Thursday, August 28, 2008
A little more about Westonbirt. On the Sunday we had the pleasure of meeting Bill Carter. Bill makes the most wonderful infills, mostly Miter planes. But with a difference. The majority of his planes are miniatures and he ages the metalwork to give an antique look. These give the planes an wonderful timeless look. He also makes a lot of his plane from recycled tenon saw backs - check out his website for more info. Bill was very happy to talk about how he makes his planes and I was fascinated by his methods. As a bonus, his wife Sarah makes a smashing sponge cake ;) Here's a photo of Bill with fellow planemaker Konrad Sauer.
It was good to see so many members of the UK Workshop forum over the four days. Here are a couple of random pics....not sure about the axe one ;)
There were exhibitors from all around the world and it was great to socialise after hours. Here is a picture of Martin and Tommi from Magma - they are holding a Japanese plane they made during the show. A plane with a difference - not many have a walnut blade ;) Tommi (on the left) was also our star goalkeeper during the "International Soccer Match".
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Westonbirt is over - and what a great event it was too!
Another day or two and I should have recovered (mostly) after a hectic but very enjoyable five days. A highlight for me was the "communal living" aspect - most of the exhibitors camped on-site and our host, Mike Hancock, was kind enough to put on a chef to cater for us. Eating, working and drinking (oh, the drinking!) together made for a unique and very enjoyable experience. It's kind of bizarre to be sat under the stars chatting away with an international selection of woodworking superstars!
The standard of work at the show was very, very high and there was a huge variety of wood related disciplines on show. I'll post some more pictures as the week goes by (and I catch up on some sleep - you forget how good it is to sleep in a bed) And also recount the "International Football Match" that took place on the Saturday night ;)
So - the first picture. Many thanks must go to my "glamorous assistant" Mike Riley, who was kind enough to join me at the show. Couldn't have done it without you ;)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Well - that's that. I've finished in the workshop and put the bench in the back of the van ready for the journey to Westonbirt tomorrow. I've just about finished all the planes I was hoping to make and I'm sat at the computer now printing out signs and labels. The rain is falling outside (obviously having a last go before the coming heatwave...........) but I'm not worried. I know its going to be a great weekend :)
I've made a couple of planes from some Indonesian Rosewood I've been hoarding. One is the pretty little smoother I showed off yesterday - the other is a monster Miter plane. She looks just awesome! If anyone is interested they'll be on my bench this coming weekend :)
Shock of the day was the Wife coming out to the workshop with the phone. "It's Konrad", she says. My jaw drops - not Konrad Sauer??
Oh, yes - a quick call before he heads to the airport to make his way over. It was great to have a quick chat (and also to find I'm not the only one feverishly packing bags!) and I'm really looking forward to spending a few days in his company. Did I mention Konrad and I will have our benches set up next to each other (along with Infill maker Bill Carter!) in the Classic Hand Tools marquee?
So make sure you head over to Westonbirt this weekend for the "Festival of the Tree" - you won't be disappointed!
The workshop has been going flat out preparing for the "Festival of the Tree" at Westonbirt. I'm packing the van and hitting the road in the morning, so today is the last day for me finish off bits and pieces and any last minute tasks.
Again, I've been fortunate to have my workshop helper (let's call him "Mr. X" for now....) giving me a hand. I can tell he's enjoying it because he was moaning he didn't have his own workshop apron - one Tormek apron later and he's a happy bunny! Of course, that doesn't stop him repeatedly dropping hot pieces of metal into a jam jar of water, but I promised I wouldn't mention that ;)
With the Ipod rocking away in the background we've produced some lovely planes in the last few weeks. A Rosewood smoother and Miter plane are two of my favourites, and we've been making a selection of the new "Philly Shaves" in walnut, oak, maple, Gonc and Rosewood. They look fantastic - arty photographs to follow!
So - I should get back in the workshop. Time is ticking away....
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Just finished a plane I haven't made for a while - a skew mouth miter plane.
This one is for a customer in the States and is made from Goncalo Alves. It features a 6mm thick iron, 50mm wide and has a 38 degree bed with a 20 degree skew.
The skewed bed is a lot of extra work (and the math a real brain-ache!) but the plane performs really well and the skew is a real feature on the shooting board.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Yes, the weekend saw two more visitors to the 'shop. First, Cupcake was brought in to let her explore the workshop and start getting used to being in there. She loved it! Shavings were a bit hit with her (and I just happen to have plenty to spare) and the new smells and nooks and crannies to explore were just wonderful. Needless to say, no power tools were used while she was around but she was unconcerned when I did a bit of cleaning with the shop-vac. A good start.
So when she heard the cat was in the workshop out comes my daughter, Sophie. She's six years old now, and doesn't spend as much time in the shop with me as she used to. Too busy, you see.......;)
But with the kitten roaming the 'shop Sophie was quite happy to get stuck in to a bit of sanding - as long as she could giggle at the kittens antics.
The Westonbirt "Festival of the Tree" event is only two weeks away (less, actually!) so I am rather busy preparing myself for that, as well as keeping on top of plane orders. We have a big batch of spokeshaves almost complete in a wide choice of timbers as well as some special little coffin smoothers in Rosewood. More pics soon.......
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Yesterday I had a friend of mine helping out in the workshop. And what a new experience that was!
As woodworkers we usually practise our hobby on our own, quietly (or not) working away in solitude. And to suddenly have to share that space with a second person is an unusual but pleasant shock. Thankfully, I had arranged for Steve to prepare some blanks for me while I worked on some planes. He also carried out some much needed adjustment of the drill press. Well, I didn't ask him to fiddle with the drill press but he just couldn't leave it alone ;)
Here are some tips for sharing your workshop. Make sure you have lots of spare pencils, engineers squares and cordless drills. And keep supplying hot drinks on a regular basis. This will keep your new "workshop buddy" happy and productive :)
Thanks again, Steve!