Thursday, 24 February 2011

New Office.....kind of.

Now, I know you are all going to have a good laugh at my current office, as you can see it consists of a mdf shelf, and a phone. I didn't allow for a pen and pad, as I figured I could always find them on my bench no wrong could I be.  This has done the job(barely) for the past year, I've got broadband in the "office" but never used it, as I do most of my paperwork in the evenings at home. Well I have a couple of days before starting the next job, so thought I would make some improvements, to what can only be described as the office from hell.

Here is what I came up with, a mdf writing desk, its 12" x 12" x 22" with a 43 degree angle cut out. I'm hoping it's relatively dust free, if not it's an easy fix.

It has a couple of loper's to take the weight of the lid, and will take me leaning on it also.

I thought it would also be a great opportunity to install the wireless hub, so I can look stuff up on-line and order, and also research of course. With the lid down it gives me a small area to price commissions, work out cutting lists, and general office bits and bobs. 

Who knows, might do a bit of live streaming if I make a start on the Brandy cabinet soon.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Oak Fire Surround Fitted.

Just thought I'd show you the finished pic's of the fire surround I made a couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a delay with the slate, and the woodburner the clients ordered only came in yesterday. Anyway here it is.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

New Commission...maybe

Today when I went over to my existing clients house, to take a couple photos of the blanket chest(they didn't want it by the way... my wife is over the moon).  But they did call me into the lounge to take a look at their Brandy collection(no I wasn't asked to test it), now I've seen it before plenty of times, and every time I go past it, another bottle seems to appear, so much so, that it's now full.  Now, I'm not going to pretend to you I know the first thing about Brandy, other than it's quite nice to drink after a meal. But my client does, and this is part of his pension apparently...confused? me too. I had to ask, I couldn't help it "is it worth a lot of money then squire"
 "Well  up until last week it was worth £102,000, but my wife dropped a £4000 bottle dusting so now its only £98,000".  After I had rubbed my jaw better, I asked what he would like me to do to it, he replied "I want a new one but bigger, can you come up with a design and a estimate please".

"No problems" said I, here's what I have come up with today, in rough sketch form.

These are, of course very rough round the edges at present, but should give him another third again as much space, whatcha think? 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Blanket Chest really finished

I finally decided on a finish for the chest, and that's a hard wax oil by Fiddes. I took a look at the tried and true website recommended by Alex, and found that they had a similar product called, Original wood finish. I gave the outside one complete coat and wiped off the excess, then another and did the same. I gave the top inside and out a further two coats, then the whole thing(except inside for now) about five thin coats of paste wax.

I'm not completely satisfied with the shape on the bearers, but they passed a close inspection from my wife, so must be OK.

I'm taking it round one of my clients to be photographed for my website tomorrow, and they have shown an interest in maybe buying it. So I will see how that pans out tomorrow, thanks for looking.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Blanket Chest Finished

       I think I might keep this one, as the timber only cost £60, and has only took 20hrs so far . Oh and I really quite like it, It's funny because I would say my taste is more contemporary, but this more traditional furniture is something that I'm liking more and more these days. Then again my daughter seems to go through clothes and shoes rather quickly at the moment, so if one of my clients wants it....

       Got most of this finished last night and today, made a start first with the ends, and its glue up time.

Then I glued the front rail sections up. I always try to glue everything up in small stages, this takes longer of course, but makes the final glue up a lot less of a rush.

Hmm... that's not ideal, there must of been a small gap between the tenon and the mortice. This now means this panel is glued in one corner, so I had to free this up. This turned out to be easy, I just got my paint scraper down between the panel and the groove, and separated the glue line. Then a wide throated clamp on the panel, a quick whack, and its free. Poly certainly has no gap filling strength If this had been PVA, I don't think I would of got away with it. 

Once it was all glued up, it was time to work out how to swing the lid. This was made a lot easier by watching  TJM videos, the whole process is very easy. Its a matter of easing the back edge, then drilling a 3/4 hole 3/4 in, and 3/4 down.

Making a 3/4 Oak dowel on my dowel jig.

Then line the bearers up and test fit.

I made the bearers with some cut outs.


This needs some kind of detail, as it looks odd at the moment, I'm undecided as yet but this is an easy fix.

The lid was catching, as the quarter round was planed by hand, and needed some more work.

All in all, I'm happy with the result, there are a few things still  left to do, like sand, sand, and more sanding. Also I'm not sure yet what I'm going to finish it with..wax perhaps or maybe some kind of oil?

I think I might make the bottom from cedar. 

Detail of the bearer and dowel set up.

Anyone have any ideas on a finish, feel free to make suggestions. Thanks for looking, have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blanket Chest II

Got all of the panels machined and glued up today, I'm still undecided as to have fielded panels on the inside, and carved panels at the front. Or to just have fielded panels on the outside, and flat panels on the inside. Hmm..really not sure, carved panels would add a lot of time, that a lot of clients might not want to pay for. But they would look nicer I think.

I did think about running all the grooves by hand, then I heard my spindle and power feed giggling in the other room at this rather foolish notion.


Anyway if I decide on carved panels, I can flip these round and carve the backs. But I might just glue the whole thing up like this, and not bother with the carving. I think it looks good as it is, and I've added a small stopped chamfer around the panels, I might carve these into a lambs tongue.

Got the top glued up as well, it has some ray fleck in, and some very big knots. I would normally cut around these, but it gives the top some visual interest.

As you can see the knots are quite big, but will look good when polished, and I kept the boards to a good 11". I wanted the top to come from just two boards,  instead of lots of strips, which looks quite modern.

Thats as far as I got today, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Blanket Chest

Made a start on a blanket chest today, its going to be in the traditional style. This is in part because most of the requested furniture from my clients, is in this form, also in part because I haven't made a piece like this for many years, and I really want to. It's not for a client, but I am hoping to find a buyer for it(fingers crossed).
 The mouldings are all applied with what I call a scratch stock, its two pieces of timber screwed together to hold the cutter. The moulding that you require is filed onto either a large re-saw blade(this is what I'm using), or you could use a cabinet scraper. I started by trying to scratch the whole moulding out in one go, but found this very hard to push.

So instead I did it in two stages, the bead first.

Followed by the ogee.

All the legs, and rails are done with this moulding applied from both edges.

This is as far as I got today, I would normally expect to have much more done, but I did enjoy working how I did when I first started as a lad. 

I'm not happy with the width at the moment, it needs reducing by at least 4".

I don't have any 1" in stock, so its a trip to my new favourite timber yard. You really need to have a torch, and be prepared to sort through the mess. The stack at the top left is Silver Birch and dated 2000, the rather large orange beam is Yew and priced at £300

The stack here is a lovely white ash, its only been in here for six months, but the guy said I could have it for £100. It would mean it needs to go into stick round mine for a further 1 1/2 yrs.

I did manage to find some very clear timber for my panels, but had to sort through this lot. Most of it is walnut, and elm.

I will post more tomorrow, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Some Nice Timber

I had to drop off the fire surround today, which is very close to a timber yard.  Well I have an order for a table coming up soonish, so thought I would buy some timber for this, and some for stock.  For the table I want the top to be book-matched, so need to use a timber yard that still has its own sawmill, and that cuts its own timber. Here is the timber I have selected for the top.

They are quite pippy, and I can get a length of 72" with a width of about 28" and a finished thickness of a 1 1/4". I will need to plane these by hand, because my machines can only handle 12", and these boards are 15". I don't want to split them if I can avoid it, but might need to to get them flat. If I do this then I will process them through my machines.

These are the boards I picked for stock(although I'm thinking of making another table to sell).

These aren't booked matched as they sit on my bench. As you can see, it is brown Oak. Here is an extract from John Boddy Timber to explain why it becomes brown in colour.

This is a very unusual characteristic obtained from a Native or European Oak tree, which has been attacked by the Beef-Steak fungus (Fistulina hepatica), it gains entry to the wood through an open wound where a limb has been blown off. Unlike many fungi which cause serious decay and eventually kill the a tree, the beef- steak fungus simply extracts enough nourishment for itself, and the wood is stained by the chemical changes occur. Some specimen trees also show brown penetrating from the tree root. This is particularly apparent in park grown trees. It is a highly prized and valuable timber, and most trees are cut into veneer.

Fortunately the timber yard I went to today was not that interested in this timber being brown, and because its very pippy they don't see it as having any value. I paid £40 for all these boards that I've shown you, and the brown timber is 2" thick. As soon as I'm paid for the fire surround, I'm going back to buy a lot more.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Design for some stools

Having just finished the repair on the little footstool, I thought I would draw out a design based on this. I had a bit of time today so what do you think?

This is of course only a rough sketch, the dimensions are as follows..24" ht 16" w 12"d so it could be used by adults or could be made taller, and with a back so could be a bar-stool too. Thanks for any input.

Bench Stop Review

This is a short review of the little adjustable metal bench stops, that I fitted to my bench three years ago. These are a very reasonably priced accessory, if I remember correctly, they were about £5 each. They are made from Alloy, so you do run the risk of nicking your plane blade, although I never have. When I first saw them, I thought they would be a good solution to my problem. When I first made my bench, I didn't think to make provision for any mortices for wooden bench dogs at the time. This was very short-sighted of me to say the least. So these seemed like a perfect solution, its just a matter of routing them into the bench top, and you are ready to use them.

The maximum height that these will open up to is 12mm, this is just not enough. Sometimes you need much more than this, like for holding stuff. The holding edge is a bit like a razor blade, so you always need a cramping block. When you use a cramping block, because its only held at the bottom it has a nasty habit of slipping when you plane anything. If you use a piece of mdf or softwood, the razor sharp holding edge will split your cramping block when you apply pressure. There is no provision for using them for pulling work-pieces apart either. I have tried really hard to make these work for me for the last three years, however I now cramp work-pieces to my bench instead, and these bench dogs are now not used at all. If you are thinking of buying these, they have very limited uses, I would suggest you don't. 

Rosewood and burr Walnut jewellery box.

I have had a bit more time on this today, in between coats of polish for the fire surround. So I thought I would fit the stringing and split the box. I have taken the corner out with a cutting gauge, and a shoulder plane.

This is how I cut the mitres for the stringing, I'm using the polished back of my chisel(not that polished on the photo but it is). The stringing is made from Pequia, its a lovely mild yellow, and works really well.

And that gives me a nice mitre ready for gluing.

Here is how the top will look, I've just applied some meth's(de-natured alcohol?) to see the grain.

It was then onto the bandsaw to split the box, I rather stupidly forgot the measurement of where the 10mm lipping was. So I basically guessed it, and hoped for the best.

Thankfully I guessed correctly. 

For the next step I had to make a sanding board up, to get rid of all the bandsaw marks. I'm using a contact adhesive for this.

Wait till touch dry, and roll on.

Then its a case of sanding the join, until flat, and all the bandsaw marks have gone.

It should look like this when fully sanded, the join should be invisible.

I might do some more tomorrow, thanks for looking.