Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brighton Festival 21/05/2014

Brighton Artist's Open House Festival

Every year in Brighton and surrounding areas artists displaying their work in 'open houses' every weekend in May. We usually do three weekends but this year have decided to just do the last one which is this weekend (24th and 25th).

We will have student work on display, as well as Nautilus Special as a work in progress. Some of our ex-students and bench space guys will also be exhibiting their furniture. If you are interested in doing a course with us, Marc will be available all weekend to have a chat and provide more info.

Like last year, our 3D printer will be working away for the weekend and we now have a 3D scanner - come and have your head scanned!

Course Dates

Spaces are available for the following courses:

Weekend Courses

Laminating – 14th & 15th June
Introduction to furniture making – 12 & 13th July
Finishing – 27th & 28th September

Long Courses

Next 50 week course intake – 3rd November – LIMITED SPACES

London trip

Last week we took our 1 year students up to London to Collect at the Saatchi Gallery. As always there was an impressive array of ceramics, glassware and sculpture, all made with top notch craftsmanship.

After Collect, we made our way to the Tate Modern, stopping off on the way at Pimlico Road to have a peek in Linley's and Andrew Lamberty's shops.
Our London trips are always a good day out and a great opportunity to get some new inspiration!

Check out @robinsonhousestudio on Instagram for pictures from the trip!

Social Media

We are now up and running on all the major social media sites: I have to say that I am quite excited about the interesting content we have started to upload to Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. Why not take a look at some of the pictures we like and inspire us, we would be honoured if you would like to follow us and please let us know if you think we would be interested in something for these.

Tumblr profile



Nautilus Special

Chris is absolutely blasting through the latest Nautilus table, we are almost all the way round the largest former as you can see in the background. This Nautilus will be absolutely massive, watch this space for progress pics!

Tip of the week

A couple of weeks ago Marc asked me to make some bog oak dowels for his new project. I used a technique that one of my tutors taught me at college, and thought I'd share it as tip of the week.

If you've ever made your own dowels, you may have used one of these, and used a cordless drill to drill the timber through the holes…

The problem with dowel pops is that you have to go down through each different sized hole to get the desired size which is quite time consuming. If you are making just one dowel then it is fine but when you are making a whole load like I was then you may want to take the time setting up a router jig. The idea is to use a cordless drill to turn the timber as you pass it over the top of a router cutter, giving you perfect dowels.

Find yourself a board of MDF big enough to screw to a workbench with enough overhanging to fit a router underneath and mark out where the router will go. I used a Veritas centre punch (great little tool) because it fits perfectly in the bolt holes on the router.

Drill the holes and bolt the router to the underside of the MDF. 

You also need to use a forester bit big enough to accommodate the router's collet, and drill this in the middle, so the collet can pass through the MDF.

Next, you need a block of wood with three holes in it. On one side, you drill a hole that will be your dowel finished size, e.g. 6mm, and mark it 'OUT'. On the opposite side, drill a hole 1mm-2mm bigger and mark in 'IN'. These two holes must line up perfectly so you may want to drill all the way through with a 6mm bit before drilling halfway through with a larger bit. 

On the bottom, drill a hole with a forstner bit to allow for the router cutter. This needs to be deep enough that you drill past the other two holes.

Screw the block of wood to the top of the jig, making sure the collet holes line up and neither the collet nor the cutter rub on the wooden block anywhere. Fit the router underneath and line up the top of the cutter to the bottom of the 'OUT' hole. You will need test pieces so cut some timber on a bandsaw to fit snugly in the 'IN' hole. 

Mount the timber in your cordless drill and turn it while pushing it through the holes. It will pass over the top of the router cutter (make sure your router cutter will cut on top and not just on the sides) making it round. If you get the height of the cutter absolutely spot on then it will fit nicely through the 'OUT' hole. 

 What I found is that if you set the cutter height to be fractionally lower that the bottom of the 'OUT' hole then because the timber is slightly bigger, as it goes through it gets burnished by the hole and comes out looking polished. This is great if you want to cut out the sanding and finishing processes afterwards! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Nautilus III 30/04/2014

Nautilus III

I mentioned a few months ago that Nautilus III had been commissioned and on Monday we sent it off to the states. Unlike it's predecessors, this one was made in sycamore and birch rather than walnut which gives a more subtle contrast on the outside of the table. It was also smaller than the last two and Marc added an extra detail as you can see in the photos.

Nautilus Special

The next Nautilus to be made will not be part of the series and will be huge in comparison. Airpress have had to custom make us a vacuum bag 5m x 4m to accommodate the formers. The original Nautilus size was about 2m across and this one will be about 2.8m! Here's Chris stood next to the formers figuring out how he's going to make it…

Social Media

You can now follow us on various social networking sites to keep up to date with the progress in the workshop. 

Instagram - @robinsonhousestudio / - This is being used for day to day workshop pictures.

Tumblr - - Tumblr is where you'll find inspirational pictures that Marc has collected over the years.

Facebook - - Facebook will mainly be news updates.

Student Work

Ian joined us at the beginning of the year for 50 weeks, here is his first project - a pair of boxes, one in 5300 year old bog oak with a cocobolo base, the other in rippled sycamore and leather base. 

The box above looks like a normal rectangular box but is actually the same box as the one below. This was what Ian wanted to achieve by playing around with angles and perspective.

One Week Courses

We have had a lot of interest in one week taster courses recently. A few weeks ago Colin travelled halfway across the world from Hong Kong to learn from us. Over the week he covered sharpening, sawing, chiseling, plaining, finishing, dovetails and even squeezed in a timber yard trip with Marc. 

Last week we had four one week students, and one of them, Jeremy, loved it so much he sent Marc a testimonial:  

"I want to send a huge THANK YOU for the brilliant week I spent at Robinson House.  I learned an enormous amount and enjoyed every minute of it.  It was also great talking to your colleagues and 1-year students, and learning that they all find you as fantastically inspiring as I have!  The atmosphere is very special. 
Among the many things that struck me were: 1. How great design is the backbone of everything you do, and 2. How beginner students are expected on Day 1 to strive for the same levels of precision that you achieve.
I have been talking about it all weekend to anyone who will listen, and proudly showing off my 95.00mm block of wood.
Now it’s time to get down to the workshop and start applying what I learned with you.  (and buy some more expensive tools of course….such a bore…..)
Thank you again for an unforgettable week!"

If you have been thinking about doing a course here at 'robinson house studio' then why not try it for a week? Remember, if you sign up for the longer course then the week taster is free!

Other Courses

The next student intake (May) is now sold out, we have one 50 week space in Novemeber and there are still places available in August for 12 week courses. 

We are running a two day laminating course 14th and 15th June. This is well worth it and covers more than just the basics. Get in touch through the website to get booked in.

Charlie Whinney will be back in August to do his one day steam bending course. Charlie is a steam bending guru and doesn't come down this way very often so take the opportunity while it's there!

Car Design Clay

If you follow us on Instagram then you may have noticed Marc has begun experimenting with using clay as a design tool. In Shanghai, Marc met a man that makes clay models for Jaguar. This particular type of modelling clay is used in the car industry for making new designs and concepts as you can see in the picture. But why not apply it to furniture? To use it, it needs to be heated in an oven to make it malleable, and hardens as it cools. Watch this space, more to come…

3D Scanner

We now have a 3D scanner which will be used for scanning clay models to print on the 3D printer. We haven't tried it yet so keep following us to see what we come up with.

Brighton Artist's Open House Festival

It's that time of year again when we open the doors of the workshop to the public and exhibit our work along with student work. We will only be doing one weekend this year - May 24th/25th - come and visit us!

Thanks for checking us out!