Goat Skin

20150524_115823Lately I’ve had a hankering for extra grippage in my vice jaws. I know that some people suggest using shelf liner but I’ve always wanted to use suede/leather. 20150524_164403Unfortunately, it is a bit of a hassle finding small quantities of genuine leather so I need an alternative. The English Woodworker came to the rescue the other day when I came across this post where he suggests using chamois leather as a cheap alternative. I thought I’d give it a try and I’m very pleased with the results. As the post points out, chamois is quite thin and so will not last as long as proper suede, but it is cheap enough to be renewed more often.

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Biltong Slicer #3


Time to cut all the pieces to something approaching their final shape. I was able to use my shop-made turning saw for this job, and it worked a treat. I had to experiment a bit with the tensioning cord but after a few extra turns I was away.

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Biltong Slicer #2

2In thinking about the hardware for this project I had more or less settled on a solution for the blade. I have a #5 ½ blade that had been sharpened so many times that it was well past its useful service life as a plane iron, but would have been suitable for this project, albeit a little wider than necessary. However, the chap who commissioned this project had a better solution. He had previously tried himself to make a Biltong Slicer, but found that he couldn’t do it. His intention was to build several of them and sell them on, and to that end he had a number of blades made up. He suggested that I use his blades instead. They are a little tarnished and the bevel has been crudely ground with and angle grinder, so they will need a little honing and polishing before they can be pressed into service, but I think they will be more suitable for the project than the plane iron. Continue reading “Biltong Slicer #2”

Biltong Slicer #1


I haven’t had time to post for a while – lots going on – but I thought I should drop down a couple of lines on how the Biltong Slicer project is going. Continue reading “Biltong Slicer #1”

Mystery Project: Revealed


It’s been a few days since I announced my upcoming mystery project, and asked if anyone could guess what it will be. Well, there have been a few responses – good guesses all – but all incorrect, and since I doubt that there will be any other guesses I thought I’d reveal true answer. It’s not a herb cutter. It’s not a cigar trimmer. It’s not a device for making dolls house shingles. It is in fact…

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Sawyer’s Bench #6

20150508_125549    20150508_130234

This is my last post on the Sawyer’s Bench because, barring further coats of finish, the project is complete.

I wasn’t sure what finish to use on this project. Tom Fidgen didn’t put a finish on his apparently, but I asked him for advice and he said that he would use a boiled linseed oil and wax mixture.

Luckily, I had a few blocks of 1oz. beeswax and some linseed oil so, when I was ready to finish, I set about making my own concoction. I went for an 8:1 mix of oil and wax, mixing them by heating them in an old wok over a pan of boiling water on an electric hob. A gas hob is not advisable as boiled linseed oil is flammable. Continue reading “Sawyer’s Bench #6”

Mystery Project

I have been charged with building one of these. What do you think it is?

I have been given my first commission, by a work colleague of mine. The item that he needs, although ubiquitous in his homeland, is something of a rarity around these parts. I must confess that I had never heard of or seen such a thing until he brought it up in conversation one day last week. Continue reading “Mystery Project”

Sawyer’s Bench #5

20150507_132111Well, its time for the final glue up. I have decided to use glue and dowels to fix the aprons to the leg assemblies, which will be a two stage operation.

First I glues the aprons to the assemblies and clamped them good and tight, removing as much excess glue as possible with a damp cloth. I did this first thing yesterday, before the school run, and left it to go off for a few hours.

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Sawyer’s Bench #4


Once the leg/stretcher joints were dry, I bored the holes for the stepped dowels, using a dedicated drill bit in my brace. The dowels I have chosen for this project are made from walnut, which I thought might offer a bit of contrast with the cherry. The dowels were glued in place and, once dry, sawn and plane flush. Continue reading “Sawyer’s Bench #4”

Sawyer’s Bench #3


I got to work on the bird’s mouth for the top boards of the bench this weekend. They were quite difficult cuts to do in my little vice. I really could do with some kind of saw horse to do these kinds of cuts on. Maybe one with a removable fence and a bird’s mou…

…oh, yeah, right.

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