Measuring and Marking

Peter Sefton describes all the essential tools you’ll need for marking and measuring.

The accurate marking and measuring of timber is a critical part of our furniture making; to do this well, we need quality reliable tools. In this article, we’ll look at some of the tools that we use in our teaching workshops and show you how to check the tools that you have, to make sure they are doing what you need.

Woodworking Crafts Magazine

Timber Selection

Peter Sefton tells us about what’s going on at the Furniture School this month and shares a few important tips on timber selection.

February is an exciting time of year for us in the Furniture School; the professional long course students bought their timber for their major projects before Christmas and now it’s time to start cutting it up and making their ideas on paper come to reality.

Woodworking Crafts Magazine

How to improve your planer’s performance

Peter Sefton looks at getting the most out of your planer through honing and back bevels.

Derek and I were recently debating the merits of machine versus hand planing and the difference in finish given for the amount of time taken and energy expended. Whether you use a separate surface planer and thicknesser or a combined under/over planer/thicknesser, I think the machine planer has to be one of the most time-saving and useful bits of kit in our workshop. When a planer is set up and maintained well it gives a superb clean finish with very accurate results. But throw difficult interlocked grains or rippled timbers into the mix and the finish given can lead to ‘planer rage’. Here, I’ll look at strategies for keeping your planer as an asset to your timber preparation, even when things get difficult.

Furniture & Cabinetmaking Magazine

Double drum coffee table

Peter Sefton’s student Paul McAnenny reflects on the problems and new techniques involved in his first design project.

raining at Peter Sefton’s Furniture School has been an enjoyable experience for me and having learnt the basics on a series of set projects during the first term, I was ready to make something of my own design from start to finish.

I found initial inspiration when one of my peers drew out a shape for
a veneer hammerhead we were in the process of making, which was, in essence, two overlapping circles. After sketching out some designs, I came up with a basic idea for a coffee table. I wanted a challenge and to try something new so decided to add two drawers that would require curved fronts; a concept
we had only previously talked about in the classroom. In order to get a grasp of the whole design and creation process, we would be doing everything to complete the piece from the initial technical drawings to sourcing our own timbers.

Furniture & Cabinetmaking Magazine

Can British chisels still compete?

Peter Sefton reports on the Ashley Iles bevel-edged chisels he recommends to his students.

I bought my first set of Ashley Iles bevel edged chisels almost 10 years ago and the original Mk1s have served me very well. They have since been superseded by the Mk2 which came out with improved quality of grinding and smaller handles. The traditionally hand-forged Sheffield steel is quick and easy to sharpen and produces a very keen edge – just what I require for fine furniture making; not over brittle or over hard.