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Archive for April 2013

  • Accoya Windows

    Sunday 28th April 2013

    Accoya Windows

    We have been using Accoya now for a few Months on various joinery products. We have made windows and doors in various styles which has given us valuable experience with the new timber. Although Accoya is more expensive than many durable hardwoods the wastage and handling elements of a job are less, this goes some way to redress the balance. One of the most pleasing aspects of using Accoya is its durability. TRADA classify it as class 1 “very durable”, you will find teak in the same classification!

    It also comes with high environmental credentials. It’s plantation grown and FSC certified too.

    We will continue to make joinery in whichever timber our clients want but we will be providing an option to use Accoya

  • Low level access equipment

    Wednesday 24th April 2013

    Browns Ladders

    This article from Browns Ladders about low level access equipment. Hopefully this article will provide you with some good information on access equipment and how to use it safely.

    Are you a carpenter with no idea what access equipment to use? Can’t quite reach the areas that you need to work on and don’t know what the ladders would be to best to get the job done quickly and safely?

    Don’t worry! Browns Ladders is here to help with a run down of the best types of ladders for carpentry use.

    Platform step ladders

    If you need to stand on a step ladder for a long time when working, you may want to think about getting an extra large standing platform. Getting one much larger than a standard step ladder platform will really help you get the job done faster.

    Remember though, if you plan on standing on the platform for a long time, get step ladders with handrails that go above the platform so you can stand on it safely.

    Low level work platforms

    There’s no one size fits all work platform – but if you plan to use it often for different jobs, safety is the order of the day,

    In particular, make sure it’s fully guarded around your body, and make sure it can accommodate two people.

    In particular, you need to be able to assemble it and dismantle it quickly with minimum lightweight components required.

    If you want something a little higher, you can get a low level access tower. This allows for more flexibility in different working heights. It would be a good move to get a 6 rung frame so there is more choice.

    Fibreglass ladders

    You don’t just have to get aluminium ladders. If you plan on working near electricity, fibreglass will do the trick.

    Since the stiles are non conductive to 30,000 volts, there should be no electrocution.

    Multipurpose or combination ladders

    Do a lot of different types of jobs? Why not get a multipurpose ladder? They can change shape to adapt to any job.

    They can be used on stairs, as extension ladders, work platforms, multi-height or step ladders. These are probably the only ladders a carpenter will ever need.

    Telescopic ladders

    Not much space in your van? Have you thought about getting one of the most innovative access products in recent years?

    Telescopic ladders extend, rung-by-rung so they can be used at multiple heights. Therefore, they can compact to an incredibly small length.

    You can also get combination ladders that are telescopic. Use them as step ladders, extension ladders or stairwell ladders.

  • Tool Chest

    Monday 22nd April 2013

    Wooden Tool Chest

    With Paul’s sign writing complete and dried it was time to apply a coat of linseed oil to seal the Milk Paint. Not only does the linseed oil seal the paint it also intensifies the colour. The milk paint has worked really well on this project. Because it’s a thin water based paint it allows the joints to be visible along with cutting gauge marks and plane marks, all adding to the handmade feel of the tool chest.

    Tool Chest Drawers

    The inside of the tool chest was also given a coat of linseed oil to give a nice warm mellow colour. The drawers also have cutting gauge marks showing.

    Tool Chest Locked

    The next job is to tune up, restore and make ready the selection of tools I have. It won’t be filled with just old school tools. There will be a mix of wooden planes and a hard point saw, plastic handled chisels and hardwood gauges.

    Tool Chest Inside

    Next on the project list is a traditional joiners workbench.

  • Sign Writing

    Saturday 20th April 2013

    Tool Chest Pain Palette

    To make my tool chest a bit more individual I decided to have some sign writing applied. Nothing fancy, just something to make it personal to me. I took my inspiration from and old cart axle we found during a site survey. I spotted the axle in a barn. We then had a chat with the client about the family business and it’s roots in the wheelwright trade. The next day I had a phone call, the client went into the barn and inspected the axle more closely. After turning it over they found my name on it! I was delighted on hearing this as nearly all this type of work has rotted away long ago.

    Tool Chest Sign Writing

    I was fortunate enough to find a traditional sign writer who lived very close to me. I called Paul and we arranged a time for him to visit our joinery workshop. It was a real pleasure watching Paul work. I wanted the text to be “similar” but at the same time I gave him room to apply the text in a way he felt appropriate. I can only imagine at how much practice it must take to be skilled at this type of work. Much of Paul’s work these days is using vinyls so he was delighted to use his hand skills for a change.

    With Paul’s work finished it was time to apply the linseed oil to seal the Milk Paint.

  • Milk Paint – The Second Coat

    Friday 19th April 2013

    Tool Chest Milk Paint - Second Coat

    On the second coat I mixed the paint 1 part paint 1 part warm water and I also added a dash of black to make the red darker. I was happier with the paint this time around, although I don’t think i’m fully confident with it yet. I will definately be trying it out on other projects to improve my skills. Once the paint has dried I will denib in preperation for the sign writer and a coat of boiled linseed oil.

  • Milk Paint – The First Coat

    Thursday 18th April 2013

    Milk Paint Tool Chest

    To apply the first coat I mixed 1 part paint to 1 1/4 part warm water and gave it a thourogh stir for a good five minuets. Being used to ready mixed paints from the tin it was quite a culture shock trying to blend the water and powder together to the point where I was happy with it. Applying the paint was simple enough and it dried quickly too. One thing I did experience was a lighter than expected colour. I think this was due to a very pale and light substrate and possibly a bit too much water. For the second coat I will reduce the water content and mix in a small amount of black to darken the red down. Second coat on the way………

  • Milk Paint

    Monday 15th April 2013

    Tool Chest

    With the drawers made it’s now time to turn my attention to painting the tool chest. I wanted to have an authentic old school feel but I was unsure as to what type of paint would be best. Buying some ready made paint seemed like cheating on this project. Back when the business was focused on wheelwright work we kept our own pigments and made up our own paints. Sadly I don’t know enough about what type of paints or pigments they were (future research project). However I liked the idea of preparing my own paint. The nearest thing I could get to making my own was to use real milk paint.

    Milk paint is an ancient type of paint with evidence of it’s use found in early cave paintings. The component parts are very basic, milk protein, limestone, clay and naturally occurring pigments. The powdered type I purchased is simply added to warm water and it’s ready to use. I went for red and black. The tool chest will be red but I wanted to have the black on hand to darken the red down if required.

    I gave the tool chest it’s final preparation and got ready to apply the first coat.

    Milk Paint

  • A little bit of history

    Sunday 7th April 2013


    After listening to a recent episode of woodtalk, I was intrigued in the contrast between the US and UK when it came to training and apprenticeships. Apprenticeships in the UK date back to the 12th Century. An apprentice would enter into a contract with the employer, which would be recorded in an indenture.

    I am very fortunate to own my Great Grandfather’s Indenture contract signed in 1909 when he began his apprenticeship as a Wheelwright. This fascinating document reveals many of the standard terms and conditions of an apprenticeship that have evolved over hundreds of years. This was a serious document reflected in both the duration of training and what was expected by all parties.

    In addition this also linked into the thoughts I have read of some who feel that the professional/commercial world of woodworking has little room for traditional skills, knowledge and hand tool use. Also that there are no apprenticeships that are worth bothering with. I worry these thoughts may create an impression that industry does not use traditional skills and we all stand at machines all day like zombies. In my experience this is far from the truth. It’s fair to say we use many machines and power tools for repetitive tasks but hand tools are still a strong part of what we do in a small joinery workshop. There are too still many good apprenticeships out there to be had for well motivated individuals. I am delighted that there is so much interest in woodworking and that so many within this field want to preserve skills. Just consider though that maybe many of those skills are not quite as threatened as we may think, and possibly industry is still passing skills through the apprenticeship system as it always has.

    Anyway back to the indenture document. I have endeavoured to reproduce the text but the old writing is very hard to decipher and due to the legal nature of the document it’s not exactly bedtime reading. However this underlines the serious commitment involved when becoming or taking on an apprentice. Hope you enjoy it.

    This Indenture Witnesses That George Haydon, Son of William Haydon of North Molton in the County of Devon with the consent of the said William Haydon testified by the execution of these Indentures doth put himself Apprentice to Francis John Buckingham of North Molton in the County of Devon Wheelwright, to learn his Art trade or business and with him after the Manner of an Apprentice to serve from the 18th day of April 1909 to the 18th day of April 1915

    Until the full end and term of six years thence next following to be fully complete and ended. During which term the said apprentice to his Master shall he faithfully serve his secrets, keep his lawful commands everywhere gladly, he shall do no damage to his said Master nor see to be done of others but to the best of his power shall prevent or forthwith give warning to his said Master of the same. He shall not waste the goods of his said Master nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not do any act whereby his said Master may have any loss with his own goods or others during the said term. Without licence of his said master he shall neither buy not sell nor absent himself from his said Master’s service day or night unlawfully but in all things as a faithful apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said Master and all his during the said term.

    And the said Francis John Buckingham doth hereby covenant with the said William Haydon his executor and administrators to pay the said apprentice George Haydon one shilling per week for the first year and an increase of one shilling per week for every year after until the end of the said term of six years.

    And also to teach and instruct his said apprentice in the art trade or business of a wheelwright which he uses by the best means that he can, shall teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed.

    And the said William Haydon for himself executor and administrator doth hereby covenant with the said master to provide for the said apprentice sufficient food, wearing apparel, washing, lodgings and medical allowances during the said term and also the necessary tools.

    And for the true performance of all and every the said covenants and agreements either of the said parties bindeth himself unto the other these presents in witness whereof the parties above named have hereunto set their hands and seals the 11th day of December in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Nine.”