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