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We are doing it again! News of SFWW’s Second Open Day – 30th September 2017 at the Cross Barn in Odiham

News of SFWW Open Day – in 2015 we held our first Open Day – now we are going to hold our second event this September – for news of this event see our dedicated Open Day page – click here.

Visits 23 June 17 – The Music Room Workshop and English Woodlands Timber

The Music Room Workshop – Ten members met the owner of the workshop, Andrew Durand, at the workshop at Prestwick Farm, near Chiddingfold in Surrey. A thoroughly absorbing experience hearing Andrew explain how he restores rare 17th and 18th century spinets, harpsichords, clavichords and early pianos. We saw a multitude of instruments in various stages of restoration with some modern replica harpsichords built by Andrew. Andrew trained at the Dolmetsch workshop and started his own workshop when Dolmetsch closed.

Nine members filling Andrew's workshop - with Andrew on the right.
Nine members filling Andrew’s workshop – with Andrew on the right.
A spinet of 1640 in the process of restoration
A spinet of 1640 in the process of restoration

English Woodlands Timber – We met Tom Compton, Managing Director, who gave us a conducted tour of the timber yard and explained how the business was started to source local English timber and how that is still their main objective although to remain competitive they now also import wood from Europe and some American woods, such as, black walnut and American cherry. Elm is still available but is now sourced from Scotland. The business specialises in high grade, large boards both in thickness and width which is sought after for prestige projects. Small single boards are available for small projects and hobbyists.

Tom, right foreground, in the main indoor store talking to SFWW members
Tom, right foreground, in the main indoor store talking to SFWW members
Part of the extensive exterior stock in the seasoning yard
Part of the extensive exterior stock in the seasoning yard
Members considering purchases in the hobbyist/small order area
Members considering purchases in the hobbyist/small order area

 

Meeting 25 May 17 – A Passion for Hand Tools – Matthew Platt from Workshop Heaven.

Matthew’s grandfather, Albert, who was born in 1869, was a coffin maker. Matthew showed us Albert’s coffin plane – yes, used to make coffins but the name refers to the shape of the plane! Very well used and remarkably heavy with it’s steel sole.

Albert’s influence, and Matthew’s family tradition in making things, led Matthew to create Workshop Heaven.

Matthew spoke about the development of woodworking tools and how early tools are easily  recognisable today – for example, Pictish woodworking tools, (5,000 years old) discovered in Scotland, are uncannily similar to their modern equivalents!

The modern tools that Matthew sells are predominantly top quality British tools – Starrett combination sets, Clifton Planes, Ashley Isles chisels and gouges, Richard Kell’s sharpening jig to list but a few. Nonetheless, Matthew also went on the show us a plough plane that he developed in association with Luban (a Chinese maker). Thoughtfully designed and certainly top quality.

The evening was completed with a demonstration of SCARY SHARPENING – 3M aluminium-oxide self adhesive film on plate glass. An excellent method.

A highlight for me, having used these saws, was the discussion about Skelton Saws  – Matthew had an example with him although he doesn’t sell them because  only make for individuals.

We all left with a discount voucher and a sample of Alfie Shine, a hard wax polish.

News of Matthew Platt of Workshop Heaven's visit to SFWW at the Cross Barn, Odiham
Great evening with Matthew Platt of Workshop Heaven talking to our members about his wonderful tools.

This News article written by Colin Waters