The Woodworker & Woodturner – March 2023
English | 101 pages | pdf | 25.5 MB

While my DIY skills are fairly limited, I’m lucky in that my partner is able to turn his hand to all manner of tasks. A keen woodworker with a background in boatbuilding, since moving into our new home he’s been tackling various jobs on the never-ending ‘to do’ list. With the workshop build still in progress, finding tools can be a tad challenging, especially when they’re located in temporary storage at the end of the garden…
Our new property is one of 38 on a mid 19th-century crescent in Brighton, originally built in 1847 by notable architect Amon Henry Wilds. With many original period features still intact, such as beautiful coving, cornicing and marble fireplaces, there’s also five sets of lovely double saloon doors, with one in particular boasting a rather grand brass bolt, as pictured above.Draughty dilemma
One of the downsides to this style of door, however, is that over time and due to wood movement, a gapopens up between the two halves – as much as 5mm in this case – thus letting in unwanted draughts and currents of cool air. To remedy this, a 2,000 × 3 × 25mm hardwood batten and some expanding wood glue – Joiners Mate Liquid Wood Adhesive – along with several G-clamps were required to hold everything in place. Once dry, a little wet and dry sanding, a steady hand to cut in the bright work, and a simple magnetic catch solved the problem: no more draughts and a cosy living room. Only three rooms to go and I’ve requested that my office is next!

French door finesse
As time passes and styles and tastes change, this can often lead to properties being subjected to neglect or having original features either removed completely or covered in countless layers of paint. As a result, details sadly get lost and hidden away, often never to be seen again. Luckily, due to having ‘broken’ one of the locks on the set of French doors that lead out onto the garden, my partner used this as an opportunity to give the door hardware a bit of a revamp. Doing so involved having to painstakingly remove numerous coats of white gloss,
starting with a long soak in paint stripper to loosen the build-up. Once this had taken effect, careful use of a pen knife allowed him to pick out the wonderful details, before finally using WD40 and ‘0000’ wire wool to complete the job. Now reinstated, these look stunning and create a wonderful contrast with the freshly painted white doors.

Silky smooth finish
Finally, with a new house comes a new table, and this time round, one in a rustic farmhouse style with Norwegian style chairs seemed to fit the bill. With a 12-week lead time from placing the order to delivery, we were excited by the prospect of no longer having to eat dinner off our laps, but when it did eventually arrive, the table top’s overall finish was a bit disappointing. The chairs were solid and stylish and the table legs chunky yet elegant, but running a hand over the table’s surface revealed a sticky wax residue along with a few planer marks. Basically, the resulting finish just didn’t feel, well, finished! To remedy this, some wire wool and turpentine – to remove the wax and bring out the grain – was required along with some good old-fashioned
elbow grease. The next part of this DIY workout involved wet and dry sanding followed by Desk Olje D1 saturating wood oil, which is commonly used in the boatbuilding trade. I must admit that the end result looks and feels fantastic and it should certainly stand the test of time, not to mention a few accidental spills!
Hopefully, now that spring is just around the corner, the workshop will seem like a more inviting space and projects can be started and others finished off following a winter break. Whether it’s tackling odd jobs, woodworking projects or both, there’s certainly a sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes with making something or restoring an item to its former glory.

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