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Archive for March 2013

  • Dovetails

    Sunday 31st March 2013

    How to Dovetail

    As I edge closer to finishing my tool chest build there is certainly one joint I have been able to practice more than any other. The dovetail. And in this case the through dovetail. If you are interested on how I cut my dovetails take a look at my How To Dovetail post.

    The dovetail joint is attractive, strong and is the traditional method of joining boards at right angles to make drawers, chests and boxes.

    It’s not a joint we often use making general joinery so it did take a moment to reacquaint myself with the joint. However after cutting 108 in total we are now close friends again.

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of cutting dovetail joints by hand is being able to create your own proportions rather than those dictated to you by a router jig. The contrast of smaller pins and larger tails shown above creates a traditional appearance.

    How do you cut yours?

  • 5 Facts About Accoya

    Sunday 24th March 2013

    Right, so why have you never heard of the Accoya tree? Well that’s because they don’t exist. Accoya starts of as Radiata Pine that is nearly always plantation grown. The Radiata Pine is harvested and then goes through a process of acetyation. This process creates a highly durable (as good as teak!) and stable timber. Ideal for external joinery and cladding without the need to use preservatives. Its properties mean it’s a viable and higher performing option when compared to hardwoods.

    1 - Weight: Accoya is a medium to lightweight material with an average weight of 512kgm3. Accoya has been used for structural purposes but is most commonly used for external joinery such as windows and doors.

    Radiata Pine

    2 - Durability: This is where Accoya really excels. It is TRADA class 1 and performs even better than teak. This is thanks to the acetyation process. Acetyation changes the wood and almost eliminates the woods ability to absorb water. This makes it stable and no longer digestible. Acetyation does not use any harmful poisons. It uses acetic acid (also known as vinegar in it’s diluted form) to change the timber.


    3 - Certification: The Radiata pine used to make Accoya is typically plantation grown in New Zealand. It is PEFC and FSC certified. The great thing about Radiata Pine is that it grows very quickly so new timber is soon at hand. This contrasts starkly with most hardwoods that at the present time are not plantation grown. Always work with certified timber when you can. Ask your supplier for their chain of custody number to ensure the timber is legally harvested.

    4 - Grades: Accoya has it’s own grading criteria. A1 has small and very few knots or defects. A2 and A3 have a higher instance of knots and defects (although still very few). There is also a B grade that has large knots and would not be suitable for making windows or doors.

    Accoya Door

    5 - Corrosive: Accoya should be treated like oak. Give careful thought to the types of fixings you are planning to use. Accoya is normally used in external or wet internal applications. The water will dramatically accelerate the corrosion of many metals. Therefore select good quality stainless steel or brass fixings for maximum durability and to prevent corrosion.

    High Quality Stainless Steel

  • Traditional Painting With Martin Guest

    Sunday 17th March 2013

    To make sure my blog stays interesting I decided to approach other individuals and businesses to provide relevant and interesting articles. The first of these Guest Blogs is from Master Decorator, Martin Guest. I approached Martin for some advice on traditional paints for my tool chest project. He provided excellent information which has me very excited about applying some “Milk Paint”. I also took the time to visit Martin’s website where he shows his wide portfolio of quality painting and decorating projects. Martin was kind enough to share with us the following method for redecorating a quality kitchen.

    Martin Guest

    I am a Master Decorator, Specialist Kitchen & Furniture Painter and one of Lincrusta’sleading installers… I am fortunate enough to be a member of Traditional Painter (www.traditionalpainter.com) an invitational National Network of Master Kitchen & Furniture, and Period Property Painters & Decorators.

    Hand Painted Kitchens & Furniture Logo

    I am also James Mayor Furniture’s (JMF) preferred hand-painter; JMF is a Birmingham based manufacturer of bespoke, custom and handmade MDF furniture.

    I’ve been invited by GS Haydon & Son Ltd. to write a guest blog post, here’s my offering; I felt that it may be of interest (to some perhaps) to describe the way I approach a kitchen or furniture hand painting project, (presumably it is an older style oak kitchen in need of some love) so here goes;

    Firstly, organisation is key to any of my projects; I cut 1200 grade lining paper to size and cover all surfaces, all work surface edges are protected with 3M 2090 masking tape. I’ve never really ‘enjoyed’ using dustsheets as I feel that they really does exacerbate the dust situation rather than protect from it. Additionally, I use Packexe flooring protection on all floor surfaces.

    “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”; Ok, it may sound a little up myself, but it really is a mantra that I live by. All surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and degreased with Krud Kutter Orginal. This step often needs repeating.

    High Quality Paintin

    Next comes the techie bit – well as techie as a painter can get!; All surfaces to be painted are prepared, I use a “dust-free” sanding system; A Mirka Ceros sander and a Festool Rotex RO90 DX with Mirka Abranet sanding sheets, connected to a Mirka 915 Extractor… this system removes 99.5% of dust – this is better for the project; No airborne particles landing on surfaces, better for my clients; no dust dispersed throughout their home, better for my health; I’m not breathing in potentially hazardous material.

    My next stage is to prime the newly sanded substrate – for an oak kitchen ‘refurb’ I recommend using Pegaprim Isofix; a Shellac based sealer and primer tinted to the top coat colour… this coat (when dry) always allows me to see if and where filling is required, I use Toupret (TX110) and Beissier (Prestonett Ready Mixed Lightweight) surface fillers and Soudal Caulk. These filled areas are then spot primed.

    Painted Kitchen

    All surfaces are lightly sanded with P320 Abranet sanding sheets and wiped with a damp microfibre cloth followed by a dry microfibre cloth to remove any surface dust that may still be present.

    The topcoats are then Tikkurila Feelings Furniture Paint – an exceptionally tough semi matt waterborne paint, used by top furniture manufacturers… I add Floetrol paint conditioner to assist with paint flow and opacity. I always apply at least two topcoats.

    The kitchen is then vacuumed out and cleaned down, ready to hand over to the client.

    Hand Painted Kitchen

    I pride myself in my attention to detail, cleanliness and passion for quality. I hope that this brief insight into my painting process has proven interesting/useful, if you would like more information at me and my work please visit my website www.mjguestltd.co.uk or visit my Blog for product reviews and recent project information.

  • A Pleasant Surprise

    Sunday 10th March 2013

    I must confess I did not expect anything from these budget chisels. They were cheap and I thought they would be appropriate for rough work and cleaning of glue splurges. However after they arrived I thought I would give them a quick trial at the bench to see how they performed.

    Hardwood Joinery Chisels

    There are no bold claims by the makers on their website so I had no real expectations. The price shown on the makers website is also highly inflated. A quick search of e-bay revealed a more realistic price of around £33.00 delivered. They arrived in a wooden presentation box with a plastic support matrix inside. All the chisels have a blue plastic blade protector and look almost identical to the old Marples blue chip chisels. A quick inspection of the chisels was nothing more than OK. The blue plastic handles have a small ridge where the plastic has been moulded or bonded. None of the chisels were sharp and they had pronounced mill marks on the back edges.

    Out of the box

    On the plus side the backs all seemed quite straight and although not sharp an accurate bevel was there ready to be honed. I flattened the backs with wet and dry on a glass plate removing the mill marks in the process (depending on your work this is not essential) . I then freehand honed the cutting bevel on a coarse stone and then honed on a fine stone. Nothing fancy in the sharpening, no micro-bevel or honing guide just a freehand sharpen. After removing the burr and stropping the blade I began some trial cuts. This is where I began to be impressed.

    Milling Marks

    In the hand these chisels are nicely balanced and feel great (apart from the plastic ridge on the handle). The most impressive part is the cutting edge. The chisels pared end grain with ease on both Pine, Oak and Iroko leaving a clean cut. Across the grain was great too. And what’s even better the edge has remained sharp for a really long time. If you are doing really fine work the bevel edge of these chisels might be a bit too heavy, but having said that the trade off is a robust and strong tool that completes 95% of what you need for a set of bevel edged chisels.

    They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That old adage applies perfectly to the Faithfull chisels. If you want a no nonsense good value set of chisels you will not be disappointed. I am so pleased I do not intend to buy the “better” set of chisels I had intended to.

    Great Value Chisels. Only the ridges on the handles let these well priced chisels down.