double woodwork

I’m running a cabinet making course at Arts Alive Wales in Crickhowell. Here’s a photo of the beautiful space that we’re working in. As you can see, there’s plenty of space for more participants in the future.Arts Alive Wales spaceI’ve made 4 double workbenches out of plywood and MDF. They are substantial and sturdy, but can be taken apart after each class. I’ve provided a basic set of hand tools: pencil, engineers square, marking knife, chisels, tenon saw, mallet.

basic woodwork toolsHere are Francis and Chris cutting housing joints in pieces of scrap. The finished item will be a simple shelf piece in cherry.

watching TV in style

Here are some photos of the TV panel, drawers and shelves that I’ve completed and installed. I hope you like it all.TV panel, drawers, shelves and slate.The panel veneer is poplar burr with a solid cherry surround and ebony stringing for the dark line border. The surface is Welsh slate, Berwyn slate quarry near Llangollen.

drawers openI made the drawers from birch plywood and sprayed a high gloss lacquer on the fronts.

IMG_1524This is a detail of the drop flaps. I mitre cut the solid cherry edge and the ebony inlay. The hinges are hidden when the flap is closed.

glass shelvesThese two glass shelves are 12mm thick. I cut a 12mm wide slot with a router into the backing and simply slotted them in. The fit was tight enough to hold them in place without any more fixing. Phew!

Christmas craft fair

I attended the craft fair at Arts Alive in Crickhowel last night. It was a great evening, with a lovely friendly atmosphere. Here’s an auspicious photo of a double rainbow I saw over the Black Mountains as I set off.rainbow over Black MountainsHere’s a pic of my stall. I managed to sell quite a few of the cube tea-light holders you can see on the stall

And here I am being distracted by one of my most loyal customers!craft

how to draw a square

I’m making some workbenches for the woodwork course I’ll be running. Each one has a 1200mm square top. I could simply use a set-square to draw it out, but I find it difficult to keep my marking-out accurate over a large area. Here’s how I mark a perfect square that doesn’t rely on having a set-square. It uses basic geometry that has been used for thousands of years.

Firstly, mark where you want the centre of square to be and draw a circle whose diameter is the same as the length of the square’s sides. This sheet of MDF is roughly cut slightly larger that I need it to be.

Next, draw a line that passes through the centre of the circle.

Then you draw an arc using the same radius as the original circle, with the point located where the centre line crosses the circle edge. Do the same at the other end of the line.

The next step is to draw another line through the centre of the first circle at 90 degrees to the first line. To do this place the point of your compasses (or trammel in this case) where the arc crosses the circle. Using a smaller radius than the original circle draw a small arc roughly where you think the centre line should pass through it. Then draw a similar arc with the centre point where the circle and the other large arc meet. This is the one you can see just above it in the photo.

I like to do the same on the other side, but you can then draw a line that passes through these small arcs and the centre of the circle.

Next draw 2 arcs, radius the same as the original circle, with the centre points placed where the new centre line crosses the circle.

Finally, draw lines to connect the four points where the four large arcs cross.

I can now cut along these lines with my Festool TS55 circular saw along a guide rail. You could, of course, cut out a square on a table saw with the fence set square and to the length you need. However in this case the MDF is too large to fit on my table saw.

hanging wall cabinets invisibly

I’m coming to the end of a job that requires nearly 4 metres in length of wall cabinets to be hung. the difficulty is that the cabinets themselves are fairly heavy, but they also need to carry a 40mm thick solid slate worktop. All this needs to be attached to a hollow studded wall without any support from underneath, and just to make it more difficult the whole construction is quite low on the wall – the perfect heigh for someone to sit down on.

After much consultation with my customer and my friend Noel, we settled upon fixing a steel hanging rail on the wall with a combination of chemical and mechanical anchors drilled into the stone work behind the stud wall.

Here’s Noel drilling the holes for the through bolts. These will secure the steel rail in place.

the cabinets are attached to the rail with these catches spread along the whole structure.

Here’s the whole piece attached without the top…

… and here I am showing that it works.

come to my cabinet making course

I’m starting up a cabinet making course for hobbyists and beginners. Have a look a the website and book early to avoid disappointment!

See you there…

Omega watch case photos