Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Two steps forward, one back.

Sometimes when your busy, something has to give. You're making progress on most things but then there always seems to be an element that suffers a little. Unfortunately for me that has been the blog of late. Sorry about that.

Since the last post midway through last month, there's been a couple of double Perch classes and a few days where I've been teaching a few things on a furniture making front. In between that I've been trying to squeeze in finishing off a Continuous Arm Rocking Chair, making a matched pair of Crested Rocking Chairs, a couple of Perches for the shop and keeping up with supplying our shop with the usual products, bentwood oval Boxes, chopping boards, etc etc.

I run the bar too on Friday and Saturday nights and at the moment in Kyneton the night time temp is usually hovering just above zero. That means one more thing, firewood, firewood and more firewood. 

                         The bar runs two open fires at night and they both chew through the wood. 

Father and Son team, Michael and Julian, who both sailed through the Perch Class and made a couple of very fine Perches.

Mates Carl and Jim, who bought their own figured Blackwood, figured Myrtle, spalted Black Heart Sassafras and Crotch Macrocarpa to make two custom Perches. Nice work guys. Jim is the owner of Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies, a one stop shop for wood turners and a professional wood turner too. It was great to have him in the workshop and pick up a few tips from a great wood turner.

Stiles mortised, crests roughed in and legs and arms reamed. Tomorrow I carve the seats before I rout the rocker slots with my "Chandley Special" Rocking Chair Routing Jig. 

Based on the jig that Pete Galbert first made when we bought him out here a few years ago, Bern Chandley made a double sided version which I've used successfully on a few of my chairs and on the class we taught in July. I've made a few subtle changes on this new version to suit my Porter & Cable router and to allow for a slightly larger seat base.

 It works well, is accurate and allows the slots to be cut in the legs with supreme accuracy. To me that means being able to get back to other parts of making a chair that I enjoy, like carving seats, shaving spindles, steam bending and the like.

I've also been experimenting with finishes on some of my chairs, including milk paint colours and also ( shock horror! ) staining and distressing them. Not my preferred finish, but when the customer wants it to look old, then that's what you do. In creating an aged patina I've been using shellac more and I have to say I'm a bit of a new devotee. It's quick, effective and very versatile.

                               I even like the look of it after one quick coat as a sanding sealer.

On top of that we've also been thinking about our future, new courses, where we run them, what we can offer and some variety. What we have come up with I think will be pretty interesting. Not to say that I'm not content, but I'm a firm believer in continuous improvement. More to come on that soon.


  1. That really is a sexy jig. Love those new locking mechanisms. Calls for an update on the older version I'd say.

  2. Yes mate, there's something about a jig in all black! Cheers