Restoring the past

  An old discarded gauge Sometimes we look at something and lament the neglect. The stem sticks in the stock. It’s swollen now and has been for two decades. The brass, now tarnished has that musty smell of dampness and we say it’s not worth anything, but we give 50p. A few weeks ago John […]

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Chisels

My hand encloses the  boxwood shaft both hard, resistant to my mallet’s blow, yet soft under the pressure of my hand.  My fingertips trace the lines. They falter as they touch the brass enclosure polished by a man’s lifetime cutting, shaping, shaving wood. Pulling the chisel from its place between the rest I slice thin […]

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A lovely Disston handsaw

A saw by any other name could cut as sweet I have many favourite saws. One in each of the categories. You’ve seen them in past posts here on my blog. I don’t collect them. I can’t imagine the empty vanity in collecting good saws you don’t use to work work wood with. I want […]

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Know your wood #1-Cherry

Most people only talk about grain at the most superficial level of how it looks. We woodworkers enter the fibres. We tease the cells apart with the chisel’s edge and search for weaknesses and strengths in the species. We want to know these intimate details so we can exemplify the strengths and protect the weak from harm. […]

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How to cut large mortise holes by hand

I have been replacing doors at Penrhyn Castle and the oak I am using, as with all oak, can be a resilient wood and its  grain repels the onslaught of chisels the deeper you penetrate into the wood because leverage becomes difficult. I have never particularly liked the boring-holes-and-chiselling method for mortising but in the […]

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Walking to work

  Hawthorn The texture of woodland growth, the shapes of oak, ash, cherry and sycamore cover the treetops after their naked wintertime. How to explain springtime’s vibrant increase, no man can. Flowers add loveliness to the green leaf of grassland pasture and tree but the green brings ease to the eyes as I walk beneath […]

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Apprenticing new genre artisans

Every so often I am able to personally train a new apprentice and, with the right one, a unique symbiosis of service and learning partner the unfolding relationship between craftsman and apprentice. John has been here for two months now and he’s working out well. He will be with me until December and by then he will […]

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My creative workspace #21

Today was extremely busy at the Hand Tool School in Penrhyn Castle and I was able to share my Creative Workspace with dozens of people interested in hand tool woodworking and woodworking classes and seriously considering learning the traditional skills we use in our everyday work.   When I turned from totally designing furniture pieces […]

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Making massive doors

Here are some of the magnificent doors in Penrhyn Castle. The craftwork of the artis and is exceptionally high and the wood was the very best English oak. Much of it quarter-sawn, the doors have been ganging for 160 years.     Some of the doors curve into a round to fit a round aspect […]

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