Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

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Graham
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Graham » 17 May 2019, 10:10am

to bodge - historically used in relation to the highly skilled woodland workers from the past.

This has somehow become elided with - to botch = make a mess or create with inadequate care.

Anyhow, perhaps living off the land and making products out of managed woodlands and forests offers some possible relief from our environmental mayhem.

reohn2
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby reohn2 » 17 May 2019, 10:11am

Nice job Cuggers,it's hard to tell on my phone but I'm thinking the chairs are Ash and the table is Oak am I right?
What's going on with the stretcher furthest away on the chair on right?
Did you steam bend the back splats and back legs yourself?
What sort of lathe are you working on?
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 May 2019, 11:59am

Graham wrote:to bodge - historically used in relation to the highly skilled woodland workers from the past.

This has somehow become elided with - to botch = make a mess or create with inadequate care.

Anyhow, perhaps living off the land and making products out of managed woodlands and forests offers some possible relief from our environmental mayhem.

Yes, that's probably due to the assumption that without measurement you can't make high quality parts. Truth was those traditional woodland crafts were very skilled and easily capable of quality.

However in the modern age, with mass production, this style of production is considered inferior hence the use of bodge and bodging as a derogatory term.

Personally I think true bodgers in the old sense are among the most highly skilled craftsmen you can encounter.

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Cugel
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Cugel » 17 May 2019, 12:07pm

reohn2 wrote:Nice job Cuggers,it's hard to tell on my phone but I'm thinking the chairs are Ash and the table is Oak am I right?
What's going on with the stretcher furthest away on the chair on right?
Did you steam bend the back splats and back legs yourself?
What sort of lathe are you working on?


Green ash chairs with elm bark seats, although it's all dried out nicely now of course. English oak table.

The stretcher you mention looks like it's at a queer angle only because of the perspective of the photo-taking position. It's symmetrical with it's pal on the other side of the chair.

Those stretchers are riven (with a froe) green ash sticks, all first drawknifed on a shaving horse to more-or-less the right shape then turned on a pole lathe, worked with the foot pedal tugging a string tightly wrapped about the workpiece. The round tenon ends are made to a precise diameter (to 0.1mm tolerance) with a special sizing chisel, to exactly match the size of the round mortise holes drilled in the legs. (To be actually about 0.2mm bigger).

The tenons go in the mortises with their grain at 90 degrees to that of the leg, pressed in using large sash clamps. When the green ash shrinks as it dries to house-level mositure content (from around 30% to about 12%) the mortise and the tenon both go oval, with the ovalicity at right angles, tenon-to-mortise. This applies an immense pressure of the mortise on the tenon, so no glue is needed. One can hang off the chair (full bodyweight) with no separation of the joint.

The legs and back slats are first shaped on the shaving horse with a drawknife and spokeshaves, then steam-bent when still green. A kettle's attached via a hose to a plywood box in which the parts are secreted. A small hole allows steam and condensed water to escape. After 30 minutes or thereabouts, the parts are whipped out of the steambox whilst wearing gloves then quickly put in a clamping jig to bend them to shape whilst they're still hot and pliable. They're left overnight, when they both cool and dry out enough for the now bent lignin of the wood fibres to stay in shape when they're taken out the jigs.

****
I gave away all my green woodworking gubbins some years ago, to one of the coppice worker apprentices in South Lakeland, as those two chairs and various other bits and pieces were enough for me. I made some bowls, swills, stools and gates from green wood but in the end decided to concentrate on traditional cabinetmaking.

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Cugel » 17 May 2019, 12:18pm

Tangled Metal wrote:
Graham wrote:to bodge - historically used in relation to the highly skilled woodland workers from the past.

This has somehow become elided with - to botch = make a mess or create with inadequate care.

Anyhow, perhaps living off the land and making products out of managed woodlands and forests offers some possible relief from our environmental mayhem.

Yes, that's probably due to the assumption that without measurement you can't make high quality parts. Truth was those traditional woodland crafts were very skilled and easily capable of quality.

However in the modern age, with mass production, this style of production is considered inferior hence the use of bodge and bodging as a derogatory term.

Personally I think true bodgers in the old sense are among the most highly skilled craftsmen you can encounter.


There is a style of cabinetmaking, which I generally employ, that makes minimum measurements - just the intial parameters for things like table top height, seat size, overall size and so forth. Thereafter, each newly made part is made to fit the previously made part, without measurements. The measuring of everything can be an extra element in a design-rendering, where it's possible to measure wrong.

When fitting a part to an existing part, rather than measuring the new part, the existing part is the "ruler" and the test-fit automatically arrives at the right size for the new part. It does mean repetition of some cutting operations as one shaves off a half millimetre - no problem on a machine tool but a bit time consuming with hand tools.

The coppice workers, in their various guises are certainly very highly skilled indeed. They have a body-memory in their hands, arms, eye and brains that is honed to a very high precision. They can perfectly estimate lengths, thicknesses, orientations and much else without measuring tools.

I know a swill maker (Owen Jones of High Nibthwaite at the south end of Lake Coniston) who can make several highly complex 3D swill basket shapes, in various scales, with nothing more than a bowsaw, froe and knife. No ruler other than a sizing stick to set intial size.

To see him work it seems easy. He does courses to teach swill-making, of which I've attended three over the years. Every single operation is extremely difficult to perform for a novice. It takes us three days on a course to make what Owen can make in half a day or less. His are also fine, perfectly shaped and assembled whilst we coursers tend to make rather less handsome items. :-)

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby reohn2 » 17 May 2019, 12:44pm

Cuggers
You've done your homework on green woodworking,I didn't expect anything less :wink:
On the cabinetmaking front,I may still have a couple of Krenov's books and an Alan Peters volume somewhere that maybe of interest to you if you want them.PM me if you're interested.
I'm in North Wales on holiday ATM so can't say for sure what I've left in my cabinetmaking/woodturning library but you welcome to them if you're interested.
PS,just remembered that I did have ckearout some years back so I could be talking out of my dear end I'll know when I get home on Monday
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby brynpoeth » 17 May 2019, 4:34pm

There is a great tradition of woodworking in rural Wales too, doubtless also in the Valleys, and what about the wood used in the chapels!
Amgueddfa Cenedlaethol Cymru near Caerdydd would be a good place to seek inspiration if needed :wink:
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Cugel » 17 May 2019, 5:35pm

reohn2 wrote:Cuggers
You've done your homework on green woodworking,I didn't expect anything less :wink:
On the cabinetmaking front,I may still have a couple of Krenov's books and an Alan Peters volume somewhere that maybe of interest to you if you want them.PM me if you're interested.
I'm in North Wales on holiday ATM so can't say for sure what I've left in my cabinetmaking/woodturning library but you welcome to them if you're interested.
PS,just remembered that I did have ckearout some years back so I could be talking out of my dear end I'll know when I get home on Monday


That's a very generous offer but .... I already have them, What would you expect of a book addict? :-)

In fact, I have many others albeit only half of what I had 6 months ago before moving to Wales. In Lancaster you may still find 700 various woodworking books in the charity shops. (I exagerate only a teeny bit).

Of course, it is easy to spend more time reading about woodworking than doing it. I know a small number of such lads. Not only do they read every book, they buy every tool - especially the exotic and peculiar ones. I'm afraid I tease them about their lack of output.

Some lads do this with bikes, tha knows. Twenty beauties in the big shed but only 100 miles a year. I would make them an offer they can't refuse but I don't want to end up the same way.

Cugel

PS I have a zillion photos of green woodworkers in the coppice woods of South Lakeland. It's remarkable how like Hobbits they appear, although I didn't check their feet.

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby reohn2 » 17 May 2019, 6:07pm

We appear to sing from same hymn sheet :D
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 May 2019, 9:24pm

Ever go to Sizergh Castle when they had green woodworking events and other crafts too? They had one last year but I think they've had similar events in other years.

Last year we went and the usual wood turning but various crafts such as bowyer. I've read online posts from amateur bowyers on other forums before. That's one craft I would like to learn. Used to let fly a few quiverfuls every week as a student until other hobbies took over.

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Cugel » 17 May 2019, 9:52pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Ever go to Sizergh Castle when they had green woodworking events and other crafts too? They had one last year but I think they've had similar events in other years.

Last year we went and the usual wood turning but various crafts such as bowyer. I've read online posts from amateur bowyers on other forums before. That's one craft I would like to learn. Used to let fly a few quiverfuls every week as a student until other hobbies took over.


I was a member of the local archery club (Wyre Bowbearers) for some years and did acquire (still have) a number of bows, including various wooden ones, but never made my own. It isn't as straightforward as it might seem. The main problem is that the front of the bow is stretched whilst the back in compressed, during the draw. Few timbers can manage this well. The main exceptions are yew (which has to employ the interface between heart wood and sap wood - the orange and the white); and ash, which is very bendy if one uses a piece with dead straight grain.

English yew is not usually any good for bows as the interfece between the heart wood and sap wood needs to be fairly straight, which it isn't in our native yews. The grain goes all over the shop - good for pretty furniture but not bows. Italian yews are generally used as some varieties have straighter grain. Ash can work but even that bendy timber can't manage the simultaneous stretch & compress for very long before delaminating along the stress line.

A few of the club members did have a go at making wooden bows, generally using laminates of various different timbers to achieve resilience and the necessary stretch/compression dynamic. As with all such things, it takes a lot of practice to get it right so there were a few unfortunate twang-snaps of first-tries, which can be dangerous to the bowyer if the bow's pull is high.

***
I'm looking for a friendly farmer here in West Wales to see if I can get a lend of a field in exchange for me giving him archery lessons. :-)

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Cugel » 17 May 2019, 10:04pm

brynpoeth wrote:There is a great tradition of woodworking in rural Wales too, doubtless also in the Valleys, and what about the wood used in the chapels!
Amgueddfa Cenedlaethol Cymru near Caerdydd would be a good place to seek inspiration if needed :wink:


The ladywife wishes to visit the various chapels and churches dotted all over West Wales, on her bike but sporting the camera. She has a fascination for such stuff. I'm not a big fan of most churchy styles but do like that of The Mouseman. In fact, we have quite a bit of the church inspired heavy oak furniture made by one of his apprentices, Albert Jeffries.

Mouseman style is not too far from the Cotswold A&C style (over-engineered, simple, vaguely medieval and ponderous designs, nearly always in oak). It's standout feature is that all the surfaces are adzed to the right thickness & shape rather than planed. Adzing is a high skill that takes years to learn to a standard such that any plank, table top, chair leg or other part can not only be made smooth & even (albeit with a scalloped surface) but also shaped at the same time. I can't do it. The only route is the five year apprenticeship in which at least one year is spent doing nothing else.

I can admire the tracery carved in a lot of churchy stuff. And the gargoyles, misericords and such - but wouldn't/couldn't do them myself.

Cugel

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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 17 May 2019, 10:06pm

How easy/difficult is it to make a bow Cugel?
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby reohn2 » 17 May 2019, 11:07pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:How easy/difficult is it to make a bow Cugel?

Very difficult.
That said,anyone can make a bow,but not everyone can make bow.
As for shooting a bow I recommend the book Zen on the art of Archery,a great book.
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Re: Other hobbies - cabinetmaking

Postby brynpoeth » 18 May 2019, 6:35am

Here is a book for you Cugel
D Huw Owen, The Chapels of Wales, Seren 2012
A gazetteer of more than 120 chapels, a few new ones, includes a couple in the US and one in Patagonia :wink:
And Soar-y-Mynedd, quite near you
Many chapels have been converted to the houses, workshops, stores etc etc
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