Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mike Abbott Shave Horse

I'm getting ready to begin my first journey into chair making, but first I needed to build a new shave horse. I made my first shave horse a while back out of a salvaged plank of wood and some branches from some nearby woods. Richard and I each made one together and I thought I'd done a post on it about four years ago, but obviously not. Anyway here's a picture of Richard on his.

It did the job, but has lived outside and been used more as a Star Wars speeder bike for my boys than as a shave horse. Consequently it now looks like this.

I would love to make one out of a split log of a species suitable to live outside, something like Sweet Chestnut, but unfortunately I don't have access to that kind of wood. In his book Going With the Grain, Mike Abbott gives instructions for building a shavehorse out of  2"x4" timbers that can be bought at a DIY store.  The instructions are really easy to follow and once you have all of the wood cut to size, it's just like building flat pack furniture.

So here is the finished article. I would put more pictures on and explain things in more detail, but I don't think it would be fair on Mike. Just buy his book. It's full of photos and is very easy to follow. I challenge you to read it and not want to build chairs.

The wonky seat is intentional and serves a purpose, I promise.

In hindsight there are a couple of things I would say by way of advice to anyone making one like this. Firstly, choose your wood carefully. Mine is slightly twisted and though I don't think it will have any effect in use, it bugs me. Secondly, When boring the holes in the platform, if possible do both sides together either with a long auger bit or before assembly with them clamped together. Finally, if at all possible use the turbo coach screws recommended by Mike with a hex driver in a drill, they're incredibly fast. I didn't have a suitable hex driver to begin with and so I did most of it by hand. It was much slower and caused blisters.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Basket Weaving

Basket by Rachel Evans
Things have gone pretty dark over here for a while, so our apologies for that. I'm going to make more of an effort now to keep things up and running. One of the first things I want to write about is the basketry course we did at the beginning of the summer with Rachel Evans. Six of us went along and we all had a great time. Rachel was very good at dealing with us, and she explained everything so clearly, including the information we would need to continue with the craft at home.

We all made a simple round basket and Ruth even managed to put a handle on hers. This is Rachel's beginners course, but she also does more advanced courses or will tailor the time to your needs. Laura organised the whole affair as a Christmas present for me, but basketry is something that she has been interested in ever since we met and long before I started making things myself. I really hope that we can get some materials and do it again ourselves at home as it would be nice for us to be involved in a craft that we can do together.

How it all starts

Richard wanted to make a tall basket, so he had to go outside to get his side stakes in.
The raw materials

Laura working at top speed
Eden got really upset when Rachel told him his bottom was too flat

The finished baskets
Another of Rachel's baskets
And another