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

 2019 programme:

overview:

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  1. WORKBENCH FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS – work on your own project using mainly hand skills & tools at one of our workbenches, minimal supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most Fridays & Saturdays 10-4,  5 spaces, £25

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  2. ELEMENTS – fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – condensed into 3 sets of 2 day courses, 7 spaces, £175 per set including materials

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  3. 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 Sundays, 10-4pm,  sprinkled throughout the year.  5 spaces only, £975 including materials.

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  4. OPEN FURNITURE MAKING – fully tutored assistance with the design and construction of your own project, Sundays 10-4, limited availability, 5 spaces only, £75 per day excluding materials.

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in detail:

1. WORKBENCH FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS

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work on your own project using mainly hand skills & tools at one of our workbenches, minimal supervision & machining assistance from Patrick, most Fridays & Saturdays 10-4,  5 spaces, £25.

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Designed 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 largely unassisted.  Patrick will be nearby for occasional guidance and to carry out some machining  for an average of about 20 minutes per person each session. If you are needing much more intensive instruction or preparatory machining on your project please sign up to one or more of the Open Furniture Making Sundays,  which work well mixed through with Workbench Fridays & Saturdays.

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Book at short notice or ahead, as you wish, availability limited to 5 spaces in the workshop.

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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.  We hope you may feel relaxed enough to do very little making and plenty of chatting  and drinking of tea and coffee!  It can be a relaxed, social environment.

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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.

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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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2. ELEMENTS

fully tutored essential elements of cabinetmaking – sharpening, planing, marking & hand cutting dovetails, surface preparation and polishing – condensed into 3 sets of 2 day courses held on Sundays, 7 spaces, £175 per set 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 Sundays 10-4pm and costs £175 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 – patrick@thewoodplace.com .

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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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3. THE BOX COURSE

Final details and booking details to follow soon -dates are September to December 2019,  12 Sundays.

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 Sundays, 10-4pm,  sprinkled throughout the year.  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 and only 1 course for 2019.  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.

If you miss 1 day you may be able to make up by coming on a Workbench Friday or Saturday or two and getting some brief instruction but you may fall behind slightly.  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 – patrick@thewoodplace.com .

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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4. OPEN FURNITURE MAKING

fully tutored assistance with the design and construction of your own project, approx 1 Sunday per month, 10-4, 5 spaces only, £75 per day excluding materials.

***SORRY BUT THERE WILL BE INSUFFICIENT TIME AVAILABLE TO RUN THIS AS A COURSE IN 2019*** however one-off days may be available for short projects or when more intensive instruction is required before or during tackling a project on the Workbench Fridays or Saturdays programme.

This is a variation of the long running Saturday Furniture Group which has switched to Sundays now to allow full-time tuition, supervision or assistance, as required, by Patrick as the new day will no longer clash with Shop Opening times.

There are 5 bench spaces available and project sizes will be limited, as per Workbench Fridays & Saturdays, to items the size of an average chair or bedside table.  Timing within the hours of 10-4 is relaxed,  since you will be working independent of any other course participants.

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 for a lunch break which you can set your own timings for or mutually decide on a break with your co-participants on the day.  There are facilities to heat up food.

Prospective participants must have completed at least the Elements or Essentials or other courses covering our favoured old dovetailed bookend; or The Box Course or have been a previous Saturday Furniture group participant. Revision in the basics of sharpening etc can be given but you must have been taught all the essentials previously by Patrick.

Priority will be given to long standing Dovetails participants and those who wish to come on a regular basis and book a number of slots ahead,  but it is possible depending on availability to book a one-off day of tuition and bench space,  for instance to get started on a project which may be able to be continued at the cheaper Workbench Fridays or Saturdays sessions.

You will need to remove your project or its components each time and take them home with you for storage.

Tools are available to be borrowed in order to allow you to experiment with different types and makes but it is expected that you should be starting to build up your own collection if you are on this course.

Design & construction assistance as required will be given by Patrick at the commencement of your chosen project;if you come with a design and drawings that is great and Patrick will be happy to check them over and advise on any recommended alterations,  particularly on a construction footing,  with which he has much technical experience.

Thereafter Patrick will be content to carry out some preparatory wood machining on your components if you desire a head start (participants are not allowed to use the machinery and this is a hand tool only course).

It is expected that you will use timber purchased from The Wood Place for your project – tuition charges are deliberately kept to a minimum as we expect some extra wood sales.  In the event of our not having suitable timber for you we might accept wood from elsewhere but cannot guarantee that it will stay flat and stable in your chosen project.

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DOVETAILS ONE TO ONE TUITION:

When available!  One to one £50 an hour inc refreshments;  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.