This Week

I am building both the prototype and the first edition bedside nightstand for our next new masterclasses project. This one follows the stepladders and the fly swatter. It’s been a busy enough week with developing the idea and then the construction of both the prototype and building the piece for filming.

Hannah went with me to the timber company because we both needed to choose and pick up wood, I for the cabinet and Hannah for a tool chest she’s building soon.

We split to pick out wood and then spent some time looking over what Hannah needed together. Beyond that the fascinating range of wood, which I have always loved doing but this was a first timer for Hannah. Talk about kids in a candy store. Every student should spend at least half a day in a half decent timber yard.

Hannah has been restoring her Woden bench vise and I was glad I had it rolling around. She stripped it down and derusted and degreased all the parts. We didn’t altogether know that the vise worked as it was to fused together but when it was done it slipped in and out with the QR perfectly.

Sanding down the surfaces after hand planing was simply a question of loading the sander with 250 grit and buzzing away. It really is one of the finest benches I have seen any student make and of course she loves it and soon will be taking it home for home working on.

I must say here that the standard of her workmanship excels and am so glad I was the one to work with her because she is yet another one of those scarce treasures I am rarely privileged to work with. Those of you who have followed me through the years with my apprentices and internees will remember John and then Sam and of course Phil who is still with us.

I did have a wonderfully hard week in the workshop and studio pulling together my project; drawings, prototyping and then the filming of it is always challenging and yet totally inspirational. Working with rippled sycamore, curly maple and then quarter sawn sycamore introduces a complexity of issues on its own. Thinking through these issues for instructional films escalates the complexities all the more, but I am guessing you will sense my excitement.

But it wasn’t just the project. We are introducing my system of mortise and tenon making for the first time throughout this project, so with the decorative wood, the hardness of it, the awkwardness of grain and then creating beauty from the whole is just grand.

Those of you with woodworkingmasterclasses are in for a real treat in watching the series we are making.

9 thoughts on “This Week”

  1. Paul,

    Thank you so much for the attention to detail that you give your videos. They have really inspired me to be much more accurate in my work. I think a lot of us would be interested in your thoughts on the planning of the bedside table and why you would choose one piece of wood for a stile and another for the rail or to go into the panel.

    I seem to remember you saying that you would be doing an updated video on the work bench. In particular the style of work bench that Hannah has just completed. It differs from the one that you did on youtube in that it is narrower and the working surface is only on one side of the tool well. Is there a time line on when this new work bench video will be available or did you film Hannah building hers and you are going to use that?

    1. No, Hannah is here to learn as much as she can so we focus on her training according to what she has asked for. It takes a lot to make video content without confusing the issues with added complexities like presenting, working with the cameras and making sure as much of what you are doing looks right for your audience. I want to keep things as progressive yet simple as possible. It shouldn’t be too long. I have to make sure on the time because if I say this or that date and don’t make it, someone somewhere will hammer at me. I’ve learned not to give even slight hints these days.

  2. Thank you for another great post. Can’t wait for the next series!

    Where is the timber yard you mentioned in this post?


  3. Paul I haven’t seen a project you haven’t been excited for, that’s part of what has drawn me to the woodworkingmasteeclasses!
    You increase my excitement to learn more and get better.
    I wish you’d make it back to states for another woodworking show!
    I look forward to all and your next upcoming presentation!

  4. Paul…
    As a woodworker since 1962, off & on in my later years(i’m 70), I still find it have that same feeling as Hannah did in the lumber store. I find I still can’t stop feeling the various kinds of wood as I pass them.
    I want to thank you and your team for helping me keep my passion for woodworking strong.

  5. Hi Paul, I live in London, and I don’t know of any decent timber yards stocking quality hardwoods that I see in the this post. If you don’t wan’t to name them in this post (understandably you don’t want this to become an advertisement board), please email me the name. I’d like to pay them a visit.

    1. There are many options open to you. On this occasion I went to Surrey Timbers outside of Guildford but online suppliers have greatly improved because feedback and reviews help to keep them squeaky clean and for the main part they do want repeat customers anyway. Surrey timbers sells via eBay for instance. Of course there is no substitute for picking your own sight seen. But I have always been successful online and on eBay too. There are large entities like Timbmet who provide excellent service when you go down to their warehouse and though you cannot go through the massive stacks they stock, they will bring more board out to you than you need and you can pick what you want from there. My guess is there will be 20 small companies within a 100 mile radius to London, if not more, so a day’s trip can take you to three or four and then it becomes an enjoyable day out.

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