Friday Woodworkers no. 2.

7 Oct 1988.

I was there early this week. 9.30. Myrtle was already in, and asking me how to go on before I could even open the tool cupboards. She must have finished the saw-sharpening bench during the week, because she now wants suggestions about making a stand for her collection of drills. She has about a foot of timber about 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches to make it from, and since she has on 5/8th inch drill and a collection of others from 1/4 inch down to 1/32 inch, but not all sizes between it is difficult to see hwo she will accomodate those sizes that she might aquire at a later stage in a logical manner. That is, she might, with what she`s got, go say 5/8, 1/4, 1/8 1/16 1/32, but waht if she aquires a 3/16"? Does she put it after 1/32"? we concluded after much discussion that the solution was to drill the biggest hole at one end, the smallest hole about 6 inches along and then draw tangental lines between:

(illustration 007)

Thus, Wherever any drill fitted between the lines you could use it to drill its own hole, and thus guarantee the position in order of size with those others that she either has or will have in the future. Her husband is going to make a cover for it in metalwork. `Keeps him occupied`, she reckons.

Peter made a grandmother clock last year from a kit. The drawing looked right, but was in fact impossible to make in certain bits, and it took some effort to persuade him to do something that looked right and worked rather than something that was as drawn and didn`t. This year he came straight in with a part-finished table. He knows what he wants it to look like, and as he has no working drawing he is able make it work. No doubt somewhere he has a sketch ot two with those dimensions and details that are critical noted. It is half-round with three legs in `mahogony`:

(illustration 0008)

(I use quotation marks because the word mahogony tend to get used to describe almost any wood that is red or brown - with the odd notable exception). It looks a little Georgian, but not completely. Teh curved rail was got by cutting a piece of man-made board and putting veneer on the bit that shows. It coul, however, have been made by taking a bundle of strips of veneers and bending them round a former with glue on them:

(illustration 0009)

There was a discussion about the taper on the legs, which are square in section. He wanted to take some off each side, and I thought it was much better to taper the inner sides only by twice as much since the table would look more stable- and would be marginally more stable: (illustration 0010)

I won this particular argument.

I was wrong last week. There are in fact at least 3 Jims this year, and the new one is making a stand with a roller so that he can push really long pieces of timber through his circular saw (which he keeps in his garage! - It always amazes me when people who keep such equipment come to my classes - you`d never expect them to think they`d need tuition. But of course, there is the question of camaraderie too):

(illustration 0011)

We concluded that the way to make it portable and yet not fall over when the wood is pushed is to sling a sandbag over the bottom rail when it is in position. We don`t normally do sewing in my class, but that doesn`t mean we can`t. He`ll find a way.

Frank, who was quietly getting on with it last week, is making what I believe to be called a cheval mirror:

(illustration 0012)

It is in `mahogony`, and on close inspection the timber seems to an odd assortment of similar woods, and not one of them the same as Peter`s `mahogony`. Much discussion of what is meant by `mahogony`, `gaboon`, `baboen` (these are all woods currently sold in timber merchants - at a very high price)> The concensus is that if a tree is first cut cut by someone called, say, Babonga, then that type of tree has his name attached to it! Alternatively, it may be the local word for tree! This would account for the fact that what appears to be a similar timber coming from another country takes on a different name. Old Babonga keeps us all guessing to the last. I don`t know how many Englishmen were called Oak in the past, but they all seemed to go for the same type of tree. At coffee it turns out it was my turn to get the milk and I haven`t. We have dried stuff and it`s revolting.

Sandra, who is new this year, really means business. She is going to make a fake antique sideboard to contain her record-player, records, cassette deck, cassettes, and the whole works. It is to be in red mahogony:

(illustration 0013)

When you pull up the top it turns out that the drawers are just a piece of board attached to the top, which is hinged to reveal the record player and cassette deck:

(illustration 0014)

I have told her it will take a long time and set her back a few bob, but neither thing is any deterrent. She is making it from a modern material caloled MDF, about which I know almost nothing except that it is cheap, a lot better than chipboard, and allegedly easier to work. She is planning to veneer it, and so I have suggested that she puts `lipping` round the edges that show so that she can plane them after veneering and get a nice solid edge in mahogony instead of MDF. Since there are one or two different colours, the whole will then be stained. She has planned out the cutting of the MDF on squared paper, and will be looking for lipping and veneers that are a likely match during the week. In the afternoon the board arrived and we put it through the circular saw to cut the main pieces.

Two of the four Davids are not here this week. Of the two who are, one is making a sewing box, the drawings for which he obtained from a musieum (I believe) where he saw the original:

(illustration 0015)

It is very elaborate, and he says the person who drew it obviously knows very little about geometry because the angles on the hexagon are alleged to have 62 degrees. Yet another drawing that looks impossible to follow. There is a photograph of the finished item, which (given the right basic dimensions) would be much easier to work from.

One of the original 2 Jims arrived, and much fuss was made of him. He`d always been very pleasant in his quiet way, and now his popularity was obvious. He says his friend the other Jim (he doesn`t know there is a third Jim this year) has sciatica but is getting better. We all send our best regards and wishes.

There is such a high level of enthusiasm that I barely get a lunchbreak at all because some people work on from the morning and others come early for the afternoon. I have a quick honk on my saxophone. Jim says I haven`t lost the touch. Glad to hear it, too. If one could lose years of practice in two months I think I would have given up years ago.

More coffee with dried milk. As I picked up my egg and salad roll, the egg fell out on the floor. You can`t win all the time.