It’s different working in oak than softwoods like pine. More consistent, less twists and turns in the grain, even texture, no knots if you pick prime grades and such. People use the term “hard as oak” quite a bit, but its easy to chop mortises in and you get really crisp edges that pop right out if you use my mortise chopping methods. It takes only 4 minutes a mortise hole for a 4″ long, 3/8″ wide by 1 1/4″ deep mortise in oak, cherry, walnut or hard maple. On my woodworking courses here at the Penrhyn Castle workshops my students are chopping mortises like a pro within minutes and the holes are almost always dead accurate. Sometimes there will be a blowout simply because someone forgot to stop, they got so carried away with chopping. Sometimes it happens because they don’t think spatially at this point the fuller awareness dimension has not yet been developed and of course that has consequences. Bit like carrying a plank when you are 10 years old. You see the end in front, but the other end behind you is in your oblivious unconscious zone.

 

Anyway, we had a blast all day. Hard to imagine that with the completion of this particular woodworking course they will be ready to engage with building a desk, workbench, dining table, coffee table and much more. I have trained literally hundreds of woodworking enthusiasts to master this technique in mortise and tenon joinery and it really works. Amazing. The mortise and tenon joint outstrips all other joints hundreds if not thousands to one and actually, it can be a difficult joint to master if no one shows you the right techniques. Watch this space for future teachings on making the mortise and tenon joint in wood.

 

Planing the oak takes a little time. We plane to remove the ugly planer marks left from machines and because it’s so much more pleasant than using orbital sanders and belt sanders. Surface hand planing takes only a few minutes and then I go straight to P 240-grit paper immediately to ‘roughen‘ my surface from the plane so that the surface has ‘tooth’ to accept the finish. How wild is that. ‘We sand rough.’ You see, because we hone to 15,000-grit, the surface of the wood is supersmooth already, so smooth it doesn’t take the finish the same. Imagine that.

 

We had all of the mortise holes cut by the close of the workshop at 5pm. Some were dog tired while others could have kept going. It’s quite a learning curve with all of the information that goes along with simply making. Tomorrow we start on cutting the eight tenons fr the aprons. More on tenon technique and what we craftsmen and artisans really do to make our work work. Nothing fancy, but fast and highly effective tenon cutting, fitting, mitring and haunching. Learn more tomorrow. I will be posting pictures of the finished projects so far and also stages of the table making workshop we started today. I am making mine in plantation grown mahogany because I need a mahogany one.

  • Francis Anderson on 10 Projects to Make'It’s just a shame that all the things you make are so old fashioned and out of date looking.' ... Quite apart from the tautology - 'out of date' and 'old fashioned' - you've gotta…
  • Kevin on Edge Sharpening Under £10I have been using a set of the Chinese plates for a couple of years now - I mount mine individually on paddles kind of like a strop, but that's just my preference. A couple of thin…
  • Martyn Legg on The Importance of CraftHasan, maybe you could teach just one young person to love wood and all its wonders, do you have one person that shows interest? Invite them in to see one project, enthusiasm creat…
  • mark snyder on 10 Projects to MakeSimon , Personally I find your comments not only ignorant but tactless and insulting. Where might we find your contributions or are you only limited to negative critique ? Have you…
  • Tom Stenzel on 10 Projects to MakeWhen I thought I would have time it still fills up. My daughter works at a fabric store where they've been making face mask kits. She's brought several home. So it's been sewing to…
  • mark leatherland on Sharp TalkingI'm lucky, i had a good teacher who taught me to sharpen freestyle by hand. It was not all that easy to get the hang of it, but once you've got it, its easy and it saves all that f…
  • Steven Newman/Bandit571 on My 400,000 Subscriber YouTube GiveawayNot really a subscriber, chances are about nil. Just completed a large Tool Cabinet to hold 90% of my hand tools. Getting ready to build a Til for all the hand planes, next....alre…