Don’t worry, this blog isn’t about to step into the province of the double entendre and crass jokes, I am in fact in the process of indulging my fascination with this incredible material and learning how I can utilise it better in a four-day beginner’s course. When I signed up for this women’s specific woodworking class though, I did not envision the scope or the detail of the project which we are in the process of completing. I, along with five other beginners, have found myself undertaking not the three legged farm stool I had in my mind, but a piece of art with bookmarked wood joins, tapered legs and a hinged lid covering an inbuilt compartment. Definitely not the rickety farm stool I joked with colleagues might not bear weight.
For those who have followed this blog for a while, I’m going to step away from my normal style and go step by step through our project. This project and course though is owned by The Centre for Fine Woodworking which I’ve been attending and as such, I’m not going to provide a pattern. Instead, my plan is to taken an overview approach into what we’re learning (and finish this post off upon completion). I also want to add that two days in, I see myself as the most inept participant of the cohort (I managed to make three of my four legs unusable where everyone else has had a 0/4 ratio). Any skill shown is then either that of my classmates or entirely due to the incredible teachers and mentors we’ve had.
- After the standard introductions, we started off by becoming familiar with a wood plane on a piece of pine. A small skill which we have later transitioned to the (I find) much harder skill of using that plane to further taper our legs. I think this is one of the ways in which the course structure helps our overall success – each skill practiced is to enhance our familiarity for when it counts.
- From here, we used a crosscut and a rip saw to machine down our initial pieces of wood to work with.
- We then measured and worked with our legs to create a template (jig) on a piece of MDF in order to taper 2 sides of each of our legs using the bandsaw. We also used the bandsaw to create a template for the curves we’d later use.
- Note to the wise: don’t only measure twice and cut once, number the order of your cuts. I thought I was doing well but got this order wrong and resultingly made three legs unworkable.
- We then glued and clamped the pieces of wood we’d cut on the ripsaw and crosscut machines.
- Starting off day two, we became familiar with a handheld crosscut saw before using the plane to further taper our legs. I admit here I’m cautious about my legs and as such freely confess they’re far and away beyond the perfection (yes, perfection can be attained by beginners) of some of my cohort and I proudly look on in awe at their achievements.
- The tapering is an ongoing project and we also worked on using the curve template we made on Day One to line the curves on the glued pieces then used the bandsaw to cut them out before hand-sanding them.
- From here we were given two thick pieces of wood which we used the band and rip saws to halve. They then went through a thicknesser before we pieced them together (with great thought going into how exactly we wanted the four pieces to be joined) with clamps and glue to finish the day.
Importantly, please note that this post is not sponsored. I’ve paid for all course fees (inclusive of materials), accommodation, food, car hire and flights. I also don’t regret a cent!
- The Centre for Fine Woodworking
- Our incredible mentor and tutor: Tony Clark from JointWorks Studio
Wishlist (gift ideas for those who have participated in the course)