There will be an exhibition of my work in the York Explore Library this
weekend ( 20-21 June 2015 ). Well technically it's not about my work but the
York Adult Learning exhibition but hey, I have to start somewhere and I have
one thing on show!
It started when I signed up of an evening class with York Council ( I think
this is the website https://www.yortime.org.uk/ but I can't make it's search
work ) it was called Furniture Design, Make or Restore. With Julian Marston.
Basically every Monday night I would cycle over to the school where it was held
and get some woodwork done.
First day was a bit daunting as you would exact, everything new. I was late of
course ( I may have stopped for some chips ). But did not miss much of the
introduction. There seemed to be a few people who where regulars and had just
started to get on with things and a few like myself who had no idea what it was
all about. Julian gave us a quick tour round all the tools that we might want
to use and then let us have a go on them. Band saw, pillar drill and belt
sander. Then just left us to it. I was later to realise that was generally his
style. If you needed help he would be there with advice and help but other than
a chat now and again you where free to get on with things.
That first day I chatted with some of the people there wandered around a bit,
and had some tea. Then went away with the puzzling question about what to
make. It's not like I don't have enough things I want to do but this had to fit
in ten weeks and be able to go back and forth on my bike each week. I pondered
for a bit then chose to make a stand for my Hi-Fi. I have recently sold all my
large Hi-Fi. Gone is the large surround amp, separate DAB radio and CD player
and now I just have a small amp and a squeezebox. So I wanted a simpler stand
that reflected that. My speakers have also shrunk but have matching stands that
look rather neat so decided to mimic that in wood.
The design phase consisted of a couple of sheets of paper and a very rough
sketch. Mostly I was going to wing it as I don't really know what I am doing.
Measuring things up I headed out to the local timber merchant. I came back with
a couple of planks of oak. This was going to be a fancy stand after all. For
reference a couple of 2m oak planks is no problem on the bike.
A little bit of planning now had to happen as I wanted to glue the planks to
make a sheet. So I did that at home. This process, as with most of mine at the
moment, started with an hour watching YouTube. After realising that I needed
an electric jointer, planer and table saw I managed to find some good videos
showing what I was supposed to be doing. Paul Sellers and The English Woodworker
where a great help as always.
So I took my newly created sheets of wood to school and tried to plane them
flat. I had not realised how good it was not to have to chase the workbench
around the room as you plane. Even if these benches where a little on the low
side. Planing went well and I am still surprised how smooth and neat it all
looks with just a plane much better than an electric sander. The second sheet
seemed a lot harder, no matter how I tried it just seem to either dig in or
skim over. It was at that point that Julian popped over and causally mentioned
that he had a sharpening stone if I needed it. How right he was! Just a couple
of seconds on the stone and I was back in business. I let Julian show me how
so I could pick up some more sharpening tips. I have some diamond stones at
home and at the time was struggling to get things right with them so I guessed
I would be no better with the oil stone.
A scratch block is a really old style tool consisting of something metal jammed
into a bit of wood. You then drag this down the side of your work piece and it
scores a line in it. I made one from a screw with the edge filed off. It worked
really well and was a lot less scary to used than a router. With this I scored
the three lines down the front to reflect the same pattern in my speaker
Next up was the glass. York Glass Supplies where really great. I took in my
paper template, drawn up in FreeCAD, and they just cut it out and drilled the
holes. Even smoothed over the edges nicely. There was a slight delay while they
waited for the right sized drill bit to be delivered from Germany but other than
that a really great service.
( Funny story about the York glass supplies website. Their ssl certificate
shows as bad because it is only valid for manloveforensics.co.uk. I decided not
to look any further into that )
Next up I had a go on the lathe. What fun. Sawdust everywhere! I had a practice
making a square block round then went ahead an made up the little feed to go
on the end of the glass and the front.
Then there was the rounding of the edges. Marked up with pencil I went at it
with the plane. First at 45 degrees then gradually smoothing that out. Then
a little tidy up with a rhasp and things where starting to look tidy.
I had to do all my gluing up at home so that it would have time to dry before
going on the bike. It worked out quite well as I had just treated myself to
a load of clamps. We will see if it all holds together in the long run but
I don't think there where many gaps which is the important thing.
Once I had the mortice and tenon cut for the top it was time for the finish to
go on. This was however after the end of the course so none of my workmates got
to see the final showing. I used some Osmo oil partly because I like the mat
finish and partly because it's really easy to apply with just a scouring cloth.
All done and in place. I am really please with how it turned out. I am sure
I would do things a little differently next time round but I think it looks