chests of drawers

I’m making 3 chests of drawers for a kitchen, with the following 2 designs…chest of drawers 2

chest of drawers 1I’ve selected the species of wood. The pale ones are ripple ash and aspen. The darker ones are plum and cherry.

Both designs are based on the same grid, so I stared by drawing this out full size.grid and compasses

I then had to decide on the direction of the grain for each piece by doing a rough sketch.

grain directionThere are many ways to cut veneer. The curves on both designs all have the same radius, so I bought a gouge with a curve that is near to what I need and roll it around the curve to get it as close as possible.cutting veneerI gradually piece the pattern together with veneer tape to form a patchwork.veneer tape This is how it looks underneath…taking

moon screen

I’ve made some screens to cover a bedroom alcove in a new house.moon screenThe house is by the sea, near Ramsey on the Isle of Man. I took some photos while I was there earlier this year and based the screen colours on a photo I took of a local beach. Dhoon BayI used 3 veneers to create the design. The dark wood is fumed oak. Fumed oak is made by exposing regular oak to amonia fumes until it turns to a dark shade. The light coloured veneer is poplar burr, and the the grey is a re-constituted veneer made by Alpi.raw materials

cabinet making course results

My cabinet making for beginners course has finished. We just about managed to complete the shelf pieces we were working on.planingHere’s Chris showing some excellent planing technique –  keeping the plane centred on the edge of the board with his front hand, whilst keeping the sole of the plane in good contact all the way along its length with his rear hand.finished shelfHere’s Francis with the finished shelf. He gave it a sparing coat of linseed oil. This really brought out the beautiful, natural lustre of the cherry.shelf fixed to wallHere’s the one that I made in place. It was a pleasure to have Chris and Francis as my first students. I hope they’ll be the first of many. Go to the Arts Alive Wales website for details of future courses.

double woodwork

I’m running a cabinet making course at Arts Alive Wales in Crickhowell. Here’s a photo of the beautiful space that we’re working in. As you can see, there’s plenty of space for more participants in the future.Arts Alive Wales spaceI’ve made 4 double workbenches out of plywood and MDF. They are substantial and sturdy, but can be taken apart after each class. I’ve provided a basic set of hand tools: pencil, engineers square, marking knife, chisels, tenon saw, mallet.

basic woodwork toolsHere are Francis and Chris cutting housing joints in pieces of scrap. The finished item will be a simple shelf piece in cherry.

watching TV in style

Here are some photos of the TV panel, drawers and shelves that I’ve completed and installed. I hope you like it all.TV panel, drawers, shelves and slate.The panel veneer is poplar burr with a solid cherry surround and ebony stringing for the dark line border. The surface is Welsh slate, Berwyn slate quarry near Llangollen.

drawers openI made the drawers from birch plywood and sprayed a high gloss lacquer on the fronts.

IMG_1524This is a detail of the drop flaps. I mitre cut the solid cherry edge and the ebony inlay. The hinges are hidden when the flap is closed.

glass shelvesThese two glass shelves are 12mm thick. I cut a 12mm wide slot with a router into the backing and simply slotted them in. The fit was tight enough to hold them in place without any more fixing. Phew!

Christmas craft fair

I attended the craft fair at Arts Alive in Crickhowel last night. It was a great evening, with a lovely friendly atmosphere. Here’s an auspicious photo of a double rainbow I saw over the Black Mountains as I set off.rainbow over Black MountainsHere’s a pic of my stall. I managed to sell quite a few of the cube tea-light holders you can see on the stall

And here I am being distracted by one of my most loyal customers!craft

how to draw a square

I’m making some workbenches for the woodwork course I’ll be running. Each one has a 1200mm square top. I could simply use a set-square to draw it out, but I find it difficult to keep my marking-out accurate over a large area. Here’s how I mark a perfect square that doesn’t rely on having a set-square. It uses basic geometry that has been used for thousands of years.

Firstly, mark where you want the centre of square to be and draw a circle whose diameter is the same as the length of the square’s sides. This sheet of MDF is roughly cut slightly larger that I need it to be.

Next, draw a line that passes through the centre of the circle.

Then you draw an arc using the same radius as the original circle, with the point located where the centre line crosses the circle edge. Do the same at the other end of the line.

The next step is to draw another line through the centre of the first circle at 90 degrees to the first line. To do this place the point of your compasses (or trammel in this case) where the arc crosses the circle. Using a smaller radius than the original circle draw a small arc roughly where you think the centre line should pass through it. Then draw a similar arc with the centre point where the circle and the other large arc meet. This is the one you can see just above it in the photo.

I like to do the same on the other side, but you can then draw a line that passes through these small arcs and the centre of the circle.

Next draw 2 arcs, radius the same as the original circle, with the centre points placed where the new centre line crosses the circle.

Finally, draw lines to connect the four points where the four large arcs cross.

I can now cut along these lines with my Festool TS55 circular saw along a guide rail. You could, of course, cut out a square on a table saw with the fence set square and to the length you need. However in this case the MDF is too large to fit on my table saw.