‘DOVETAILS’  TUITION IN WOODWORKING  –  held at The Wood Place by Patrick Baxter

 2020 programme:

overview:

  1.   WOOD CLUB  – work on your own project or chat, share ideas, doodle design & create, drink tea & coffee!  Light supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most SATURDAYS, free membership, by appointment or turn up, 10-4 pm,  12 spaces, £10

  2.    FURNITURE MAKING FRIDAYS  – work on your own project using mainly hand skills & tools at one of our workbenches,  supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most Fridays,  by appointment 10-4 pm,  6 spaces, £30

  3.  ELEMENTS – fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – usually over 6 days , 7 spaces, £75/day including materials

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  4.   THE BOX COURSE – fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – explained and demonstrated as you make a beautiful dovetailed box at a relaxed pace over 12 days, 10-4pm.  5 spaces only, £975 including materials.

  5.   DOVETAILS ONE TO ONE – fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking OR individual short lessons on your chosen subject.  £30 an hour

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in detail:

1.

WOOD CLUB

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work on your own project or chat, share ideas, doodle design & create, drink tea & coffee!  Light supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most SATURDAYS, free membership, by appointment or turn up, 10-4 pm,  12 spaces, £10

Designed to be a relaxed time for either progressing with your own small project with minimal supervision, or just to chat and interact with Patrick and like minded wood and furniture making enthusiasts.

Membership – is free and as simple as possible to enrol – just contact us first to check availability

To come along on any particular Saturday contact us to let us know you are coming and check availability or you may just turn up, though there is a maximum number of spaces so booking is advisable and sometimes we will be closed for holidays.  Just drop us an email, text or phone to check.

  • Tools and machinery – as with all Dovetails Woodworking Tuition at The Wood Place, students are not permitted to use the machines but we can facilitate use of some power tools such as routers and sanders.
  • Whilst there is a huge selection of hand tools available for use, tuition in their use must first be given by Patrick, if you have not attended previous courses to do so.

Patrick will mainly be in the shop from 10-1 but usually has time to check on members briefly.  From 1 to 4 he will be mainly in the handshop.  If you are needing more than 15 minutes or so of guidance from Patrick in the day, you will progress further with a Furniture Making Friday session.

New members – come along for your first session at 1pm for a workshop tour and induction and enrolment, followed by a short free session. Long term existing or previous Dovetails students who wish to join the new Wood Club format can come at normal start time and will be enrolled during the day.

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FURNITURE MAKING FRIDAYS

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work on your own project using mainly hand skills & tools at one of our workbenches,  supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most Fridays,  by appointment 10-4 pm,  6 spaces, £30

if you wish to pay in advance click here : https://www.thewoodplace.com/product/furniture-making-fridays/

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Held in the handshop at The Wood Place premises, 10-4 pm on most Fridays,  by appointment, tutored by cabinetmaker Patrick Baxter

  • Supervised by Patrick Baxter, who will give on average an hour’s tuition, supervision or machining services.  A couple of hours may be possible in one session to start you off on a project, if possible, or when there are not too many other students in.

  • You will have the use of a workbench and space in the handshop plus all the woodworking hand tools there, although you are encouraged to bring your own.

  • Tea & coffee making facilities and a basic kitchen are provided.  You can bring your own food to eat or prepare.

Students should choose projects of a small or modest size that can be undertaken on a workbench.  Some other shared assembly tables will be available.  Chairs, coffee tables, chests, boxes, small bookcases etc but not dining tables, kitchen worktops, beds etc, unless special permission has been given and extra charges agreed for extra space, if it is available.  Patrick may be working on his own large scale furniture projects.  You are expected to take your wood / furniture away at the end of each session.

Tuition and guidance can be given on

  1. Traditional furniture making / cabinet making

  2. Design elements in addition to construction

  3. Traditional antique furniture restoration

If you feel you need a lot more tuition time on your project, 1 to 1 tuition with Patrick (see section 5 below) may be available, @£30/hr

Designed ideally, but not essentially, for previous and current Dovetails students to pursue their own projects,  having had a grounding in hand skills and essential cabinetmaking from Patrick already and who therefore can work partially unassisted.  Patrick will be nearby for guidance and to carry out some machining (students are not allowed to use the machinery)  for an average of about an hour per person each session.

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Book at short notice or well ahead, as you wish,  but availability is limited to 6 spaces in the workshop.  You dont need to pay in advance but if you wish to, click here to purchase some days but contact us separately to let us know when you are coming or just keep them up your sleeve for rainy days: https://www.thewoodplace.com/product/furniture-making-fridays/

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Please confer with Patrick about your proposed project in advance – size limitations!!  Think approx an average size chair or a bedside table as maximum project sizes as the handshop is not big enough for many large projects.

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You will be expected to take your project / components home with you after each session.  No use of the machines can be permitted so your project needs to be carried out mainly employing hand skills but a workspace in the adjacent machine shop can be made available for anyone wanting to use electric routers and  sanders.  Patrick aims to keep the handshop, where the bench spaces are,  a reasonably quiet and dust free zone.

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Facilities – our basic kitchen allows you to heat up food and make tea & coffee etc.  The workshop is always warm and dry.  It is adjacent to the toilet facilities.

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Tools – you may use a wide variety of our tools as long as you leave any edge tools sharpened and ready for the next user at the end of the session.  As with all Dovetails Woodworking Tuition a wide range of tools are available to borrow but it is expected that as soon as you have decided which tools are most suitable for you,  you should start to acquire your own.  There are plenty of sturdy workbenches of different types and assembly / gluing / sanding tables.

Materials – any wood you need will hopefully be able to sourced and purchased in our store,  discounts to past students of course! If we cannot supply the wood you need you may be excused to work on wood purchased elsewhere!!  Sandpaper – our preferred brand Mirka Abranet lasts for ages – can be purchased along with other potential consumables like dust masks and polish / oil / resin.

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3. ELEMENTS

 fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – usually over 6 days , 7 spaces, £75/day including materials

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A : SHARPENING & PLANING

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B: DOVETAILS

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C: SURFACE PREPARATION & POLISHING

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Each Element, A, B or C, takes 2 days 10-4pm and costs £75 per day including materials.

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Important : all elements must be done in sequence  (there are skills required in B & C which are learnt or practised in the previous elements and materials provided in A which are worked on progressively through the whole trio). However it is not necessary to progress past A nor book all at once,  nor do them all in any particular time period.

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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 – [email protected] .

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Elements introduction:

Guidance 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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your requirements:

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 test pieces,  timber and materials supplied at your own bench space.

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Tools required: none!

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.  New tools are constantly being added to the collection.

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A : SHARPENING & PLANING:

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After becoming at least moderately proficient in sharpening techniques using traditional 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.

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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.

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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.  Planes of various kinds are used in all 3 modules.

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You will learn how to correctly use bench planes, to create a perfectly flat and straight edge,  hopefully! After planing boards all round with the appropriate planes the ideal test is finally being able to fit two small boards together edge to edge ready for glue jointing with no gaps or glue lines for that perfect wood to wood join.

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B: DOVETAILS:

Following the Planing Element is our classic hand-cut dovetailed ‘bookend’ module which has now been expanded to cover two days in order to allow more time and care over carrying out your most accurate marking and cutting of a set of through dovetails,  which will at the completion of the 2 days be assembled into a basic L bookend shape and size.

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The dovetailed bookend has remained a classic teaching module because once all the skills have been mastered to complete one to a reasonable degree of competence you can go on to do almost any furniture making – you will be able to sharpen planes & chisels; use planes to accurately square, flatten & prepare components to size;  accurately mark up joints; hand saw and chisel to a fine knife line and assemble and glue joints.

If you go on to prepare surface and polish you have the whole range of wood skills required for most furniture and cabinet making projects.

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C: SURFACE PREPARATION & POLISHING:

‘Surface Preparation’ is so called because it is absolutely essential to properly and thoroughly prepare the wood before any polishing can be carried out with any degree of success.

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Furthermore it is not just sanding – you will be shown and will practice fine hand planing of the surface,  followed by use of hand scrapers and scraper planes;  only then finally will you do some finish sanding with the very best of top quality papers and equipment,  demonstrating the advantages of dust extraction during sanding.

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In the polishing module you will mainly carry out some simple french polishing techniques and waxing,  learning how to make, store and use french polishing rubbers and will be able to take them home along with some polish.

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Other finishes take longer to dry but there will be demonstrations of oil finishes, acrylic / water based lacquer / varnish and various grain fillers/sanding sealers.

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All the polishes may be purchased in our store if you wish to take some home.

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4. THE BOX COURSE

***when available***

fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – explained and demonstrated as you make a beautiful dovetailed box under the caring eye of Patrick Baxter at a relaxed pace over 12 days, 10-4pm.  5 spaces only, £975 including materials.

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Course type:

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Guidance in the varied elements of fine woodworking with an emphasis on honing hand skills & appreciation & use of fine hand tools.  Unlike the Elements course which sees you working on sample pieces of wood,  you will very quickly be working on the components of a beautiful dovetail – cornered box with hinged, shaped lid and a solid bottom, one or both of which require some accurate board joining.

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Like ‘Elements’, 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.  Absolute beginners may struggle;  it would help if you have used chisels, handsaws & planes and carried out some sharpening.

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Patrick will demonstrate each process first and explain the theory and then you will work on your own box components with constant supervision and assistance from Patrick. It is not essential to have completed the ‘Elements’ course,  which covers almost the same subject matter but more quickly,  however it is a good follow up to Elements,  allowing you to put into practice the basic techniques learnt.

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If you have not completed ‘Elements’ there is still enough time in this course to teach you from scratch,  but those who have had some previous tuition from Patrick will find it easier.   With approximately double the time on offer compared to ‘Elements’, high standards of craftsmanship should be able to be achieved at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.  You will take home a beautiful polished hardwood box which can be used for jewellery or similar.

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The basic design will be the same for all but there may be opportunities with size,  design and wood selection to add your own bespoke details in a small way.

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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.  Arrive at 10,  coffee and chat,  moving in to starting teaching at 10.15.  We will finish in good time so that departure will be by 4pm latest.

Space will be limited to only 5 spaces.  Please ensure you can commit to the dates – in the event of cancellation by you the potential student, full refunds cannot be made unless it is more than 60 days before the start of the first date.  A 50% refund can be made for cancellations made between 30 and 60 days .  Under 30 days we cannot guarantee any refund,  unless we are able to fill the space.

In the event of cancellation of any part or all of the course by us,  of course refunds will be made if alternative dates cannot be arranged.

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 – [email protected] .

The following info from the Elements course is just as appropriate for The 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.  Planes of various kinds are used in all 3 modules.

You will learn how to correctly use bench planes, to create a perfectly flat and straight edge,  hopefully! After planing boards all round with the appropriate planes the ideal test is finally being able to fit two small boards together edge to edge ready for glue jointing with no gaps or glue lines for that perfect wood to wood join.

Following the Planing Element is our classic hand-cut dovetailed ‘bookend’ module which has now been expanded to cover two days in order to allow more time and care over carrying out your most accurate marking and cutting of a set of through dovetails,  which will at the completion of the 2 days be assembled into a basic L bookend shape and size.

The dovetailed bookend has remained a classic teaching module because once all the skills have been mastered to complete one to a reasonable degree of competence you can go on to do almost any furniture making – you will be able to sharpen planes & chisels; accurately square, flatten & prepare components to size;  accurately mark up joints; hand saw and chisel to a fine knife line and assemble and glue joints.

If you go on to prepare surface and polish you have the whole range of wood skills required for most furniture and cabinet making projects.

‘Surface Preparation’ is so called because it is absolutely essential to properly and thoroughly prepare the wood before any polishing can be carried out with any degree of success.  Furthermore it is not just sanding – you will be shown and will practice fine hand planing of the surface,  followed by use of hand scrapers and scraper planes;  only then finally will you do some finish sanding with the very best of top quality papers and equipment,  demonstrating the advantages of dust extraction during sanding.

In the polishing module you will mainly carry out some simple french polishing and waxing,  learning how to make, store and use french polishing rubbers and will be able to take them home along with some polish.  Other finishes take longer to dry but there will be demonstrations of oil finishes, acrylic / water based lacquer / varnish and various grain fillers/sanding sealers.  All the polishes may be purchased in our store if you wish to take some home.

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5. DOVETAILS ONE TO ONE TUITION:

When available!  One to one £30 an hour;  use of quality hand tools and a bench space provided.  Tuition tailored to individuals needs.  Typically 16 to 20 hours to cover essential hand tool & sharpening modules and making a dovetailed bookend plus finishing techniques – following the  Dovetails Woodworking Elements modules. Or individual topics as required, covering as little as half an hour – much more likely that time and space will be available at short notice for slots of up to an hour or so.

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typical tools employed:

Block plane (adjustable mouth no. 60 ½)
No5 or 5 1/4 Plane
Set of Waterstones

Glass or other Lapping Plate / stone Flattener
Honing Guide
Camelia Oil

Engineer’s Straight Edge,  450mm or longer.
Dovetail Saw
Cutting /marking gauge
Adjustable Bevel
10mm & 25mm chisels (approx sizes)
Mallet
Coping Saw
Square
Marking Knife
Pencil
12” rule

Recommended Tools :

(see lower down page for recommended suppliers)

Block Plane

No 60 1/2 low angle,  adjustable mouth. Preferably with 01 / forged carbon steel.

Veritas no 60 1/2 Low Angle Block Plane,  very nice also well made,  good quality,  good steel, get the 01 blade for it. Well engineered lateral blade adjustment feature.

Lie-Nielsen no 60 1/2, very well made traditional block plane based on the old stanley design, preferably with optional 01 blade.

Quangsheng Low Angle Block Plane.  Also based on the stanley,  excellent value, good T10 carbon steel.

Other cheaper brands can be improved with an upgraded blade from one of the above 3 but will not have the quality of engineering to prove pleasurable and easy to use.

Jack Plane no 5 or 5 1/4. 

5 ¼  if you will typically work on boards of around a metre or less most of the time,  the longer  5  if you want to edge plane boards for tables & worktops,  but either will cross over.  The 5 is the better all rounder.

Clifton No 5 Jack Plane with hand forged high carbon blade as standard.

Lie Nielsen No 5 or No 5 ¼   Jack Plane, preferably with optional 01 blade.

Veritas No 5 ¼ Jack Plane, preferably with the optional 01 blade.

Quangsheng No 5 jack Plane with standard T10 carbon steel blade, excellent value.

Other cheaper brands can be improved with an upgraded blade from one of the above 3 but will not have the quality of engineering to prove pleasurable & easy to use,  and may take some work to flatten & square before use.  Old / antique planes may have very good steel so worth considering but check for flatness – may take a lot of fettling work before they can be used.

to be continued…

My favourite suppliers :

http://www.classichandtools.co.uk/

 http://www.workshopheaven.com/index.html

 http://www.axminster.co.uk/

Your Tutor

Have a look here for some of the many & varied projects undertaken and styles worked in by Patrick Baxter Furniture over the last 20 years.http://www.lanarkshirehardwoods.co.uk/portfolio-item/furniture-examples/

Patrick has trained numerous staff and apprentices as well as giving tuition to customers over the years in traditional cabinetmaking skills from basic joint cutting and french polishing through to hand and press veneering and intarsia.