Happy New Year!

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Amber Bailey

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome to the first student blog of 2012 and a very Happy New Year from The National School of Furniture. Just before we left for the Christmas break, Bucks New University’s newly established NSF Furniture History Society underwent its very first trip.

The Society aims to enhance the historical knowledge of students across all the furniture courses; this is achieved through a variety of lectures and visits. I am fortunate enough to act as secretary for the Society, and in the short time that it has been running we have already organised lectures with Dr Lynn Jones about her work in establishing The National School of Furniture and with Professor Jake Kaner on his involvement in setting up the High Wycombe Electronic Furniture Archive.

So, on 14th December the Society went on a visit to the Gordon Russell Museum in Broadway, Worcestershire. The Museum is located in an original workshop and features an extensive collection of the furniture that elevated Sir Gordon Russell MC to his status of a renowned figurehead in 20th century furniture design. The Society was also fortunate to view several of the original furniture design plans and talk in depth to members of the museum staff regarding their personal connections to Sir Gordon.

On going home for Christmas, I took the opportunity to fit in some extra workshop practice under my father"s guidance. With a background in the industry, his comprehensive knowledge on routers has led to him to write several books on the subject, one of which he is currently revising. Helping him with a project for the book not only gave me more experience with routing but it also provided a brief insight into the world of publishing and the techniques used in photographing furniture.

The project I worked on was a set of chemist drawers, creating a carcass that was jointed together using the tongue and groove technique on a "shelf-type" router table. The cutter required to produce the grooves was a 3.2mm twin flute TCT straight cutter and the tongues required a small TCT tenoning cutter, whilst the back panel used a 6.4mm solid TCT straight cutter. As well as working on the project, we also went about experimenting with other cutters to give me an idea of the vast selection available and the endless possibilities that can be created.

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Images, from top to bottom:

1. Members of the NSF Furniture History Society outside the Gordon Russell Museum (Photograph by Amber Bailey)

2. Furniture design plans that are stored in groups of 50 within numbered chest of drawers, and are on display at The Gordon Russell Museum (Photograph by Amber Bailey)

3. A chest-on-stand that demonstrates the innovative design features that Sir Gordon Russell MC and his Company were renowned for (Photograph by Amber Bailey)

4. Routing the grooves into both sides of the chemist drawers carcass (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

5. The two sides of the carcass following the routing of the grooves (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

6. Gluing and fitting the carcass sides and shelf divisions (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

7. The carcass clamped together after gluing (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

8. A wide selection of the router cutters available (Photograph by Amber Bailey)

9. Practising under my father’s guidance with his veteran ELU 177E fitted with a large roundover cutter (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

10. Creating a trial section of skirting board using a large Grecian ogee TCT cutter on a half-inch shank (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

11. Two sections of skirting board fitted together to create a joint (Photograph by Anthony Bailey)

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