Friday, November 30, 2012

Robb Report Singapore 30/11/2012

Robb Report Singapore

About a month ago we mentioned that Nautilus II was set to appear in the Robb Report Singapore, a magazine aimed at the 'super-rich'. They gave Marc a double page spread with a short bio briefly explaining the idea and inspiration behind the coffee table.

 Art Class

Making furniture is not always entirely about woodworking skills, there are many other skills that need to be acquired along the way. In addition to CAD courses, design history lessons and business lectures, Marc provides the students with a two day art course with Ruth Garrett, a local architectural watercolour artist. Ruth teaches the students key techniques for sketching, drawing and painting with watercolours, all of which are important skills to have when presenting drawings and ideas to a potential client. These classes are available to non-students, details can be found on the website

Student Work

Our students have been learning how to bleach timber this week using A and B bleach, caustic soda, lemon juice and cream of tartar. After experimenting with different methods of application and varied drying times everyone concluded that A and B bleach is undeniably the best!

50 week student Thibaut is making good progress and has just finished his through-wedged mortise and tenons.

Kris has started making two Fender Telecaster replicas as a side project while he is making his coffee table.

Art Nouveau Chair

With the students busy with the art class, Marc took the opportunity to continue with the Hector Guimard chair. Some components are now glued up and Marc has begun shaping and carving the details on the front legs using rasps, carving chisels and abrasive paper.

Sorry it's been so long since the last blog, we've been extremely busy! More next week,


Monday, November 5, 2012

Timber Yard Visit 02/11/2012

Timber Yard Trip

When new students are about a month or so into their course Marc takes them on a day out to a few timber yards. The first stop of the day is usually at English Woodland Timber where they have a vast collection of European and North American hardwoods. English Woodland Timber is generally where we go for most of our timber. Apart from being one of the closest timber yards to us, they have huge amounts of the timbers most commonly used in furniture such as oak, walnut, cherry, maple etc all in a large variety of sizes and they often have whole trees which allows us to select sequential boards. They also allow us to enter the kilns and explain to the students the process of kiln drying timber. The next timber yard we stop at before lunch is 
WL Wests and Sons, which is not dissimilar to English Woodlands in the wood they sell but they do have a nice little shop where you can pick up interesting books, tools or interesting pieces of wood.

After a spot of lunch, we head up to Tonbridge to visit Timberline, a place that specialises in exotic hardwoods. All kinds of rosewood and ebony are available as well as wenge, purpleheart, rippled sycamore, mahogany and many more that I don't even know how to spell. It is here that students usually end up spending more than they intended as it's so easy to get drawn in by all the beautiful timbers on offer. The owner, Robert has a vast knowledge of timber and is always very forthcoming when we visit. 

The timber yard trip is always a good day out, despite being somewhat cold, and the students get a chance to learn about the process of selecting the right timber for the job, how timber is stored and dried, and have a chance to familiarise themselves with some timbers that you don't see every day. Pub lunch is also a welcome stop.

New Thicknesser

Our new thicknesser finally arrived on Wednesday! Digital rise and fall, variable speed, maximum width of 530mm, maximum cut depth of 6mm, four knives and a sectional infeed roller for boards of varied sizes. We've only had it two days and we are already feeling the benefits.


Thus week the students have been experimenting with different finishing techniques using Osmo oil, Tung oil, Danish oil, Sam Maloof solution, Kiel's wax and Renaissance wax. By dividing up pieces of wood with masking tape you can apply the various oils and waxes to compare the effects each one has on a variety of timbers.

Darren applying oil to his samples

Art Nouveau Chair Project

Marc's side project is starting to take shape now and is almost ready to glue up. He has roughly cut the shapes of the legs, rails and crest rail which will all be carved by hand once the components are glue together.

Student Projects

Well done to 50 week student Kris who has now finished his two jewellery boxes in Madagascan rosewood and aluminium!

Have a good weekend, more next week.