Tuesday, 19 June 2012

 Brown Oak and Spalted Beech Krenov inspired Cabinet.

Hopefully to put some nice things in - TBC!
These are my first bandsaw cut constructional veeners!

Cheap wood brought green - I watched this tree being cut open right in front of my eyes - one of the first humans to behold its glory - and the first person to say 'how much do you want for it mate?'
Been seasoning it a long time - same as the Brown Oak - took me a while to source a good quality / price.

Off cuts become Wall Sconce Candle Holders -
A favourite 1hour make of mine

1 hour makes are important in life - more about them later!

I had to completely take one of my workbenches apart - I did the David Charlesworth trick of making a removable centre well (in 3 sections) which allows me now to do veenering - with huge thick curved MDF blocks I have made. This is me making Plywood / Spalted beech back panels for the cabinet.

Tuning up the edges - rosewood body low angle HSS plane takes no prisoners and is one of my duracell planes - just keeps going...
Just thought I would share a few pics of the restored plane I was talking about recently.
Lovely signiture on the Dai - I added an Ebony insert above it - with my BN stamp on to match the mouth below.
Lovely patina, well used. It has a brother with a rounded botttom - being tuned up to make my next cabinet with curved doors - Krenov cabinets are my new thing - more to come on the 50 hours (unfinished) I have spent on my brown oak cabinet lately...
Mouth is probably too fine currently - but we all make that mistake now and again - better than too big.
Sole is tuned up to the max, used it to clean up my cabinet doors, poor brown oak, didn't stand a chance!

I love single blade kanna.
One blade (the heart) One body - thanks Andy - great thought.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I have been restoring an old Japanese Kanna (well quite a few to be honest) and this blade is just beautiful to me. The size, proprotions and old iron backing, along with the black fleck in the steel are nice signs to my eye, albeit I am still a novice learning, this is a nice restoration job and as I write this I finished tuning it up and it is done, my ebony mouth infill worked to a hairline mouth, I am almost sad it is taking perfect shavings. I liked it when it was hidden potential, a different type of fun starts now. I just like the process sometimes. Must get some pictures of the finished piece to show you - but it does have a brother...I might have to weight till they are both fully dressed, for modesty sake you understand. Considering I am obsessed with Japanese Planes I can't believe this is my first blog entry on them, I have held back as once the gates open...
In the Garden with an Old Friend

Carving doodles
Meditation - with a walking stick, an old piece re-found lately.
I like it in my Garden.
Day 12 Limited Framed Edition - signed by the Artist

It was a good day, day 12.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

 Knife Block in Cedar with Bamboo skewers

There is something very satisfying (I have been told) about stabbing the knife into the skewers.
Cedar plank is very carefully wrapped around to ensure grain flows perfectly. Mitres from my hand made mitre block.

I really really wanted to cut a design into the front so the skewers showed through. However living with a designer adn artist meant between us we had far too many ideas and we went on for a week coming up with ideas. So simple is best and I did nothing.

What I wanted to do was drill a big hole right in the middle and have a stringing line going around its waist horizontally from the edges of the circle, maybe next time.

So I decided to do a combination of two projects -  the cedar and bamboo storage units (on a previous blog) with the knife block idea as a house warming present for my brother - results below:

Skewers just packed in carefully - big puddle of glue at the bottom sets them.

Some more pretty pictures...

 Japanese Mallet 

My first best effort - a working prototype.

I made this today, to stop myself going mad from staring at a screen - this new activity modern man spends his time on.

Do I need another plane adjusting hammer?
Probably not.

But it does have a logic to the use of the end grain - I always wanted to use Yew for a handle - for is elastic properties. Having made a few bows in my time I like to use a combination of the heartwood and the sapwood.

No fuss - just over an hours work, tapered drilling with a forstner bit achieved with a clever little jig I came up with.

Now I know it works I will make a robust jig and bang out a few basha's. Pete reckons I could call them 'Berins Bashas' ?!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


I had been dreaming for years about making my own Harmonograph - slowly building up the components and design ideas. Then I said 'Sod it - life's too short'

It is probably one of the very best things I have ever done. I set it up once in front of a class once and they spontaneously burst into applause as they watched it produce the most amazing drawings. What a strange reaction. I set it up in my dining room and sat my 3 year old son in front of it - he was spell bound!

Someone saw the drawings once, an Art teacher, and said 'wheres the skill in that?'

Go and build one now, even a little one - mind blowing!

You can change the size of weight, position of weight and which combination of pendulums are swinging and in one types of swing and combinations of swing (clockwise verses counter - clockwise for example) I have made hundreds and hundreds of drawings.

For the first 30 days I used to sign each one and write 'Harmonograph Day 1/2/3 etc' Day 1's are a rare breed, but there are a few out there!

Check out some of the examples below:

 The Art of Quick Presents

One of the greatest things about being able to make things is making presents for people. Cheap and a win win situation all round. The first one below organises 3 bottles neatly on a piece of Cedar. Routered out by hand.

The second piece out of yew I band sawed and seasoned myself was a quick letter organiser. I inset a nice Daisy tile Eliana had made to just set it off - I thought the grain in the back (heartwood at top) looked like a bird.
What about you?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

For Giles

This will mean something for someone.

For everyone else it will just look like a Yin and Yang made out of Padauk and Greenheart by a teenager.

I wonder if its brother is still alive?

Wood for the Mitre plane 

Lovely piece of Box - over 100 years old - counted the rings - around before WW1 - amazing really.
Got enough out of this for a few planes - mouth inserts - wedges etc - got some minor spalting which looks lovely - but may be lost int he final cut - in the workshop now -- chilling out before I tame it into submission.

All from one log of Box - lots of potential sitting here...