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David Barron Furniture
Matthew a 17 year old student sent me these pictures of some of his recent work. He is just completing his level 3 qualification in furniture and design and the vanity mirror above is his assessment piece, as well as a present for his girlfriend.
This walnut corner cabinet has a well executed veneered panel with diamond inlay. I'm sure with this standard of work he has a long future ahead in furniture making.
There is an a large workshop clearance auction this Friday 23rd June at Ewbanks Auction House in Guildford. Above is a large board of Cuban Mahogany. You ca view the full catalogue here.
Lots of veneer in thick as well as thin, ideal for restoration.
Some lovely true Lignum Vitae.
A very nice board of Indian rosewood and below a very rare log of Brazilian kingwood, beautiful stuff! I have resisted the temptation to attend, I have enough wood to last a lifetime, or more!
Just a reminder that the John Makepeace talk is on Monday 26th June at 2.30 pm in Beaminster Dorset. More details and tickets here
To get in the mood I'll be re reading this fascinating book about John and his life and work, well worth adding to your collection
We are having a few days away in West Dorset and went to the Bridport Food Festival yesterday, they couldn't have wished for a better day.
There were lots of local suppliers of all things tempting!
Here's my wife trying some local honey.
I was drawn to this larger than life steel robot standing guard outside one of the tents. A great example of recycling it's made from car exhausts.
A beautifully wrapped little parcel arrived today finished off with a blob of ceiling wax.
This little plane is just 30 mm (1 1/4") long with a 1/2" wide blade.
The dovetails are superb for such a tiny scale and the mouth is very tight. Despite its diminutive size it is very comfortable to hold (one handed of course) and works very well.
I have an antique violins makers plane, they make a great pair. I believe Oliver has another two of these planes for sale if anyone is interested.
Joe sent me these pictures of his latest project, a very lovely, delicate walnut console table.
The plugs were shaped by hand on an inverted jointer held in the vice.
Carefully trimming the plugs.
I really like the tapered legs, it looks very light on its feet.
Hand cut dovetails for the drawers.
Shown with a matching pair of bedside tables made earlier.
I was told about this video by Johnny Brooke from The Crafted Workshop, it's nicely done and worth watching. I had lots of questions from left handers asking if the guides will work for them and it's nice to see a leftie in action. I also spied an HNT Gordon spoke shave as well as block plane in use, great tools.
This Saturday from 10.00 - 4.00 pm the Barnsley Workshop is having an open day. http://www.barnsley-furniture.co.uk/
This is a great opportunity to see the workshops as well as the showroom and learn something of the ethos of this world famous woodworking establishment. They take on full time apprentices as well as fee paying students so if you have an interest here then it would well worth a visit in addition to the other attractions. There are usually a few smaller reasonably priced pieces for sale in the showroom, although the rocker (above) is not one of them, price £25,000.
More reasonably priced are these iconic Barnsley tall back chairs at £1,300 each.
The most obvious difference is that they drive on the right side (or should that be 'wrong'). The steering wheel is also on the wrong, sorry 'other', side. However the accelerator and break pedals stay the right way round which is a relief and you don't have to worry about a clutch, you can't hire a manual (stick) car over here. BTW that's not our car, sorry to say.
There are one or two other differences to contend with. At a red light you can turn right, in fact you are actively encouraged to do so by the car behind!
Another quirk is the 4 way stop sign, seen at many crossroads. This means everyone stops with no apparent priority. This turns it into a game of chicken, although being used to the manic roads in the UK I was quite good at this game.
Just to keep us foreigners on our toes I also saw these crossroads signed '3-way' and 'all way'.
Now here is another game of chicken I wasn't so keen on, the railway crossing. They only have two small barriers that come down, one on each side, leaving plenty of room to ignore the barriers and shoot straight through. There were lots of cars playing this game (not me) although when I saw the length of the trains I could understand why they were taking the risk.
On the plus side, the petrol (sorry 'gas') was very cheap, about a third of the price of the UK (I'm not sure which vehicles run on the 'skim milk'). Still it's good to know our onerous government taxes are being well spent on the healthcare, education and welfare of anyone and everyone who wants to come into the UK.
No doubt the low fuel costs explain why there were so many gorgeous burbling V8's on the road. These UV's were everywhere.
If I was going to buy a US car (and I might) it would be one of these. A retro styled Dodge Challenger R/T with a 5.7 litre V8 Hemi engine, chucking out 375 bhp.
Nice number plate.
I came on this trip with my son and for two days we had great fun on an altogether more sedate and more environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Back to the UK in the morning.
So that's it, the show is over! I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Jameel, Father John and all at Benchcrafted for organising this great show. They are very modest about the whole thing but there is an enormous amount of work goes into staging such an event and it was great to see it so well supported both by makers and woodworkers alike.
Above is a glimpse of my stand, I cut 40 of these joints (200 dovetails) over the two days and most were given away, signed if requested.
I must also give thanks to Mark Hicks from Plate 11 who kindly lent me one of his fantastic benches (again!) for the show. The finish of his benches is superb and it wasn't until we were dismantling it that the true quality and ethos of his work shone through. The hardware was top notch and beautifully installed and even parts of the bench unseen in its assembled state, were neatly chamfered. If you are looking to buy a bench just once, this is the one get.
Benchcrafted had a fine selection of their wonderful vices on show and this neat little High Vice was a beauty (as in I want one!)
Ryan was the only other Brit demonstrating at the show (Lie Nielsen), with never ending enthusiasm and a permanent smile.
Ron Underhill delivered a fine show as usual and was a great way to start day 2.
I was sharing an alcove with Dave Jeske from Blue Spruce and he had a fine range of mouth watering tools on display as usual. I had Chris Vesper on the other side but I didn't manage to get a shot of his stand as there were always customers in the way! Any thoughts of my long journey home were dismissed when I thought of his trek back to Australia. Chris (as well as Dave Jeske) will be over for the European Woodworking Show in the UK in September, a great opportunity to see his full range of wonderful tools.
Blue Spruce brought a couple of prototype fret saws which were very interesting. They had a beautiful blade tightening design and they could be swivelled easily to any angle. The fit and finish was superb (of course) and I would have bought one straight away if they had been available. One to watch for.
What I did come away with was a lovely adjustable square as well as sliding bevel, which will join my two Vesper bevels. It's a funny thing with sliding bevels, I don't use them that often but when I do (eg plane making) I never seem to have enough. Well that's my excuse for buying it and I'm sticking to it!
I'll leave you with a selection of other exhibitors from the Festahlle Barn. I'm sorry for not including makers from the others four venues but I didn't get a chance to get round once the doors opened.
Until next time..............
Daniel kindly sent me some pictures of some of his recent projects. He's very pleased with his dovetail guide and has been putting it to good use.
This one is his tea/coffee station with some nice wedged tenons.
The next two are of his sharpening station.
Next up his radio box, he's on a roll!
Even a little hole for the Aerial
A double hinge lid for his screw gun (drill driver).
Here's my offering for the door prize, one of my angled dovetail boxes.
It may seem like offering sand to Arabs, but most of my work is bought by woodworkers, so I hope someone will be pleased.
There will be plenty of other great door prizes to win, not bad for a show with free entry!!!
As well as making some jack planes I've also made a small batch of matching smoothers. They are all in highly figured ash and brown oak.
The iron is 1 1/2" wide and a massive 1/4" thick and hardened to 62 Rc.
Like the jack plane, these will only be for sale at Handworks.
I made these cute little dovetail markers just for the Handworks show. They have a 1:6 angle and are made from rippled sycamore and walnut. They are stamped and come in a protective bag.
I've got just 20, so first come first served.
It's been two years since I retired from plane making, after making 800 planes I'd had enough.
However I've decided to make a small batch of planes to take to Handworks.
With all the restrictions on exotic timbers I've used some lovely UK timbers. For these two it's brown oak and some highly rippled ash.
Although the basic outline of these jack planes is the same as my previous design the shaping is different, instead of rounding everything I've used compound curves which come to a tactile edge where they meet the sides. This is all hand work (appropriately), starting with a spoke shave followed by rasps and then finished with specially made curved sanding blocks. It's time consuming and hard work.
The result is very nice to hold and the gentle curves remind me of the shaping of chair seats which only need a moderate curve to be comfortable.
I made a few others using birds eye maple and some nicely figured oak (one in brown oak). These had a more curvaceous front than the first two.
The maple and oak is a more subtle blend than with the brown oak, not sure which I prefer.
The figured oak is rock hard as well as attractive.
Here's a good shot of the intersection of the two compound curves.
All the planes are stamped on the curved toe, which needed to be done with care.
I finished the oak and ash with four coats of hand rubbed melamine lacquer which was used to fill the pores of the open grained wood. This was then sanded smooth and five coats of Liberon finishing oil applied (one every two days) for a lustrous sheen.
Kevin sent me these pictures of a really nice plane he made using the shell of a old Stanley 110 and a blade and adjuster kit from Veritas.
He really pushed the boat out on the infills with snake wood and a box wood wedge.
It clearly works very well, no doubt a lot better than the original.
A nice way to use the snake wood maximising the small section and keeping the most figured part on show.
Kevin achieved a really tight mouth which is something the original non adjustable plane certainly wouldn't have had. I get the feeling this won't be the last he makes and I hope it has inspired some others to have a go as well.
A short while back a did a post on a Norris cutting knife and included a link to a batch made by Oliver Sparks. You can see my post here http://davidbarronfurniture.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/norris-mount-cutting-knife.html
I ordered one of Oliver's knives which is beautifully made, here is a shot showing the difference in scale with the Norris. The OSM knife is just 4" long and 5/8" wide and fits really nicely in the hand.
The knife came with a spear point blade which is razor sharp. It also comes with a blank blade which I sharpened to the profile I'm used to using, with a bevel on each side of the blade. I find this profile is easier to use for marking both sides of dovetail pins and it's also a lot easier to sharpen.
Sharpening is done on the angled back rather than the fine bevels and this very quickly re establishes a fine point.
Oliver does everything in house and I'll leave you with a close up of the knurling.
I've had a request o show some pictures of a tiny instrument makers plane of mine, so I thought I'd share them.
It is just 1 5//8" long and unusually is dovetailed, a real one off.
It has a skewed mouth and was clearly made to be used. Thankfully it's been very well looked after.
Nathan sent me these pictures of a recent project, a nice bookcase in white oak and walnut. It was inspired by a mid century piece by the DrexelFurniture Co and designed by Stuart MacDonald.
It allows for books with different depths as well as heights and introduces curves to a item of furniture that's usually all straight lines.
When I returned from the Yandles show I had a nice surprise waiting. A beautiful thumb plane made by Oliver Sparks.
I ordered this a while ago and Ollie's idea was to produce his interpretation of a rare Mathieson plane, I can't imagine the original was as nice as this.
There are curves and chamfers all round and that lever cap is just stunning.
This is a step up in size from the 'Slipper' plane I bought from Ollie, it's 6 1/2" wide and has a 1 1/2" wide blade, a perfect size for trimming and smoothing. This plane has been designated 'Aero'. The mouth is as tight as a gnats whisker!
Ollie made a batch of five in varying woods and metal and has two left. If you're interested the cost is £1800 and you can contact him via his website http://oliversparks.co.uk/gallery.html