Today we had several jobs in the workshop. A chest of drawers was missing its backboard and needed a new one, a bookcase had lost its stability which needed sorting and a delightful dolls house had it carrying handle broken which had to be re glued. As we worked away we were contemplating that, in essence, we were using ‘heritage skills’. You might reasonably ask how can contemporary items require heritage skills? The word heritage simply means that which we have inherited, therefore the skills we used to sort these problems are ones we’ve inherited. Thus today’s work has involved measuring, cutting with hand tools, and an understanding of the characteristics of wood. These are all skills that have been with us for many, many generations.So returning to the chest of drawers after careful measuring and marking out we start by cutting the back board. Cutting thin boards presents certain challenges, one being the fact that as a cut progresses the board looses rigidity and starts to collapse pinching the saw. So the whole board needs supporting, this we do by resting the board on two tables with the cut line falling in the middle.
Once the board is cut to size it is offered up to see if our measuring and cutting was good. It has to be said that we have many years of experience so mistakes are rare but they do happen. That can be frustrating but it’s also a time to reflect on what might have gone wrong and what to look out for in the future. As with all things it’s all a question of refinement.
Working comfortably tends to give better results and that often means a job can move across different heights of workbench and this one finished on the floor to have the back finally pinned in.
You’ll note that the chest of drawers is lying on a blanket which protects the finish from scuff damage.
And so to the bookcase.
This was a piece of self assembly knock down furniture. A flat pack if you like. The main problem was that its fixing screws had loosened and needed tightening. In addition to the loose screws a bass bar had dropped out because they had been fitted dry. Gluing that back into place and tightening the screws brought stability back to the unit.
The dolls house carrying handle was easily glued back in making its residents happy.
This work might seem rather prosaic but we find it immensely satisfying because our heritage skills are used to positive effect saving items from landfill. Not only that but the furniture will end up in making somebody’s home more comfortable and the dolls house will make a child somewhere very happy. What’s not to like about that?