Tea at the Ritz

Time has flown by since my last blog so it is time to bring you up-to-date with events in and out of the workshop.

I was kept busy in the week leading up to Father’s Day.  The personalised red and chrome wine bottle stopper seemed to be the favourite choice for a present for dads.  As I mentioned before I like to set up a small paint spray booth outside the workshop but I am at the mercy of the weather.  Although we had some showers during the week they weren’t enough to stop painting so I have been lucky in that respect.

I also made a couple of keepsake boxes with cherry lids.  I have mostly relied upon my table saw to cut mitres on the box sides but have not had a 100% success rate with this method.  I have made numerous jigs in the past to simplify and speed up the process but these have not always been effective.  Knowing how much some people praise the flexibility of their bandsaw I thought I’d try cutting the mitres on my bandsaw and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  I think that, with a few tweaks, this may be the way ahead for me in future.

The demand for product personalisation is still good and our pyrography tools are put to good use.  Sycamore is without doubt the easiest wood material to burn due to its pale colour and almost non-existent grain. But we do personalise a range of other woods some of which are not as easy to burn.  Ash, for example, has lovely colour and tones plus wonderful grain patterns.  But these patterns make the wood very textured with hard and soft areas which react differently to being burned.  Usually these issues can be overcome by burning slowly and with a low temperature so that scorching does not occur.

10Demo-RBburn1I mentioned last time that my wife and I were going to the Ritz (could be the name of a song!) for afternoon tea.  Well, we dressed up in our finest clothes and set forth on public transport arriving at Green Park tube station which is right next door to this prestigious hotel.  The afternoon tea is held in the hotel’s Palm Court and we were shown to our seats along with many other customers.  (This event is so popular that we had to book 3 months in advance!). The surroundings were magnificent as was the choice of teas on the menu.  Unfortunately, neither of us are tea aficionados so we played safe and chose the Ritz Royal English which was lovely.  There were copious supplies of tea, dainty sandwiches and, of course, cream and chocolate cakes.  Delicious!  It was a lovely day out.

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

Happy woodworking!


Summer in February

I stumbled upon the work of Kevin Rodel recently.  I love his Cerridwen Bookcase which I’ve added below.   The Arts and Crafts style is complimented by the Mackintosh style pattern on the doors.  The use of contrasting materials is stunning.  Check out his other work at www.kevinrodel.com.

The work of Kevin Rodel

Cerridwen Bookcase – The work of Kevin Rodel

Our busy spell continued this week in the workshop with orders for keepsake boxes, wine bottle stoppers, a smartphone stand and a magazine rack.  I was lucky with the weather all week (well, most of the time) which allowed me to set up my paint spray “booth” outside to paint the tops for the wine bottle stoppers.  The booth (a large cardboard box) did suffer from an unexpected heavy shower on one occasion though.  I was out running at the time and wasn’t able to rescue the box so we both got wet!  I survived but the box didn’t.

It’s true team work at Cairn Wood Design with me making the products and my wife doing the personalisation. It’s an arrangement that works well.  We had a break on Tuesday though and went to see the film premier of “Summer in February” starring, amongst others, Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame.  His character in this film was similar to his DA role so we didn’t really see another side of him.  We enjoyed the film and the “evening off”.

Eeva and I are being treated to Afternoon Tea at the Ritz next week so we are very much looking forward to that.  We seem to be gallivanting around lately which is most unusual and it’s harder when we are busy but we couldn’t miss such an opportunity.  We’ll just have to burn the midnight oil to keep up!


Not just woodwork …

Things are pretty busy in the workshop just now probably due to the forthcoming Father’s Day gift giving.  So last week I inconveniently took time out for other activities!  Well, they say that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  So what did I get up to?  On Wednesday I went for my long run just before lunch.  Ok, so it was only 6 miles but for me this is quite an achievement.  A stay in hospital recently (albeit a short stay) has set me back months in my running build up. But I’m taking a philosophical view and I’m just pleased to be out running again.  Endurance will come in time.  The run took me an hour but with stretching, showering and eating lunch I was away from the workshop for a good couple of hours – at a time when I couldn’t really afford it.

OK so if that wasn’t bad enough on Thursday my wife and I took our two youngest granddaughters to Drusilla’s Park which is near to Alfriston in West Sussex.  Drusilla’s is a children’s zoo and play area and the last time we went there our youngest granddaughter was about 1 year old and was scared by the animals.  This time, a year on, and the little girl loved it.  I must admit that it’s a great place for adults too and we spent a good part of the day there.  It takes about 90 mins to drive there and the same back of course so my time in the shop was practically nil.

Thomas the Tank Engine at Drusilla's

Thomas the Tank Engine at Drusilla’s

I obviously enjoy spending time in the workshop and it’s great when the warmer weather comes so that I can have the door open (no windows in the workshop) as it can feel a bit claustrophobic when the door is closed.  So it’s good to get out and spend some time with the grand kids away from the bench.  I did have to spend time over the weekend though to  ensure that deadlines are met.

Next week I have no outings planned so progress should be on target.  Fingers crossed.