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Issue 34 December 2017

HAND, POWER & GREEN WOODWORKING ● TURNING ● RESTORATION ● DIY

The reasons why

you need a router!

PROJECTS

Snowflake shelves Routed puzzle table Turn a christmas cracker TECHNIQUES Carved barge boards Board handling technique Carving with a Swiss army knife

CONTEMPORARY HALL TABLE • FOX HEAD WALKING STICK WWC34 COVER FINAL.indd 1

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Community

Welcome to the December issue of

Woodworking Crafts

S

eason’s greetings to all our readers wherever you are in the world. The news headlines never make for comfortable reading – there are too many bad things going on at a time of year when it should be peace and goodwill to all and we should feel safe. Last Christmas I played Santa to a group of international Hmm, too much Christmas students who were studying at the University of pud – Ed Sussex. Five minutes in a silly red costume with my charming elfin assistant and a sack of cheap presents was a humbling reminder that not everyone has our good fortune – a brief but joyful experience that will stay with those lovely young people for a long time to come. So we need and deserve a bit of escapism and a chance to enjoy the things that matter to us – friends, family, a welcome break and, of course, whatever hobby or interest that floats our boat, in this case the multifarious crafts that can claim to be that wonderful activity of woodworking. Contrary to views expressed elsewhere in the magazine I am not known as Mr Scrooge and must dissociate myself from those unnecessarily inflammatory remarks. Indeed I have gone out of my way to bring you a bountiful selection of articles, many with a festive theme, entering into the spirit of Christmas. I do hope you enjoy this issue and stay safe if you do venture into the workshop. Myself and our team would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2018.

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Jan Morgan – Designer Anthony Bailey – Editor Email: anthonyb@thegmcgroup.com

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33 Mark Baker – Group Editor Simon Rodway – Illustrator

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Karen Scott – Senior Editorial Assistant

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In the

December issue... COMMUNITY

PROJECTS

5 Design inspiration

6 Contemporary hall table

27 This month’s contributors

16 Fox-head walking stick

28 Woodland ways – Christmas wreaths and greenery

33 Turned Christmas crackers

32 Woodworking glossary – G

50 Projects of Christmas past

44 Feature – French Tool Museum, Troyes

62 Plans 4 you – Snowflake shelves

58 Feature – Willow workshop

67 Puzzle table

64 Festive library – Book reviews

TECHNIQUES

79 Trees for life – Sweet chestnut

11 ‘My hand plane heaven’

82 Ask the experts

37 Swiss army knife whittling

88 Feature – Lapland wooden shelter

54 Router vs ‘The Rest’

KIT & TOOLS 22 Christmas gift round-up

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61 Tricks of the trade 71 Safe board handling 76 Ornate barge boards

Woodwork on the web To find more great projects, tests and techniques like these, visit our fantastic website at: www.woodworkersinstitute.com

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More freedom of movement for better sanding. The new cordless compact sanders RTSC 400, DTSC 400 and ETSC 125.

Cordless mobility. Performance that’s like working with a mains-powered tool. The new cordless compact sanders boast powerful material removal and endurance thanks to the 18 V Ergo battery pack and brushless EC-TEC motor. They are lightweight, with an optimised centre of gravity for cordless comfort. And they have the flexibility to allow them to be quickly converted to a mains-powered machine for continuous work using a plug-it adapter. Do you want to experience first-hand these new hybrid sanders? Then head to your specialist retailer or visit www.festool.co.uk/cordless-sander

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Community

A highly ornate demi-lune table is perfect, but a simpler, clean-lined version would look equally good

Long, low and retro with dropring handles. Functional but impressive

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

A hallway generally needs a table to put things on – keys, letters, hats etc. It needs to look stylish and yet be slim in depth

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Design INSPIRATION

Oriental themed, very square, controlled design with precise detail inlays, by Robert Ingham

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREA HARGREAVES

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT INGHAM

A slender, elegant piece with delicate tapered legs and arched cross pieces in a traditional style, by Eddie Reynolds

PHOTOGRAPH BY EDDIE REYNOLDS

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Contemporary chrome tube with a wooden drawer unit on top makes a variation

A simple wood design with a discreet drawer for bits and bobs An exceptional curve-on-curve console table with very highly figured grain, by Suzanne Hodgson

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Project

HALL TABLE

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Less is definitely more as Brendan Devitt-Spooner explains in his latest project

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Project Design statement Designing and making a range of bespoke furniture enables me to construct everything from a single small box to large, complex room schemes involving many individual pieces. All are exciting and all have particular requirements. This article concerns a small hall table. In many ways it is the ideal commission – it is complex enough to make it interesting to make, it does not have a large appetite for materials, it is reasonably quick to make, it does not take up too much space in the workshop and it is easy to deliver and manhandle on one’s own. The piece started as a result of a woman visiting my workshop having recently moved into the area. She had her property refurbished in a contemporary way so she was looking for a table to grace her hallway. After visiting her, seeing the hall and establishing the sizes and timbers to be used, I returned a couple of weeks later with a design proposal. The whole thing was to be made from wenge and sycamore, the two timbers complemented her colour scheme and also added a hint of the Orient of which she was keen.

Simplicity itself Simply, the wenge top was supported by two ends made up from wenge and sycamore. Underneath the top were to be hung two drawers separated by a panel. As the drawers would be quite short in depth I decided to hang them on full extension runners.

End construction Each end was made up from four pieces, the two outer parts of wenge were joined together by a thinner sandwich of wenge and sycamore.

End rail joints

Shallow drawers required the shortest runners

Making them involved machining the two sets of parts 1mm thicker than the final thickness and then glueing them together. Using pieces of ‘4 x 2’ as protectors and load spreaders I could use as many G-clamps as necessary. After they were dry they were re-machined to the final width and thickness, which was thinner than the two outside parts. All the parts are joined together by ply tongues. I formed the grooves using a ¼in groover in a spindle moulder. With birch ply being around 6.5mm thick I used a jointer plane to reduce the thickness slightly, which produced a snug fit. It is a good idea not to make the fit too snug as applying the glue, in this case PVA, will result in the ply swelling slightly, enough to cause anxious moments while clamping them together. Before glueing I sanded and finished the sycamore face as it would be very difficult to do so after assembly. The inner edges of the wenge outer parts were given a small rebate detail.

Both ends were then glued up, making sure that no excess glue remained on the outer glue lines. After they were dry the next step was to clean up the inner flat surfaces. This can be done in many ways. Having a wide belt sander in the workshop makes this process very straightforward and also much easier, particularly if the wenge has a wild grain – it is not the easiest timber to hand plane.

Making rails With the two ends completed the next stage was to prepare the rails, which would join the two ends, which were in sycamore. The back one was joined with double tenons, the lower front one with twin tenons and the upper front rail with single lapped dovetails. The two front rails were inset by the thickness of the drawer fronts so as to create a flush front. The rear rail was as wide as the drawer fronts – this was particularly important as it provides most of the rigidity of the finished piece. ➤

Tradi onal runners could not be used as the drawers would fall out

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Project Joint work Cutting joints can be done in many ways. Available tools or machinery can influence the method selected. For the rear double mortises I set up a router with a 10mm cutter and plunge cut them, then used a chisel to square the rounded ends. I always form the mortises first – it is easier to adjust the size of the tenon than the mortise. Cutting the tenons I used a tenoner, but a tablesaw or bandsaw would do the job equally well. The twin tenons and single lapped dovetails were cut using a router and bandsaw for the former and handsaw and chisels for the latter. Although machines and power tools are great I always cut dovetails by hand.

Assembly preparation After all the joints had been cut, the sides and rails were dry clamped to ensure that everything fitted and was square. At this point attention was focused on the sub-frame, which carried the inner drawer runners and the front panel. Quite simply, it was a four-sided frame which was screwed and plugged and the same depth as the distance between the two front rails. This was fitted into the rails using screws (see the drawing for detail). The front panel was a piece of wenge screwed on. I found it very useful at this point to have an angled drilling attachment to enable perpendicular holes to be accurately made. Before any of the rails could be glued in place, holes were drilled enabling the top to be attached by screws. These were sized for no.8 brass screws and countersunk. Remembering to do it at this point would prevent the hassle of trying to form them when everything

Centre sec on detail

was glued. Before any glueing was done all the components were sanded and finished. It is much easier to do this before assembly than having to get into difficult corners afterwards.

Glue up Clamping up is often a time when things go awry – you cannot find the softwood blocks to protect the finished surfaces, the phone rings or a visitor pops in. I always arrange the clamps ready for use and make sure there is enough glue in the pot with protective blocks at the ready. Glue was applied to the mortises and the back and bottom front rails inserted. After standing the table upright the top front rail was fitted from the top. With all the rails in place, a final check with a trysquare to ensure everything was as it should be and the excess glue was wiped away with a damp cloth. I set the frame aside to allow it to dry and turned my attention to the drawer components.

lines with hand-cut dovetails joining the corners and a groove formed on the sides and front to allow for a slide-in cedar of Lebanon base. At this point, before cutting the timber, it is most important to measure the distance where the drawer will fit. This measurement will then have the thickness of the drawer runners subtracted. Although a conventional drawer will have quite thin sides, in this case they had to be thicker to accommodate the screws which attach the drawer runners. After fitting the sub-frame and wenge fronts the ➤

Drawer construction These were made in sycamore with a planted-on front. The drawer boxes were constructed along traditional

The drawer base is only held cap ve at the rear end

The drawer fronts were ʻplanted onʼ

The internal construc on

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Project drawers could be fitted using the full extension runners. With the drawer boxes installed, the planted-on fronts were attached using screws from the inside of the drawer. Because the front extends down below the bottom rail there is no need to have a handle as the drawer could be pulled open from below.

Inlaid top The top of the table was in wenge with a decorative inlaid square of sycamore in each of the front corners. I made the top up from three planks that were joined with ply tongues in ‘stopped’ grooves. Before these were glued together the top was dry clamped. Finding out that the plywood is slightly too wide when it is at this stage is a lot less alarming than when glue has been added. When it had dried I ran it through my wide belt sander again and then trimmed it to length and width. Forming the recesses for the inlays can be scary as, more often than not, this will be the first thing people will inspect, so it has to be visually perfect. I marked out the squares using a mortise gauge along grain and a knife for the cross-grain lines. Using a hand-held router and an 18mm straight cutter I carefully removed the majority

The inlaid top detail reflects the drawer shapes

of the waste to a depth of 2mm. With a wide chisel the remaining waste was carefully cut out. However, fitting the sycamore squares was reasonably straightforward. I made them very slightly oversized and carefully planed a slight taper to allow them to enter the recess easily, but then tighten up to form a clean fit. To fit them glue was applied to the recess and the

sycamore squares tapped in. With a softwood block above and below, a small G-clamp was applied to ensure the inlay was seated properly. After the inlays were dry, once again I passed the top through the sander and then finished it off on a pad sander with a 240 grit paper. The edge details on the top, the sides and the front panel were in the form of small rebates. These were formed with a router, a straight cutter and a fence, running it the ‘wrong’ way (climb cut) seemed to lessen the break-out and made for a better finish. I cleaned them up with a range of abrasive papers wrapped around a square block of wood. Finally the top was attached using brass screws inserted from inside the drawer areas, making sure the screw slots were aligned with each other as I am fussy about such detail. I finished the whole piece with Danish oil, cutting back with 180 grit paper three times. The final finish was Vaseline applied with 0000 wire wool. This was then rubbed off with a clean cloth. Vaseline was also applied to the cedar of Lebanon drawer bases as it does not affect the aroma. The finished table was well received by the client as it fitted in perfectly with her contemporary décor. ■

Safety note

Brendan mentions ‘climb cutting’ in the last section of the article. This is not a recommended practice unless you understand the risks involved. In short – not for beginners. A very clean architectural form

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Technique A veteran No.6 showing why it is ‘The Boss’

My hand plane

heaven

A selection of planes from the Editor’s own collection Forget the basics To do general carpentry and cabinetwork you need a limited number of planes – a block plane, a smoothing plane and a jack plane. Once you’ve gone beyond the basics though, there is so much more. Where do you stop? Or should you even stop collecting? My display cabinets are full of all sorts of hand planes, I just pick out the one I need for a particular job. Here is my own quirky take on planes that I love using and why. A dinky but damaged Victorian no.4, still capable

Victorian treasure no.3C My favourite for many smaller tasks is a late 19th century no.3C Stanley with a corrugated sole. The castings are so thin someone previously repaired a split on one side with a piece of bicycle chain. I found a corresponding split on the other side so a judicious repair with a thin piece of brass shim and epoxy resin mended this poor old soldier and it works a treat. A coat of black enamel completed the job and corrugations intended for working on resinous pine don’t interfere with normal planing tasks. ➤

The ‘missing links’ – holding the casting together

The unusual corrugated sole with a bit of mouth damage

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Technique

‘Super Jack’ no.6 I bought a secondhand no.6 Fore plane, often touted as a site tool for bigger jobs because it is relatively carriable. In fact, this meaty piece of metal is more often found on my bench because its weight and heft make it a great weapon of choice when working on medium to large components held in the vice. It’s another Stanley – a name hard to avoid in the world of vintage tools because of its ubiquity. It is important to let the tool do the work so there is less effort and no pressure as forward motion just carries it along the workpiece.

L-R: Squirrel tail, modern adjustable block plane, Record no.4, Stanley ‘Teen’ no.4, Stanley no.5 and Stanley no.6 (note length and width increase over a no.5)

A ‘well Gaged’ no. 5

The clean, swept lines of a self-setting blade, Stanley Gage jack plane

The unusual but easily set Gage blade mechanism

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When I first bought this jack plane I wondered if I had made a mistake. It was dull and looked a bit ugly and to me aesthetics do matter even if I want a tool that works well. Then I gave it a general clean up, but not trying to make it shiny and new looking, I always restore sympathetically or not at all. Then the subtle beauty of its design dawned on me. The low-swept, wave profile of the sides was matched by an ingenious blade adjustment method unique to Gage planes, that sold me. It handles really well and is a firm favourite for everyday planing tasks.

Beautiful curly shavings that are produced by this vintage plane

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Technique ‘Schooldays’ T5 When I was a lad at technical high school our standard bench plane was the Record Technical Jack T5. Designed for schools and colleges, it was a much-abused model in untutored hands, no doubt hitting the workshop floor a few times which, combined with rather economical casting, means many of these have slight cracks and bulges around the mouth on the sole. It is deliberately light and slimmer for use in young hands and, usefully, has threaded holes on the sides to take a shooting handle – often missing now, but you can turn a new one. My own T5 has a straightedged blade, not so much for planing edges but for trimming end grain on a shooting board – very useful indeed.

No wonder this T5 was cheap, but they are sought after, so….

...it finally ended up restored like this. It just needs a shooting handle to be turned Perfect for really precise end grain shooting with the convenience of the shooting handle

My Stanley Sweetheart This Stanley No.41⁄2 is heavy for its size but ideal for final levelling of wide boards removing all the hollows cut by a no.5 jack with a cambered blade. The blade is marked Stanley Sweetheart and appears original. The frog casting that the blade sits on is cast and ground differently to give allegedly better support to the blade, but was probably more to do with higher pricing when it was new. Very late 19th century, it has the typical squat knob and small diameter thumbwheel of that period. Early 20th-century planes have taller, more slender front knobs. ➤

Stanley Sweetheart no.4 complete with original blade

The blade stamping shows it is the genuine article

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Technique

Had I really let them get this bad? Time for an overhaul (see top of page 12 for condition now)

‘Teen years’ no.4 and no.5 planes A couple of years ago I restored both of these planes, derusting, cleaning, removing hard cracked lacquer from the woodwork and replacing the blades with modern Ray Iles thick, carbon steel blades. As I was cleaning them it occurred to me that, despite all the changes in my life, these two had stayed with me since my teenage years when I bought them from a toolshop in our nearest town. That makes them 50 years old? Blimey, that scares me a little to think of all the years that have flashed past. I felt I owed it to these lifelong companions to bring them back to tip-top condition and they work even better for having superior cutting edges.

A squirrel tail plane is nicer to use than one without the ‘tail’

The new thick carbon steel Ray Iles replacement blade at the top

‘My pet’ squirrel tail Thumb planes can be very handy for small tasks but a squirrel tail or palm plane is much more comfortable to hold and more controllable. When I ran an antique restoration business I used this baby plane all the time for trimming newly-added boxwood stringing on the damaged edges of chest of drawers and the like, without cutting into the adjacent veneers or even marring the patina of the French polish. Unfortunately, when my children were small one young miscreant put this plane in our garden bonfire… I found it the next day minus its black livery, but thankfully a repaint and blade treatment brought it back to life again.

‘Monster Mash’ no.8 o.8 There really is no excuse for a plane this big, this heavy ointer available today is a no.7 or this long. The largest jointer seful in the age of the planer and even that is hardly useful thicknesser. But I had to have one and it always impresses ering in my display cabinets. For hand-tool enthusiasts peering anyone who isn’t aware, cast iron bends and even after ng, a long plane sole is conditioning and grinding, unlikely to be entirely flatt and true, but en of yore it never stopped craftsmen sults. producing spectacular results.

A lovely object but a no.8 is not for serious use, to be honest

That’s my pick of the planes, but it won’t be long before I revisit planing technique. ■

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10/30/17 5:18 PM


Project

Fox clever!

PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL PURNELL UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Paul Purnell gets crafty with his latest walking stick project

Tools

• Bandsaw • Rotary carving tool • Coarse-toothed cutters • Fine carbide cutters • Selection of diamond burrs • Ceramic cutters for texturing • Carving knife or scalpel • Junior hacksaw • 13mm wood drill • Cushioned drum sander • Split-mandrel sander

Materials

• Piece of lime (Tilia europaea): 100mm x 100mm • Special, 7mm, vertical-slit pupil, glass eyes • Shank of your choice and size • 10mm spacer or several that approximate to this thickness • Cloth-backed sandpaper 120 through 400 grit • Brass ferrule • Epoxy putty • Epoxy glue • Sanding sealer • Finishing oil • Assorted acrylic paints

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Fox clever The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) belongs to the dog family. It is a resourceful and adaptable animal, which has colonised a wide range of environmental conditions, from sub-tropical to the Arctic tundra. The pupils of a fox’s eyes have vertical slits. These allow the eyes to open very wide and gather more light. Their eyes are especially adapted for night-time vision. Behind the light-sensitive cells in the eye, another layer, called the tapetum lucidum, reflects light back through the eye. This doubles the intensity of images received.

Foxes have whiskers on their wrists that they use as ‘feelers’, much the same as cats do with their facial whiskers. This helps the fox move around more efficiently in the dark. Thanks to these whiskers and good eyesight, foxes are formidable nighttime predators.

Carving the head Before starting to carve, ensure you have plenty of reference material giving a view of a fox head from all angles.

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Prepare cardboard templates from the sketch. Use the side template to bandsaw the blank.

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Project

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Draw a centre line around the head. Mark the centre point at the bottom of the blank. Draw a 32mm square around this point. This head is for a 30mm shank with a 2mm safety margin. Adjust this according to the size of your shank. Use a 13mm wood drill to drill a hole in the bottom of the neck to a depth of 45mm. Although there is no danger of the drill breaking through in this project, it is advisable to mark the drill with a piece of masking tape to the depth required. Drill the spacer(s). For this project, I have used two padauk and two African blackwood slices that I cut on the bandsaw. You can use one or more spacers of the material of your choice.

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Using a coarse burr in the rotary tool, reduce the sides of the neck. Do not cut into the square marked out in the previous step. Draw on the rough placement of the ears. Use the same burr to define them by removing material from between and behind. Round over the back of the ears.

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Use a burr to shape the neckline then pencil in the shape of the cheek line.

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Using a coarse burr, define the cheek line. Profile the skull in front of the ears.

➤

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Project Draw the features on the head to help visualise the next stages.

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Use a medium cylinder burr to round over the snout. Outline the position of the nose and carve the indentation behind the fleshy pad of the whiskers. Using the same burr, round over the top of the head down the foreface to where it meets the snout, known as the ‘stop’. Draw reference lines of 5mm to help maintain symmetry. Redraw the centre line after every step if the carving process erases it.

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Prepare the shank for the head using the dowel method. (Refer to WWC 21 for the full process.) Once you are happy with the fit, mark the positions of all components.

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Glue the spacer(s) to the shank with epoxy glue – do not glue the head. Allow to cure overnight. Temporarily replace the head on the shank. Use the coarse burr to carve the spacers to fit the profile of the shank. Do not remove any material from the neck.

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Use a flamed-head carbide burr to add some folds around the throat and neck.

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Give the head a rough sand with 120 grit paper on a cushioneddrum sander. Check how the carving looks. At this point, you want the head to be close to its finished shape. Locate the position of the eyes.

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Refine the nose shape with a carving knife. Use 240 grit paper on a split-mandrel sander to round over the edges.

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Draw on the shape of the mouth. The overlap at the corner of the mouth seen on most dogs is not prominent on the fox. Once again, draw reference lines at 5mm increments. Using a carving knife, place a stop-cut around the outline. Now cut at about 45° to the first cut and from below. This will relieve the lower jaw that sits inside the upper jaw. Sand the edges with 240 grit paper on the split-mandrel sander. Sand a small dimple at the corners.

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Return to the nose and carve the nostrils. They are comma-shaped

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Project with a split at the sides. These splits create the alar flaps, which open when the fox is running and needs to draw in more air or when scenting. Use a ½mm dental burr to create the hole. Then use a scalpel to define the split that runs from the nostril to halfway up the side of the nose. The last part of the nose to carve is the philtrum. This is the line separating the left and right parts of the nostril. Define the philtrum with the scalpel or carving knife.

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Next, define the triangularshaped bulge caused by the hyoid bone and muscles at the base of the lower jaw. This bone is attached to the tongue and helps with swallowing food. Use a 4mm diamond ball to outline, then sand with 240 grit paper on the split-mandrel sander.

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Draw on the shape of the inner ears and open the inside with a 3mm fluted ball. Aim to open up the socket well down into the head to give the impression of depth. Sand the inside of the ears with the split-mandrel and 240 grit paper.

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Now for the eyes. These are 7mm, special fox eyes with a vertically split iris. They are dark orange. Take care when working on the eyes, as they are the most important focal point of the head On this head, the inner edge is approximately 10mm from the centre line. Draw a 7mm line from the inner edge. Insert a coloured pin into the centre point. Use another pin to locate the other eye. Check alignment from both front and top.

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Pencil on the almond shape of the eyes and drill a 3mm pilot hole at the centre point.

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adjustments to the eye shape with epoxy putty once inserted. Using a 4mm diamond ball, create a shallow groove from the inner edge of the eyes towards the nose. Sand with 240 grit paper.

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Use a scalpel or knife to remove a triangular pip of wood from the outside edges of the eyes. Shape and sand to give the impression the lower eyelid fits under the top. ➤

Foxes are born blind and deaf. Adults can climb trees and settle on low branches. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Open up the socket with the 3mm fluted ball and a 2mm diamond burr. To keep the rough almond shape, you will need to carve behind the upper and lower edges of the sockets. To fit the eye later on into an opening that is less than 7mm, you will need to insert the eye into the upper part of the socket and then push the bottom of the eye into place. Alternatively, you can drill out a 7mm circular socket and use epoxy putty to create the almond shape. Check the fit of the eye as you carve. As you will paint this carving, you can make small

Did you know?

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Project

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Use a 2mm diamond ball to define the eyebrow ridges. Sand with 240 grit.

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Refit the head to the shank. Wrap a turn of masking tape around the shank for protection. Sand with 240 grit paper.

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Remove the head. Add some folds around the back of the cheek with the 4mm diamond ball. Add more definition to the neck folds. Sand with 240 grit paper.

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Fix the eyes into their sockets with epoxy putty. Work the putty on the outside of the eye to achieve the required shape. This finishes the shaping of the head. Sand with 240, 320 and 400 grit paper to prepare for texturing. Use a combination of the cushioned drum, split-mandrel and hand sanding.

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Use your reference material to draw on the flow lines of the hair. Using a 2mm cylinder, blue ceramic stone, start the texturing with the ears. Use small ‘C’ and ‘S’ strokes. Next, texture the distinct hair flow around the eyes.

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To protect the eyes while texturing, use a piece of plasticine, modelling clay or you can cut a piece from a self-adhesive, antiscratch pad used to protect furniture.

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Texture the folds behind the cheeks. Move on to texture the muzzle to join up with the cheeks and eyes. Now work the top of the head to join up with the texturing of the ears. Texture underneath the lower jaw and the back of the head.

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To add an extra dimension to the thicker fur around the neck, using a blue ceramic, inverted cone to apply deeper cuts. Use the 2mm cylinder to apply another layer of texture on the neck. Check over the head for any area missed. Finish with a soft brush in the rotary tool to remove any dust or tiny particles. The texturing is now finished. Apply two coats of sanding sealer to the entire head.

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Project Painting and finishing

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Now it is time to paint the fox using acrylic paints. Apply several coats with the consistency of skimmed milk. If you apply the paint in thick coats, it will fill up the texturing. As there are only three colours, I have included the paint mixes in the script. Alternatively, you can use a colour swatch. First, use Titanium white on the underside of the mouth and down the chest area. Apply the orangey-brown base coat to the remainder of the head. This is a mix of Quinacridone gold, raw sienna and a hint of Payne’s grey. Add a touch of Payne’s grey to the above mix and darken the colour around the eyes. Add varying amounts of grey to this mix to add random highlights. Add further highlights with titanium white. Use Payne’s grey on the nose, the smudge across the muzzle, ears, around the eyes and for other random highlights.

The painting is now complete. Carefully remove the paint from over the eyes. The carving is now finished.

Paint mixes Quinacridone gold + sienna + Titanium white

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A view from the back showing the detail of the fur and the colour change on the ears.

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For this project I have used a yew shank. However, these are uncommon. Hazel is the most commonly used wood for a shank. Apply several coats of your choice of finishing oil to the shank and spacers. Use epoxy glue to join the head to the shank. Make sure there is not an air pocket trapped, as this can cause the head to push up as it is drying. Fit a brass ferrule and your walking stick is finished completely. ■

1 + hint of Payne’s grey

1 + extra Payne’s grey

Handy ࣅp

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

When texturing the head leave a small section – around 15-20mm – untouched at the bottom of the neck where it joins the shank. This will differentiate your stick as being a unique carving from wood and not resin.

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Kit & Tools

Fun Christmas ideas Drop a few big hints and who knows what might end up in Santa’s sack

CHOCOLATE SAW BLADE AND PINCERS We picked just one of a wide selection of ridiculously real-looking chocolate objects from this company – and yes, they do make a chocolate coffee pot… £14.00 www.thechocolateworkshop.co.uk

CHRISTMAS BALLOTIN GIFT SET Not sure what to buy your long-suffering partner? Get them in the festive spirit with this delightful, almost good enough to eat (but don’t!) bath set. £11.50 www.allbeauty.com

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FUJI INSTAX CAMERAS Remember Polaroid instant film? Well, Fuji has brought this concept up to date with a series of cameras and accessories which are massive fun but with a serious side too. The model we’ve chosen has a square picture format – you take instant photos and save them to a Micro SD card at the same time. £249.99 10-shot film pack £8.99 www.shop.fujifilm.co.uk/instax-sq10-instant-camera.html

PERSONALISED COOKIE MUG You don’t get quite so much tea or coffee in this mug but it does have space for a couple of biscuits underneath. What’s more you can have the mug personalised to the thirst acquirer. £7.00 www.personalisedgi sshop.co.uk

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Kit & Tools

Please note there may be postage or shipping costs on these items, check relevant website for details

CLEO MESSOGRAF MECHANICAL PENCIL 0.7 The original tool pencil, it combines ruler, vernier calliper gauge, tyre tread depth gauge, thread scale and pencil. Made in Germany. £19.99 www.cultpens.com

PERSONALISED FAMILY TREE RUSTIC TREE SLICE A tree slice engraved with the recipient’s surname and the names of family members. A lovely memorable gift that can be displayed around the home. £19.99 www.thegi experience.co.uk

CAITHNESS WW1 COLLECTION POPPY PAPERWEIGHT A beautiful, quite meaningful object, for which you can even purchase an optional lightbox to stand it on for best effect. £33.60 Lightbox £3.60 www.kingsandqueens.org.uk SPIRIT OF THE YEAR 2017 GIFT SET 5x3cl bottles from the Whisky Exchange that give the lucky whisky lover the chance to try and mix various whiskies, perfect after Christmas or Boxing Day dinner. £39.95 www.thewhiskyexchange.com

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Kit & Tools

PERSONALISED WOODEN ENGRAVED HAMMER From Darkling Design10 – perfect for the man or woman about the house. £8.00 www.etsy.com/uk

KIDS’ GARDENING GLOVES Need a helping hand in the garden? Give the kids some nice, bright, protective gardening gloves so they can be really useful little helpers. £2.99 pair www.briersltd.co.uk/collec ons/kids

LEGO CITY ADVENT CALENDER Is this seriously for kids? Surely some mistake – it’s fun for adults too. Hands off my lovely advent calendar! £19.49 www.jadlamracingmodels.com

HAYNES EXPLAINS һ BARBARA AND MIKE’S MARRIAGE We all have at least one Haynes car manual lurking somewhere – but here’s the one you really do need. £12.99 www.thegi experience.co.uk

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SPITFIRE QUAY WOODCRAFT CONSTRUCTION KIT FSC Unlike some World War II aircraft made of wood the Spitfire was actually built from aluminium. However you can now make your own wooden model of this fighter classic. £5.75 www.amazon.co.uk

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Kit & Tools

JOINT JOIN JO INT T SE SENI SENIOR NIOR OR A ANNUAL NNUA NN UAL L EN ENGL ENGLISH GLIS ISH H HE HERI HERITAGE RITA TAGE GE M MEMBERSHIP EMBE EM BERS RSHI HIP P For two people over 60, this gives you one year’s membership to more than 400 English Heritage sites plus various benefits – including reduced entry to associated attractions and up to six children go free. £70 www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk

SWAROVSKI SNOWFLAKE TREE DECORATION Let’s be crystal clear, this is the genuine article and it can have an engraving added if you wish. £59.00 www.swarovski.com

BREW BUNDLE: FOR ONE The aptly named Workshop Coffee Company does several brew bundles but this is perfect for the very fussy coffee drinker in the workshop or out on site. Contains a Porlex hand grinder, AeroPress coffee maker and a 250g bag of beans. Just add boiling water and cup. £70.00 www.workshopcoffee.com

CAUTIOUS BEGINNER’S SCYTHING SET Ever fancied trying your hand at scything just like Poldark, but with your shirt on? Well, you can and the best way is to buy The Cautious Beginner’s Set, with peening jig and your choice of 75cm or undersize blade. £148 www.thescytheshop.co.uk

WETTERLINGS HUDSON BAY AXE Everyone needs an axe – right? This 60cm long axe with a carbon steel blade is perfect for plenty of chopping and splitting tasks and comes with a protective leather sheath. £95.00 www.woodandmeadow.com

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The UK’s last remaining traditional saw manufacturers.

Now also manufacturing Clifton Planes

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Community

Meet the contributors... We put all of this month’s professional and reader contributors here, so you know exactly who they are and what they do Louise Biggs

Michael T Collins

Brendan Devitt-Spooner

Lucy Bailey

Brendan has been involved with wood since at school, first as a teacher of crafts in the ’70/’80s and then as a furniture designer/maker working from his workshop in Angmering, West Sussex. He exhibits his work mainly in the South-east but most work comes through the showroom at his workshop. k Web: www.brendandeviħ-spooner.co.uk

Lucy Bailey is a craft maker, artist, writer, blogger and much-in-demand project manager. She is usually found facilitating community arts projects, travelling the world, or in her workshop on a potter’s wheel and, more recently, green woodworking. She has a keen interest in environmental and social issues. Web: www.theceramicsapprenধce.com

Simon Rodway

Gary Marshall

Having completed her City & Guilds, Louise trained for a further four years at the London College of Furniture. She joined a London firm working for top antique dealers and interior designers in London before starting her own business designing and making bespoke furniture and restoring furniture. Web: www.anthemion-furniture.co.uk

Simon Rodway has been an illustrator for our magazine since ‘the dawn of time’ itself, drawing on his experience in the field of architecture. He also runs LineMine, a website with articles and online courses on drawing software. A new course, SketchUp for Woodworkers, is proving really popular. Web: www.linemine.com/courses

British-born Michael has been working with wood off and on for 40 years. He moved to New York in 1996 and, over the years, has made bespoke furniture, including clocks, inlay work, Adams fireplaces, book cases and reproduction furniture. Web: www.sawdustandwoodchips.com

Gary has had a life-long interest in woodlands and the countryside. He trained in countryside management and subsequently ran a company working with the local County Councils and Unitary Authority and their Countryside and Rights of Way Teams, as well as a wide range of conservation organisations.

Your face and details could appear here in our ‘rogues’ gallery’ if you write an article for the magazine, and you could be rewarded for your efforts too.

Editor Anthony Bailey Email: anthonyb@thegmcgroup.com, Designer Jan Morgan, Head of Woodworking Design Oliver Prentice, Senior Editorial Administrator Karen Scott, Illustrator Simon Rodway (www.linemine.com), Chief Photographer Anthony Bailey, Group Editor, Woodworking Mark Baker, Production Manager Jim Bulley, Production Controller Amanda Allsopp Email: repro@thegmcgroup.com, Publisher Jonathan Grogan, Advertising Sales Executive Russell Higgins Email: russellh@thegmcgroup.com, Marketing Anne Guillot, Subscriptions Helen Johnson Tel: 01273 402 873 Fax: 01273 478 606 Email: helenj@thegmcgroup.com Printed in the UK by Stephens and George Print Group, Distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd Tel: 020 7429 4000 WOODWORKING CRAFTS (ISSN 2057-3456) is published every four weeks by GMC Publications Ltd, 86 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XN

SUBSCRIPTION RATES (includes postage & packing) UK Europe Rest of World 12 issues: £51.00 £63.75 £71.40 24 issues: £102.00 £127.50 £142.80 US customers should call the Subscription Department for subscription rates in USD ($). Cheques made payable to: GMC Publications Ltd. Current subscribers will automatically receive a renewal notice (excludes direct debit subscribers). Post your order to: The Subscription Department, GMC Publications Ltd, 166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XU, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1273 488 005 Fax: +44 (0) 1273 402866 Email: pubs@thegmcgroup.com Web: www.thegmcgroup.com

Woodworking is an inherently dangerous pursuit. Readers should not attempt the procedures described herein without seeking training and information on the safe use of tools and machines, and all readers should observe current safety legislation. Views and comments expressed by individuals in the magazine do not necessarily represent those of the publishers and no legal responsibility can be accepted for the results of the use by readers of information or advice of whatever kind given in this publication, either in editorial or advertisements. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd.

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Community

Woodland ways

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Christmas greenery Garlands, wreaths, greenery and other seasonal snippets from Woodland Ways

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GARY MARSHALL UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Wreaths on a backdrop of firethorn

Ivy naturally adorns a dead elder

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S

earching for some good berried holly to include in my Christmas wreaths I noticed a fine swag of ivy hanging down, suitable for draping across a ceiling beam. There’s so much greenery out there even in the winter. Just look around you. Ivy drapes and encircles vegetation living and dead. Silver and green holly makes seasonal displays in shrubberies. Old sheds, outhouses and garages can be blinged up with a few natural garlands filched from nature...and how about reversing the norm: displaying wreaths on a backdrop of firethorn berries? I wouldn’t recommend bringing such vegetation into the house for the season – unless you live at around 5˚C as berries, leaves and all manner of hibernating critters are liable to adorn your rooms too!

‘The holly and the ivy’ Everyone rates holly and there are seasonal songs about it but ivy and other ever-greenery doesn’t get much of a mention. Some folks are superstitious about ivy. Clergy have not always allowed it in church for instance – it having devilish connotations. Medieval cathedrals are adorned with naturalistic carvings of leafy garlands – particularly fine examples are to be seen at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire and Wells in Somerset. No superstition of ivy here! The Old English derivation of wreath and the verb wreathe comes from ‘writha’ – writhing with serpentlike allusions. How long for – and why – have we been ‘decking our halls’ during our ever-warming bleak mid-winters? Wreaths of all sorts were worn

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

Community

Natural outdoor decoraধons: silver-edged holly with ivy behind

Scandinavian-influenced ধered horizontal wreaths

in Romano-Greco-Etruscan times – including olives, laurel and bay and could be used to denote a citizen’s occupation or status. Candlelit wreaths within the Advent period were used to commemorate St Lucy’s Day (13th December). She is alleged to have wandered the catacombs wearing a candlelit wreath so her hands were free to carry as much food as possible to imprisoned Christians.

destructive forces but on Christmas Eve a spooky monk has apparently been witnessed trying to rebuild the altar. Garlands of evergreens no doubt signify life everlasting and the hope of the coming of spring. If the birds have left them, the berries of holly and other plants give welcome colour to what can be a rather monochrome time of year outside. Of course there is a folksy carol that lauds the significance of the holly, poor old ivy though has had a bad press. Many estates won’t tolerate its ‘strangling’ ways – although it doesn’t actually strangle trees. It does, however, rely on vertical trunks for support, in its search for light and dominance – it’s luxurious mature growth also provides a wonderful micro-habitat. With a warming of our climate, we see introduced evergreen species thriving in the British Isles. How soon before we too can make olive wreaths like our Roman predecessors? Enjoy this Christmas and New Year season. Dig out last year’s Yule log throw it on the fire and raise a glass of ‘Glögi’ as they do in the land of Santa Claus. ■

Kissing under the mistletoe I’ve written of mistletoe and holly in past articles but not necessarily of the seasonal lore that surrounds them. Of course there’s much – and new and old age mystics have been keen to keep the often bizarre myths, superstitions and beliefs going. The old European mythologies count yew as a sacred tree – but many churches leave its greenery outside, supposedly to keep storm-raising witches at bay. At Strata Florida Abbey in Cardiganshire (or Ceredigion in Welsh) a yew allegedly marks the grave of Daffydd ap Gwilym, the renowned Welsh language poet. The abbey was victim to Henry VIII’s

Decking the garage with boughs of ivy (and holly)

A wreath to welcome Christmas guests Ivy completely dominaধng a hedgerow alder

Strange but true?

Mistletoe berries

Mistletoe in branch of hybrid poplar

The best wood for rolling pins is said by some to be ivy wood – the pastry won’t stick to it (I have no proof of this I think ours is made of beech!)

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GIVES THE SHARPEST EDGES. BUILT TO LAST.

The specially developed rubber on the zinc drive wheel ensures a constant speed, even under full load.

Stainless steel main shaft with EzyLock makes it easy to change stones without using any tools.

The sleeves are integrated in the fully cast housing, which minimises play for the Universal Support.

The powerful industrial motor is a true workhorse.

THE TORMEK T-8 is a high quality machine which sharpens your edge tools with the highest precision. Water cooled sharpening is gentle on the steel and the edge is continuously cooled by water — there is no risk that the steel becomes over-heated and loses its hardness. This machine is built for continuous use. Its unique drive system is efďŹ cient and manages to hold a constant speed, even under full load. You get a sharpening system that will sharpen your edge tools razor sharp, making them a pleasure to use.

The Tormek jigs give you full control over the sharpening, see all at tormek.com Included with Tormek T-8

The Square Edge Jig SE-77 makes it easy to sharpen chisels and plane irons.

With the Gouge Jig SVD-186 you can easily follow curved shaped tools and v-tools.

With the Knife Jig SVM-45 you can sharpen most of your knives.

The Tool Rest SVD-110 is ideal when sharpening turning scrapers.

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The SVP-80 jig sharpens all makes and shapes of spindle moulding knives with 24, 30 or 36mm between centres.

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The DBS-22 Sharpener sharpens your drill bits (3-22 mm) with the highest precision. You have full control of the sharpening throughout and your drill bits will be like new again.

Since 1973, Tormek has been dedicated to developing the best sharpening solutions for different types of edge tools. Visit tormek.com for more information on how you can get your edge back!

TURNING ORESTORATION O DIY For a tradesman you can trust – and a job done well. The only place to list members of The Guild of Master Craftsmen exclusively

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Community

A woodworking glossary The letter G PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

GABLE The triangular end of a building from the eaves to the ridge.

surfaces with fewer runs and on woods that are difficult to stain, such as pine and poplar. The thicker consistency of gel stains is supposed to prevent the stain from absorbing unevenly, which causes ugly blotching.

GRAVEL BOARD A board stood on edge along the bottom of a fence to keep the fence off the ground.

G GLUE-UP The act of assembling wood components with glue and clamps. Good preparation is essential as it can sometimes be a stressful experience fitting everything together.

Garnet paper is no longer commonly available

GATELEG TABLE A type of table with drop leaves that are supported by a leg that swings out.

GROOVE A slot or channel made in the surface of wood and made with a router or other tool. Usually made to accept another component.

Gunstock rails (horizontal) instead of s les (ver cal)

Carving tools – L-R: Spoon gouge, V par ng tool, sweep gouge

GUSSET A block or plate used to strengthen a joint between two components. ■

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

GRAIN A rather inaccurate and subjective descriptive term for the surface appearance of wood. Used as a common noun, as in short grain, wild grain, working with the grain, figured grain, etc.

GUNSTOCK STILE A stile in a door frame or gate where it diminishes in width, usually from the frame section below to the upper section above.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

GEL STAIN An oil-based, pigmented stain that is thicker in consistency than traditional oil-based stains. Gel stains are formulated to work well on vertical

GOUGE A turning or carving tool which is available in a variety of profiles at the cutting edge. Usually several gouges are needed to create various shapes.

GRIT The grade of particles in sandpaper or sharpening stones, which determines the aggressiveness of the cut. Certain mediums, such as diamond stones, have ‘mesh’ grades, not grit.

PHOTOGRAPH BY LOUISE BIGGS

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

GARNET PAPER A traditional type of abrasive paper with orange-coloured grit which is friable, i.e. the particles break down with use.

GOING The horizontal distance between any two risers in a staircase. It also refers to the horizontal distance from the first riser to the last riser in a flight of stairs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Mary, Lady Guildford, wearing a gable hood (Hans Holbein the younger)

GREEN WOOD Unseasoned wood, freshly harvested timber, with a high moisture content. For most purposes it needs to be dried before use.

Applying gel stain for a strong darkening effect

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Limed oak grain has a striking appearance

Gusset plates used to hold roof trusses together

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Project

Turn Christmas crackers S

ome years ago I had the idea of making a Christmas cracker for a club competition but I never got round to it. I was then trying to think of something differentt forr rtuniity an article and it occurred to me that now was my opportunity to make one. ber I sat down to consider size, proportions, colour, timber e hass choice etc. As you can see, I have made two types – one n been decorated (the prototype) and the other one has been left with its natural colour and a patterned section. The coloured cracker is made from ash (Fraxinus excelsior), coloured with spirit dye and a gilt cream hass ce been rubbed in to fill the grain. Once dry, the finished piec piece he was given several coats of finishing oil. This removed the excess gilt cream and gives a lovely shine to the piece. h The plain version has a criss-cross pattern, created with a spiralling tool, and has been finished with melamine hand buffed to a shine with carnauba wax to produce a high highgloss finish. e to I have two young granddaughters so they will be able ag use them this Christmas. I have written their names on a ta tag m, so s and the gifts inside have been chosen especially for them, this year we will have a more personalised Christmas.

TOOLS USED TOP TO BOTTOM: 19mm (¾in) spindle roughing gouge, 3mm (1/8in) parting tool, 1.5mm (1⁄16in) parting tool, RS200KT with rounded end cutter attached, 13mm (½in) skew chisel, 10mm (3⁄8in) spindle gouge, spiralling tool and a selection of Forstner bits – 28mm (11⁄8in), 32mm (11⁄4in) and 38mm (11⁄2in) plus a 12mm drill bit

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY SUE HARKER

Sue Harker’s step-by-step guide to turning personalised Christmas crackers

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Project 95mm (3 3 4 in) o/all

114mm (4 1 2 in) o/all

70mm (2 3 4 in) x 20mm ( 3 4 in) wide 14mm ( 9 16 in)

50mm (2in) Vee C/L

38mm (1 1 2 in) dia

38mm (11 2 in) dia

Vee

5mm (3 16 in) 52mm (2

8 in)

dia

4mm (

5

22mm ( 7 8 in) 59mm

32 in)

70mm (2 3 4 in) Vee groove

50mm (2in) Vee groove

12mm ( 1 2 in) dia

1

91mm (319 32 in) x 20mm ( 3 4 in) wide

13mm ( 1 2 in)

(2 5

20mm ( 3 4 in)

16 in)

Vee Matching half Vees 80mm (3

C/L of assembly

5

32

in)

NOTE: All joints are half the wall thickness (7mm or 1/4in) with all ends shorter on one component than on the other to ensure the half chamfers will be flush together when assembled.

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Mount a piece of wood 228mm (9in) x 58mm (2¼in) x 58mm (2¼in) on the lathe between centres and turn to round. Cut chucking spigots at both ends, then mount in the chuck and part off around 95mm (3¾in) and put to one side.

2

Reduce the first 20mm (¾in) of the remaining timber in diameter to approximately 46mm (1¾in). This is for the centre of the cracker and will hold the pieces together.

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Drill a hole 38mm (1½in) diameter to a depth of 70mm (2¾in). I used three different Forstner bits or sawtooth cutters – the first is 28mm (11/8in), the second 32mm (1¼in) and the third 38mm (1½in). Use a 12mm (1/2in) drill bit to approximately 25mm (1in) short of the full depth. Shape the bottom of the hole by cutting from the centre hole and tapering back towards the inside wall. I used an RS200 with a rounded end cutter.

4

Use a skew chisel to make a reference cut approximately 90mm (31/2in) from the end. Draw pencil lines 10mm (3/8in) either side of this. From the pencil lines, shape the timber towards the centre reference cut to form the gathered area where you will hold the cracker to pull it. Sand the inside using a piece of sandpaper wrapped round a length of dowel. At no time should you put your fingers inside the revolving piece of work.

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4

5

5

Mount the second piece of the main body and drill a 38mm (11/2in) hole to a depth of approximately 50mm (2in) using the same procedure as for piece one. Using a skew chisel,

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Project

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cut a rebate 20mm (3/4in) deep to fit the spigot on piece one. Cut the cove shape as shown in steps 6 and 7. Make the skew chisel reference cut around 70mm (23/4in) along its length. When the two pieces are fitted together, both ends should match.

6

Fit the two pieces together and bring the tailstock up for support. Skim over with a roughing gouge to ensure a parallel cylinder. Starting at 180 grit, sand the piece working through 240, 320 and finishing with 400 grit. Starting around 10mm (3/8in) away from one coved area and finishing 10mm (3/8in) from the other, cut a pattern using the spiral texturing tool with a spiralling cog fitted. For this cracker I made two passes – one with the tool set at number two to the left and another with the tool set at number two to the right. The lathe speed is set at around 500rpm.

7

Using V-cuts, define the patterned area and make reference cuts for parting off. Then apply a coat of melamine and buff to a shine with carnauba wax.

8

Fasten masking tape round the middle joint for extra support while the chucking point is removed and shaped. Cut a spigot 45mm (13/4in) diameter to receive the end piece of

the cracker. Repeat this process for the second section, but this time use a jam chuck to mount.

9

For the two end sections, turn a piece of timber approx 125mm (5in) x 58mm (2¼in) x 58mm (2¼in) into the round and cut a chucking spigot at one end. Mount in the chuck and make several sizing cuts using callipers set to the diameter of the main body of the cracker.

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Using a roughing gouge, reduce ce e the cylinder to these reference ral cuts. Sand the section and cut a spiral ong pattern to match the main body along amine e the whole length. Finish with melamine i and buff to a shine with carnauba wax if pth of you wish. Drill the centre to a depth 115mm (4½in) using the same drilling method as before. Cut a rebate to fit ntre the spigot on the end of the centre 2in) section and part off a 50mm (2in) section. Cut another rebate to fit the second end of the main bodyy and part off a further 50mm (2in). Reverse-mount the pieces in the chuck using the rebate. Take care not to over tighten. Taper the cut edges to give a thinner appearance. I used a spindle gouge with a fingernail profile for this. Sand the pieces carefully before removing them from the lathe.

12 13

Now glue the two end sections on to the main body. The finished crackers filled with festive fun. ■

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Technique

Swiss army knife An introduction to whittling with a penknife

Victorinox Swiss army knife whittling book By Chris Lubkemann ISBN: 978-1-56523-909-8 Price: £8.99 Published by: Fox Chapel Publishing

GETTING STARTED Whether you are new to whittling or an experienced carver, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics – or, if you are in the latter category, to at least review the basics. In the following pages I’ve described a few tips and techniques that I think will make your whittling easier and more enjoyable. We’ll talk about choosing a knife, sharpening it, the basic cuts you’ll make with it, the types of wood you’ll use it on, and the other supplies you’ll need to complete the projects in this book. The most important rule for carving, and one I can’t emphasise enough, is that your knife must be sharp – really sharp, not ‘sort of sharp’. It is definitely safer, easier and more fun to carve with a truly sharp knife. Please take my word on it.

Choosing a knife I have been carving for almost 50 years. I started with an inexpensive pocketknife from the country store and have acquired dozens of different pocketknives since then. But for nearly 20 years my main carving knife has been a Victorinox Tinker Swiss army. (I use the Recruit and Hiker, too.) There are several reasons I really appreciate, use, and recommend Swiss army knives. The models I use have at least two blades: a small blade that is 1–11⁄2in (25–38mm) long and a larger one that is 2–21⁄2in (51mm–61mm) long. I use the small blade for the majority of my carving, but the larger one comes in handy, too. I’ve found the stainless steel to be excellent, the blades sharpen well and hold an edge. These knives are built with a strong handle and tight connections between the handle and blades. And, while the main working parts of my knives are the blades, I constantly use the other features – the awl, screwdrivers, saw (on the Hiker), and, after lunch, the toothpick. Finally, these knives are available in many stores at a reasonable price for such high-quality and extremely useful pocketknives/multi-tools. ➤

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Technique Modifications I doubt that most people will end up carving as much as I have, and many of you will be happy to leave the knife just as it is and merely learn how to keep the blades ‘whittling sharp’. However, if you do find yourself carving a lot, and especially if you want to make really miniature pieces, there are two modifications I make to my knives. Both are simple and practical; one is related to comfort and the other to actual cutting:

1

Remove the key ring. If you’re going to use the small blade a lot, the way you will in carving, the key ring will get in your way. Remove the ring and saw off the little tab that holds it, then file off any sharp edges.

2

Taper the blade’s point. A thinner point is better for carving tight turns. Use a sharpening stone to (gently) taper the top and bottom of the small blade to a thinner point. Then, follow my instructions on pages 38–41 to resharpen and hone the blade.

Left: A new Tinker, fresh from the box. Right: My Tinker, modified for carving. Note the difference in the shapes of the blades

SWISS ARMY KNIVES FOR CARVING

Recruit

Carving features:

Tinker Carving features:

Hiker

Carving features:

3 ⁄2in (89mm) handle Small knife blade Large knife blade Reamer/punch

3 1⁄2in (89mm) handle Small knife blade Large knife blade Reamer/punch Wood saw

Other useful tools:

Other useful tools:

1

Phillips screwdriver, large screwdriver, small screwdriver, bottle opener, tweezers, can opener, wire stripper, plastic toothpick

A note about the smallest knives Some knives, such as those in the Classic series, are terrific for carrying in your pocket or on your key chain, but the 21⁄4in (57mm)-long handle is pretty small for carving. Save these for light duty and use a larger knife for carving.

Sharpening and honing The first and most important rule of carving is that your knife must be sharp. The Victorinox Swiss army knives are among the few pocketknives that I’ve found to be sharp enough right out of the box to do decent carving.

38

Phillips screwdriver, large screwdriver, small screwdriver, bottle opener, tweezers, can opener, wire stripper, plastic toothpick

3 1⁄4in (83mm) handle Small knife blade Large knife blade

Other useful tools:

Large screwdriver, small screwdriver, bottle opener, tweezers, can opener, wire stripper, plastic toothpick

Sharpening tools (left to right): Two doublesided sharpening stones; wet-ordry sandpaper in 320, 400, and 600 grits; block for the sandpaper; and leather strop with stropping compound. One stone is sufficient. I just happen to have two and both snuck into the photo.

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Technique However, as with any good-quality knife, you will need to know how to sharpen and hone the blades in order to do the most precise and detailed carving. There are all kinds of methods and devices for sharpening knives. I will share with you my own very simple sharpening system, but feel free to experiment and find what works best for you. Like any method or system, mine takes a little practice, but it does work, and I’ve been satisfied with it for quite a few years. The price is pretty good, too – practically nothing, after a very small initial investment. If I’m starting out with a totally dull knife, or even a new one that’s not sharp, I use a two-sided sharpening stone to start the process. See step 1, then follow steps 2–4 to hone, polish, and strop the blade so it’s ready to carve. If I’m starting with a blade that only needs a touch of sharpening, I’ll start with the finest grit of wet-or-dry sandpaper (step 3) and finish with a few strops on the leather. Either way, be sure to wash your hands after sharpening and honing your knife. The grey residue on your hands will end up smudging your carving project.

There are more than 100 styles of Victorinox Swiss army knives. All of them have a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

1

With the blade not quite flat, move it across the coarse side of the stone using a circular motion. Then, make a few slicing motions across the stone. Don’t lift or turn the blade as it goes across the stone. Flip the stone to the finer side and repeat.

2

3

4

Go through the grits from coarser (lower numbers) to finer (higher numbers). Even if your pieces of sandpaper are virtually smooth, they’ll still work to polish the edge of the blade. I have used some of my little beat-up sheets for 10 years and they are still working.

Place wet-or-dry sandpaper on top of a block of wood and repeat the sharpening motions you used in step 1. Be sure to turn the blade over to get both sides.

Finally, strop (wipe) the blade on a piece of leather. The rough backside of an old leather belt works fine. Apply a little bit of stropping compound to the strop. With the blade flat against the strop, stroke it away from the edge a few times on each side. Wipe the blade clean and you’re ready to carve.

BASIC CUTTING STROKES There are many ways to cut with a knife. These are the strokes I use the most often. I am demonstrating them for right-handed carvers. Left-handers, of course, will reverse the hands, following a mirror image of the photographs.

Safety I have been carving for many years and rarely, if ever, cut myself, largely because I constantly keep in mind a threeword rule: ‘Air, not meat.’ The knife blade doesn’t know the difference between wood (what you’re carving) and meat (any part of you). So when you hold the wood and cut it, position your hands (and other parts) so the blade hits air on its follow-through, not meat. You won’t believe how much this simple rule helps. Next, make small, controlled cuts. Don’t be too aggressive when you cut into the wood. And finally, keep your knife sharp. A sharp knife is much easier to control because you won’t have to shove or tug it through the wood, and it won’t have the tendency to skid as you’re cutting. Some carving instructors recommend that beginner carvers wear protective gear while they get used to their

While I don’t like to have anything on my hand or fingers while carving, some instructors recommend protective gear, such as these carving gloves, for beginners

knife. They suggest an inexpensive gardening glove and a leather thumb guard (or even a piece of duct tape wrapped around your thumb). I don’t like to have anything on my hand or fingers (and I always remember my three-word rule), but I feel I should pass on these suggestions. ➤

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Technique WOOD

Assorted blanks

Straightaway cutting: This cut is good for removing a lot of wood or bark quickly. Hold the wood in your left hand and, using long, firm strokes, cut away from yourself with your right hand. Lock your right wrist so it doesn’t bend during the cutting stroke. Don’t dig too deeply into the wood on these strokes. You’ll find it easier to make shallower strokes, even if it takes a few more slices to remove the same amount of wood.

Draw cutting: Hold the wood in your left hand and the knife in your right. Cut towards yourself (sort of like peeling an orange) with short strokes, using your right thumb as a brace against the wood. Keep your right thumb braced on your left thumb, not on top of the wood itself. That way you don’t run the risk of the blade cutting into your right thumb when it clears the end of the wood.

Twigs and branches of all sizes are the main raw material I use for carving. They are abundantly available in my area, as well as in most of the world I suspect – and they are usually free. I also enjoy carving bits of wood when I’m on vacation or teaching a class in a new area. I’ve had the fun of whittling wood in many countries of Europe and all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, and have even worked on some great wood in Japan and the Philippines. I definitely don’t mean to imply that only branches will work for these projects. If you don’t have immediate access to any good branches but do have a supply of straight-grained milled wood scraps, go ahead and experiment with what you have. I have also carved dowels, chopsticks, tongue depressors, craft sticks, and even toothpicks.

Characteristics of good branches

Thumb pushing: This particular stroke is practical for small cuts where you need precise control and don’t want to overcut. Hold the wood in the four fingers of your left hand, leaving your left thumb free. Grip the knife in your right hand, keeping your right thumb against the back of the blade. With your left thumb, push either the back of the blade or the back of your right thumb.

Wash your branches

V-notch: A combination of strokes, the V-notch is an extremely common and useful cut. Hold the knife at an angle towards the centre of the cut and thumb push into the wood. Turn either the knife or the project and make a second cut that meets the first in the bottom of the V – the chip should pop right out. Make a series of connected V-notches to cut a groove.

I’m guessing that I have carved more than 80 varieties of wood, the majority of them hardwoods. Some of my favourites include birch (any kind), maple, cherry, holly, beech, certain oaks, citrus wood, myrtle, olive, zambujeiro and lentisco (Portugal), alnos (Philippines) and guava. Because most of the branches I carve are relatively small and on the greenish side, the hardness of the wood hasn’t been a problem. More important than the variety are the characteristics of the branch in your hand. Even if you don’t have the slightest idea of what species the wood is, see if it passes the following four tests. Straight grain: Most of the projects in this book call for straight-grained wood without a bunch of knots. If you find a curved branch, no problem; carve a beautiful letter opener with a curved blade.

If your branches are covered in soot, dust, mould, fungus, or dirt, just wash the bark. I use a rag, brush or scrubber, and a bucket of water. No sense getting the outside dirt on the clean inside wood as you carve.

40

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Technique Small pith: The spongy part in the centRE of a branch should be small, as shown above left. For instance, a 1⁄2in (13mm)-diameter branch should have a pith that is 1⁄16in (2mm) in diameter or smaller. A large pith (far right) will crumble when carved. No sticky sap: This is one reason I avoid fresh pine. If I carved it, I’d be spending a lot of time cleaning sap off of my knife and hands. However, I often use kiln-dried, milled pine to make letter openers and plaques. Fairly fresh: Because I work mainly with hardwoods, I prefer to carve wood that has some moisture in it. Some wood, such as beech, oak, and some fruitwoods, are very hard and need to be worked while they’re still quite fresh. Others, including most birches, carve nicely when they’ve dried a bit.

Small pith

Large pith

To keep twigs and branches from drying out too much, especially during the warmest months of the year, I cut them up and store them in plastic bags in the freezer. They can last for years that way. When a branch has become too hard or dry, you can soak it in water for a day or two, but then you have to let it partially re-dry before you

can carve it. Often, it’s easier to look for a new branch. Note: You can cut wood at any time of the year. Even winter is great because it’s easy to spot the best-shaped branches, and most woodland critters, such as snakes and ticks, are tucked away sleeping… or whatever they do.

OTHER TOOLS AND SUPPLIES Besides a good knife, there are a number of other tools and supplies you’ll need to finish the projects in this book. Many of them you probably already have. I’ll cover some of the tools I use, but feel free to customise the list based on your preferences. Pencil and permanent markers: You will need a pencil for occasional drawing and marking. You can use permanent markers of various colours for colouring some of the small woodburned designs you’ll make. Sandpaper: Choose a number of different grits in the fine to very fine range. For sharpening and honing, I use automotive wet-or-dry sandpaper, which comes in much finer grits than regular sandpaper does. A large, dark cloth: This could be an old tablecloth, a piece of fabric, or an old bath towel. Although we photographed the projects in this book against a white background, out in the real world it’s much easier to see what you’re doing against a dark background. Most wood is light coloured inside, so it’s much easier to see the details of the carving if I hold my projects against a dark-coloured background. Plus, it’s easier to clean your chips if you catch them in a towel. (I think my wife has swept up my chips only three or so times in 48 years –

probably one of the reasons we get along so well and have lasted so long.) Any good wood glue: Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. I like to seal some projects, especially those with curls (flowers, trees, fancy feathers, etc.), with CA glue, such as Super Glue. The glue penetrates the wood to seal and harden the thin curls. It also allows me to use water-based paints on parts that would otherwise uncurl, such as flower petals. Woodburner: This tool is one of my favourites for personalising projects with names, dates, and designs. I use it constantly. If you’re just getting started, a woodburner from the craft store will work fine, although it’s worth paying a little more to get the kind with adjustable heat. If you find yourself doing a lot of woodburning, consider investing in a better-quality machine that gets hotter – they are easier to use. I’ve found I can do pretty much everything I want with a writing tip. Oil or acrylic paints and paintbrushes: Oil paints won’t uncurl petals on projects like flowers. Acrylics work well on curls if used in conjunction with CA glue, and they are much easier to clean up than oil paints. I use brushes ranging in size from #00 to #2.

Good-quality paintbrushes last longer and do a better job than cheap ones, and they won’t shed bristles on to your project. Clear finish: Most projects don’t call for any finish, but polyurethane or a clear acrylic spray are good choices when you want to protect a piece. Note: Especially in humid conditions, never apply a water-based product (polyurethane or acrylic) to a rooster tail or other fine curl – it will uncurl before your eyes. Either use an oilbased product or wait until you’re in dry conditions and lightly spray on the clear acrylic. Handsaw: It’s absolutely amazing what the saw blade on the Swiss army Hiker will cut. I once used it to cut the entire length of an 8ft sheet of masonite. However, if you’re cutting a thick board or branch, you’ll find a small handsaw useful. I also enjoy the Japanese pull saw, which is particularly useful for making the little slices for checkers, magnets, knitting needles, etc. ■

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26939LH

10/25/17 11:23 AM


IMAGES COURTESY OF MOPO UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Community

MOPO

Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière Roughly translated the title of this feature means ‘House of Tools and Worker Thought’ – we pay a visit to this house of wonder…

S

ituated in the commune of Troyes, capital of the department of Aube in north central France, MOPO is the most remarkable collection of traditional hand tools and repository of documents relating to crafts that you could ever wish to encounter. It has a fascinating history, and a visit by RER train or by car can only bring it more alive when you inspect this large and diverse collection at first hand.

The founder Paul Feller was a priest born in 1913 who started to collect books and tools in every corner of France. He wanted apprentices learning a trade to become interested in knowing the history of trades and increase their own working knowledge. At the end of his life, he left his collection to the Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France (Companions of Duty and Tour de France) in order to show it in this museum. The Compagnons du Devoir is a French organisation of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages. Their traditional and technical education includes taking a tour around France and doing apprenticeships with masters. They provide a traditional way to learn a trade while developing character by experiencing community life and travelling. The museum opened in 1974, and the Compagnons du Devoir still manage it today.

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The ‘compagnon’ The ‘Compagnons’, or ‘Compagnons du Devoir’, or the ‘Compagnons du Tour de France’ are words referring to the artisans who were, or are, part of the movement regardless of which actual movement. The word ‘Compagnonnage’ refers to the concept of what it means to be a Compagnon – learning a trade, travelling, and handing skills over to the youth. They were mostly organised in corporations during history. Several attempts to gather everyone in a single organisation resulted in the three major movements still active today which are as follows: Union Compagnonnique des Compagnon du Tour de France des Devoirs Unis, created in 1889. Fédération Compagnonnique des Métiers du Bâtiment, created in 1952. Association Ouvrière des Compagnon du Devoir du Tour de France, created in 1941 by Jean Bernard. These three organisations do more or less the same things, they are just organised differently and differ mostly on political matters. The last one mentioned is the biggest, at least the most famous and commonly known. It can be called the Compagnons du Devoir as a diminutive. It is this which manages the museum and owns the collections of tools and books on display. It also designates a compagnon as director

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Cobblers dividers

Community

The Masterpiece of the Joiners – today

Compagnon celebraধon 1911 – carrying the Masterpiece of the Joiners (centre) IMAGE COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

The old town area of Troyes

European Museums night

of the museum. It presides over our association and gives it a grant (along with the City Council of Troyes and the French Department of the Aube where Troyes is located). The beginning of the museum was an understanding between the City of Troyes, Paul Feller, the priest who began the collection, and Jean Bernard, first president of the Compagnons du Devoir. Paul decided to give his collection to the Compagnons du Devoir because he shared a lot of moral aims with them. He asked them to show tools in a museum for people to see and, of course, continue to increase the collection. The Compagnons du Devoir had money to do so, unlike Paul Feller who was a priest and had taken a vow of poverty. Meanwhile, Jean Bernard met with the City of Troyes. In 1969 the city bought the Hôtel Mauroy, which is the Renaissance building hosting the museum, but didn’t know what to do with it. It decided to loan it to the Compagnons du Devoir in order to renovate it and transform it into the museum, which it remains today. The museum is constantly in touch with the Compagnons

du Devoir because they help with practical demonstrations in the museum. From time to time, it organises activities where people can discover one or more trades, with demonstrations performed by the Compagnons du Devoir. The last one was during the Nuit Européennes des Musées (European Museums’ night) when four coopers showed their skills the traditional way without any machines. It was beautiful to see because they were inside the enclosed yard all evening, in the shining light created by the fire pits used for making barrels. What is uncanny is that Troyes was historically a really big place for Compagnons. The first known written vestige of their existence dates from 1419, written by King Charles VI about the Compagnons cobblers of the city of Troyes. Today, Compagnons are still travelling all around France staying in what they call ‘Compagnons houses’. They provide the training and the plan of the journey for every student during their apprenticeship. Students are employed and paid according to their titles and skills. But what we called ‘Compagnonnage’ is not only learning a trade, every stage ➤

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Community

The file and the rasp

The saddler

of the Tour de France is an opportunity to improve their mind and their humanity – thanks to rituals and community life. A Compagnon should, alongside their professional skills, be dignified, capable and cultivate a spirit of giving and generosity.

The museum building

The mason The boilermaker

The museum is housed in one of Troyes’ most beautiful buildings, the Hôtel Mauroy. Destroyed by a fire in 1524, the building was rebuilt in 1556 by Jean Mauroy, a rich merchant of the city. He undertook important transformation works and turned it into the Hopital et Collège de la Trinité, a hospital and college for orphans based on the model of the Enfants de la Trinité in Paris, in order to teach them a trade. That is why the street is still called Rue de la Trinité today. The city of Troyes bought the building back in 1969. The hôtel Mauroy is an architectural jewel in Troyes’ historical heritage, at the heart of a fully restored city centre, with which it shares many architectural similarities. A place of wonder for those who walk through its doors, the hôtel Mauroy hosts many exhibitions and cultural activities linked to the MOPO.

The collection This is probably the biggest collection of European handmade tools in the world. More than being just a beautiful object, a tool carries a man’s life story, a story of craftsmanship and culture. It is essential for the observer, the collector or the visitor at the MOPO to reflect on the person who was behind that tool, even before asking about the tool’s purpose. The MOPO, by highlighting craftsmen and craftswomen, also highlights their knowledge, expertise and life skills. The museum’s purpose is not to be a guardian of those tools, but to use the past to understand the present and the future. It allows the visitor to understand that craftsmen

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Compasses

Community

The bookbinder

The hôtel Mauroy, which houses the museum

and craftswomen aren’t just people using their hands – every action they make, every gesture, every piece of work is the result of an intellectual deed and a rich sensitivity.

The technical library With close to 32,000 old and contemporary books, the MOPO hosts France’s second largest technical library. Mainly made up of technical books covering a variety of themes – tools, the history of trades, techniques, fine art, worker and farmer writers – the library holds very rare ancient books as well, such as the 35 volumes of the first edition of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie (17511780), the second edition of Vitruvius’ De Architectura (all 10 books), dating back to 1572, considering the first complete treatise of antiquity. A contemporary collection, numerous current magazines as well as specialised software constitute a learning centre for professionals and the curious alike. Studying the contemporary collection is free and open to anyone wishing to access it, but cannot be lent out. There is also a youth department and gift shop which sells a six-volume series, Becoming a Companion, that covers 20 trade professions under the auspice of the Compagnons du Devoir.

Open to all

The locksmith

The wheelwright

Not only is the Maison a museum and reference library, it also hosts conference, seminars, cultural events with spaces available to hire.

Find out more There is a beautifully crafted YouTube video we recommend you to watch: simply key in mopo, troyes. Plan you own visit to MOPO: Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière, 7, rue de la Trinité, 10000, Troyes, France. Visit www.mopo3.com for prices, admission times, disabled access and transport links. ■

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Project IMAGE COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Projects of

Christmas past The Editor, a.k.a Mr Scrooge, decides to turn the past into the present

Ashen-faced Scrooge marked out his cheapskate ash chequers board in squares, using a well-thumbed quill pen (er, Sharpie) and then painted black dye on the alternate squares and applied a very light varnish of truth – a shame he has only himself with whom to play…

50

Our friend Ebenezer had once-happy memories of childhood when he turned to this ancient and solitary game of cup and ball. Remembering, no doubt, when the ball once hit him in the eye – perhaps that is when the bitterness set in?

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Project

PICTURE FRAME AND SCROLL IMAGES COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Scrooge used his wretched fingers to create this delightful Masur birch pendant, working on his footpowered lathe, then reapplying it in offset manner, using sealing wax (hot-melt glue) in order to make the hole.

The charming Isabel seldom receives a visit from her mean-hearted uncle Scrooge, which is just as well because she is clearly having much fun in the snow on her lightweight sledge with its laminated birch runners.

Be not fooled – this Christmas star is but ‘fool’s gold’. Our financially acquisitive fellow would hardly lavish the real thing on something as lifeless as a Christmas tree, using common gilt paint and packing board instead.

PHOTOGRAPH BY FRED & JULIE BYRNE

The attraction of this tealight holder is to make it from scraps of wood, perfect for illuminating the desks of Scrooge and Bob Cratchit – Jacob Marley’s desk, of course, remains unlit, pending his ghostly return… but do remember to fit metal liners lest your premises burn down. ➤

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Project

A fiendishly fiery phenomenon for anyone with a burning desire to create their own very personal gift tags, but you can be forgiven for leaving one irascible individual off your Christmas list.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SIMON EASTON

Glass baubles are worth a princely sum so the meanest man in the City of London, with ill nature, fashioned decorations with a treadle fretsaw for the Christmas tree now sitting in the bay window of the office of Scrooge & Marley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK ARNULL

Att h A his is llathe is a once more, E Eb ben enez e e has perfected the Ebenezer a ar r t off tturning u art a fruit tazza, made ma ade de iin n three economical pparts, pa part artts, s, iinto n which no doubt w wi willllll bbee pplaced a solitary ppe ea arr oorr a pear apple, his one cco oonc ncces n esssiio to the festive concession sse eas asoon n. T season. That and lighting tthe th he of fffiice c fire of course... office

PHOTOGRAPH BY SUE HARKER

Harking back to childhood once more, Scrooge espies happy ruddy-faced children in the street outside making a snowman with lumps of coal for eyes. Not to be outdone he has fashioned his own as a money box in which to salt away his savings. Hard to believe that Mr Mean was once very much in love, but it turned as sour as his curled-up lip. However this spalted birch bangle, which he fashioned on his lathe at dead of night, would sit daintily on any lady’s wrist.

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Project The Christian basis for our winter celebrations is not to be denied, but do we need all the excess of present giving, fancy crackers, fine sherry and much laughter on Boxing Day? Mr Scrooge thinks not.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRED & JULIE BYRNE

Much festive cheer is to be had from such natural, turned Christmas tree hangings, but of course, if you can run to the expense, you may apply such fripperies as paint and glitter to your ne ew wlly ly fa ffashioned sh hio ione ned ba bbauble. au ubble le. e. newly

PHOTOGRAPH BY FRED & JULIE BYRNE

What Wh W hatt a are re tthese re hese hese he se gghastly hastly hast ha stly st ly iin ncca nca arn r na attio tiioon nss ooff snow ssnow, sn now ow, ow, incarnations made made ma de m an n? IItt iiss a man? perfect waste of both food and fuel that would keep the poor alive instead of bellyaching as much as they do.

AD Di Dickensian ick ken ensi sian ia an n Christmas would not be complete without snowfall and what better way to remind ourselves of Christmases past than with a simple snowflake, unique among the many millions that will surely fall‌

If you would care to make um ayy any of these trinkets, you may att tthe a hee h get in touch in order that oou u iin n article may be sent to you veen n electronic form for not even the cost of a penny. p.ccoom m anthonyb@thegmcgroup.com musstt mu And finally I suppose I must ry wish you all a very merry bbu ugg!! Christmas - Bah, humbug!

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Technique

54

V‘THE REST’

ROUTER

Is it better fast and furious or should you take it slow and steady? There’s only one way to find out...

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Technique

THE ROUTER

A friend to some but a villain to others, the router can inspire admiration for its speed and versatility or hated for the dust and noise. Let’s stack up a few features and failings just to get it clear in our minds –

For

Against

• A quick way to get the job done – nothing else matches it for speed • Many different cutters, more than you will ever need • Very versatile – what can’t it do? (Make the tea – Ed) • Perfect skill not required, just use a straight fence or jigs • Can be small and light or big, a bit like a spindle moulder • The best thing since sliced bread (I think you’ll find it pre-dates the sliced Chorleywood loaf – Ed, again)

• Noisy, especially when it starts machining • Dust-producing, it appears from everywhere • Unnerving if you aren’t used to all that ‘va va voom’ • A bit of a palaver to get set up and ready to cut • Trailing cable and extraction hose to trip over • Can go wrong on you rather quickly – damaged wood

Rebuttal OK, OK – some fair and some unfair points, for and against. Let’s go through them and contrast and compare with other methods shall we? Let’s start with the ‘fors’.

‘Fors’

SPEED Routers are quick but with provisos if you compare with alternatives, starting with the moulding plane. Very much a creature of the 19th century, there are still quite a few for sale in flea markets and they make great ornaments or you can glue several together to make bookends. Unfortunately each profile is unique and you need an expansive set to have a reasonably useful selection. They are devilishly hard to get just the right amount of cutter projection and trying to make nice even moulding shapes is really hard work – those craftsmen of

Great in their day, but just museum pieces now, which is a shame

the past were good, very good indeed. So for speed, the router wins. CUTTERS The router, large or small, can tackle joints, mouldings or both in a combination set and drilling too. The only things limiting you are the capacity of a particular machine and your wallet. Look at any cutter catalogue and dream. But don’t forget, making the right cutter choice can allow you to do multiple passes using more than one cutter to get the right effect. The only machine that can best a router for bigger work is the industrial spindle moulder. There are other ways to joint, such as the biscuit jointer, but that is more money unless you are really keen. VERSATILITY There are, of course, many types of hand tool and power tool but the router embodies a far

All kinds of everything – there are thousands of cutters to choose from

Only a router can do this simple but consistently precise operation

greater percentage of machining potential than any other piece of kit. A portable saw, a cordless drill, a jigsaw all have their place but having cut or shaped your work you still need to mould it or fit it together and that is exactly what a router can do. If you need to make a line of holes for discreet shelf supports, with a jig the router can do that too. JIGS AND TEMPLATES It is true that using a router is less like being a craftsman and more like being an operator. However, you still need to devise solutions to problems and make ➤

You can get as jiggy as you want with a router, creating unique devices

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Technique jigs and templates and use guidebushes and the like. Half the fun can be devising making such jigs. So you still need to aim to be as good as possible but you don’t need the same level of hand skill compared to old-fashioned hand methods. A MINI SPINDLE MOULDER The router is the only machine that comes close to the capability of a spindle moulder and yet still remains portable and easily manoeuvrable. Indeed, it was first developed as a more responsive machine that could be taken to the work rather than the other way about. The largest cutters are bordering on the size of small spindle tooling and, used correctly, can substitute for its big brother, making up doors, panels, skirting and the like. THE BEST THING SINCE Apart from being a fallacious statement, after a bout of routing you should have more time and feel less exhausted than working by hand methods. You will welcome the break so you can indeed sit and have your tea and sandwiches, hopefully made of a more wholesome loaf than the aforementioned cheap supermarket staple.

‘Againsts’

NOISY Yes, and it gets worse under load so you should, of course, wear adequate PPE to protect your ears, eyes

A router can do quite a lot without resorting to a big spindle moulder

and lungs. It can be easy and cheap to overlook in the short term but ‘latency’ – the gradual development of effects such as tinnitus and lung conditions – can take years to become apparent. There are some jobs where hand work is desirable and effective, of course. There is real skill in cutting dovetails and a joy when you get it right. Hand planing needs few resources – just a good, sharp, well-adjusted blade and good hand-eye coordination. Again, a skill worth learning if you don’t already have it. But these techniques are slow, except that they do not require the extra time needed for making jigs and doing test cuts. DUST Routing creates chippings large and small and used on materials such as MDF it will produce dust. The rule with machining is ‘extract at source’, so the first thing is to make sure you use an extraction spout whenever possible linked to a HPLV (High Pressure Low Volume) extractor, preferably with auto switching for convenience. A router table has the advantage not only of control using the fence but also consistent extraction through the fence opening. It can be a useful addition having an ambient air filter hanging from the ceiling. This helps to remove fine floating dust particles in the workshop atmosphere.

Ear defence is often overlooked but hearing loss or tinnitus can be for life

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UNNERVING If you aren’t used to the sound and background vibration of a high-speed motor and more particularly when it is under load, then yes, it is a bit scary to get used to. It is better to start routing using a small machine with small cutters and work up to a bigger machine later on if you

Workshop teabreak deserves wholesome refreshment, not the ersatz kind

Extraction should be used as standard and wear a dustmask as well

need it. Make sure cutters are always properly installed in the collet, with at least 19mm of cutter shank inserted as this will help reduce vibration. Do take multiple passes to depth, each pass should be no more than the shank diameter and, in the case of large cutters, less as you are attempting to remove quite large sections of wood. A PALAVER A lovely word. There is a certain amount of setting up, doing test cuts, changing cutters making jigs etc. Half the fun perhaps? It certainly beats

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the old-fashioned ways hands down so maybe the extra effort isn’t such a bad thing. An important point is that the wood you are machining should be properly prepared – some of the trials and tribulations come from trying to match components that aren’t the same size or thickness when they should be.

DAMAGED WORK Power woodworking has the capacity to screw things up very quickly and none more so than the router. Make sure cutters are tight but not over-tight in the collet, don’t take deep passes and

To help avoid vibration, make sure the cutter shank is far enough in the collet

Test cuts can’t be avoided so you always need some extra test work pieces PHOTOGRAPH BY RON FOX/SAM MCCARTHY FOX

UMBILICUS Trailing cables and hoses are a real nuisance and a hazard. Make sure you have convenient socket outlets near where you are working. In a workshop it is worth paying to get an electrician to fit a ring circuit using industrial metal-clad sockets and ducting so it can’t get damaged and the supply is always nearby. For some jobs you can use a bungee or lashing rope to suspend the offending item out of the way above you – very handy if you are trying to machine circles in wood.

use a decent means of control such as a guidebush and jig. If you use a straight fence, pull the router towards you or it will wander. Always try to cut into waste areas so any mistake will be where it doesn’t matter.

Summing Up Hand tools need time and dedication to learn the skills you need. They are skills worth learning. However, the router does much more than any other hand or power tool can so why not master ‘the beast’? ■

Pull don’t push, so the router stays on course if you a using a straight fence

Hitch flex and hose out of the way to make routing operations easier

It must be nearly Christmas! – these are made on a homemade router lathe

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY LUCY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Willow workshop Lucy Bailey gets her hands on our truly versatile native willow Reconnecting with nature

TIS JAMES

CUR PHOTOGRAPH BY

Ruby foraging plant fibres

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The completed willow bark contain

ers

work rke ed at the ed th he time ttiime me and and n fformer orme orme or er worked home of the bohemian and artistic Bloomsbury Group, to lead the same workshop as part of the expanding ‘community programme’.

Mixed up media Ruby, an artist and maker, works predominantly with plant fibres and clay, exploring origin, connection and the process of making. Ruby’s work uses foraged materials to create vessel forms, drawing inspiration from archaeological and historical evidence, while remaining simple and beautiful. I am always cautious of the use of the word ‘authentic’ in relation to craft, but Ruby’s work epitomises it in its simplicity and practicality while also being incredibly beautiful. Whenever I see Ruby’s work, I want to handle and touch it.

Forest Row Following the Wild Pottery course, I decided to book a place on Ruby’s W Willow Bark Containers course at One the Square in Forest Row, East Sussex, a deceptively large artisan café and shop selling individual makers’ wares, alongside creative work spaces, from where Magda, the owner, teaches classes on woodblock-printed fabric and hand-painted furniture. It was an inspiring venue and contrasting to my previous experience of Ruby’s workshops in sheltered woodland beside a roaring fire.

T he wo w rk ksh shop op p sspanned pan nn ned ttwo wo The workshop evenings and took place in the café situated at the front of the shop, around a large table. The class was small, only six, allowing for individual teaching and the opportunity to connect as a group. Beside us was a display of Ruby’s own hand-crafted baskets and containers. PHOTOGRAPH BY RUBY TAYLOR

I have always been interested in the use of natural, foraged materials, so easily accessible to us and yet near oblivious to the modern-day human with our busy, interconnected lives filled with technology. I, like many others, have begun a quiet rebellion against this pace of life and am looking to reconnect in some way with nature. I first encountered Native Hands and founder Ruby Taylor when I decided to attend her Wild Pottery course in June last year. The course took place in a sheltered woodland in East Sussex, where we spent two days outside, come rain or shine, digging clay straight from the ground and transforming this unprocessed material into a beautiful, decorative object, fired in an open bonfire and speckled with smoke marks from the firing. During the weekend I was drawn to Ruby’s ability to create not just a ‘back to basics’ experience, but by the slowing of time and genuine appreciation of natural materials, process and space. Following the workshop, I invited Ruby to come to Charleston, the museum where I

A woven basket

A display of Ruby’s work

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Community

Skinning the bark from the branches

The cut and folded bark

Showing the fold on the boħom

Clamping in a round shape

Demonstraধng the lacing

An even more rusধc example

The making process The final outcome from the two sessions was to be a small container, made of willow bark. The bark would form both the main container and the cord which holds it together. The willow we were using had been freshly harvested by Ruby and was thicker than any willow I have worked with before. The bark was still green. Our first task was to use a knife to gently cut and remove the bark in a large rectangle shape without it cracking, although I will confess that I loved the aesthetic of the mistakenly broken bark as it began to curl. For this first attempt, the size was determined by the size of the bark we managed to remove intact, which proved easier than I was expecting, with the use of additional sprays of water when the bark began to dry. We used a small wooden tool with a chiselled 45° edge to gently push the bark away from the branch. We then scored our chosen shape of the base into the centre of the bark before gently folding the sides to create a concave base. Using an electric drill, I created the holes down the two sides of the containers ready to weave them together in place. Using some of the spare bark we cut it into 0.5cm strips which could be woven from one side to the other,

as if lacing a shoe. We then inserted a piece of bark at the top of the container for additional support around the rim, and chose how to weave the top in place. I n settled upon a simple design of two lines of willow, creating a running stitch around the rim, rather than anything more elaborate. Once finished the container was still green, but since completing the workshop, I think mine has grown more beautiful with age as urll ur the bark begins to darken, curl and crack.

Finished and dry. The laces need re-ধghtening

Tea and courses Herbal tea and cake were distributed throughout the evening, and the appearance of the resident One the Square kitten in one of the containerss made the experience. Native Hands offers a range of courses, from Wild Pottery to Rush Baskets and Willow Bark Containers. For further information visit: www.nativehands.co.uk One the Square is a café, shop and offers a range of creative workshops. Visit www.onethesquare.co.uk or call 01342 826465 or email info@onethesquare.co.uk

One the Square café and shop

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Technique

NEW SERIE S

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Tricks of the trade

A chisel-tipped carpenter’s pencil will last a lot longer and therefore give precise lines for a longer time

If you need to make yyour mark, always make it good m Blurred lines

A standard pencil point won’t last long when used on wood and it becomes less precise as it blunts

The absolute key to precise woodworking is marking out. If you don’t get that right don’t expect the rest of the process to follow smoothly. There is a place for pencil but make sure, whether you are using an ordinary pencil or carpenter’s pencil with its rectangular cross section, that you sharpen to a ‘chisel tip’. This gives a much finer, more long-lasting line. The grade of pencil is important. A soft pencil B, or blue for a carpenter’s pencil, is fine for rough-marking of boards, including indicating defects, because they won’t dent the wood. HB or red are general purpose for things like face and edge marks or basic carpentry. Green or H or 2H are meant for precise lines that will scratch the surface of the wood and won’t remove without sanding so they need to be correct and are best suited to cabinetwork, especially making out joints. In fact, if you do need to erase pencil marks from wood, a piece of medium grit abrasive is the only way to do it and clean off all the smudges as well. For really exact joint work you need to use a sharp marking knife, but even here a pencil can help by running the point along each knife line to highlight it and then do pencil ‘hatch’ marks across each waste area so you cut away the correct piece. To give a pencil a sharp, chisel-edge tip, sharpen two opposing sides so it becomes more chisel shaped then run those faces on a piece of fine abrasive paper to bring the graphite to a nice crisp edge. ■

Precise cabinetwork really needs a decent marking knife with a sharp edge for a thin line

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Project

PLANS

4YOU

Snowflake shelves Simon Rodway is one e in a million, just like ke every little snowflake k

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s an image for the magic ic o of mas, a winter and even Christmas, e the crystal structure of the d snowflake with its beautiful and o unique pattern is pretty hard to as beat. In fact, recent research has revealed that snowflakes fall into one of 35 basic shapes, so not quite so unique after all, although you might have to examine millions to find an exact match. However, this e really does not detract from the wonder of these hexagonal or six-sided miracles.

35 basic varieties Turning the delicate outline off the h isnowflake into something semiu practical like shelves does rule out course, o s quite a lot of those 35 types of course mss with t and this pattern of six main arms ar branches near the ends and a star bably b tthe shape nearer the centre is probably e best option and gives you the greatest al number of workable horizontal urfaces f e surfaces. The non-horizontal surfaces rations i s are great for just tucking decorations o o of or presents into, and there are lots ll T The h places to hang things from as well. timber I have used, which is 18mm by 94mm, should be readily available locally, and from somewhere like Wickes the total cost of three 2.4metre lengths is around ÂŁ15, not including glue and nails or screws. The construction is very simple as long as you have a mitre saw to cut the 30 degree angles needed on the ends of lots of the components. The main horizontal shelf is the primary support for the whole thing, and the four branches are centred on this, so that the lines carry through from bottom to top and the snowflake is truly

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symmetrical. To do this a small amount of precise setting out is required; firstly draw a centre line across the main shelf vertically, and then from the centre of this line draw four more lines at 30 degrees up and down to intersect the top and bottom edges of the shelf. One of these intersections is shown in the diagram, as Point A. Measure from point A to the end of the horizontal shelf (B in the diagram). This will give you the length of the shorter side of each angled branch( A-C in the diagram). Then just measure this length along each branch and draw and

cut a 30 degree angle from that point. Place each of the branches on their intersections (Point A or equivalent) in turn and mark off the ends by extending the centre line of the main shelf. Trim each end. The angles on the snowflake will make proper fixings between the components tricky. Obviously everything will be glued, and if you have a nail gun you could nail the joints together as well. I find nailing these kind of things with an old fashioned hammer tends to break things apart as much as join them

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

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01/11/2017 11:14


Community

Festive library

Books are always a welcome gift if they are well chosen. So we have put together a goodly selection of arts and crafts books which we think would make excellent presents Foundations of Drawing – A practical guide to art history, tools, techniques and styles

By Al Gury

Drawing is sometimes thought of as an incomplete or unfinished art form, but Al Gury goes to great lengths to show us how complicated and diverse it really can be. Starting with the history of drawing down the ages, he explains about the various different drawing media, such as pastel, crayon, cil, charcoal, pencil, marker, digital, etc. and the typess of ion paper. Perspective and composition techniques and aesthetics, life drawing, still life and drawing from photographs, with plenty off fine examples of various artists’ work make this a worthy and inspiring book. ISBN: 978-0-307-98718-1 £21.99 Watson-Guptill Publications

Pyrography Workshop – A complete guide to the art of woodburning By Sue Walters

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

This tome certainly lives up to its name. It is complete, covering everything you need to know – equipment, work area and safety, preparing wood and transferring designs, different types of pyrography, nib choice and maintenance, an amazing texturing chart, fantastic designs, how to achieve detail, patterns, troubleshooting and a gallery of wonderful pyrography work. A very inspiring book for the beginner or more advanced pyrographer.

Perspective In Action – Creating

exercises for depicting spatial representation from the Renaissance to the Digital Age By David Chelsea

The qualifying cover text just about says it all. Everything you ever needed to know about perspective but were too afraid to ask. It is much more than just perspective, though. It uses a clear, fun, comic book style throughout that makes it visually very enjoyable to read. Starting with the basics, the author then explains how perspective in art was first understood in Roman times and became more sophisticated over the centuries. Chapter topics include: anamorphosis, cabinets of wonder, six-point perspective, stereo perspective and motion perspective. Geometry figures large, as you might expect with such sophisticated concepts. A fun but very instructive book for the budding artist. ISBN: 978-1-60774-946-2 £18.99 Watson-Guptill Publications

ISBN: 978-1-56523-258-7 £14.99 Fox Chapel Publishing

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www.woodworkersinstitute.com

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Community Ultimate Woodwork Bible – A complete reference

Snitte – The Danish art of whittling – Beautiful wooden birds to make By Frank Egholm

with step-by-step techniques

By Phil Davy and Ben Plewes

I think it is fair to say this is a book for the serious beginner. It contains everything you could possibly wish to know in order to get started. An advanced woodworker would find it perhaps less useful, although it has a lot of information within its pages. The style is for big chapter-opening photographs and then lots of very clear, precise drawings to illustrate each sequence. It talks about setting up a workshop, how to buy tools (this can be a minefield) machines, wood and other materials, project design, construction methods, adhesives and assembly, shaping and bending, surface preparation and finishing and, finally, hardware. I’m always dubious about using superlatives to describe anything, including books. tle word is ‘beginners’ beginners Perhaps the missing title bible for which it doess extremely well, explaining the quirky world of woodworking. An excellent book for the aspirant ‘woody’.

This compact hardback book is an absolutely charming introduction to ‘snitte’ Danish whittling with a folk art charm about it. The sort of ‘faceted effect’ carved birds are remarkably convincing, helped by some simple but skilful paint work which completes the effect. There is a chapter showing various carving techniques and how to work safely. All you need is a good sharp carving knife, a safety glove and a shaped block of any suitable softish wood such as lime, poplar or alder. The author uses a bandsaw to cut out the blocks but after that it is very much down to knife work to achieve the result. The finished birds can be displayed in different ways, on prepared branches, on a carefully shaped nest, in a birdhouse or even a pop-up toy, lots of fun ideas and all shown in a postcard style layout. ISBN: 978-1-84994-440-3 £9.99 Batsford

50 Things to Do with a Penknife By Matt Collins

The title suggests an invitation to misbehave for which objective no.12, Slingshot, would seem to admirably fulfil. It is, in fact, 50 different simple projects carved with a penknife. I won’t write them all down – it would take too long – but they are grouped in chapters entitled Quick Things, Into The Woods, Around The House, Cork Creations, Ornamental Carving Kitchen Carving and The Natural World. It starts with sharpening a pencil – properly, something that escapes me, or you could make a willow whistle, a hairpin, a cork stamp, a spinning top, an apple candle or tap a birch ttree to extract the sweet syrupy sap. At the beginning of the book it tells what you need and how to use it, so it is a very complete knifer’s ha handbook. IISBN: 978-1-911216-86-5 £9.99 Pavilion Books

By Ben Law

This is the softback version of the best-selling book on green woodworking with a foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of TV’s River Cottage fame. With plenty of photographs and drawings throughout and printed on a matt paper often favoured by green and eco-based books, Ben takes us on a rapid journey through a whole variety of woodland crafts and activities. A directory of homegrown trees describes them in detail and he discusses woodland management and resources. From then we can study crafts for home and garden, wood fuel, crafts for building, domestic crafts and tools and devices for carrying out woodland crafts. There is a fascinating amount of good content that unfortunately leaves you wanting more, but I suspect the only answer is to get d out there and en live the ‘green life’ just as Ben Law hass for more than 25 years in Prickly Nut Wood!

BACKGROUND IMAGE COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

ISBN: 978-1-91116343-5 £14.99 Collins & Brown

Woodland Craft

ISBN: 978-1-7849478494396-7 £16.99 GMC Books

All books are available from: GMC Publications www.thegmcgroup.com 01273 488005 A PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

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Project PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL T COLLINS

Puzzle table Once you’ve read this article it should all fall neatly into place…

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everal weeks ago, a friend of mine, knowing my obsession with all things wood, said: ‘I have a puzzle table I think you’d like.’ As a child growing up we were constantly doing jigsaw puzzles and it generally involved taking over the kitchen table for several days and having to eat in the living room. So, I was expecting a table that could in some way be used to hold a puzzle or even store a puzzle. ‘Are you interested in seeing it?’ she asked. ‘Yes, why not?’ Several days later I was presented with a wine box containing pieces of very old, well-loved pine wood. Once the pieces were unpacked it was clear to see that these were five parts of a

table – the puzzle was in putting it together. I just had to make one. In this short article I am going to diverge from my usual in-depth project and simply give you some clues and diagrams to create your very own puzzle table. I only had the table for a couple of days so I quickly made a template using 6mm MDF. I used two pieces of construction lumber 304mm x 32mm x 2438mm Some of the curious aspects of the design were the semi-circle ‘scooped’ areas at the foot of each tenon – I surmised this was to allow the two top sections to seat firmly and create a closer fit. When I made the first

prototype, I did not include these and found that they were indeed essential. Care needs to be taken when placing the pins so that they align in the correct location. Of course, you could make this puzzle table doubly hard by having them in slightly different locations. The lap joint – make sure that this is just slightly wider than the thickness of the wood. This is a fun project and can be adapted in a variety of ways. Experiment with the leg design. It would be so easy to adapt this to a larger scale and make a stowable dining table for a small flat or tiny house – the possibilities are endless. ➤

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Project

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How the top will look – the cut-out will accept the cross-leg pieces.

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The template for the centrepiece of the puzzle, which will need to be a good fit.

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Using a roundover cutter to soften the edges and make it easier to assemble.

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The workshop dog Biggles, thinks it is all a bit of a puzzle…

The legs are halved over each other, then the whole assembly can be checked.

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Dowels are glued into the opposite halves of the top. The dowels are received in holes drilled in the cross-leg.

Note the scoop out at the foot of the tenon, which helps it all fit together easily.

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The finished table now ready to be separated and give someone a chance to put it back together again. ■

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Technique

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Board handling

Handling trouble You have a big project to make, so you may need big boards. The standard manufactured board, irrespective of whether it is ply, MDF, blockboard, chipboard, hardboard, etc. is 2440mm x 1220mm in size. There are larger but much less common sizes used by the trade but for general use the standard ‘8 x 4’, as it is commonly called, does

It’s big, but it’s not clever – moving boards without taking care, that is…

most of our requirements. To avoid the risk of under selling, the boards are 2mm larger in both dimensions while thicknesses can vary from 3mm up to 40mm for MDF, but vary with other material types.

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Standard board thicknesses of 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18mm get used for a variety of work. Unfortunately this size

of board presents safe handling issues. Thin boards bend quite easily, making them too difficult to carry around single handed, especially if there is a wind blowing. Thicker boards can be quite heavy and are better carried by two people, and any board can be awkward if you are trying to manoeuvre indoors.

What board to use and when

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Choosing the correct board for the job matters. If you want to build a model railway layout then Sundeala board, which has a soft, smooth finish and is light to carry and accept track pins, is the perfect choice. However, if the location of a layout is in an area with restricted access, such as a loft, it will need to be cut to size first. ➤

1 Boards come in a wide variety of types, finish and sizes – all better handled by two people rather than one

2 Lightweight board is easy to handle, easy to fix into and perfect for transportable model railway layouts and displays

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Technique

3 A track saw or professional wall saw can cut melamine-faced board cleanly but you can buy pre-edged stock in a variety of set widths

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For another example, a modern, clean-lined wardrobe might be best made from white melamine-faced chipboard in 18mm thickness. Here again, installation and the need to keep the area as clean, tidy and dustfree as possible mean it makes sense to pre-cut to size and apply matching edging before taking it to the bedroom it will be installed in, although you can buy pre-sized, edged boards saving all the effort.

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If you were building stage scenery for amateur dramatics then a fullsheet size would almost certainly be needed, but in this instance would be as light as possible using 6mm hardboard on a batten framework. So, the common theme is that installed furniture needs boards precut for use while bigger undertakings need boards in one whole piece. This helps us decide how to order and deal with large, unwieldy boards.

Design

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ILLUSTRATION BY SIMON RODWAY

Not always our strongest point, but accurate design taken from a series of critical measurements, e.g. location, purpose, height, length, width, etc., and specific requirements such as filing

4 Stage scenery needs to be as light as practicable, but rigid once fixed in position using stabilising battens or stage weights and arms (Newick Amateur Dramatic Society)

drawers for a desk or mattress width for a bed, all feed into a finished design that can then be translated into wood. Simple CAD programmes or Google Sketchup make the process relatively easy – or my preferred old-fashioned way, using technical ink pens and a drawing board. You can buy hard fibre tip pens which do the same job without the inky mess.

list which expresses every item the same way. This will be something like: thickness x length x width x number of, usually written as ‘off’ (the amount needed of each). The beauty of this consistent way of writing a list is that not only you can understand it but so can a machinist or yard man at the timberyard if they are pre-cutting boards for you.

Cutting lists

How and where to order

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Although it can seem a mite tedious working out in detail what exact sizes you need, it really saves time and effort at the making stage. If you draw a scaled-down board shape, say at 1:10 size, on a piece of paper, you can tape tracing paper on top and draw in the shapes of all the components and change the tracing paper if it isn’t right or you order more than one board. That way you can work out the most economical cuts and how grain direction, in the case of veneered board, will affect the waste factor. Now turn this into a cutting

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DIY stores only stock small panel sizes. These are often cheaper grade,d bowed out of shape and over-priced per panel size. It is better to go to a timberyard which is also a panel and board stockist. It is worth making a couple of trips, one to ask for information and prices so you can decide what and how much you really need and a second trip to order the boards. It makes sense to do some research, checking on different suppliers, because the board types stocked may vary and the services offered may too.

5 Google Sketchup has proved very popular, not least because it is a free programme and the ease with which 3D drawing is possible

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6 Drawing out all the board components shows you how to minimise waste and cost before doing the cutting list

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Technique

7 Timberyards keep large stocks of fullsized boards. They should be happy to advise you on the right materials to suit your project and give you an idea of cost

Cut to size

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If you need boards cut to size let the yard do it for you. If it has a panel saw and you have an accurate cutting list, the yard can save you a lot of time and effort and make board handling much safer. You may have to pay a cutting charge for each cut or board but some won’t charge at all, so again it is worth checking. A wall saw or other panel saw will cut your boards cleanly and to matching sizes without causing breakout and without any domestic dust hazard. There is the inevitable delivery charge and the need to be in to receive the goods, unless you have a vehicle suitable for the job, such as an estate car with the seats folded down.

Moving boards

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Moving boards around can present problems. You need to move them from the delivery point to the workshop or area where you are going to work on them, such as outdoors on a level, hard surface. You need help from someone who is strong enough and coordinates well as a team member that you can rely on to anticipate manoeuvres and hazards. It isn’t a good idea to use bare hands – ‘sticky’ gloves or rigger gloves are sensible so you can maintain grip and avoid hurting your hands. In the case of MDF, veneered or melamine board edges can shed splinters or chips which are massively painful and need careful extraction from the fingers.

8 A wall saw gives repetition accuracy and saves you a lot of effort and back strain by cutting to size. You get to keep the waste piece too

with dirt and watermarking. Laying board flat indoors takes up room and, unless properly supported, they will distort and pick up damp and dirt. Vertical but leaning is preferable but you need to make sure they are stowed safely and cannot fall over. Lay several battens on the floor for them to rest on and, if necessary with a rough or uneven wall, fix battens or a rail for them to rest against without bending. If you often need to store board it might be worth fixing floor-to-ceiling timbers at least 300mm away from the wall so you can slide boards in and be able to flip through them for selection without any falling over. ➤

The Gorilla Lift is one of a number of devices to help with safe board handling

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Safety Note

Carrying cut-to-size or uncut boards and timber can be a serious hazard if it is not correctly stowed in or on the vehicle. High winds or sudden braking can contribute to an incident with potentially serious consequences. Paying to have materials delivered is the cheaper, safer option by far and won’t dent your car insurance.

Storing board

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Keeping boards ready for use presents problems in a small workshop or a garage. Leaving them outside wrapped in a tarpaulin is a nono as they will degrade quite quickly

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Board material can easily get marked or damaged and it is expensive, so it is worth storing safely in clean, dry conditions

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Technique Preparing to cut

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Every piece of board, without exception, needs a minimum of three supports – two to rest the section you want to use and another for the waste piece you are about to cut off. You need a level surface and if you don’t have the luxury of an empty garage space or a big workshop, then a dry and hopefully sunny day on a concrete hardstanding or a patio is ideal. There are fairly cheap fold-up plastic work supports sold in pairs, but they are only suitable for working on smaller panel sizes as they fall over quite easily. You may need to fabricate some softwood stands, including the vital third one to carry the waste sections.

Making the cut

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The edges of manufactured board tend to get a bit damaged in transit and storage so you need to check that the edge you are marking off is in decent condition. If it needs to be trimmed to give a clean edge then your best option is a router and straight bit running against a clamped-on batten for a fence.

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Cutting by hand using a sharp hardpoint handsaw is doable but, aside from the effort and the need to reach over and kneel on the board, the edge finish is not going to be great. Take account of this and allow a couple of millimetres extra for trimming with the router. Dust is ejected sideways and MDF in particular can be very fine

13 Handsawing with a modern hardpoint saw is relatively quick, but still an effort and the sawn edges will still be rough

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This work support is easy to put together but very solid – you just need another two for full-board support system

A router and straight edge being used to clean up the manufacturer’s original board edge

and a health risk, so a good quality dustmask and, if available, a mountable bowl-type extraction outlet under the router connected to an extractor is advisable.

cut finish. A major plus compared to a conventional portable saw running against a fence is there is no ‘cut offset’ to take into account as the blade runs along the edge of the track which is placed against the cutting marks on the board.

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The best method of board cutting is using a dedicated track saw and aluminium track that clamps on the board. It is quick and easy to use, it gives accurate sizes and a good

The next time you are planning a big project you can work better, safer and accurately using the correct methods. ■

14 The perfect answer is a tracksaw for quick, precise results. With minimal blade projection the board can be rested on battens for cutting

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

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Community

Coming next month in

ISSUE 35 ON SALE 21 DEC

Make an Arts & Crafts style bookshelf stick

Stackable ckable tool cases ● Fold-down d-down workbench ● Recycled pallet stool ● DIY sink unit ●

PLUS: • Scrollsaw technique • Feature – Koru eco architects

Ask the Experts • Trees for life – Elm • Plans 4 You – coffee table Woodworking Crafts issue 34

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Technique

barge boards

Tool List

• Flexi curve • Jigsaw • Spokeshaves – flat and round • Chisels – various sizes • Plane • Rasps • Square • Router – preferably 1⁄2in shank • Ovolo cutter with bearing wheel • Carving gouges/chisels to suit • Needle rasps

Louise Biggs creates beautiful barge boards for a gable end

PHOTOGRAPHS BY LOUISE BIGGS UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Shaping

Carving by Rob Lewis – www.lewiswoodcarving.co.uk Fitting of the barge boards by Barry Boutall –building specialist 07770 850401

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his has been another joint project for one of my special customers, between his building specialist, Barry Boutall, woodcarver Rob Lewis and myself. New barge boards made from Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) were to be fitted on to one section of his house and he had seen a design he liked on a period house in Suffolk, which was to form the basis of his design with the carving reflecting grapes and vines. After initial discussions as to how to move the project forward, Barry was tasked with doing the initial fitting of the asymmetrical barge boards, marking the necessary intersections with gutters and hoppers, cutting the joints and marking the end angles. At this point Rob and I visited to see the boards laid out and to discuss the moulded edge shape and carving and how best to end the design around the bottom angles. Once they were in my workshop work began.

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Original barge board on a house in Suffolk

Marking out the design My client had marked out the key positions for the line of the hopper, the inside edge of the fascia and some idea of where he wanted the curves to start on either end. If possible he wanted double points not singles and three sets of points if they looked right with the curves.

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Using a flexi curve I decided to establish the bottom end curve on the left board first, the right board being longer would stay a straight line with the point rounded off.

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Moving to the other end of the boards, where an angled joint would join the two boards at the peak, a 30mm border had to be left clear on

Barge boards laid out for discussion

each joint edge in order for a downfacing finial to be placed over the joint when fitted in place. Knowing the length of the finial block, the end curves were to start from the bottom point of the block.

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Marking the double points and the curves, chickens and eggs came to mind – the one needed the other for positions. In the end, to find some sort of starting point, I cut out of card three triangles with two concave edges. These would form the cut-out between the points. I then positioned one at the centre point and roughly positioned the other two in from the ends about half the envisaged pattern. The central one was marked with a centreline and marked on both boards.

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Technique

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In between the double points, I marked a central point which would be the widest point of the convex curves. Laying card over one barge board the flexi curve was manipulated until the shape looked right working back from the double point to the widest point of the convex curve. Flexi curves are ideal for this type of work as they manipulate easily and hold their curves, allowing you to draw around them without needing multiple pairs of hands.

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With the template cut out the curves were marked out on to the barge boards, the concave half of the template was used and manipulated slightly to mark in the final curves at the ends. With the barge boards marked out and echoing the original design in the photos the client was called in to see what he thought.

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Cutting and routing the initial shape

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The barge boards were 25mm thick so spanning each board between work benches I used a jigsaw to cut out the shapes on the waste side of the line. Once cut all the edges were cleaned up square to the face using a spokeshave, a round bottom for concave curves and flat bottom for the convex curves. Following this the edges were abraded through the grits down to 240.

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To clean up the edges within the double points I used a chisel to clean up centre of the V shape and rasps to clean up the remainder of the curves. These were then finished with abrasive papers as before. This cleaning up made sure the edges were completely smooth for the roller bearing on the router cutter to follow the curves cleanly.

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An ovolo cutter of the required radius and bearing size was sourced with a 1⠄2in shank for more strength. With the boards tightly clamped to the workbenches the edges of the boards were routed, cutting out the shape with two passes of the router to put less strain on the cutter. The cuts at the top end were stopped as required and around the V shapes the size of the roller bearing restricted the amount cut. The cutter was run along the straight edge of the right-hand board and on both boards around the curved ends. ➤

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Technique Shaping the double points

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To finish shaping the V between the double points the curve formed by the router had to be extended using a pencil until the two lines met at the centreline forming the shape.

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Using a selection of carving chisels the shape was cut out in steps, the first being to cut along the pencil line with a gouge of the correct radius before angling the gouge in order to chip away the edge line forming the first step of the ovolo.

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To finish forming the step the necessary shaped gouges were used to get right into the point of the V while starting to shape the top of the quadrant.

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Next, a straight gouge was used to cut a centreline on the quadrant, following the curve. This gave a stop line when working in from each side and prevented the gouges tearing out timber on the other side.

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Using gouges and finishing with fine needle rasps, the remaining quadrant shape was formed keeping a defined centreline down the middle. The last step of the ovolo moulding was then cut out. With the double points complete the stopped moulding at the top centre joints was cut out in the same way forming a straight edge on the moulding where it would meet the down-facing finial.

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The remainder of the moulded ovolo to the ends of the boards was cleaned up with abrasives as before and my stage of the project was completed.

15 16

The barge boards have now been installed on the house and the other necessary work completed to finish the project. In a change from the original idea of painting the barge boards they have now been limed so as not to lose the detail of the carving. I would like to thank Rob and Barry for their craftsmanship in this project. â–

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ROBERT LEWIS

The barge boards were transported to Rob the woodcarver and the design was drawn on to the barge boards before being carved. The background was textured with woodcarving background punches.

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Community

Trees for life The sweet chestnut Say ‘chestnut’ and an instant picture comes to mind of playing conkers or roasting them. But of course there is more to it than that…

A mature field chestnut tree

T

he sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) belongs to the same family of trees as the oaks and beeches. It produces edible nuts that can be roasted and eaten. The completely unrelated horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) produces the larger, rounder conkers that children use for a game of conkers – these are mildly toxic and should not be eaten.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

Sweet chestnut The name chestnut is derived from an earlier English term, ‘chesten nut’, which descends from the Old French word ‘chastain’. The name Castanea probably derives from the old name for the sweet chestnut, either in Latin or in ancient Greek. It is possible the source of the

Sweet chestnut bark

name is the town of Kastania in Thessaly, Greece, as the chestnut was the most common tree growing there. Kastania is located on one of the relatively few sedimentary or siliceous outcrops in the region. They grow so abundantly there it is likely their presence would have determined the name of the place. The sweet chestnut is a fastgrowing species to around 35m high and can live up to 700 years old. The bark is grey-purple and smooth, and develops vertical fissures with age. The twigs are purple-brown and buds are plum, red-brown and oval in shape. The leaves are oblong and toothed with a pointed tip, and feature around 20 pairs of prominent parallel veins. There are teeth around the edges of leaves which are widely spaced. Flowers are long, yellow catkins, mostly male, with female flowers at the base. Sweet chestnut is monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers are found on the same tree. After pollination by insects, female flowers develop into shiny redbrown fruits wrapped in a green, spiky case. The trees begin to bear fruit when they are about 25 years old. ➤

The edible chestnut

Did you know?

For early Christians

chestnuts symbolised chastity.

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Community Typical uses Chestnut wood production is done by coppice systems, cut on a 12-year rotation to provide smaller timber which does not split as badly as large logs. In southern England, particularly in Kent, sweet chestnut has been traditionally grown as coppices, being re-cut every 10 years or so, to be used for firewood, fence posts and chestnut paling and poles to support the strings when hops are grown. Chestnut, being the same family as oak, contains many tannins which render it very durable, giving it excellent natural outdoor resistance and saving the need for other protection treatment. It corrodes iron slowly, although copper, brass, or stainless metals are not affected. Chestnut timber is decorative, with a light-brown

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Chestnut is o en chosen for barrels

The grain and colour are perfect for furniture

colour, sometimes confused with oak. In a growing stage with very little sap wood, a chestnut tree contains more timber of a durable quality than an oak of the same dimensions. Young chestnut wood has proved more durable than oak when it has to be partly in the ground, such as for stakes and fences. Chestnut wood loses much of its durability when the tree is more than 50 years old. It is uncommon to find large pieces of chestnut in building structures, but it has always been highly valued for small outdoor furniture pieces, fencing and shingles for covering buildings, and pit-props. Chestnut firewood is best burned in an enclosed log-burner because of its tendency to spit in an open fire.

Food The sweet chestnut was introduced into Europe from Sardis, in Asia Minor, and was then called the Sardian nut. It has been a staple food in southern Europe, Turkey, and south western and eastern Asia for millennia in place of cereals where these would not grow in mountainous Mediterranean areas. There is evidence of its cultivation by man since around 2000BC. Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe while on their various campaigns. A Greek army is supposed to have survived retreat from Asia Minor in 401–399BC thanks to its chestnut stores. In some parts of Italy, a cake made of chestnuts is used as a substitute for potatoes. In France the ‘marron glacé’ is a candied chestnut involving 16 different processes in typically French cooking style and always served at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve.

Delicious roasted

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Medicine The ancient Greeks wrote of chestnuts’ medicinal properties and also the flatulence-inducing effect of eating too many. Chestnuts have been eaten down the millennia

Leek and chestnut mixture for a savoury tart

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Community PHOTOGRAPH BY JANE ARNULL

It has a medium crushing strength, very low stiffness and resistance to shock loads and has good steam-bending properties. Contact with iron will cause blue-black staining. It works well with hand and machine tools with only a slight dulling effect on cutting edges. Sweet chestnut takes screws, nails, glues and stains well. The wood can be polished or varnished to an excellent finish.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BY ANDY STANDING

Working characteristics

Chestnut offcuts

A wood that turns well PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDY STANDING

Beau ful figure and colour

PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

A streaky chestnut desk set

Other her uses ses

Chestnut wood is a useful source of natural tannin and was used for tanning leather before the introduction of synthetic tannins. Chestnut-tanned leathers are elastic, light-fast, resistant to traction and abrasion, and have a warm colour. Fabric can be starched and lightened with chestnut meal. The leaves and the skins of the fruits provide a hair shampoo.

Wildlife

The flowers provide an important source of nectar and pollen to bees and other insects and red squirrels eat the nuts. A large number of micro-moths feed on the leaves and nuts.

The familiar spiky green cases

Pests and diseases

Sweet chestnut has been found to be susceptible to fungal diseases. Chestnut blight has recently arrived in the UK, which causes bark cankers and can lead to dieback and death. Young trees can also suffer from squirrel damage. Attacks by the chestnut leaf mining moth causes early leaf drop but does not affect the health of the tree.

History The flowers provide bees with pollen

Boundary records compiled in the reign of John, King of

England, mention the famous Tortworth chestnut tree in South Gloucestershire as a landmark. This tree measured more than 15m in circumference at 1.5m from the ground in 1720.

Did you know?

In George Orwell’s 1984, a nightmarish vision of a totalitarian state, a ‘telescreen’ begins singing ‘Under a spreading chestnut tree…’ – the chestnut tree reference being a literary device used a number of times throughout the book. ■

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Community

Ask the experts Another selection of awkward questions for our experts to answer

MARK BAKER Group Editor, GMC woodworking magazines

I decided to splash out on a seriously expensive tenon saw from the US to improve my joint technique. It’s really nice to use – or at least it was until I lent it to a friend to try, a bit trepidatiously, in case they wanted to buy one. I did ask them to take care with it. Big mistake – it doesn’t seem to cut as cleanly as it did before even though the teeth seem alright. What should I do?

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

STAR

QUE

A SAW POINT

Barry Neville

ANTHONY BAILEY Editor, Woodworking Crafts magazine

STIO

N

Anthony replies: You haven’t mentioned the brand, maybe out of embarrassment for the damage caused to their lovely product? Anyway, I’m afraid the simple answer is to get in touch with the manufacturer by email, explain what has happened and – for money, unfortunately – they will resharpen it and return. Rather expensive including shipping in both directions. A salutary lesson learned.

Saw sharpening isn’t for the faint hearted

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS GRACE

CUT TO THE CHASE

I have read repeatedly, in different places, that a bandsaw is the first machine to buy and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. Is that the best choice to make? At the moment I’m trying to make space in the garage for a bench and hopefully a bit more for something with a plug on, but everyone I know has bought either a cheap tablesaw or a chopsaw. Den Harvey

Anthony replies: The standard piece of wisdom is the bandsaw is the best all-rounder, which is kind of true, but for decent cuts it needs a good sharp blade and the machine needs to be good quality. Apart from curved components you can do crosscutting and joints so it’s pretty good. However, I’ve found I go to my Dewalt compound mitre saw at least as many times as the bandsaw because it can crosscut prepared timber and shelf-width boards as well as doing mitre and compound cuts and it can be set to do trenching. If a tablesaw has enough power it will rip down both thick, solid timber and man-made board, cross-cut and cut mitres and with a fine tooth blade can produce a ‘planer cut finish’, so it too is pretty versatile. There isn’t a perfect answer because they can all do quite a 82

Even small pieces can be cut if done correctly

lot, they just do it differently and the bandsaw can do curved cuts which the others cannot. It rather depends on what you expect to be doing. I’m tempted to say the compound mitre saw as you can buy prepared timber, it just needs clean cutting to size…

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Community COMPLETELY FLOORED

CRAZY STUFF

I have a Victorian dining chair – mahogany, I think. The finish is dull and a bit matt looking and there are crazed patterns over some parts. What is the best treatment to get it looking better?

The other day I accidentally pulled the cutlery drawer in an old pine kitchen unit right out and it fell on the floor, completely full of heavy cutlery and narrowly missing my feet and ankles. I’ve now removed a lot of the unused stuff to make it lighter so hopefully it won’t be quite such a disaster next time. However, I’ve now got a dent in the hardwood parquet floor. Is there some way of repairing the dent so it doesn’t show? Jenny Pilbeam

Jeanie Bruscot

Anthony replies: Over time the French polish can become dull, especially if it is exposed to an unsuitable atmosphere. The crazing effect is what is often referred to as ‘Chinese writing’ because of its strange appearance. That is the result of the top layers of French polish shrinking back and cracking open. It can be the result of too much French polish which then hardens over the years, or perhaps a dry atmosphere. I suspect it was in a rather cold, humid Victorian property with the fire lit from time to time causing alternating stresses on the shellac finish. But we can only guess… If it isn’t too valuable to you, then there is no reason why you can’t tackle it yourself. If it is very precious take

R STA ION T S QUE RIZE P

it to a professional restorer to deal with. It needs to be cleaned down with methylated spirits and medium wire wool. Wear protective chemical gloves and work in the open air because of the fumes – and no naked lights either. Gradually the French polish will soften and come off, you can elect to leave some areas less scrubbed than others, which will give a more aged effect. Leave it to dry overnight and then apply French polish with a polishing ‘rubber’(a pad of wadding) with a cotton cover or with a soft mop brush until you have built up a good level of finish. You can use fine wire wool and wax to give a more satiny sheen.

PLAY IT AGAIN

I was interested to read the short article about utility furniture in the last issue and the Utility 3a chair which has a rexine seat covering I believe. I have bought, for a song, an old vintage portable record player but sadly one panel of the rexine covering has been badly damaged. Do you know where I can buy it? No one seems to still stock it. Andy Fellows

A steam iron and a damp cloth is the best option

Cleaning off old French polish with meths and wire wool

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Anthony replies: I’m glad you didn’t get hurt – it’s very easy to store things that don’t get used unless you happen to be hosting a banquet. A steaming kettle can work on vertical surfaces but in this instance it is the floor so your only option is a steam iron. Place it on a damp cloth and set on highest temperature and steam setting. Hopefully it may lift the dent although it may not level completely because a dense hardwood floor is unlikely to ‘un-crush’ in the way that softer timbers can. Be aware that the surrounding floor will be affected by the steam and may need some rewaxing. It is better not to try filling and colouring out the dent as it won’t last and may not look very good, so the steaming route is best.

There is a mini industry in restoring vintage record players

Anthony replies: Rexine leathercloth ceased being manufactured in 2005. It was very much a product of its time, being made from cellulose nitrate (which is otherwise used as a propellant in firearms rounds), camphor oil, pigment and alcohol. However, all is not lost. Get in touch with Ratchford Ltd, which manufactures its own leathercloth in a variety of colours similar to the original range. Hopefully it will be able to help.

T Tool Marketing Company, or TOMACO, as it is The known, which sells a variety of tool brands, including k COLT, Sharp Edge and Narex Tools, is pleased to be C sponsoring the Ask the Experts section in collaboration s with GMC Publications. Each issue’s Star Question will w

receive a Narex six-piece chisel set worth £79.95 and all other published questions will receive a 20mm half-round fine cut Narex rasp worth £20.95. For more information see www.tomaco.co.uk

N.B. If you do need help or advice you can email me: anthonyb@thegmcgroup.com or visit: www.woodworkersinstitute.com where there are lots of useful articles, either way the service is free! By submitting your questions and photos, you agree that GMC Publications may publish your work in our magazines, websites, electronic or any other mediums known now or invented in the future. In addition GMC may sell or distribute the work, on its own, or with other related material. This material must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere.

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Issue 32 October 2017

HAND, POWER & GREEN WOODWORKING OTURNING ORESTORATION ODIY

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Community PHOTOGRAPHS BY GMC/ANTHONY BAILEY

Focus on…

A Finnish laavu or wilderness hut A place to rest...

T

his is a variant of the Finnish laavu, in the rest of Scandinavia known as a Swedish gapskjul or slogbod, or Norwegian gapahuk. All these are small, traditional buildings intended for temporary residence during hiking or fishing trips in the Arctic wilderness. Laavus are commonly found in Finnish Lapland near popular fishing rivers and in national parks, where this was photographed on a Santa Special trip some years ago. It is a simplified version of a wilderness hut – laavus are not kept warm, and may not be reserved specifically for anyone. Unlike a wilderness hut, a laavu lacks doors or windows. It is about 10sq m in area and 2m high, consisting of a roof, floor and

88

three walls. The fourth side is left open – this one has a handy step-through. It is only intended to provide a safe place to sleep during fishing or hiking trips. Visitors have to bring their own sleeping bags, as there are no other sleeping facilities. The construction is from coniferous forest timber nearby, jointed together in same way that log cabins are built but without any wool insulation between the logs. Most laavus also have a place to set a camp fire in front of them, but because they are open they cannot provide proper warmth for the night. However, the sight of the fire is still very welcome, especially with a hot mug in your hands, drinking in the starkly beautiful Arctic scenery beyond. ■

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