Thursday, 16 November 2017

Great Northern Woodworking Show this Weekend.


This is my first visit to this large show, the scale of it reminded me of the Axminster shows of 15 - 20 years ago. It was a bit of a trek from the South coast and took me 5 1/2 hours.
I'm set up in a nice corner of the Classic Hand Tool stand and looking forward to cutting some dovetails over the next 3 days.


I had a wander round and although many of the stands were covered up this one took my eye with some lovely English timber, walnut yew and some great burr elm.


Nice pippy oak boards.

I came across the Vic Tesolin stand, he's getting to be quite a star!


Powermatic is a new brand over here and the machines looked very solid and well built, a bit like the British machines of 50 years ago.

This band saw really took my eye but at £3,500 it is clearly a victim of the current poor exchange rate.

Scheppach make some nice accurate made hobby machines, but they are aiming pretty low with this one. It stands just 27" high and has a cut height of  4"! Still at under £200 I suppose there is a market.


At the other end of the scale this Felder combination machine is a beauty.
The show is huge and there are hand tools and machines to suit every pocket, well worth a day (or two) visit.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Mursell Travisher, an Excellent Tool.


I was surprised to learn that James's travisher was his best selling tool, I had naively assumed that his spokeshaves would be more popular. That was until I used one! It worked superbly both across and with the grain. He sells them as a complete tool or in kit form for about 2/3rds of the price. As I noticed one or two of his well used travishers had a worn nose I decided to buy the kit and inlay a lignum Vitae block.

Here's a couple of shots after initial shaping of the block on the band saw.


The nose needs to be relieved so that the blade can make contact in the hollowed seat and this was done with a medium rasp ( below).


Here are some shots of the finished shave which took about 1 1/2 hours in all to complete.



The instructions say that the shaving exit can be through the top (as recommended) or via the rear. James says the advantage of the top is you can place your thumbs behind the blade for the best control which is certainly the case. I also found that you could see exactly where the shaving was being taken which was very helpful when I came close to the lines. This is a wonderful tool to use and I will be using it on a work shop stool in the near future.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Scrub Plane


One of James's suggestions for finishing the underside of the seat on the Windsor chairs was using a scrub plane. The idea was to leave a textured surface which would be felt when the chair was moved or picked up, I was impressed and chose to use this on my chair. Sad to say I've never used a scrub plane, it was remarkably easy and good fun.


Instead of buying a new one (even Lie Nielsen and Veritas versions are reasonable) I decided to adapt a plane I already had, this little ECE block plane. It is very comfortable to hold but has a gaping mouth, which while not great for smoothing, is ideal as a scrub plane.


Ten careful minutes on the grinder and the blade was reshaped, now I just need a project to use it on!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Windsor Chair First Coat


I managed to find time to clean up the glue and do the final scraping and sanding. Having pondered a number of finishes I used a penetrating oil (details at the end) which will need many coats.


The continuous arm Windsor designed by James Mursell looks great from any angle.


I simplified the seat shape from the more traditional design and managed to find a board with some nice olive colour running the middle (sorry Simon, you'll have to be quicker next time!)


I managed to find some olive ash legs as well.



Contrasting wedges were used for the arm spindles and it's worth taking a little time to make sure these are centred and the correct width.


The finished I used was Devon Wood Oil as warranted by the Royal Household, if it's good enough for the queen.....

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Windsor Chair Completed


During the 5 day course James shared many little tips, here we have taped up the prior to drilling to minimise the risk of tearout. The blue string gave something to run a sharp knife against making removal much easier.

Banging in the wedges for the legs, tilting the stool so the leg is vertical to the bench.


The chair was then levelled from side to side and then shimmed for a backwards lean of 1/2" (I think). When all this was done without any wobble left, the legs were marked with the gauge shown and then cut to the lines.

In order to arrive at a design he is happy with for each chair he has made up to 6 versions. Many of these can be found handing on the wall of one of his barns, including the first chair he ever made.


James's farmhouse was the setting for morning and afternoon tea as well as a lovely lunch.


I had been admiring the oak dining table we used for a few days and it turned out that it had been made by Edward Barnsley for James father back in 1958.


And here we all are at the end of the course complete with the shop dog. It was a great course with lovely people and can highly recommend the experience to anyone. All our chairs needed final cleaning up and finishing which will be done in our own shops. Mine needs to wait as I've got preparation to do for the North of England Woodworking show next week.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Best Sanding Lubricant


Today we shaved spindles and marked out for the initial fitting followed by an afternoon of sanding.
We were all just flagging when Matt kindly broke out the beers to give us the energy for the final push.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Windsor Chair Making Day 2


Here's one of James's continuous arm Windsor's which we all should have made by the end of this week, a very elegant and inviting chair.


James had a selection of all his chairs in the workshop and this rocker is my favourite.


A hinged jig on the drill press ensured perfectly angled holes and the sight lines pre drawn on the blank made sure they were in then right place. A reamer followed for perfect tapers.


Next we moved on to some welcome hand work, here's Simon chipping away with an adze. With a baby at home he's just swopped one ankle biter for another.


Dan's seat decided to split during his adzing which meant starting again from scratch. The electric adze certainly helped James to get him back on track.
James's travisher is his best selling tool and when I used one it's not hard to see why. Here's Matt enjoying some cross grain shaping.