Distance learning.

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments
Marquetry panels cut during the course
Marquetry panels cut during the day.

Occasionally people comment that Ilkley is a long way to go to attend a woodworking course, however last week I had a couple of students who where prepared to go the extra mile to get some valuable experience.

Martin and Thomas run Irish Cask. This Belfast workshop reclaims the wood from barrels used by the Bushmills distillery to make high class presentation pieces such as whiskey cabinets and presentation boxes. They would like to extend their range by using more decoration on their pieces. Inlayed marquetry would look stunning on some of their work. As a first step to investigating this they wanted to get some first hand experience of marquetry techniques.

I think I am one of the few people in the UK offering tuition in marquetry so Martin arranged for he and Thomas to do a day’s introductory session with me. Last Tuesday they left Belfast on the 10.30pm ferry, arriving in Liverpool at 6.30am on Wednesday. Unfortunately the M62 played its usual tricks and they did not arrive at my workshop until 10.30.

However the late start did not stop us cutting two excellent marquetry pieces; a knife cut fan motif and a fret saw cut pictorial piece. Both pieces relied on sand shading to give a three dimensional quality. As both Martin and Thomas are experienced woodworkers they found the cutting fairly straight forward, the real learning was the use of the window and template method for the knife cut piece, the fretsaw cutting technique  of making up a pad of veneers and then sawing them with a very fine  piercing saw  and also the sand shading.

So, feeling they had picked up some useful knowledge, at 5.00 o’clock they climbed back in their van for the journey to Stranrear to catch the 11.00 pm ferry back to Belfast.

It was a pleasure to meet Martin and Thomas to learn about their workshop and the methods and skills they use in their work. I will be interested to see how they develop the techniques they picked up with me, there is a lot of potential there. Although it was a long day for them I think they thought it was worth it.

“Many thanks for last Wednesday, it was a great day and informative where we needed it, we will no doubt be in touch again, it was a pleasure to meet you and we will have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone who needs help on any courses you do, also just received my copy of ‘The Marquetry Course’ ( a book by Jack Metcalfe who taught me marquetry which I recommended to Martin) so thanks also for that piece of helpful information, I really genuinely wish you all the success in the future at what you are doing, keep up the good work and help to inspire another generation, we will keep you informed of our progress and if possible we will book in again in the future to drain a little more knowledge from you”

Martin  – Irish Cask

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Thankyou, Chris.


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