Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bespoke Oak Box for the Guild of Enamellers

A custom box made to hold a very special piece..

 Tea Caddy Spoon made by Rachel Gogerly.

And given by the Guild of Enamellers  Memorial Award (for best finish)

A certain amount of free reins on the design of the box but some notes..

  • It must have a very good quality finish.
  • The spoon has to sit inside and be protected...
  • What do we do with the lid..? Hinges means the lid would have to be supported.. Loose means it can be lost or misplaced.
  • Simple, clean lines

A block of Oak, finished with an oil to a mat finish. This way the spoon stands out within the box.
 The centre carved out to take the spoon..
with a small piece of green suede to stop the silver spoon getting scratched.

The lid, lined inside the top with matching suede.

The lid is a little different. It tapers.. from the one corner to the opposite corner..
There is good reason for this..

The lid on the box, you can see some of the taper here..

The box sits inside the top of the lid, this way the lid is part of the display..

The tapering lid displays and 'presents' the block with the spoon towards you. 

The Tea Caddy spoon sits beautifully on the Leather, with an even gap around to 'set off' the piece

Everyone was really pleased with it..

The presentation.. photo taken from the Facebook page of the Guild of Enamellers

All the best


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Glass Blowers Blocks

So it was bound to happen.. Glass Blowers blocks

My workshop is in the heart of the glass making industry for the last few hundred years, Stourbridge. in the West Midlands. And now there are glass blowers and glass artists here, rather than the old big firms .. link to brief history of Stourbridge glassmaking

I'm inside the Ruskin Glass Centre, an old factory building of Webb Corbett and within a hundred yards or so are a number of glassblowers who either work for themselves or within the Glass House College
making and teaching glass blowing.

One of the staff of the college asked me if I could make a block.. one of the tools used to shape and even out some of the lumps and bumps in the process of blowing the glass..

He had a couple of Cherry tree logs for me to use and they were getting low on these tools.

click on the photos to enlarge

Here's one being used, the glass is on the end of the iron, which is rotated on the rails of the bench.
The block is held beneath applying pressure to the glass to get the required shape.

During the process..

When not in use and between shaping, to keep them from burning to a cinder, the blocks are dipped into a bucket of cold water, then after they just sit there, in the bucket ready for the next session.

Here are some of their 'well used' and now 'out of action' blocks...

I love making tools, and to make one that has nothing to do with woodworking is a little different..
But chatting to those around me, I got a feel for what was needed... Oh.. and no one could show me a block in perfect new condition, because from the first time that you 'burn in' the tool, it starts to get worn out..

So, here it is..Cherry Wood with an Ash handle..the handle was part of a chair leg,
 from the college that had got broken and could not be used for anything else.. 

I took it round to show the guys. Even with the finish on the inside of the bowl straight from a gouge, 
they said it was like a Rolls Royce version.. and I didn't need to shape the outside so well.. oh, and don't bother with the decoration around the handle.. (this was already on the chair leg) so it was a freebie..

The 'burning in' process.. love the colour of the wood..
and.. if you hadn't noticed yet, all of these used block photos are of the one I made 

Thanks for looking

All the best


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bespoke Oak box

Stuart had mentioned making a box for this award a while ago.. Probably six months ago.

He was after a box to carry around and to protect the glass trophy, a 'loving cup' and cover, with a plinth. These were not necessarily the most expensive of items, but have become a symbol of worth, of value.

Kieran's Memorial Golf Day is an event that Stuart takes part in with loads of other golfers, who get involved in to raise money in memory of Kieran Mallett.

The Brief:

So, where to start.. no design, no real instruction of how or preferences...

"Just make a lovely box, instead of this cardboard box that it doesn't all fit into anyway"

I'd got some American White Oak planks, and some hinges, locks and handles in stock..just for this size of box..

click on photos to enlarge

Instead of raising the panel with a plane, router or spindle moulder, I chose to carve it and leave a hand worked textured finish...
this pic is during the process..It did take a while, but well worth the effort because it looks wonderful..

Cutting the lid off, not my favorite part
There can be no stress in the box or once the lid is cut off the box or lid could be distorted.
No stress then.

I love this pic..

Box made.. ready to strip down and go through the grades before Oiling..

The finished box..Oiled so any dents or dings won't ruin the finish, but add to its history..

With lower compartment for the plinth.
The loving cup sits within it's original polystyrene packaging, cut down and covered in the navy fabric..

I hope the guys like it and look after it well. I have told Stuart that I would have it back each year before the event just to make sure it's all working correctly and kept in good order.

The last job to do was to add some ribbon from the key to the handle on the top.

I hope you like it..

All the best