New DOVETAILS WOODWORKING TUITION Bits and Bobs Box Making Courses at The Wood Place

New DOVETAILS WOODWORKING TUITION Bits and Bobs Box Making Courses at The Wood Place

4 DAY COURSES available

( *NEW* ) – make a simple hand-cut dovetailed tray / desk tidy / storage box while covering the essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, hand planing, cutting dovetails, surface preparation and simple polishing.

Held over 4 days, either 2 lots of Fridays and Sundays for a fortnight or a Monday – Thursday block may be available sometimes if there is demand. 6 spaces, £300 including materials.  10 am until 4pm, with 45 minutes of breaks.

Dovetails Bits And Bobs Box

Dovetails Bits And Bobs Box

Held in Patrick’s own hand workshop at The Wood Place,  with the woodburner on for the colder months.  Teas, Coffees & Biscuits/baking will be served or help yourself.  Bring your own sandwiches etc if you want something more at  the halfway lunch break.

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To see forthcoming course dates and availability please follow this link – :  https://www.thewoodplace.com/product-category/woodworking-courses/ NB if nothing appears in your chosen topic then most likely we are fully booked up but please contact Patrick for info on any future availability or cancellations – patrick@thewoodplace.com .

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BITS AND BOBS BOX COURSE INTRODUCTION:

Take home a simple but highly useful item showing off your hand skills.  You will be guided through the processes involved in building a hand-cut dovetailed open-topped box with demonstrations and tuition by cabinetmaker Patrick Baxter. Tuition will be given in the varied elements of fine woodworking with a major emphasis on honing hand skills & appreciation & use of fine hand tools.  The standard is aimed at those who have been doing some woodwork for a while and would like to raise their abilities and acquire new skills to intermediate level furniture making skills.

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The box is approximately 8″ x 5″ x 3″.  The one in these pictures is made of Maple, with a Cedar of Lebanon bottom.  Exact sizes and wood type may change from course to course and depending on availability.  Something not too tricky to hand plane will always be selected.  The box has a piece of genuine leather cut and glued to the underside to hide the pin holes left from attaching the quarter-sawn bottom (minimum shrinkage / expansion potential) to the box carcase; it also happens to offer surface protection to your desk etc.  The box will be simply oiled or waxed.

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COURSE FORMAT:  4 DAYS OF 10AM – 4PM

Each day is 10am arrival (you will be welcome a little earlier), with a cup of tea or coffee, aiming to start in properly at the benches at 10.15.  There will be a further lunch break for 1/2 an hour somewhere between 12 and 1 depending on where a suitable spot to break off occurs.  Tea/coffee and biscuits supplied but bring your own lunch / sandwiches / soup to supplement. We have a clean but very basic kitchen with a microwave for heating things up, sink for washing up and a selection of mugs, glasses, plates and cutlery.

DAY ONE:

Sharpening; hand planing ; cross cutting (sawing).

Patrick teaches traditional sharpening techniques using waterstones and honing guides, employing primary and secondary bevels.    There will be a demo on how to flatten soles of new planes and backs of new chisels in order to make them ready for sharpening and use.

You will have the basic outline described of how to fettle and bring up to standard any older planes and chisels etc that you might possess or acquire, however this often takes a very long time and cannot be done in practice on this course. You can come along to the Furniture Making Fridays or Saturday Wood Club or One To One sessions for that.

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You will be shown how to  sharpen plane irons and you will practice yourselves with constant help from Patrick until you have them razor sharp.

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You will learn how to properly set up planes ready for use.  Most planes are not ready to use straight out of the box, even after sharpening.

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We will also be making good use of the smaller Block planes for this project,  for both planing faces and trimming end grain (including use of shooting boards)  as well as shaping the mould on the box bottom.

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Clifton Block Plane – bronze, with walnut cap.

When the box section is planed flat and square you will choose from the selection of fine handsaws and, after careful marking, hand cut the components to length, then trim the ends square with the block plane and shooting board.

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DAY TWO:

Marking & hand sawing Dovetails; sharpening chisels ; trimming and paring to size with chisels.  Assembling dovetailed sides and end components to a dry fit.

You will use a selection of marking gauges including some of the latest wheel types,  along with knives, scalpels and sharp pencils to extremely carefully and accurately mark your dovetails for cutting.  With demonstrations and active tuition you will go through the process of hand sawing and chiselling the tails, marking for the pins, cutting the pins, more chiselling ( and sharpening) as required,  until you have your 4 components brought to a dry fit.

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DAY THREE:

Glue up box; make the box bottom; flush off & clean up box exterior; level the base & fit the bottom.

After a final sand of the inside faces you will assemble and glue the box carcase together; while it is drying, you will cut a section of quarter sawn wood to size for the box bottom.  Once planed all round you will use block planes and scrapers to run a simple mould all around the edge. Before fitting the dried box needs to be cleaned up all round  – more planing, scraping or sanding, and the lower surface planed flat so it has no twists in it.

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testing for twist on a register plate

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The bottom will be prepared for nailing to the box by pilot drilling with a very fine bit before gluing and pinning on.

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DAY FOUR:

Anybody running behind will be able to catch up here as there is only a half day of work scheduled.   To complete the box you will first cut a piece of leather to fit the bottom, glue size it and then stick it on.  While  glues are drying there is an opportunity to be taught and experiment with a range of different polishes on sample pieces of wood by Patrick.  We can study polishes which may not be appropriate for the box so that you are better prepared for making other pieces in the future.

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After a quick check of the box for perfect surface preparation and any necessary trimming of the leather, you can move on to applying whatever polish you prefer.  Usually a simple coat or two of wax or oil will be sufficient.

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Dovetails Bits And Bobs Box

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Any time left over can be filled with a general Q & A session on any woodworking or tool subjects; and / or a tour of the premises, sawmill & seasoning facilities etc.

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HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL ABILITY DO I NEED?

Absolute beginners may struggle unless you feel you are a natural learner and have good general hand & eye co-ordination;  it would help if you have used chisels, handsaws & planes and carried out some sharpening,  even if without any success – so that the pieces will quickly fall into place when Patrick shows you how it can be done.

It is essential to be able to focus on incredibly fine detail,  the line left by a scalpel on hardwood, for instance, and be able to place a razor sharp chisel edge into that tiny line, so think of being able to read a book with very small print, at any distance within comfortable arm’s reach.

Patrick will demonstrate each process first and explain the theory and then you will work on your own piece at your own bench space with continual guidance from Patrick and sometimes his assistants.

Tuition will be given in the varied elements of fine woodworking with a major emphasis on honing hand skills & appreciation & use of fine hand tools.

The standard is aimed at those who have been doing some woodwork for a while and would like to raise their abilities and acquire new skills to intermediate level furniture making skills.

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WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED?

The following info from the Elements course is just as appropriate for The Bits & Bobs Box Course :

all tools are supplied and they are mostly fairly high quality examples such as Clifton, Lie-Nielsen & Veritas,  with good but medium priced examples such as Quangsheng and Narex too and the odd basic Record or Stanley which has been fettled and enhanced.  After becoming at least moderately proficient in sharpening techniques using water stones you will learn how to properly set up planes and will have the knowledge to fettle and bring up to standard any older or sub-standard new planes and chisels etc that you might possess or acquire.

Unless you are sure you have top-notch first class approved tools fettled and properly set up for use it is better to leave them at home for these starter lessons and just use Patrick’s.  There are plenty and enough to share and swap about during the sessions with the other students.  It is always greatly appreciated by students that they quickly acquire an appreciation of good quality tools and which ones in particular they prefer,  without having to go out and buy them.

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