Being ready for the Northeast Woodworker’s Association show in Saratoga Springs NY I must finish off making one of my oak Craftsman-Style rocking chairs and an oak chairside table by next weekend. I am fairly well along, but I must also have all the coats of finish fully completed before I leave for the US a week Monday.


Today Penrhyn Castle opened as normal for the start to the new season and the school had a steady flow of visitors interested in woodworking and especially what I was involved in. Working as an artisan, it’s all too easy to see your own work as ordinary and although that’s perhaps what it is, that’s far from not how I feel The rocking chair rocked steadily along throughout the day and by the close at 5pm all 46 mortise holes were fully bottomed out. I enjoy hearing people banter back and forth as I work in the background of my workshop. What they say and feel is real. “This is a surprise.” Or, “I didn’t know this was here.” “The smell drew me in. It reminds me of woodworking in school and I couldn’t resist.” Their comments remind me not to take my working wood for granted.

Many of you have asked me which chisels to use for mortising with. The best all round chisels are not mortise chisels as in the old style made from a heavy mass of steel and huge handles but simple bevel-edged chisels. They penetrate easily and deeply with minimum effort and after 48 years of chopping mortises I have yet to see anything work better. The old Marples blue chips work great, but I do not recommend any tools made by Irwin in general as they live on the reputation of the former makers and their chisels come from Asian producers and NOT Sheffield

1 Comment

  1. mr Chris on 18 March 2012 at 11:11 am

    I agree abouyt Irwin, there’s a lot of hype but the quality is not there. I picked up an old Marples draw knife not long ago, what a fantastic edge it takes and keeps!

  • Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on Discovering and WoodworkingI've used a ryoba and a dozuki and found that cutting straight comes down to technique and how you hold the piece. A firm death grip ensures a wavy cut going all over the place. Yo…
  • Kim Roycroft on Discovering and WoodworkingHi Paul, I am one of your carpenters, started an apprenticeship 1978 in Sligo Ireland. I was lucky as there was several carpenters that I could work with, most had returned from En…
  • ken on In 20 MinutesThe chickens will come home to roost with our disposable society where items are deliberately made unservicable by design or by economics (9 times out of 10 it is cheaper to buy ne…
  • Donald Lawrence on Discovering and WoodworkingVery interesting narrative, thank you very much. I have often thought about the art of writing a letter. Everyone just uses email, or Skype or Face Book. When do people actually si…
  • Chris Michael on Prepping Wood Part IIGreat topic to cover. Buying wood still a feels like an expensive treasure hunt to me. So advice like this is gold dust!
  • ken carroll on Discovering and WoodworkingNo time to spend 15 minutes sharpening a saw?
  • Richard King on In 20 MinutesGood idea making your own wedges. They seem ridiculously expensive to buy, almost a pound each, when they probably are made for pence.