Peter Vivianís soapbox racer
Peter Vivian’s soapbox racer

Our first issue of 2018 is packed full of New Year treats for you to enjoy, and we like to think we have something to appeal to every woodworker and woodturner. Our cover star this month is Alex Porwal’s smoothing plane, which he made using plans from the March 1948 edition of The Woodworker. Although he relied on a little help from a few power tools, he followed the hand tool methodology as closely as possible and the end result certainly is impressive. Niall Yates also returns with his Gibbs surround made new, which is a nice project for classical architecture fans everywhere - here he looks to the high street for inspiration for his elegant mirror frame. Robin Gates also brings us part 2 of his ditty box build, which sees him deploying the baby Record 043 plough for grooves and rebates, extolling the virtues of a 1960s hand drill, and hammering home some boat nails, and if you’re a fan of fun on four wheels, then you’ll love Peter Vivian’s soapbox racer - here he shares the making of his ‘Mark 4’ version, which is very popular with woodworkers.

Glue + Block = Strength
Glue + Block = Strength

In this month’s archive we salute the humble glue block, and welcome back Ian Wilkie, who shows that adding a little colour to your woodworking projects can really bring them to life. We also have a lovely clock build from Peter Dunsmore, whose design was made popular in the late 18th century - here he uses two contrasting timbers to accentuate the free-flowing curves. We also find out more about Exmouth-based boatbuilder Andy Voysey, whose workshop is an 84ft Thames Sailing Barge, while marvelling at Sarah Kay’s wonderful table, which uses layer upon layer of elm. Phil Whitfield presents a great feature on Art Nouveau furniture, which was sometimes fiendishly tricky to make and initially shunned by tastemakers, before Brian Barber shows you how to design and build a workbench that is simple, strong, fit for purpose and suits your own needs.

Colin Simpsonís ring vase
Colin Simpson’s ring vase

We also get the opportunity to speak to David Free who used to present The Great British Woodshop - we find out more about his television series and learn what he’s up to now, and in our turning section, Colin Simpson demonstrates a number of different turning techniques in the making of his charming vase, which uses three contrasting timbers. And finally, as Poulton-Smith shows, woodworking techniques and basic skills have changed little over the millennia, and here he examines the origins of some of the most widely used carpentry terms.

Once stropped on the double-sided strop, the edge is incredibly keen
Once stropped on the double-sided strop, the edge is incredibly keen

As always, we have a number of different test items on the bench, including the Makita HR2650/2 230V 26mm SDS plus rotary  hammer, which the Editor heralds as being a terrific example of its class; followed by a range of Draper Expert levels, which incorporate many added features, so there’s sure to be something to suit everyone in need of a spirit level. We also take a look at the Razor Shark Deluxe Field Sharpening Kit and strop, which we award five stars. Although sharpening is a bug-bear for all woodworkers, this handy kit and double-sided strop could help to ease the pain a little. And if you’re looking to restore a piece of furniture back to its former glory, then these products from the Howard wood finishes range are just what you need. We look at three different products, all of which are easy to apply, quick to dry and produce excellent results. And last but not least, we put the Bad Axe saws range through its paces - superbly constructed, sharp and perfectly set, these saws can be built to your own personal specification, but be quick, as they’re selling out fast!

As well as all of the excellent content above, we also have your usual favourites, including AOB, courses, timber directory and next month, which let’s you see what we’ve got planned for our February issue.

All this and much more in the January issue of The Woodworker, which is now on sale!

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