The Black Dog Workshop


Like most amateurs in any craft, I rely heavily on my maestros and gurus, and for me, help comes in the form of YouTube videos more than anything else. When it comes to hand tool woodworking, I invariably turn to the likes of Paul Sellers and Tom Fidgen. When I need advice about woodturning, my ‘go to’ guys are Mike Waldt and Martin Saban-Smith.

Continue reading “The Black Dog Workshop”


Well, 2016 is about to bow out, and so I thought I’d put together a little slideshow of what I have been up to this year.

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Now I’m off to raise a glass of the particular and usher in 2017.

Happy New Year folks! Let’s make it a good one.


Workbench #0: Back story


Many moons ago I visited a local school that was in the process of being demolished and rebuilt. A friend of mine was the property manager and he allowed me on site to remove some old fire doors that I wanted to make some compost bins. While I was there I spotted an old woodworking bench in the reception area and I asked what was going to happen to it. My friend said that the workshop equipment that was not going to be re-used was being sold off and that this bench was the last one. When I expressed an interest, he made a couple of phone calls on my behalf, but it as turned out it was spoken for. Continue reading “Workbench #0: Back story”

Treasure Chest #3 – “Treasure”


The key thing with this project was assembling it in the right order. The bottoms of the  two main compartments, as well as the bottoms of the two recesses in the central block, were to be lined with baize. Therefore, the interior of the box needed to be finished before the baize went in because I didn’t want to get shellac or wax all over it. Also, I needed to finish the interior, before the base went on because if any wax got onto the base, the baize wouldn’t stick to it.  Continue reading “Treasure Chest #3 – “Treasure””

Treasure Chest #2 – The lid


I lost count of the number of YouTube videos I watched whilst preparing to make the curved lid for this box. All of them showed the slats being edge mitred to an angle specific to the size of the box and the number of slats, but a lot of them were then just nailed to semicircular ‘gables’. This is fine for a rustic tool box but because the slats are flat there are gaps between them and gables that would look dreadful on a more refined piece. I decided that I needed to go the extra mile and make flats on the gables for the slats to sit on. Continue reading “Treasure Chest #2 – The lid”

Boat Bookcase #3: Smartening up



With the main structure of the bookcase assembled it was time to work on some additional features to make it look a bit more ‘boaty’. I decided to use walnut for this, and I began by making a stem to define the bow  I started by chiseling out a ‘v’ shaped stopped dado into a piece of walnut so that the stem could fit onto the bow and hide the screws that hold the sides together. Continue reading “Boat Bookcase #3: Smartening up”

Still turning

Hello fellows. I just thought I’d drop a quick line to show you what I’ve been up to this last week or so.

I’m still turning, at the expense of starting my new bench, but I think that just a few more turning projects and the novelty of it will be out of my system. My intention in the future, is to divide my time equally between woodturning and traditional woodworking as far as possible. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

I’ve posted a slideshow below of my latest three projects. first lidded box, 2. my first goblet – both made out of the same piece of yew – and 3. a pestle and mortar. The pestle is made from iroko but I don’t know what the mortar is made from. It started out as a truly gnarly piece of wood that I had been told was apple. However, it soon became apparent that it was not.

Anyway, let me know what you think of these ‘objets’ in the comments, and I’ll catch you all later.

Take it easy.



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Season’s Greetings



Just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the best of luck for the New Year.

love from

Goatboy, Goatgirl and the kids.

I’ve been busy


For some time now, I have wanted to build myself a proper woodworking bench. Nothing to big – I haven’t got the space – but a small, solid bench, along the lines of the Petite Roubo. I’m thinking about 5 feet long, 18 – 20 inches wide and just shy of 3 feet tall. The top needs to be about 4″ thick and the legs roughly 3″ by 5″. The top would be attached to the leg assembly with through dovetails and mortices, and there would be stretchers on all four sides supporting a low shelf. I also want to make and install a leg vice, and conceivably a sliding dead man, although the bench may be too small for that. I already have a vice that would do as an end vice and I would drill and array of dog holes along the front edge of the top. I don’t want a tool tray, but I might make a small rack to go along the back edge, to keep chisels and squares etc. safe while working. Continue reading “I’ve been busy”

Guédelon Castle


Last month, Goatgirl and I took the kids on a camping holiday in France in our recently purchased motorhome. Starting in St. Malo from the ferry, we travelled across Northern France taking in Mont-Saint-Michel, Bayeux and Rouen before meeting up with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend in Maubeuge. From there we drove in convoy across the border into Belgium for the Formula One Grand Prix in Spa. That was an amazing four days, even in spite of McLaren’s poor performance. I hadn’t been to a Grand Prix for over 20 years, and it was a first for Goatgirl and the kids. A good time was had by all.

The day after the race we went our separate ways; my brother and his girlfriend headed home, my parents went on into Germany, and we went south back into France, travelling for another week in a loop that took us south of Paris and then west, back across to St. Malo. Midway through this return journey we had a scheduled stop in Treigny to experience something truly awesome – Guédelon Castle.  Continue reading “Guédelon Castle”

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