Welcome to......my making side


Derek Jones

Thursday, April 18, 2019

One of the most rewarding things I’ve managed to do this year is reconnect with my making side. Not that I’ve ever let it slip you understand, it’s just that commissions and magazine articles have a habit of dictating what’s on my bench most of the time.

Far from complaining, I’ve found the gaps between my own projects to be really quite helpful. For someone who finds it easier to work things out in 3D rather than on paper, the bench is not only where I make, it’s also where I get most of my inspiration. And though it may be anathema to some folk, it works for me.

In the May issue of Furniture & Cabinetmaking we’ve gathered together a collection of three articles that share a common theme; where necessity drives the outcome and the process. The first is our main project from St.John Starkie and it’s a master class in revealing the complex nature of what looks like simple joinery. Rake and splay, or compound angles to give them their correct name, are perhaps one of the hardest things to calculate properly and execute neatly. That is until you’ve done it a few times and realise that 90° angles are also compound angles, just with simpler maths.

Our second article along this theme is an extract from Ingenious Mechaniks by Chris Schwarz and looks at the subject of benches and work holding. You need look no further than this publication and your own bench for examples of the purest research and development techniques.

Finally, the last item in our pared-down design triptych comes from Abi Nafisi. Abi recently took part in the BBC2 series The Victorian House of Arts & Crafts as the resident woodworker/furniture maker in a group of six craftspeople. His project pre-dates that experience but brings to life the traditions of designing and making for necessity and not for style.

In the tool tech category of articles we’ll be looking at a range of quick tweaks and upgrades to enhance the performance of budget bench planes. Hendrik Varju will be trying out a new bandsaw accessory to improve safety and accuracy while resawing and I will be getting to grips with Festool’s DF700 Connector system.


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