What’s in a name?

Welcome back to my blog. I mentioned last time that I liked Arts and Crafts furniture. There are many fine examples of furniture in this style but I particularly admire the work of Kevin Rodel.  His Cerridwen Bookcase shown here http://bit.ly/WZmIYu incorporates a design influenced by Mackintosh and works wonderfully well.  It makes me want to run into the workshop and start making my own version!

What’s in a name?
Invariably at work or even as a part of a pastime or hobby you learn and use terms that are associated with that subject.  For example, in woodwork we refer to F-clamps and G-clamps because of their shape – you wouldn’t think that these clamps are designed to hold F’s or G’s together – would you?.  So when I bought a planer / thicknesser some years ago I was happy to explain its function to my wife when she asked me what it did.  “The planer part of the machine planes wood so that it is smooth and flat on one face.  The thicknesser trims the opposite face so that it too is smooth and flat but also parallel with the planed face”.  A clear explanation I thought.  My wife looked puzzled though.  “So the thicknesser thins the wood?”.  “Er, yes”.  I could see what was coming.  “So why isn’t it called a thinner?”  She still laughs at me today whenever I talk about using the machine.

Banana Wood
You probably all know what I’m talking about.  It was some years ago when I had my first real experience of wood warping as it came off my table saw.  I was making a grandmother clock out of walnut and had some beautiful pieces of wood to use.  So it was with some surprise and disappointment that when cutting strips with a small cross-section for the door frame from the main body of wood they came off with a substantial bend in them.

Example of banana wood!

Example of banana wood!

Luckily I had my riving knife in place so there was less chance of kick-back but the wood was useless and I had to resort to another plank of wood for my framing.  All due to the internal stresses in the wood being released – unfortunately, quite often those stresses transfer to the woodworker which is confirmed when the air around the woodworker is filled with expletives.  The woodworker achieves a release of these stresses by throwing the useless pieces of wood into a roaring fire!

It’s been a busy time in the workshop over the last few weeks as the build-up to Christmas increased.  But with the last posting day behind us the pressure has reduced and I have time for other things – like this blog. So whatever you are doing over the holiday period let me wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Andy