18th Century Violin and Harpsichord Making Part 1 George Wilson

George Wilson a legend in his own right is the guy who made many of the tools for the cabinet makers at Colonial Williamsburg. He was a master craftsman like all those you will see in this video.  This is a four part series shot in 1976 at the museum in Williamsburg and it is one of my most favourite and continually watched videos. I will release each new part over each day.


Irish Cabinetmakers

This is a three part video of three brothers and an apprentice building a dining table and chairs. I love their foot powered scrollsaw, it’s a lot better than the French design. I just love how they all play their respective roles without encroaching on each other, just simply a perfect harmonious workshop.


Shellac Polishing / French Polishing by Garrett Hack

French polishing is a very simple finishing technique. The layers are rapidly produced, and the result is extremely durable. In this video, Garrett Hack demonstrates all the important steps involved in French polishing, from using alcohol to prepare the shellac solution, applying the liquid with a brush or a pad, smoothing, and then finally polishing the surface. He also explains where French polish comes from, and provides plenty of tips on how to handle this traditional and environmentally friendly form of surface finishing.


Issue V October 2018 Release

After such a long wait it’s here, and it’s FREE again. I’ve shortened the number of articles so as not to blow out the number of pages. Even by doing that I’ve STILL managed to make it over 100 pages. I will try my best to lessen it in the next Issue.

The topics covered in this Issue are great and I owe my gratitude as usual goes out to my contributing editor Matt McGrane and our contributing Author Paul Brittan who wrote the 2nd part of “The rise and fall of Simmonds handsaw.

The plans for the cradle is available on Etsy, I must somehow cover the cost of materials. If you like the project then please support the magazine by purchasing the plans or through donations or both.

I hope the magazine is useful and lives up to your expectations.


How to bore dead centre of your mortise

Chopping is time consuming when creating a mortise, which is why I prefer to bore with my brace and bit. But isn’t it annoying and downright shameful when you can’t get the bit dead centred between the marking gauge lines? I will show you how you can every time and it’s simple.


There are two ways of doing. Place the business end of the bit between the scribed lines and hope for the best or another method which is my preferred method is to find the centre of your to be mortise with your marking gauge. To do that eyeball the centre, scribe a small line, flip the gauge to the other side and scribe another line. What will be left unless you were lucky is a gap between the two scribed lines. Move the gauge to the centre of between the two lines and test again. Keep doing that till the scribe meets centre from both sides and scribe all the way through.


With a scratch awl prick the centre line with light finger pressure. Do not hammer or press hard because the awl will want to follow the grain of the wood and can throw you off centre. Just a light touch is sufficient.



That’s it you’re done! BTW this isn’t something I invented even though I’ve never seen it in any book or showed anywhere on the net, I can’t take credit for it. Because I’m sure just as boring instead of chopping has been practised for thousands of years, I’m certain someone has had the same frustrations and came up with the same solution several times over throughout the centuries. This is why posting these posts, writing articles for magazines, writing books and making videos are so bloody important to us as a civilisation. Had most of our ancestors bothered to do that we wouldn’t be reinventing the wheel again and again and not to mention playing the guessing game of what we think they might have done. I hope this helps and I apologise for taking so long to finish the 5th Issue of HANDWORK. It will get done, it’s life getting in the way. If someone has a work around for that please let me know.

Korean Joinery

The high level of craftsmanship, the accuracy and cleanliness of his work is due to high quality training as an apprentice and ongoing practice and dedication to the craft therefrom.

This is Korean woodworking, not Japanese but to my eye they appear to be identical. Even with the timber they work with. Paulownia timber is popular in Japan and Korea. It’s a lightweight timber that similar in weight to _______________ I don’t know the name of the species I have at home. You see at the time of purchase I was told it’s African Tulip but a little research has proven it can’t be so I don’t know the name. However, if you refer to the jewellery box, I made in Issue IV you see what type of timber I’m referring too.  They also use paulownia to make surfboards, I was once interested in using this timber for my clocks. After having felt how soft it is I couldn’t use it no matter how attractive it was. I remember a surfboard maker offering paulownia at low prices and no one wanted. A few years later the trend changed and now he sells them like hot cakes at top dollar.

Rocking Cradle

I was going to make this cradle for the Issue V and came up with a more practical version for it instead. This cradle you see now is actually fit for a real baby with the exception that I made it shorter.  The original length I made it to was 36″, but I had to cut it short to somewhere around 20″ because I didn’t have clamps that were long enough. Besides that, considering I decided to donate this to my friends little daughter it would be too big for her dolls.

For the magazine I want to make a cradle for a doll and I want to make it available as a flat pack for sale. So it will have to be much smaller than this current size and the rails will have to screw into the stiles.

But going back to the cradle built I want to give briefly what I did.


I chopped four mortises. Two top mortises were 3/8″ thick and the two bottom were 1/2″ thick. These were for the top and bottom rails. Then I made some stopped grooves about 1/2″ x 5/16″ deep, I can’t remember how longer they were. They were easy to complete with my router plane, however a word of caution though.


The Veritas irons are not made to the same width specs as an LN mortise chisel. This is unfortunately common amongst different tool makers.  I’m not sure but it could be a way to for a person to buy from one maker.  So if you planned on chopping out the groove and then ploughing it out, check the widths of your tools first or you might get a sloppy fit.


The head boards I edge joined two boards to form a panel. Once dried I scrolled the top and heart out.


The small sticks, not sure what you call it, I turned on my lathe and bored out several 5/16″ holes with my brace and bit.


I printed out the rocker and glued it to the wood with some of that spray adhesive stuff and nailed two boards and cut them out on my scroll saw. This way I not only get to cut once and get two, but they’re also identical.




Also to form a rabbet to hold the plywood bottom I nailed a strip of wood using these finish cut nails for superior strength and placed them in a zigzag fashion. There’s no way that strip will ever come undone. For these small finish cut nail there’s no need to drill holes.


Ignore the box the finish cut nail is where the arrow is pointing to.


This is what it looked like prior to staining. With the staining because this is pine it’s prone to blotching. But with my fix that I eliminated 90% of it. Had I done a more thorough prep I believe I would eliminated 100% of it. The stain I used was spirit based Azura Oak which I don’t believe is available anywhere on the shelves. I was just at the right place at the right time and bought the lot many years ago. If you refer to my previous posts on how to eliminate blotching you search through them here or watch my lame videos on YouTube. Almost forgot the decorative balls on top were turned and bored a 13/16″ deep hole on the stiles and glued them in place. For the glue I used hide glue.

If you wanted to make this I would recommend you use milk paint either white or pink if they have it. You could also paint some pretty flowers on the head boards.