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Archive for January 2013

  • Dovetail Saw Review

    Wednesday 30th January 2013

    Sadly my dovetails are still not finished (although you will see from the photos they do exist)! There are 56 of them though and all hand cut. If only my lunch breaks were longer….

    However perhaps I could share with you my experience of my new dovetail saw. I gave this purchase some careful thought. Part of me wanted to go for a vintage saw, however I was put off by possibly buying blind from the internet with all the risks of wonky handles and more wear and tear than would be acceptable. This meant an evening of searching on line. After searching through various sites I found The World Of Woodworking . I was pleased to find a wide range of British made products. I reviewed the various saw brands they had to offer and settled on the PAX range of saws. I was sorely tempted by the Elm Handled version but I could not justify the cost. Instead I went for the Beech handled option. My order was placed and the saw arrived very promptly. It was well packaged and came in a nice presentation box. The blade was protected with a plastic skid and the metal had a protective coating.

    Dovetail Saw

    As I mentioned, I was tempted by the Elm handled version but I must confess I am really pleased I didn’t. The photo on the website does not do the saw justice. I was concerned before receiving the saw that the handle would be a bit crass. Quite the contrary the red, beech and gold leaf details on the handle are a joy to behold. The saw is light and well balanced and fits nicely in the hand.

    I was eager to try the saw and with dovetails marked out I started the process of ripping down the tails. I must say it performed brilliantly out of the box cutting quick and straight. The only excuse to for poor fitting joints will be my setting out! The protective coating was soon removed when in use so I have been treating the metal with a small drop of three in one oil and some paper towel. This has not only protected the saw it has polished up the brass back to a mirror finish.

    Dovetail Saw Cuts

    Overall I am very pleased with the purchase and would recommend the saw to anyone. Take a look at The World Of Woodworking website for the full range of saws and tools they offer.


  • 5 Facts about oak

    Wednesday 23rd January 2013

    As I have not been able to finish my dovetails yet I thought I would share 5 facts about European Oak.

    1. Weight: European Oak is a dense timber weighing in at an average of 720 Kg per cubic meter. This density and natural strength mean it has been popular for structural uses as well as joinery uses over the years.
    2. Durability: TRADA rate European Oak as Class 2 (durable). Many original oak structures, furniture and joinery are with still with us today. However you must still always maintain and protect your oak joinery to ensure it stays durable and serviceable. Oak will silver and black if not well maintained. While this can be a desirable aesthetic quality it must be reviewed carefully as the blacking and silvering could lead to early components failure and even rot. The light colour sapwood is perishable and should not be used outside and is liable to insect attack
    3. Certified: European Oak is usually from well-managed forests, The French were aware of the need to preserve oak for the future. In 1827 they established a forest management system to preserve the supply. These days ask for FSC certified timber. By asking for the FSC certification we can ensure the Oak is from well-managed forests. FSC Oak
    4. Grades: We purchase oaks in a range of grades for our Joinery & Interiors. Prime Grade is a QF1A board with very consistent colour virtually no knots, sapwood or other blemish. Joinery Grade is a QF1/2x board that is mostly clear from defects although there are some knots present and other defects. However these blemishes often make the timber more interesting than the very clean Prime Grade. Character grade is a QFB2/3x board that will have more knots, shakes and sap than the other grades. In the right application these defect can provide a dramatic effect. Prime Grade Oak Joinery Grade Oak Character Grade Oak
    5. Corrosive: Natural acid within the oak means that you must give careful thought to the types of fixings you should use. In very broad terms if the Oak is used inside in a dry environment nearly any type of fixings can be used. However once you add moisture and external conditions things change. The water will dramatically accelerate the corrosion of many metals. Select good quality stainless steel or brass fixings to maximise durability and to prevent corrosion. Brass Fittings
  • Using The Record 45 Multi-Plane

    Thursday 17th January 2013

    So this is the first time I have used the Record 45 Multi-Plane. I have used standard plough planes and rebate planes during my time as an apprentice some 16 years ago so I was not totally in the dark. The Record Multi-Plane is a little more complex than other planes but fortunately the original manual was at hand. It is amazing just what this plane can handle. In it’s standard form it can plough, bead in the edge and centre, create a dado also known as housings, rebate and fillester, tongue & groove, sash mould and perform slitting. If you have a special base it can do hollows, rounds and nosing jobs too.

    My first job was quite simple and a nice easy one to start. Plough a 6mm wide grove in the edge of some narrow pine boards to receive a cross grain tongue. Assembling the plane was quick and easy. The freshly sharpened 6mm cutting iron slots into place engaging with a depth adjustment wheel and locked into place with a cutter bolt. I sighted the blade and set for about 0.5mm>1mm deep cut. The side fence was easy to locate and has a fine adjustment wheel to get a really precise groove location.

    Vintage Plane

    With the timber fastened securely in a vice I made a start. Working at the end farthest away from myself I started with a few small stokes and then slowly walked backward toward the end of the timber increasing the length of my strokes. A little tip from Dad here was to make sure I extended my arm so when I finished the stroke the heel of the plane lifts aiding the clearance of the shavings.

    Vintage Plane on Hardwood Windows

    I was really pleased with just how quick and accurately the job was done. Sure perhaps with the industrial machines I have at my disposal it would have been quicker to do the work on one of those and OK I am not going to sell our spindle moulders and issue planes to the guys. But it really did not take too long to do it this way and you also get a great feeling of satisfaction producing the work by hand. Perhaps take a look at one of these if you are looking to do woodwork for recreation. Much quieter than a router table or spindle moulder and take up a lot less space.

    Next time I will show you the setting out and cutting of the dovetail joints that I need to join my wide pine boards.

  • Hand Tools

    Thursday 10th January 2013

    I have recently had a renewed interest in using hand tools for my own projects and enjoyment. I am very fortunate that we have a very wide selection of old tools to choose from. We still have may of our family’s old tools in secure storage. The first tool I wanted to use is the record 45 multi-plane . For my project I am going to need to make some grooves and rebates. The great thing with the record multi-plane is that you can do grooving, rebating and moulding work all with one plane. I have sharpened up the cutters that I need and look forward to trying it out. I will add a few photos of the plane in use soon and some more details on the project I am working on in my spare time.

    Record 45 Multi Plane Tool

  • 2012 Highlight

    Thursday 3rd January 2013

    One of the most pleasing aspects of 2012 was the continued progress of our apprentice Chris Lake. Chis has been with us for nearly a year and a half now and has proved a great asset. In recognition of his hard work I put him forward for the BWF apprentice of the year award. To support his nomination I provided a reference and also references from our customers.

    Hardwood Windows

    Chris’ training provider Didac were also able to provide a very positive reference. We have found Didac professional and their high quality training delivered in our workplace has been a revelation when compared to other providers we had used before. Being able to see Chris learning using our equipment with his Tutor has been really great. I would highly recommend anyone looking to train an apprentice within joinery or furniture making to speak with Didac and see what they can offer.

    Wooden Windows

    After sending in the nomination I was delighted to hear Chris had been nominated for the award. He attend the ceremony at Lords Cricket Ground and was delighted when his name was read out as the winner.

    I look forward to Chris finishing his apprenticeship with us and further improving his skills as a joiner and a valuable member of staff.