Friday, 27 December 2013

Watch makers/ repairers bench

A re-built, restored and up piece of furniture

Jo told me about her fathers work sounded lovely, with its wonderful array of drawers, nooks and crannies, there were different widths, heights and multiple uses..

It had been in Jo's garage for a long while and she was getting concerned that it was going moldy.. We chatted and I suggested it could go in the house in one of the rooms.

The next day, Jo said it would fit in the corner of her dining room if it was a little smaller in length, and width...and obviously cleaner

This is what It looked like without the drawers
They came the next day, as it wouldn't all fit in the car..

Over the next two weeks I worked on the bench with one of my students, Jason.

Working with Jo, I cut the top down, leaving the most of the wear and tear showing.. Jason helped me fix the two cupboards together and put all of the edging back on. The drawers were loose, so they got a clean, and loads of the most tiny of watch parts fell onto my bench...

I carefully fixed the drawers, some of which now wouldn't slide back into the cupboard. A quick rub over with a plane soon sorted this little problem out..

After all of the alterations, it was time for a clean up, inside, outside and underneath all got some attention. All of the handles were removed and polished up just with a dry cloth. Then a couple of applications of wax and that was it..

I had decided to leave the small gap in the bottom of the plinth,
this shows its true origin

Jo will be putting all of her Dads tools, watch spares and memories back into those drawers and other personal items on the top just as she remembered and secure..

The shelf between the cupboards is now a shelf inside the tall cupboard, just where it would be of most use.

and those tiny watch parts..

Inside one of my memory jars..along with the shavings off the drawers.

Just add a little of you favorite essential oil.. keep in the cupboard to stop any stale smells

All the best


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Antoni Gaudi inspired feature window panel

A few months ago now, Paul Floyd came into my workshop and asked if I would be interested in making a curved frame for a stained glass panel commission that he'd just got.

Now he's got my attention - curved frame, sounds good to me. Tell me more..

Chris and Anne-Marie had been to Barcelona, where they had visited some of the fabulous work of Antoni Gaudi and wanted to have their own piece built into their new home. The commission was for a framed stained glass panel approximately 1100 mm by 1000 mm. The glass design was being carefully thought out and designed by Paul with Chris and Anne-Marie providing the ideas and inspiration.

The frame was down to myself and Paul working together, to get the best possible framework for this wonderful design of glass that he had put forward.

I had looked on the internet, and been blown away by some of the work that Gaudi had had made..So my next job was to get hold of a book with information and loads of pictures to help me get into this properly. A certain internet auction site came into play.

 A few days later I had in front of me a huge book by Maria Costantino click here to go to Amazon books to view. This is a great source of information, especially the photographs of the wooden framework.

Now, as I looked through the book I did feel that the frames could be thinner, I'm sure Gaudi was happy with what he saw, but we where working on a much smaller scale, where the size of the framework had to be in proportion with the overall dimensions, as well as with the glass and lead work.

Paul had had the design all signed off, and I was then concerned with where this frame was going to be sited.

I had questions..

  1. At what height was the frame going to be fixed
  2. What is the frame going to be connected to? beams, plaster-work
  3. On top of a door frame? How?
  4. Is the building very old style or more modern?
I contacted Chris, and we arranged for a site visit. I wanted to get a feel for the space and room around it. And I'm so glad that I did, I changed my mind about the frame a couple of times while I was there with Chris, and my main concern was the frame overpowering the glass, (Gaudis timber work is very chunky)
the depth of the wall it was going to be fitted into was quiet deep around 150 mm. A frame this deep would have definitely overpowered the glass.

After a couple of calls to Chris, who was really good about my concerns, and more or less said yes "Go with what you feel would be right"..I had the design in my head, easier for me to make, easy to install, and probably the most important, easy to change a piece of glass, should a pane get broken.

A pattern had arrived from the site carpenter, and with my dimensions taken at the time of my visit, I knew we would be no more than a millimeter or two away using this pattern.
Paul and I set to work on the pattern, I worked it so that I would be making two frames with the rebate for the thickness that Paul wanted for his glass and leadwork, this worked well for me. I'll put some pics here and show you.

These are the templates from the pattern,
I used these to mark and cut the timber too..

I built the frame onto some 18 mm board to help keep it all safe and secure,
Each joint at the moment is a butt joint, this gets the joint really tight.
Blocks help add pressure when gluing up.
The design of the frame, meant that at it's thinnest in the verticals, the timber between the two rebates would only be 2 mm wide. I was pushing the timber towards the edge of being too close for comfort.. But this is what I wanted from the frame. This was no ordinary joinery job.. Not many workshops would do a piece like this, and yet this is what makes me tick

While I was making the frame Paul was getting on with the glass panels.

Paul normally works to dimensions or straight off the frames. Where I'm more used to working in parallel, to dimensions or patterns. Here we are both working to the same pattern..that I checked, so I was happy and confident. I think that helped Paul, these glass panels had to fit straight away without the need to fettle..
And tension was growing, because the building program had a slot for us to fit the frame..I had decided that to give the frame a Gaudi colour, I would Button Polish the frame. a finish traditionally used on Oak furniture.

Here the frame has been sanded both sides, I shaped the Oak,
Then routered down to get the frame the same section through to the other side.

I have skipped a couple of stages now, I spent a while working out how this frame was going to be built up. And normally I don't mind sharing, but this is different. What I can tell you is that there were over seventy separate pieces in the building up of the frame and working the rebates.

The frame is rounded off with three different size cutters and then blended by hand.

click on photo for larger view

Detail shot of the masons mitre at the bottom centre of the frame.
I have stylized the mitre, I wanted to do it in a way that would catch the eye better, but not been seen before..I love it, and will do more like this..masons mitres are underated

The two frames, one will be fixed (with rebate to take glass), the other is removable just in case a piece of glass has to be replaced. That's why there are peg holes, for screwing the frame together, but will have dummy pegs to appear like a traditionally made frame.

You never know I might have to do it, so the easier it is the better.

The pegs can be removed with pincers, and in the holes are 11/4" x 6 countersunk screws

The first trial fit of the glass in the frame.
The glass fitted exactly as planned, we were both pleased with the outcome, and visitors to the workshops were seeing the work we do before there eyes, and loving it too.
Now the job is really starting to get there.

Here's the frame with two coats of shellac sealer, and six coats of Button Polish
(I mixed the polish to a traditional recipe)

Paul Floyd and myself, all glass dry fitted, ready to go in the car and be fitted that very day.

So within a couple of hours, of the last shot, here we are fitting the frame and glass into its new home for the next few hundred years. I had put a softwood frame around the Oak. This was going to be plastered around, in a curve to bring the flat wall round into the Oak, then the radius on the Oak goes around into the glass. This would re-create the feel that is seen in Antoni Gaudis work. The plasterer was going to have some fun, and I got the phone call that I expected to get about this.. the guys just love the flat stuff, and don't usually do curves.. but he was fine.

So this is how Paul and I left the frame, glass all installed and looking really quite different, the Oak looking lovely, Pine framework all round, ready for plasterboard above and the plaster curving from the flat wall into the corner of the Oak.

December 6th 2013

The house is finished now, and Paul and I are there to give the glass and the frame one last dust, clean and polish to complete the job. It's great to go and revisit a piece, and see how it has become part of someones home, part of the family's history, and I'm sure it will be there for a long while.

Just pictures now...

I hope you enjoyed that. I loved every minute of making the frame. If you would like a piece commissioned then please get in touch..

I will be posting a more equal, Paul & Jamie version on the Open Studios blog that I write too, where you can see more of Pauls work and a little less of mine.

Happy Christmas

All the best.. Jamie

Friday 20th December 2013

I have been in touch with Chris, and he's happy for me to share his testimonial on this page..

Dear Paul and Jamie,

We just wanted let you to know how thrilled we are with the glass panel we commissioned for our new home. When, following a trip to Barcelona, we first came to your studios with vague (some might say fanciful) notions of a Gaudi inspired window, we could’ve little imagined the end result would realise our somewhat hazy vision so spectacularly.

From the very start of the project, you involved us fully and made us feel part of the design process, though all creative credit must go to yourselves. The sinuous, naturalistic frame Jamie created reflects the research he conducted into Gaudi’s work, and is very evocative of the woodwork at Casa Batllo.  It is a truly breathtaking  piece of carpentry. Similarly, Paul’s stained glass suggests the wonderful sense of fluidity and uninhibited movement in Gaudi’s work.  The circular motif again echoes the stained glass at Casa Batllo, as does the subtle blend of textures and colours. It is stunning work of the highest quality.

When we commissioned the panel, we were looking for something that would pleasingly fill a void in a wall, and add something a little different to our entrance hall. What we got was the ‘Wow Factor’ in spades, with nearly every visitor passing comment on this striking piece of work. Gaudi was all about architecture as art, and that’s what you’ve delivered, and at a remarkable price, given the quality of the workmanship and the visual impact the piece has. So thank you both for your dedication, craftsmanship and, above all, imagination. You have enriched our home with something beautiful and unique, and we could not be more pleased. We hope to be able to commission you again in the future, and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending you to anyone else considering a similar kind of project.  

Very best wishes and thank you again,

Chris and Anne-Marie Fewtrell

and Chris's email..

Hi Jamie,

I've just read it and I'm even more in awe of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of the panel. I think the blog reads really well and I have absolutely no objection to any of the content, so please feel free to add my testimonial as and when.

Thanks so much again, a very Merry Christmas to you and your family from all of us.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Gfeller Trub Phone

"The King of Phones"

I first came across these beautiful phones a few years ago, I bought one because it's wooden..

What better reason?..and it's still in use

I thought that I would put on here, what I have learnt about these beautiful phones. In one place as a reference for myself and for others. I have owned and cleaned up three of them so far, and got to know quite a bit about them. You can read other info about them elsewhere, but on here I want to talk about the phones as we see them

From what I have seen there are three species of timber used for making these, Cherry, Maple and Rosewood..and if you look at the boxes of some you can see the Cherry version, I have yet to see any of the other phones on the box. The timber blank is CNC cut, the insides are really well done, with holes drilled out, then inserts fixed for screw threads, and the quality is great.

Click on picture to enlarge

The keys are pressed metal, Gold anodized, over the plastic buttons

The handset is from one blank piece, cut apart, each one hollowed out, then put back together using the same inserts as before, with brass screws, as seen. 

The cradle. The handset sits on two pieces of leather, that are recessed into the body of the phone. The center mounting piece is of plastic with a clear section in the middle for your telephone number to be written on the very small piece of card. The clear acrylic has to be removed to get to the card.

The hole by the bottom left hand rubber foot, houses the three way switch for the volume levels.
Notice the original stickers/ labels underneath.. the more stickers the better.
Please don't ever remove these, I'm making a note of the codes

If you get a really good one, the handset is made from the same style/type of grain.
The grain can vary a lot, The handset can match in grain and be similar to the body, but I've also seen wild grain with plain and straight grain

If you would like one of these phones, please contact me. I have a list of clients after them when they are available. 

Get on the waiting me with your details


One last point..

Please remember these phones come in different timbers, so the colour is different. They are 'Rosewood', Maple and Cherry. Some sellers don't know what they are selling and get the information cut and pasted off other websites..please be aware of this when buying online. The text will say one thing when the pictures tell the real story..  That's if they use their own photographs, and not 'stock photographs'... 

and yes I've had my fingers burn't..

All the best 


Just found this other piece on another one of these beautiful phones. This guy loves his..have a read.
Another link to Trub Phone at Powerhouse

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Oak Box Commission

It started with a Google search...  like ..  'Custom made box..'

I had had a couple of emails from Becky, about making a box for a friend of hers, we exchanged a few emails and Becky came over to the workshop with plenty of details about the sizes and other requirements. We discussed the design, the timber, and style of the box, then how the tray would sit and the loose lid would fit to the box. And of course the finish, after meeting with Becky, something just felt right that I would enjoy doing this one. The job card had now got all of the information that I needed..

Given a reference number, and added to the work schedule.

I try to organise my machine time, so while I had the planer out working on another project, I planed the timber up.

I was hoping to prepare enough wood to possibly make another couple of small boxes at the same time, but concerned about the sizes a bit, as when I read through the details all of the dimensions were internal. I was limited to the amount of Oak I had, so I planed up the two small planks having worked out that I could get the box and tray easily from them.

I Tweeted some of the pics as it was being made, so if you want to keep in touch with what I'm up to pretty much as it happens, then that's the best way..

This turned out to be a lovely box..

click on pictures to enlarge

The lid sits on top of the box, held in place by two small strips of Oak

The colour matches all round because it's all out of the same two pieces
from the same much larger plank

The tray is 20mm deep for playing cards and sits 6 mm below the top edges
A compartment either end for cards and other items.

The tray supports are specially made quadrants, from the same plank 
They keep the tray at the right height and add support to the corner joints.

click on pictures to enlarge

The tray sits 42 mm over the inside base specified by Becky

The box is finished with 6 coats of Danish Oil, with an Open grain satin finish,
which can be left, or waxed to a high gloss if required

A beautiful 21st Birthday gift

Thanks for reading

All the best


Monday, 10 June 2013

Surfboard coffee table

I've only just noticed how long it's been since my last posting, so from this, you can imagine how busy I am, there's lots going on, and only a part of it goes onto here.

So, back in March 2013..

This little beauty has been on the cards for over a year now. I wanted to make a coffee table that would be suitable in a living room and also be able to be taken in a camper and used as a coffee table whilst camping out.

So while things are picking up in the workshop, I do want to make different types of things, so I thought it was time to get on with it, and fit it in between jobs.
Some days, it took over and I just kept on going with it, then I might not touch it for a few days.

The wood, the plank of Mahogany has been around a long time, some from John Boddys Timber, and I picked some Maple up from the timber yard a while ago. I always try to pick up the odd bit of timber when I can.. and this Maple is from the same log as the LA Photo frame, in an earlier posting.

When I thought about the design of this table, I wanted it to be able to sit in a modern room or 50s -60's living room... but with the option of being able to take it camping or keep in a camper van. So the legs had to be removable, hmm tricky.

Finished in April, ready for our Open Studio event at the Ruskin Glass Center. But halfway through the build I was asked if I would mind being filmed and interviewed for a piece for The Ruskin Glass Center.

Here's that interview  Click on here

And here is the table..

Lamp and mug are for scale..

60's inspired legs, with a twist..

I tried different layouts for the stripes before settling on these
Twin Stripes with Pinstripes..

The legs unscrew, each one is numbered to get it back in the right socket..

And the circle inlays are Bay Tree oysters.

Photographed in the Loft Photo studio above my work space, this is where i'll be taking all my photos for a while. The white painted old brickwork of the Webb Corbett factory wall is a great backdrop.

The table is for sale and details can be seen in the Gallery.

I've got some catching up to do so it wont be so long until the next time.

Thanks for looking

All the best


Friday, 3 May 2013

Accordion music book rest

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday I had two couples come into the workshop, Lovely people who enjoyed my work. One of the couples bought one of my pieces, which was the first piece sold from the new workshop.

The other couple came back a few weeks later and discussed them commissioning a piece.

This is about that piece, a stand similar to one I have in the gallery area.

This one was made for Lynn 15 years ago,
to fit our colour scheme and still looks fresh today.

So we discussed the timber, because they have a Cherry dining suite it wasn't hard to make that decision.  Then sizes, a bit wider 255 mm and the base part only has to hold slim books, so down to 25 mm. I put all this information onto the inside of a job card, how much I thought it would cost and their top line.

So the piece will be American Cherry, the hinged part in Cherry and I'll probably use some of my Ebony stock for the hinge pin.

After cutting the initial shape and marking out, I cut the holes out..
then grooved the back to take the stand

Here's the face, with holes cut, but not cut to height yet.
Next to it the stand part marked out ready to cut out the hinge.. 

The temporary hinge pin is a drill bit, fun cutting the hinge.. 
but getting it to stay to the correct angle takes a bit of time

I cut the angle before adding the step and front on, but I had to get the angle of the rear support and the face both working together..

Dry fitting the step and the front, note the rear support is fixed in place now..
and I did use Ebony for the pin..only because it was in my stock of small parts made

cleaning up the excess glue..

Completed after several coats of Oil..
Sitting on my surf board coffee table.

Rear view.. I like it in American Cherry

and a close up of that hinge..

I hope Carolyn enjoys it as much as did making it. Apologies for the quality of the last three pictures, I hadn't taken any of the stand before it was picked up, so had to rush to get some completed images..

Your comments are welcome.. on this and other work on this site.

All the best