How to get a clean cut with the router.

How to get a clean cut with the router.

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Newsletter articles | No Comments
There are various factors that can affect the quality of cut from a router, both hand held and in the router table. It often quite frustrating to find that whatever you do the cut is never as good as you would like. Hopefully this article will give a few pointers.
Cutting small dovetails on the band saw.

Cutting small dovetails on the band saw.

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Newsletter articles | One Comment
In another article I described a jig to cut very large dovetails on the band saw. However the band saw is also useful when you have a lot of smaller dovetails to cut perhaps for a batch of drawers. In this short article I describe a time saving technique for doing this.
How to cut BIG dovetails on the band saw.

How to cut BIG dovetails on the band saw.

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments
Cutting dovetails in large section timber is tricky, it’s very difficult to cut accurately over such large areas,so, much as I love hand cut dovetails sometimes you have to resort to the machine. My favourite machine for this is the band saw. In this article I show how to make and use a jig for cutting band saw dovetails.

How to make a router table cabinet.

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Video | No Comments

This video follows on from those on making a router table and fence. It shows how to make a cabinet for the table to sit on. The cabinet includes an extraction box and uses a car jack for rise and fall, especially useful if you do not have the ability to adjust from above.

For technical reasons the video is in two parts. The first covers layout and jointing, the second glue up and an explanation of the various facilities.

A jpeg of the cabinet drawing is below click here to download  sketchup drawings and excel  cut list.

In the fullness of time I will post a further video on making drawers for the cabinet, but don’t hold your breath!

Come On My Router Skills Course

learn to rout skillfully

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The Campaign for Slow Dovetails.

The Campaign for Slow Dovetails.

Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments
In this article I will show how to cut and fit nice snug dovetails, the emphasis being on the quality of the joint rather than speed.
Refurbishing a plane for Africa

Refurbishing a plane for Africa

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

On my tool sharpening & maintenance course and beginners woodwork four day course we spend some time refurbishing planes. Often students come on the course without a plane to fettle, to cater for them I usually buy planes on ebay. On my last beginners course I ran out of ebay planes, so there was no plane for Dirk, a student from Belgium, to work on. Fortunately I am also involved in the local Tools for Self Reliance group, so I also have an additional stock of tools to draw on.

Tools for Self Reliance is an excellent charity which collects unwanted tools, refurbishes them and sends them out to crafts people in Africa. TFSR is based around a network of local groups who undertake the collection and refurbishment. As a craftsman who knows the importance of hand tools I have supported TFSR for over 25 years.

refurbishing vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918

refurbishing vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918

I selected for Dirk a lovely vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918, with beautiful undamaged rosewood handles.

Veneering basics

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

Being able to veneer greatly extends the makers repertoire, making it possible to tackle a wider range of designs. Here I explain some basic veneering techniques.

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A low cost sharpening system

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments
An review of the sharpening media available and a description of an economical way of getting really sharp tools.

Why face side and face edge

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments
A short article explaining why face side and face edge markings are so important.

How to saw straight

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

An apparently simple operation but actually quite tricky. Here are some tips on how to saw straight and square.

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Options when cutting mortise and tenons – part three

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

In the last of the series I look at how to cut tenons on a band saw.

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How to be accurate in woodwork

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

Accuracy is important in woodwork, in this article I give some pointers for developing accurate technique.

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Options when cutting mortise and tenons – part two

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

In the second part of this three part series on cutting mortise and tenons I look how to cut a  mortise and tenon using a router.

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http://www.christribefurniturecourses.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/mortice-and-tenon-2.pdf

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Options when cutting mortice and tenons- part one

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

The first in a series of articles on mortice and tenons looks at how to cut a mortise and tenon by hand.

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Sanding hints and tips

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

A good finish is dependent on good surface preparation, that usually means sanding wood. So here are my sanding tips for creating the perfect surface.

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How to make a shooting board

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | No Comments

The shooting board is a useful piece of equipment for those who mainly use hand tools. It can be used to true the ends of pieces or for edging thin pieces, even edge jointing veneer. Here I show how to make a shooting board and how to use it.

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http://www.christribefurniturecourses.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/How-to-Make-and-use-a-Shooting-Board.pdf

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Router feed direction

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Articles, Newsletter articles | 2 Comments
When using the router, both by hand and in the router table, feed direction is critical. Using the wrong feed direction leads to an untidy cut and can also be dangerous. In this article I give some tips on router feed direction.
French Polishing Meditation

French Polishing Meditation

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in Blog | No Comments
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Polishing a set of four different boxes.

Today I have been French polishing some jewellery and cuff link boxes ready for delivery before Christmas.

Most finishes rely on the repeated application of many thin layers, thus building a “body” to the finish. French polishing is the extreme example of this, rather than being a finish in itself it’s a procedure for laying repeated thin coats of shellac finish using a cloth rubber charged with the polish. This builds up a layer of polish on the surface that gives a rich luster to the wood which is difficult to achieve with any other finishing technique.

The polish consists of shellac flakes dissolved in alcohol. Shellac comes in different colours, button gives a golden brown tone while garnet is rich dark brown. I’m using garnet on the burr walnut boxes and button on the lighter thuya burr, both bring out the quality of the burr beautifully.

French polishing takes a while to get the hang of, but it’s a bit like riding a bike, once you’ve got the hang of it you never lose the knack.  

The things I learnt last weekend.

The things I learnt last weekend.

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

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This weekend’s tool sharpening and fettling course was a belter! I feel a good course is where the course members go away with new skills and an enthusiasm to put them into practice, but a really good course is where I also learn something from teaching it. I learnt a lot last weekend.

One of the reasons Peter came on the course was to learn how to sharpen the in-canal carving chisels he uses for violin making. These are very tricky to sharpen as they are curved in two directions making, it difficult to get a sharpening stone to them. I although I have done some carving in the past I don’t have a lot of experience with sharpening carving chisels. We put our heads together and decided to try 3M imperial lapping sheets on glass to sharpen the outside and a piece of the same stuff on a piece of dowel for the inner face. It worked a treat and Peter was really pleased with his newly sharp gouges.

The Joy of Planing on the Radio.

The Joy of Planing on the Radio.

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

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I mentioned some time ago that I recorded an item for Radio 4’s Saturday Live. It was a short item about my enjoyment of planing. I was pleased when it was broadcast last Saturday to find that one of my heroes, Grayson Perry, was the main guest on the show.

The item was about how most of my work involves using machines, but I enjoy it when the machines are off and I can work with hand tools, the plane being my favourite. There is a great satisfaction in working with a really sharp well set plane. When everything is right you can concentrate entirely on the work and applying your skill entirely to the craft without having to worry about the performance of the tool. As Grayson Perry said your concentration is entirely on the contact of the tool with the wood. What some people call being “in the zone”.

Many people have trouble sharpening tools. Part of the problem is recognizing when the blunt, often they struggle on thinking the problem is with them, when actually it’s with the tool.