I have used the term cabinet making for this pastime as it best fits my present involvement
though much of my earlier activity would best be described as woodwork of a DIY nature.
As mentioned elsewhere my woodwork started at the age of 8 making model boats.
At the age of 23, however, I found myself making virtually a house full of furniture.
Wanting to purchase a house there was little cash left after finding the deposit
so making the furniture was virtually the only option as people did not dispose of
furniture so readily in those days so second hand was not an option.
The home made furniture was largely screwed together using blocks of wood in the
corners with screws into each part being joined. As MFI started up soon after this
time I often wonder if Mr MFI ever visited us. The furniture lasted some 12 years
so it served its purpose well.
We eventually went up market and acquired a large number of Ercol pieces. It was
wishing to obtain a food trolley from their range that eventually resulted in me
moving into the realm of cabinet making as the trolley had been removed from their
catalogue so I decided that I would make one.
To make this possible I purchased a circular saw bench, planer thicknesser, band
saw and a router table and a number of routers, one for the table and the remainder
for hand use. The trolley gained me a bronze medal at the 2004 Woodworking exhibition
at the National Exhibition Centre, was also well received by the family, as a result
other items have since been added most of the larger ones can be seen in the photograph
I have included.
This is for me the most satisfying pastime as I like the artistic aspect of designing
ones own items. If anyone would like to make the trolley, the design for this was
eventually published in the Practical Woodworking and Routing magazine, April 2005.
Those interested in cabinet making may like to know that the timber used is “American
Red Elm” This was purchased as sawn planks which I found quite easy to use, it was
though rather variable in colour making matching the board to the part of the project
quite a challenge, especially as in the sawn condition the eventual colour is not
Another challenge was to locate a supplier as there were very few within the UK.
My first batch was purchased from Timbmet but as they were unable to satisfy further
requirements I went to Tyler Hardwoods Ltd who seem to have a reliable supply.
I was most concerned about my ability to apply the finish to the timber but need
not have done so as I have found this surprisingly easy. A Precatalised Lacquer was
used on top of sanding basecoat, the lacquer could be sanded with a fine paper to
take out any irregularities, runs on vertical surfaces typically, something that
you could not do say with a painted surface.
It was finally worked over with grade 0000 steel wool impregnated with a wax polish.
Even making local repairs could be made by sanding out the fault and re lacquering
without there being any visible indication that any work had been carried out on
the finish. The lacquer was primarily intended for spray application but worked well
using a brush. It was obtained from Rydenor Woodfinishes
Do also see my pages on the subject of timber which includes some interesting facts
on the two common methods, “Through and Through” and “Quarter Cut”, of conversion
from the felled log to the finished planks..