Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A busy New Year coming January 2011

Wow Christmas over again, it always seems to sneak up on you and then your not ready for it. I always close the school for two weeks as I feel it would be nice to have a couple of weeks off - however after 3 - 4 days I get very twitchy and can't wait to get back to it. I have a few little jobs on the bench and I might go in today or tomorrow for a couple of hours.

The next intake date for students is second week in February, if you book a course before end of this year you will only pay 2010 prices. Do something this year that will change your life for the better. Have a look at our courses on www.marcfish.co.uk

I decided to biscuit the bench top pieces not for strength but for alignment. Even with the Plano clamp it is very hard to get them align perfect. On pieces of this size the biscuits add no strength to the construction and on this occasion no glue was added to them - this would help get it together without the biscuits swelling up and holding the assembly apart.

The first three pieces glued and clamped up.

Isobel the dog looks on.

Front rail being dry fitted to align vices - it is very important at this stage to work out exactly where the vices go as this will affect the position of the top. I had decided that the pattern makers vice should be inset as it looked a lot neater. It is however a lot harder to fit in this position. The casting of the vice is poor with different thicknesses and it is not square. A few minor irritations that you just need to be aware of if you ever decide to fit one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hi Welcome to the bench update, the frame is all done with feet fitted, I am now measuring up the side rails. It is a good idea to build this as a model to check proportions and the general look of the components.

The top is now being glued up with a dry run in our Plano clamp, it will be biscuited for alignment.

Biscuits are rarely perfect dimensionally here our apprentice is pressing them in an engineering vice to 3.80mm

Using a vernier gauge to check dimension of biscuits

Aluminium and brass plugs fitted

Friday, December 17, 2010

New workbench update.

Drilling using jig template for brass and aluminium plugs

Brass and aluminium plugs and bench dogs

Six of the twelve drawer handles

38 mm forstner bit used to bore out hole on the rails to join legs

Aluminium being turned into bench dogs

More soon

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New workbench under construction

New Bench for the new studio

It is the ambition of many a furniture maker to build their dream bench. This has been mine for the last few years and I have have now embarked on this mammoth task. A lot of research and experience goes into building the right bench for oneself. Height, top size, storage, vices, work holding etc, but for me the aesthetic was equally important - I do have to stand at it for quite a large part of the working day, so shouldn't it look good. This is going to be quite some workbench. Walnut and maple with turned aluminium bench dogs and drawer handles. What this space for more images.

Timber awaiting machining

Planing face side on walnut legs

End rails marked up and domino joints cut

End sections glued up and clamped awaiting drying

Frame glued up and clamped using ratchet straps, feet have been fitted

More images soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chris' chair in rippled maple

Chris' side table, two small boxes and bangles

Rhys' demi-lune table in wenge and ebony substitute

Rhys' wenge bench

nice detail inside the leg, made with router jig.

students work and at work

Rhys' wenge bench two weeks of hand planing, every 10 strokes of the plane was making the blade blunt and required sharpening.

Rhys hand sanding Black MDF which is being used as a substitute to ebony, a technique developed at robinson house studio

Machine room banter

Chris with one of the largest spoke shaves I have seen

student pictures

new studio opens

For many years I have been driven to set up a studio that provided an exceptional level of tuition, one of the best equipped shared workspaces in the UK and an area that inspires great design and exemplary craftsmanship.
‘robinson house studio’ is the result of identifying that need. Areas such as design-history, ergonomics, aesthetics and running a business are taught alongside the more traditional subjects, these areas are often overlooked - resulting in poorly prepared students leaving the safety of the educational facility with little or no chance of either gaining employment or starting up on their own. This type of holistic approach is essential to ensure success for the student in the years following their course.

‘robinson house studio’ will not be instantly recognisable as a cabinet making workshop or school and this is deliberate. Students are encouraged to be experimental and innovation is combined with mixed media making. From day one the student's attention to detail in all areas of furniture making is nurtured, practical skills are entwined with business management and marketing.
The new studio offers a new unique style of furniture making course – one that focuses as much on design as it does on construction. The studio prides itself on standing out amongst the crowd. Innovation and experimentation are as important as tight joints, design and new materials are equal to techniques in dovetailing or finishing, it strives for perfection in all areas and this is a quality that is looked for in students and members.

The studio's teaching model has taken inspiration from past recognisable educational establishments, Parnham College (1970's - 2000) and the German Bauhaus school of the 1930's. ‘robinson house studio’ is different, the furniture I make, and the students I train are all different. The studio’s motto is “Don’t make furniture invent it” Inspiration for design is not taken from furniture but from architecture, nature, product, fashion and car design. This ensures new exciting work will continue to come out of’ robinson house studio’ and its students.

The studio’s ethos follows the work of pioneers such as Wharton Esherick, Wendell Castle and John Makepeace.

In 1968 Wendell Castle said “ I believe that furniture should not be derived from furniture, this practice can only lead to variations on existing themes. New concepts will arise only when we clear our minds of preconceived notions about the way furniture should look.

A high level of tuition is available whether it is a one week course or a one year course, all courses are bespoke and tailor made, class sizes are limited to around five, this ensures a plenty of one to one personal tuition by Marc Fish and not an assistant. The studio has outside visiting lecturers and new optional subjects are planed for students starting in 2011 – life drawing, CAD, site work, fitted furniture, milling and lathe engineering. Many students will enjoy using unusual materials mixed with traditional timber, cutting edge techniques and innovative design.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Le Orchidee finished and exhibiting in London

Le Orchidee desk has now been finished and had it's first outing this month to London. The Millinery Works exhibition featured some 40 UK designer makers. The exhibition was very busy with a good deal of encouraging feedback about the desk. The desk is now back at The Workshop and ready for our open weekend on 22nd & 23rd May.