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  • Tom Bridge

New Year, or is the same as last year....

As above I guess we all wonder what happens this year, fingers crossed I guess..

I've not spent much time on the workshop this last winter or so due to creatives block (and the workshop being very cold) if there is such a thing but for the past 2 weeks I have been kerf cutting which is done to bend sheet material, or even solid timber (slightly different requiring steaming to prevent snapping).

This is my first item I have (nearly) completed. I just need to finish it, oil or whatever and then it'll be done.

I was going to make a new Retrogram but decided it was still only a prototype and not 'finished' enough for a sale-worthy item so it became my AV amplifier stand.

As you can see, it looks nice but better when i've turned it round (it's back to front) and given its surface a coat of something!

I managed to get hold of some birch ply from the Rhondda which was an absolute bargain as at the moment if you bought an 8x4 foot sheet online it may well set you back £350!! I got the equivalent, although cut into usable sheets for £50!

I was in the workshop today trying to perfect the method, which requires a very accurate tablesaw setup to do nicely. As you can see in the below example the timber is cut in regular, parallel lines but not all the way through, thus allowing you to bend the timber, the 2 ply's that remain, into a curve.

This timber is solid ash and the strips are again mahogany.

Normally this is curved the other way so that the 'cuts' are on the inside (and quite often hidden from view) but I thought 'why do I not show the method and make it a feature'? So thats what I'm doing.

After slicing the sheet I then cut small angled wedge-strips and glue them into place, making a firm bend. I do this with a contrasting timber, mahogany in this instance then sanding and finishing. This almost looks then like many small dovetails and I think is an attractive look.

The accuracy of these angled strips is essential so that the 'end view' leaves no gaps. It can be most frustrating setting up my saw to repeat-cut strips. I worked out that for this AV unit I needed wedges cut at 80.2 degrees, on both sides in order to fill the gap...

I digress and will stop whittering away about the technical details of kerf cutting.

Today I've got through many peices of birch ply experimenting with the accuracy I can get and therefore had loads of breakages along the way...

When I get a 'snap' I bit my tongue and start again, no point winging about it, the damage is done! Just try and figure out why it happened and start again!

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