Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Festool Boom Arm

Just got this today, I already had the CTL 36, so it was just a matter of putting the boom arm together, and fixing it to the vac. I thought about making something that would do the same job, but don't have time. It really was getting annoying tripping over, or standing on the hose, as well as standing on the cable which can't be good for the connection. My domino nearly fell off my setting out bench last week, because I tripped on the hose and cable, I can't have that in for repair right now, so I thought what the heck and ordered the boom arm......

Should help no end.

Dovetails for real.

I've made a start on the six drawers, these will be hand-cut, or at least my version. First off the stock is cut to size, then marked out to where they are going. I'm using European Ash for all of my drawers for this project.

Then I nail the sides together with a small veneer pin, this hole virtually disappears on final clean up, and is a traditional way of cutting the sides together. I've used masking tape in the past, but find it can move, unless you use a lot which then lifts the sides off the bandsaw table, and breakout occurs. Marked out the tails next, I'm going for three.

Then to the bandsaw, making sure the pin will go into the mitre slot when I flip it to get the waste out.

Which brings me to here.

I then separate the sides, and its onto some hand work. I tend to find it easier if I angle the chisel back a bit, then square pare to this.

Then its on to marking the pins, I'm using a home made marking knife that is easy to flip to each side.

I hogged out the waste as I did in my previous post. Which brought me to a dry fit,  then I cut the birch ply bottoms out.

Cleaned all the machine marks off the inside with my L/N #4, and glued them up.

Close up of the finished joint.

All in all these took me 15hrs to get all six to this stage, including machining the stock. I'm happy with this time but will get quicker on the next batch, and think the jig worked well. I've added a sacrificial top to the jig that can be used on each batch then renewed.

 Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


This isn't a how to cut dovetails, but a just how I cut dovetails. I still like to be able to say to my clients that all dovetails are cut by hand, and for 99% of the steps that is still very much true. However I have no wish to live in poverty, and 99% of clients are not going to pay for truly hand cut work any more. So I now cut all my dovetails in this manner. I use a router to hog the waste out, but I do this free hand, so I guess I could argue that they are still done by hand, as you still need a steady hand to guide the router, but I will let you decide this small point.

This is my old jig that I made up a few months ago to make one drawer for a coffee table, but I have six to do now, followed by another 24 or so. This jig isn't going to cut it, for a start its way to low, and was made quick so not that accurate.

So I'm making a new one to last at least until all drawers are finished, I'm going to try a woodrat as well to see if its any quicker. First step is to join two pieces together, these must be square.

I then use my vice as a datum, and screw and glue the back support in. This must all be level and square for the jig to be accurate.

I fix a stop so it reference's in the same place. 

I then  need a pencil line running up from my vice guide, and square to the top.

Then I need to fit a stop that is smaller in thickness to the drawer material.

I chamfer the top so it won't interfere with the router. 

Cut some pin's on the bandsaw, and clean up with a chisel.

The jig in use, I start by using the jig to give my router a larger area to reference off, then hog off the waste to within 0.5mm of my knife lines. I'm listening for a change in tone from the router to let me know how far to go into the waste, once I hear that tone I stop. Then its just a matter of chiselling to the knife lines.


Then just assemble them together


And the finished result, not perfect by any means but a quicker way to make a lot of drawers, and still have a hand cut look. This was done quick to show the process, but if I had taken my time a bit they would be passable.

Thanks for looking, I hope it's of interest.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A Bit More On the Painted Robe.

Got all the doors shot in and hung today, I used the little L/N 60 1/2 block plane for this, it performed brilliantly as you would expect. I just wish I'd took the plunge years ago.

All hung and swinging nicely.

There was just time to get all the drawer fronts fitted, before my father drags me down the pub for a couple of beers.  

I'm going to see how this ash behaves before I machine it all up, I have boards that are 27mm thick which I'm ripping in half with the hope to get the 10 mm drawer stock I need. If not there will be quite a bit of waste, or the drawer stock will be a bit thicker. I personally prefer a drawer with thin sides/back/front, so hope this ash will be OK come Sunday/Monday.

That's it on the robe for a day or two, thanks for looking, and I hope you are all having a nice Easter.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Progress on the painted robe.

This could be the last time I use poplar again, I've had to buy extra as it seems hell bent on being...err bent. I would be interested on other peoples views on this rather unstable timber.

Anyway here are some progress pic's...

I've made the base from 8x2 redwood as this will be a very heavy robe, and needs to be set off the floor quite high for this 2.8m wardrobe to look right visually.

The face frame partly fitted, just the drawer divides to mark out and fit.

With them made and fitted it was time to glue up the main face frame, I did this in two stages starting with the drawer area.

Then the whole f/f was glued up.

I fit this dry to the carcase so I can shoot the doors in, these need more work tomorrow, and will be hung then.

That as far as I've got today, I hope to have all doors hung tomorrow so I can make a start on the drawers on Saturday. Thanks for looking guys. 

Monday, 18 April 2011

Painted wardrobes

Been breaking down all of the oak veneered mdf yesterday, and today. Because all of my carcases are going to be the same depth, I thought I would cut all of the sheets in half. When I know they are all the same depth, I stack all the sheets on top of each other, get my track saw, and cut away. This saves me having to mark any of the others out once this first sheet is marked.

I then just line my track up with this light scribe line on all the subsequent boards.

Which gives me a big stack of boards ready to be cut to length on my saw bench.

Got the all of the first wardrobe carcases made up this afternoon.

Just before this Lie-Nielsen no4 arrived....

Haven't had a chance to play around with it yet, but first impressions are, it seems a very nice solid plane. It certainly feels much heavier than my USA made bailey, but the handle might need a bit of fettling to fit my gnormus mitts. 

I've Been quoting for more wardrobes today.....mustn't grumble but it would be nice to do some free standing furniture for a change though, thanks for looking.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

So it begins

I am about to start my biggest commission to date, one Sycamore triple wardrobe with bookcase to the side, two double European white Ash wardrobes, one painted triple wardrobe, an Ash desk, an Ash bookcase, and an Ash window seat.  This is all for the same client, who lives about 12 miles from me.  All wardrobes will have in total 28 handcut(more on this in another post) drawers to do, and the panels on the European Ash robes will be a bit different. I have spent the last few days ordering supplies for this commission, starting with the Oak veneered boards for the carcases which arrived Monday, and the 60cuft of Ash, Sycamore, and Poplar that arrived today(and had to be unloaded by hand because my forklift wouldn't start). Heres a shot of the Ash and the Sycamore...

I had a go at the Sycamore with a very blunt spokeshave, check out the chatter marks. But at least the timber was good and that's the main thing, wish I could say the same for the shave.

And here's the Poplar for the compromise wardrobe to kept the job within the allotted budget, It will still have six dovetailed drawers, and I'm going to make this one first.   

I've done a little bit of machining today, but will have more to show tomorrow, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lie Nielsen Planes

I've been somewhat sceptical about premium planes for a number of years, thinking they offer the same as a well fettled Stanley or Record. That scepticism was somewhat shattered today when I took delivery of two Lie Nielsen planes, a 60 1/2, and a 042. These are of course based on Stanley, Record, and in turn Preston planes. But Lie Nielsen has tweaked these planes into a different animal altogether.  Now I've been using my Stanley/Record planes for close to twenty three years, so after this time I'd like to think I know my way around a hand plane. So today was a bit of a revelation using these two wonderful planes, I feel somewhat silly saying that, after saying in a few thread's on various woodworking forum's that my fettled Stanley's and records are just as good, this is just not true.
 I'm trying in my business to finish off as much of my work by hand as possible,  in part to be able to say to clients this is hand-made, and in part because a hand planed finish is so much nicer to achieve than having all the dust floating about. I believe these additions of the L/N's, will enable me to do this faster as well as tackle more wilder and attractively grained timbers, instead of perhaps turning to the sander. So after today I have changed my stance, and cannot wait for when I have enough money to purchase a No4....and maybe just a few more.
                                              Oh here's the evidence...

There maybe no hope for me now.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Workshop Floor.

Having seen some amazing workshop tours in the past, it must be very comforting to know that when you place a cabinet on the floor it will need minimal levelling before you can shoot the doors in ready for hanging. I've worked in one cabinet shop in the past where this was the case, and what a luxury it is. Now if you have been reading this Blog you will know that my currant floor in my assembly area is far from level, so today I decided to do something about a small portion of this. I need a longish run for placing wardrobes on, I have quite a few to do so I don't want to keep checking they are level when I'm assembling them.

Here is the offending floor...

And here is the solution, I haven't insulated as I would need to do the whole floor(not an option at present). I've placed the battens at 300mm centres with the folding wedges about the same. I've screwed through the battens into the concrete, and hot melt glued the folding wedges to the battens to stop them shifting.  

Here's the finished article, it now gives me a level area that measures 4.8m(16ft)x1.2m(4ft).

It was also a good opportunity for Luke to have a go at scribing a front fascia piece to tidy it up, better for him to practice on this than an actual panel for a client. As you can see not to bad for a first attempt, but he does need to take a bit more time next time. He's very enthusiastic, and I need to slow him down sometimes. 

I'm very happy with this little improvement, and should speed things up a bit with one less thing to worry about.  What with my nice level setting out bench, and my level floor I feel spoilt.
Thanks for looking. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Goose Neck Scraper

 OK I'm going to attempt to show how I sharpen a goose neck scraper...

This first video shows me flattening the scraper on my DMT fine stone.

This video shows how I then get the cutting edge flat, with a 90° block to guide me.

On this next section of video I using an oiled burnisher to prepare the edge for rolling over, my grandfather would use the back of his chisel for this operation, not a good one I hasten to add.


Then I roll the edge, I need to say here that you do not need a lot of force for this, and I just flick the burnisher over once or twice.

Give it a whirl, and nice shavings not crumbs or dust.


Sorry about the quality of the video but you get the gist, I hope it's of some interest, and thanks for looking.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Wardrobes finished.

Been fitting the oak wardrobes and cabinets for the last couple of days, got them finished today. These were hung on French cleats, and took about 40 mins to hang.

Few shots of the newly formed walk ins, just needs a lick of paint, and for the handles to be delivered.

Thats it for today, I have four more wardrobes in ash, sycamore, with a painted one to do next, and some assorted furniture, thanks for looking.