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Hello Austin

Chris Head

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We got our very own woodwork teacher now! How cool is that! That's great for those of us who have many more questions than answers....

Anyway, welcome aboard....the section has been a bit quiet recently.

So now it's playtime for you Austin what do you do? Do you have a particular style or subject that you follow? You must have seen many changes to the wood world over the years...what's good nowadays and what's not so good?

Hope you post often Austin, it can be a fun place to be, we have the occasional scrap (although the main culprits seem to have founds pastures new[6])...and the womenfolk of the forum barge in from time to time but other than that, there's some keen workers of wood around.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Good to meet you, Chris, and apologies for not replying earlier.

Actually, I was a woodwork teacher for only 7 years - prior to that I was in IT - latterly as a project manager.  The last big project I was involved with (NOT on my own, I might add, but with a cast of dozens), was the ubiquitous Year 2000 project.  Remember that one?

To woodwork.  I have been involved in several projects, both at work, and in my own workshop.  At work, we made all sorts of things from toilet roll holders, right up to beautifully crafted oak garden benches.  At homeI have made furniture for both the house, and our boat (it's a sailing yacht of approx 50 years old, built of mahogany on oak frames), a woodwork bench of beech, with a 4inch thick top, an an oak kitchen.

You ask about changes, well I guess the biggest is the switch to mdf, chipboard and plywood.  These products are very useful - relatively inexpensive (compared to hardwoods), take paint well, stable, but I don't like them.  Unfortunately, I seem to have developed a low resistance to dust, and (particularly mdf), the dust is pretty nasty.  Mdf has been banned in the USA, as the dust has been proven carcinogenic, so you can expect a new product soon, using different compounds as the 'glue' that holds all the wood-dust together, I expect.

The other major change has been to registration of hardwoods. It has been many years since we could buy Cuban mahogany, or even Honduras, and it's getting very hard to find Brazilian, but the plus side - certainly for European hardwoods is FSA.  This is a guarantee that the wood has come from sustainable forests - in other words, the wood has been grown as a crop, and the felled tree is replaced by saplings for future consumption. I was told by a very reliable source, that there is actually more boards of Teak for use now, than there was 50 years ago, but the boards are much narrower.

What am I doing now? Very little - its pelting down with rain, and my workshop has to double up as a garage for the cars, so it's full.  I have a prtly dismantled Victorian mahogany ladies box to partially re-veneer, and a good friend (who now lives in Normandy) has asked me to make a Victorian style plate rack out of white-beech, so I will be starting that soon.

What about you?  What are the projects on list? Tell me all about them, rather than listen to me banging on and on, and on (I'm sure my ex-students could relate to that!).

Take care,



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