Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Workshop

A plumbers shed a couple of times, an auto electricians workplace, a hospitality and packaging warehouse. Our new workshop has worn a few hats over the years. It even lay dormant for a long time. When I say new, I should say, it's only new to us. You see she's a pretty old and run down old shed, but it's a good space. Space being the operative word, there's a lot of it. Not just inside either, which is what appealed to me when I first enquired about the property.

As our first 'official' Rundell & Rundell course draws closer I thought it might be of interest to show you all around the shop. There's a long way to go, but the bones are there. 

Here's the machine room. I may espouse the virtues of traditional wood working and hand tools, but machines obviously play a part in our business and some of the wood work I produce. To that end I feel the same way about the quality of the machinery I buy as I do about my hand tools. For a number of years I have collected my machines methodically, often waiting for years until the right old machine turned up. That's true of most of my drill presses, the mortise machine and my older lathe. 

Some of these have been in pristine original condition and some I've restored. When I couldn't find the right old machine or didn't feel confident that the 'right' machine had been treated well, I bought new. ( trust me, old machines -just like old cars-  cost a lot of money to fix if they break down!  ) That's the case with my Austrian made Felder bandsaw and combination machine and my new Australian made Vicmarc variable speed lathe. 

Yes, I'm very proud of my machines, in fact some people might say I have an unnatural love for my Waldown drill ! ( Far right in pic, nice eh? ) But it's not about their cost. In fact I see it as the polar opposite. You see while the new machines might cost considerably more than a Chinese or Taiwanese option, in my eyes they are usually much cheaper. Not only will a quality machine provide years of faithful service, if they do break down, they can be repaired. Cheaper Asian imports with their poor castings, bearings, motors and plastics are most often reduced to boat anchors when they fail. So after you've bought yet another machine to replace the first one, the price of the quality machine is actually quite reasonable. Not to mention resale value. But, back to the workshop!

The machine room is also home to a considerable amount of our stores of dried and green milled timber. Everything from Elm to Ebony, Blackwood to Blackbean, we have a goodly selection of some pretty nice stuff. Our old Vicrail Workshops workbench is out here too, for any hand held power tool use.

There's also the yard. Another storage area for the timber we are milling. Here's some of the Blackwood from our trip to the Otways. But the yard is not just for storage. It's also home to one of the best specimens of Pin Oak I've seen in a while. 

This lovely old Oak will provide shade for budding chair makers while they sit on their shave horses making spindles. Nothing like a bit of good 'ol fresh country air!

Our bench room is the heart of the workshop. Housing our two old European made workbenches and a third utility bench, this room is all about quiet woodworking. About not having to scramble for hearing and eye protection when a dust extractor or hand held router is fired up.  Air conditioned for the summer and a wood heater for the winter, it promises to be a pleasant work space.

A separate kitchen area and enough onsite parking for over a dozen cars, the old girl has some merit. Better still in the morning we are talking with the first of our potential co-tenants, an exciting prospect and part of a much grander plan than just Windsor chairs and wood work . So stay tuned and watch this space. Or better still come and take your place here and see it for yourself! 

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