Category Archives: Techniques

Grinling Gibbons – The Michelangelo of Woodcarving

Further to a post about Grinling Gibbons a few years ago, St James’s Church Piccadilly in association with the Grinling Gibbons Society, Presents: Grinling Gibbons – The Michelangelo of Woodcarving. Jack Plane

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Sticking with Original Recipes

Further to my instruction in L for Leather on the preparation of flour paste for laying leather and baize etc., I was recently looking for something unrelated in The Carriage Trimmers’ Manual (published in 1881) and came across a couple … Continue reading

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What One Can and Cannot Do

You may read this as the forward to a book I have a mind to write. When woodworking: One can use kiln-dried timber for most purposes. One can often employ machinery and power tools. One can stick wood together with … Continue reading

Posted in Furniture Making, Materials, Staining, colouring and polishing, Techniques | 9 Comments

In Favour of a Bigger Hammer

My recent production of Windsor chairs prompted a reader – himself, a Windsor chair-maker – to contact me concerning the moisture content of various chair parts. We exchanged several emails, the content of which I have précised and edited together … Continue reading

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On the Dismantling and Reassembly of Glued Joints

Having emailed a reply to a plea from a desperate reader at the weekend, I thought I might as well publish it here for the potential benefit of others. Animal glue is mildly hydrophilic which alone, enables it to maintain … Continue reading

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Cross-Grained Mouldings

Mouldings on oak-framed buildings – and thence joiner-made oak furniture – followed the timber’s grain and were comparatively simple to produce. Then circa 1685, a new breed of specialised furniture maker appeared. Cabinetmakers developed more sophisticated techniques for making and … Continue reading

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Drawer and Drawer Aperture Decoration

Since man first made tools, utensils and weapons from wood, he has burnt, carved and scraped decoration into it. Even in their simplest form, the rails and stiles of early joiner-made coffers usually exhibit chamfered edges (fig. 1), though more … Continue reading

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A Dovetailing Confession

A recent visitor was examining some dovetails I had made in the back of a small mahogany drawer and (knowing I don’t possess a great variety of saws) asked which saw I had employed to make the dovetails. I replied … Continue reading

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Where are the Pins?

Fig. 1. Do you see a vase or two faces? I see both the vase (positive) and the faces (negative space) simultaneously. Whilst talking about dovetails, there has been some natter about ‘pins’. I’ve been cutting dovetails for many, many … Continue reading

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Distressing News…

…or, advice on mimicking wear and tear on furniture. The most frequent enquiry I receive from readers is on the topic of replicating old patina on new furniture. Patina on antique furniture is a complex layer on and near the … Continue reading

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