Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Students 11/10/2013

New Students

October is one of our intake months when new students join us to embark on their journey at 'robinson house studio' and last we welcomed Andy, Salonaz, Sarah, Mike, Rahim and Matt into the workshop!

New Staff Member

This week we had a new addition to the 'robinson house studio' team. Calvin Molloy will be joining us for a placement year as part of his degree in Product Design at Brighton Uni.

We also have new uniforms! Check out these handsome lads...

Student Work

Darren Hancock

Darren has now finished his 50 week course, having joined us last October. He studied architecture at Northumbria University and so already had a good knowledge of design, albeit from a different background, before starting his course. His final project is a hi-fi cabinet in walnut and birch, which was a commission for a private client.

Martin Jelenik

Martin is about 6 months into his 50 week course having joined us in April. For his first project he made a writing box in walnut, beech and leather.

Neil Davies

Neil is with us for 50 weeks and is about halfway through his course. His box was made in wenge and pau ameeillo.

Tip of the Week

This week's tip is something we use day to day but if you haven't had any training in woodworking then it may be something you haven't come across before.

If you dent your work then it is easily repairable with a damp rag and an iron.

Simply wet the rag (which need to be clean otherwise you'll be having other issues!), not so it's absolutely dripping but don't wring it out, place it over the dent and hold the iron on top.

As long as there are no broken fibres in the grain the dent should lift out. For big dents it may not get rid of it entirely but will certainly help, especially if you repeat the process.

Artist of the Month

This time we have chosen Ai Weiwei, a chinese contemporary artist who works mainly in sculpture and installations.

Item of Deisre

Mysterious Automatic Double Axis Tourbillon Watch

Follow the link for a video about the watch!

Sorry it's been so long since the last blog, we've been extremely busy and I've been on site for the last couple of weeks!


Friday, September 13, 2013

October 50 Week Course Space Available 12/09/2013

October Space Available

We still have one space left for our October intake of 50 week students for which Marc is offering a discount and a free set of tools. If it's something you've been considering then now is the time to get involved! Marc is also offering the chance to win a two day course at the studio. All you need to do to enter is subscribe to this blog!

Please ring for details:

Tip of the Week

To glue up mitres on smaller items like boxes or the desk sets we made a few weeks ago, we make up small 45 degree blocks to clamp across the joints rather than using something like band clamps. We usually use super glue to glue the blocks to the components and chisel them off afterwards. The problem with this method is that even when taking care when removing the blocks, the glue can still tear out the grain so we came up with a way to avoid this.

Glue the blocks to 2mm MDF which has been cut to slightly shorter in length than your box sides.

Clamp the MDF in the middle to each component to stop it slipping, and then clamp across the mitres. If you are making a batch of boxes then the jigs will make life a bit easier!

Artist of the Month

This month we have chosen Marc's favourite architect, Pierre Chareau. He was an almost unknown french architect/designer in the 1920s. He designed furniture as well as buildings and had a keen interest in mechanical engineering which comes across in his work. See the pictures below of his masterpiece 'La Maison de Verre'.

Tool Review

Every so often we are sent new tools to test out and possibly review for F&C magazine, but they don't like to print bad reviews so in this new section we will give you the honest truth about what tools you should and shouldn't buy. We'll kick things off with something good...

Recently Marc bought a piercing saw made by an American company called Knew Concepts. They have brought out a range of saws, with prices varying from about £55 to £176 (steep, I know...). The cheaper end of the range have aluminium frames while the more expensive ones are made from titanium in a "bird cage" construction. All the frames are extremely rigid which translates well to the blade tension.

I dusted off my old piercing saw (which hasn't seen any use since my first year of college) to compare with the Knew Concepts saws. Upon first picking up one of these state-of-the-art saws, the difference in balance was immediately apparent. They are extremely lightweight in comparison to my clunky, top-heavy £20 piece of rubbish and require no effort to hold at the right angle.

All the saws take standard length blades which are held in place with blade clamps.The quick release tensioning system is a welcome change from the usual method of changing the blade. It makes things quick and easy and even has a screw for fine tension adjustment.

The blade slots into the blade clamps

The quick release lever detensioned

There are only two downsides we can come up with for these saws: The thread for the fine adjust could be about 2mm longer. We found that unless the blade is placed perfectly between the blade clamps then there is not enough thread for the fine adjust screw. The price is also an issue, but then we all know cheap tools are a false economy. If you use a piercing saw day in day out then there should be no question that this is the tool for you.

You can buy Knew Concepts saws from Workshop Heaven.

Item of Desire

Marc came across a video of the Marunaka 'Supersurfacer', a Japanese planing machine that works slightly differently to the ones we are used to...follow the link to check out the video.

Thanks for checking us out,


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nautilus III Sale 16/08/2013

Nautilus III

As if we weren't happy enough with the sale of Babel at Masterpiece, we have had an order for the third Nautilus coffee table. The commission is for an interior design company across the pond and may be made in different veneers to the usual sycamore and walnut (depending on their veneer choice...). As you can imagine, it is brilliant news for the studio and will hopefully raise our profile, now we just have to make the thing!


Desk Sets

As I mentioned last time, we had a commission for a pen pot and a notepad holder for a London client. I finished making them this week and Chris is currently finishing them with lacquer. As they are so small, the job was pretty much all done by hand which gave me an opportunity to use some skills I haven't used since my first year at college!

Chris spraying the lacquer finish

Tip of the Week

The tip this week is for making curved templates. We usually use 2mm or 3mm MDF to make our templates because it is quicker to sand than thicker material and it's cheap so if you make a mistake then throw it in the bin and start again. Our tip, however, is to use a piece of flexiply with abrasive paper fixed at each end with double-sided tape to sand the template to your pencil line. This way it will sand more evenly, taking out all the high spots to leave you with a perfectly smooth curve.

Follow the link below to see me making a template for a chair leg former:

Item of Desire 

If you've got £1100 to spend on a tool (which I don't) then this is the one to buy. To be honest, any Bridge City tool would be welcome in my tool collection..

Artist of the Month

This time I have chosen sculptor Janet Echelman as our artist of the month. I came across her when looking for interesting TED talks, I've posted a link below to her talk for you to view at your leisure.



Follow the link to watch her TED talk!

That's all this time, check back in a couple of weeks!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Goodwood Sculpture Park Visit 02/08/2013

Goodwood Sculpture Park


Yesterday morning Marc, myself and the students set sail in the direction of Chichester to visit the Goodwood Sculpture Park. I would thoroughly recommend going, it was a brilliant day out! The works are dotted around a woodland area and are all placed perfectly so you approach them from the right angle. See some of my personal favourites below...



Steam Bending Course

We still have a couple of spaces available for our one day steam bending course on the 14th August with Charlie Whinney. Charlie is a master of steam bending whose work ranges from large sculptural pieces to small everyday objects. There really is no one better to learn this incredible skill from so get in touch and book yourself in!


Desk Sets

You may remember last year I posted about a commission for desk sets including pen holders, document trays, blotter wheels, and note pad holders for a client in London.  They got in touch recently and ordered another pen pot and notepad holder in macassar ebony and Marc has kindly entrusted me with the task of making them.

Tip of the Week

 As I mentioned last time, we have added a couple of new sections to the blog. Tip of the week will be a regular occurrence and as we like to experiment a lot here I'm hoping our tips will be something you may not have come across before.

Our first tip is to keep animal glue in plastic syringes for fine work and small repairs. It's handy to have on hand as it avoids the process of having to heat the pot and fill the workshop with that smell we all hate (except Isobel the dog), and when needed, simply put the syringe into hot water to heat the glue and you're good to go. It even acts as a cleaner way of dispensing the glue!


Artist of the Month 

This month was Marc's turn to pick an artist and he settled on Peter Burke, the sculptor responsible for his favourite piece from Goodwood yesterday.



Item of Desire

 For our first item of desire Marc has chosen the Phantom Corsair. It was a prototype built in 1938, and designed by Rust Heinz. Due to the futuristic look it was considered ahead of it's time but unfortunately never went into production. There are plenty of images on google so have a look for yourself!


That's it for this week, have a good weekend!