabled her (note 'her'…not me) to build a fairly respectable, four page site.  It's not uber-comprehensive, but there's enough information given for anybody interested to make further enquiries…I hope.

At last…a 'bona fida' sawdust producer!

11 March 2014

Anarchy and the Angle

A curious and interesting title for this entry, n'est pas?  Let me expound further.

I'm currently around two thirds the way through my signed, genuine, cotton pickin', geetar plucking', USA copy of Schwarz's tome, 'The Anarchist's Toolchest' and if you haven't dipped an eyeball into it over your breakfast muesli, then I strongly suggest you do.

It's a good and amusing read, even making allowances for the dang Americanisms that pepper the plot.  I agree with the man on around 98% of his observations, bearing in mind that we as woodworkers are all odd buggers and as such, approach the craft in different directions.

In the section on tools he mentions the ubiquitous scraper plane as being a desirable addition to the chest and in particular, the tried and tested No. 80, updated in recent years to a much superior (in my view at least) version by Lee Valley.  In the same breath, Schwarz also notes that an unnamed, large scraper plane is a more or less a complete pain in the arris to set up…the blade is straight and if not bowed or curved, the corner will dig infuriatingly into the job.

He also mentions that part of the issue with this unnamed, large scraper plane is setting the correct angle for the blade and on both counts, Schwarz is correct.

Not being a plane collector in any way shape or form, I happen, by the merest chance to own both of these scraper planes and knowing that the Veritas No. 80 is set correctly, I wondered how to replicate the angle in the LN 112.  The answer is, as always, very simple.

Place the LN 112 at the far edge of the bench and undo the adjusting screws then grab the LV 80 and place side by side with the 112.  On bended knee, squint across the two planes as you would do a pair of winding sticks and twiddle the LN 112 screws until the blade is parallel with the LV 80.

A swift test on a gash bit of oak showed that with the correct angle, the LN is a vastly different tool to use.  All I need to work out now is how to put a gentle curve on the blade at the corners to stop it digging in...

03 March 2014

Oh no…not ANOTHER box!

Back in the summer last year, I had a bit of spare cash and decided to splash out on some more timber to replace my somewhat depleted stocks.  Apart from buying some prime, clean, straight boards of English walnut, a couple of big slabs of elm and a rather tasty chunk of burr elm, I managed to persuade the proprietor (with a little bit of arm tweaking) to part with this uber-sexy, quite spectacular lump of Turkish walnut which was eventually destined to end up as a shotgun stock.

With some very careful planning and even more careful cutting, there was just enough material to make a small jewellery box with a Krenovian style panelled lid.  One of the dovetail corners is shown below:

…with the box dry assembled, also shown below.  The arrows indicate the two surfaces where the lid will sit, so it's vital that these are 'out of wind' or not twisted when the box is glued.

The components for the lid have been cut and I intend to joint them tomorrow with 5mm Doms but again, as with all the current projects, this one is going to come to a grinding, shuddering, halt as I don't have a router table to sort out the grooves for the panel.  That said, I ought to be able to sort out the interior tray from the odds n'sods that have been left over.

I'm now puzzling though, how to make one of those squishy things to hold rings…dare say I'll get it sorted somehow.

26 February 2014

A camera click in time...

After a hiatus of a couple of months, it's about time I resumed an account of activities in the 'shop…or not as the case may be.  Two major projects that have been started have come to a grinding halt, simply because I now lack a router table, having sold the Charnwood W650 table saw (where I'd built a router table into the extension side).

However, all is not lost, as I've had a UJK cast iron router table, complete with all the trimmings, on order from those lovely people at Axminster since just after Christmas, the only slight downside being that the expected delivery will be around mid-April.

This unforeseen break in proceedings has allowed me to concentrate a little more on my wood turning as I've decided to dip a toe into the craft fair waters and have a couple of events booked in July and December at the Guildhall in Salisbury.  Around ten days or so ago, the organisers were trying to sort out an e-flyer and requested some info and pics, so I took a couple...

…the first showing a selection of little odds n'sods that I'd turned (as well as a few boxes).  More importantly, they wanted a mug shot, so I duly obliged and took a….

…. 'selfie' leaning against my little Record lathe.  I thought it was quite a good pic, so decided to use it as the cover on my Facebook page, the result of  which had a couple of very interesting and quite unforeseen developments.

Now I bet that's left you wondering, init?

17 December 2013

Back trouble

I know what you're thinking…(and it's not ''did he fire six shots or only five?")  Neither is it a slipped disc, crushed vertebrae or the indefinite need to use a walking stick.

It's the back panel on the latest Alan Peters cabinet, a simple enough affair of two panels, three stiles and a couple of rails, something I've done many times before, but has it gone together without a hitch?

Has it buggery!

I've had to remake the whole bloody thing at least twice, including both panels and all the frames as the cock-ups have been too numerous to catalogue.  My only excuse is that with the Christmas excitement about to dawn, I haven't been 'in the zone'…

 Yeah right..some who read these tales of woe will no doubt nod their heads,  quietly smirk to themselves and whisper that '' the silly sod rarely is''

However, we progress and the latest version is currently being glued.  Not the final gluing I hasten to add, but the current cock-up as a false 5mm  Domino has been glued in place because I failed miserably to check that the machine was set correctly, so the resultant slot was 2mm too low.  It'll just be flushed off when the glue has set and then re-cut.

With a little luck and a following wind, it ought to go together by the end of the day.

Don't hold your breath though….

08 December 2013

Arise Sir Tribe

Open almost any woodworking mag these days and you'll be inundated with useful 'tips', most of which will set you back an arm and leg and many of which are as much use as a chocolate bloody teapot!

The best one I've seen is definitely worthy of a swift mention here and can be wholly attributed to my friend Chris Tribe.

It concerns cramps and cramp heads.   For years, I've used bits of 6mm plywood with a slot cut out...

…so that they hook over the bar.  Works quite well, but does have the slight problem of...

…cramp inversion.  Turn it upside down and they fall off, so either you need to fix them to the job (with masking tape) or fix them to the cramp heads (with yet more masking tape), both of which are a veritable pain in the backside.  In addition the cramp itself is prone to fall over, which is intensely bloody annoying so instead of paying a king's ransom to some nefarious tool company for supports, simply make...  

…your own.  Blocks of scrap wood with a slot milled down the middle.  How simple is that?…and you've still got some 'folding' left to spend down the pub in the evening.

To return to the cramp heads, here's the solution.  The 'fork' has now been cut off and some offcuts of nice thick leather glued to the face, but here's the cunning bit.  The reverse….

….side now sports an 8mm rare earth magnet, set in flush with the surface.

This means that your cramp heads stay in position...

…no matter which way the cramp is orientated.  Clever n'est pas?

 See Chris's full Utoob clip for more enlightenment.

23 November 2013


A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that the verticals on the latest cabinet were veneered ply, shown above, but the horizontals were solid, presenting a distinct jointing problem…one will move and the other won't.  My solution is to have some unhappy, cross dowels in the vertical bits into which would eventually go some rather large screws.  To accommodate the movement of the elm, the pan-head screws will...

…be free to move in large slots.  The big bit shown above the slot will eventually be filled with Indian Ebony, which may or may not be glued in, as I'm just trying to get a couple of brain cells in line (or not as the case may be) to work out how to make them removable in case the screws will ever need a 'tweak'.

Tricky…deviousness required.