Harold Hall

Cabinet Making

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.


Food Trolley

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 so evident.


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..

Drinks Trolley
Occasional Table
Occasional Table

Cabinet Making   Harold Hall

The pictures on this page can be clicked on to provide a larger view