I'm working on some new box designs to keep precious items in. There are three woods to choose in this series, although this design can be made in almost any combination of woods. Here we have from left to right, ash with massur birch top, oak with brown oak burr top and walnut with burr walnut top. More work in progress shots to follow shortly!
I've come back to Swansea for a month or so to work on some projects at home. The first few days I rearranged my workshop to give me more bench space and also room for a larger surface planer! Here I'm gluing up the oak paneling that will be fitted in the conservatory under the windows I made a while ago.
Here I'm applying the walnut inlay into the book-matched oak top for the bedroom chest of drawers. In the vice is a special tool to thickness down inlay stringing to fit into the routed groove. We use a miter guillotine to cut the corners on the stringing, align the grain with the background and with a light push fit, press the stringing in place with a bead of glue.
Spending the weekend in Oxford sketching new designs for some jewelry/cufflink boxes, inspired by motorway bridge design.
The chest of drawers I've been working on for the last couple of weeks is coming together. The drawer carcasses are all fitted and I'm in the process of applying the oak drawer fronts that feature a walnut inlay line in the top drawer. There is a shoe rack which will take the form of shelving (the right hand unit) and an oak top also with walnut inlay. These units have soft close drawer runners, turned 'shaker' walnut handles and finished in oil and wax.
With the main shape roughed out it was time to apply the details. The stylised 'feathers' were embellished using a rotary flexible drive shaft and carbide cutters; the finer details around the eyes were carved by hand to ensure greater control.
The Rooster is beginning to take shape. Most of the chainsaw work has been completed now it's onto the angle grinder with Arbourtec attachment. The oak 'log' on the lathe has been given it's first coat of oil and brought out some beautiful colouring!
Now the Rooster has been glued up it's ready for carving. I'll start with an electric chainsaw to shape and remove most of the waste, before gradually refining the shape with finer tools. The glue-up was too heavy for me to lift so needed a hoist to bring the assembly onto the trestles!
I've been commissioned by my QEST sponsors Howdens Joinery to create a large sculpture of their Golden Rooster. The large carving will sit on an oak 'log', textured to give more depth to the piece. Here the 'Log' is mounted on the lathe ready for turning true and carving. I've cut out and glued up half the Rooster in my standing press with additional f clamps to get more pressure around the ends of the glue-up. The project has been beautifully documented by film maker Richard Bailey at Reel Twenty Five, check it out on my about page!
This morning I took the MDF glue-up out of the press that was left over night and began marking out the curvature for the infill sections. This was a bit of an experiment to see if this design concept would work, so there was a lot of anticipation and relief when the components came together snugly. The MDF is slightly over thickness for the angled groove, so it was out with the spokeshave - good practice for the actual maple laminates which will be of similar thickness!
Here my pedestal table is coming together. Now on to making the maple infill sections of the 'horn'; I'll make a template first which I will use as a pattern to mark the eight parts off from, then I'll start laminating up the constructional maple veneer.
About to cut the constructional maple veneer to length for my current dining table project titled 'His Masters Table', inspired by old gramophones.
Now that the beads have been applied to the plywood cores, it was time to form the bullnose and cut the angled groove using the laminate trimmer. This trimmer has an angled base which I used in conjunction with the former used earlier in the glue-up of the beads. I made a sub-base for the trimmer, with an offset measured exactly to set the groove in the necessary place on the work.
Here the beads have been cut to size on the table saw and grooved on the spindle moulder with pressure shoes to ensure the groove is consistent. I formed a tongue on the ply core using a rebate cutter in a router, which fitted the groove in the bead. This was then pressed using a two part mould to ensure good clamping pressure.
Today was spent putting the finishing touches to the former around which the solid ash laminates are pressed. I decided a quicker way of producing the multiple curved beads was to glue up over width and re-saw into smaller components on the table saw.
Before laminating in the bagpress, the ash was sawn into 6mm strips and passed through the thicknesser to 5mm, making sure to keep them in the same order as they were sawn - this will give me very good grain matching. I hope tomorrow to finish the laminating and form the groove in the curved beads and route the tongue in the frame, jointing them together.
So I'm back in Wales for a couple of weeks after fitting the wardrobes for Philip Koomen, and I'd thought I'd make a start on a new speculative piece I've been designing. The concept is a pedestal table, using a core construction, similar to my 'Spires Dreaming' table, however this idea is inspired by the sweeping horn of an old wooden gramophone.
I began the week by making a 1:5 scale model to get a feel for the table's proportion. I then made a working drawing full scale both in plan and front elevation. I want the piece to have subtle contrasts in timbers, so I've decided on using maple for the curved pieces that span the ribs and ash for the beads on the outside of the pedestal.
The inner core is made form birch faced ply laminated together and I've sourced the ash for the beads from my local saw mill. Today I machined the sweeping curves of the ply core and started building the former for the beads and curved laminated maple components. Back in the workshop tomorrow, I hope to start moulding the beads in the bag press!
So for the past three days I've been fitting the wardrobes on site with my colleague James in Forest Row, Sussex, south of London. The job went very well with all the measurements fitting to the millimeter. We started by fitting the plinth, levelling it off with the pre-fitted adjustable feet we fitted earlier in the workshop and fixed it securely to the walls. The cabinet carcasses were then assembled with the aid of a jig we made to ensure they went together square. We placed the cabinets on the plinth and fitted the doors, fine tuning the levels before fixing securely to the plinth and wall.
The final wardrobe slid into place with a satisfying friction fit, aligning the front edge to the plinth. With all the cabinets in place and the doors on we moved onto fitting the hardware and drawer units. On the final day we fixed the skirting to the front of the plinth, the profile of which I machined in the workshop earlier on in the week and scribed it to the existing skirting. We then fitted the coving at the top of the wardrobes again scribing it in to match at either end.
It was pretty full-on three days work, but we were feeling good about finishing the job to a high standard. We had positive feedback from the clients, who were delighted with their new wardrobes and were excited to move their clothes in! The next stage on this project is to have the doors and outside of the carcasses painted, revealing the oiled oak interior upon opening the doors. This is the first stage of the project and we will be back again to fit a pair of smaller units in several months time.