Friday 28 March 2014

Standing on the shoulders of giants

So here are the results. We had a panel 8 3/8" 213mm of medullary riven oak that had been air drying for 9 months, then drowned in water for two weeks.

And it had swelled massively to....

..... 213.5mm.

I'd call that quite stable.

Talking of stables, we went and picked up this mule manure last week. Its good **** man! Good for Velwell Orchard.! Though not the best time your trailer's tipping function to be taking a holiday.

Talking of workshops, in  ours we have a small chest standing on a giant chest.

Standing behind a behemoth settle rear wall.

I have been applying the beeswax finish I made to the big boy and also to the wee one, which had previously had linseed oil.

I picked up some softwood t and g for this weeks job the other day, and thought I'd take the opportunity to customise my roof rack. Ooooops!

Yesterday, with the first real snow we have had all winter, was four seasons in one day, today was four ledge and brace doors in one day! Which makes twelve softwood doors in one week. Add the beginnings of Tony's garage doors in European oak and that makes fourteen. Who needs a day off?

And here's a lurcher.

And the reservoir where my drinking water is stored.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Old Swanee

Sean Hellman paid a visit this week to check out my work and talk tools.‎ . That was fun and a break from planing oak. Its funny how having someone else in the workshop makes you realise how cluttered it has become. Time for a spring clean!

I found this swan-necked mortice chisel, that I haven't seen for a while. It is 5/8" wide, the same as the mortices in the settle stiles I am making. Strictly speaking it doesn't really matter what the bottoms of these mortices look like, but the tool is a pleasure to use. Hand pressure and leverage only to clean out the mortices. These mortices are deeper than usual and it puts a lot of stress on the straight chisel to clean the bottom. Bless old swanee!

The spring clean was long overdue. Now I might have the space to make Tony's garage doors, not out of green oak I hasten to add.

I have been asked to make a joined settle to go outside. This is pushing the technology of joined furniture to the limit but I like a challenge. We know that riven green oak shrinks very little from fresh to seasoned, so a 10" wide panel (with grain up down) might shrink 1/8". How much is it going to swell when immersed in water for several months?

Tune in next week for the next thrilling episode of  "Watching Oak Swell".

Last night, Bethany and I made some beeswax finish.

50g pure soap flakes
100g beeswax (white)
500ml turpentine
250ml water

Dissolve soap in warm water. Place wax in turpentine in another pan and warm gently until wax is melted. Pour soap into turpentine, stirring with a wooden stick. Ingredients must be at same temperature.

I am producing quite a lot of oak shavings these days, so Ruth (her outdoors) has decided to cultivate some mushrooms on them with these spores from

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Sunday 2 March 2014

Two inch rosehead nails

So here they are. Very exciting. Well done Justin Fletcher the blacksmith.

I am in danger of finishing this chest one day soon. One of the last jobs to do is nail the floorboards up to the back bottom rail with these lovely beeswax-dipped rosehead nails. Here are the tongue and grooved boards in, supporting each other and in turn being supported by a groove in the front bottom rail.

First I must drill some holes to take the nails.

And countersink.

Then trim off the floorboards flush with the back rail.

Only a tidy up and beeswax to apply and she's ready to go.

I quartered this log yesterday. Although there's a branch in one quarter, this other quarter should yield some bent stiles for the settle.