Well, it is taking a while to set up the website, but that is primarily my responsibility, rather than Neil’s, who designed and built the website for me.  My skills are essentially practical as opposed to IT intelligent, as are Neil’s, and it has taken me a while to familiarize myself with this up-to-now mysterious world of Posts, Pages, Galleries, Tabs and Widgets.

But I am getting the hang of it.  Slowly; and probably in a very rudimentary fashion. But any improvement is preferable to sitting in front of my PC monitor bemoaning the fact that I am, if not entirely IT illiterate, then certainly at present, not immensely capable.

So please bear with me.  Be patient.   In relatively short order I will be displaying a lot of:-

decorative wood-turning:

hand finished picture frames and picture mounts:

ready made stock picture frames and picture mounts:


framed and finished artwork:

free-standing, unmounted and unframed artwork:

and all from the heart of Northamptonshire.

Plus a number of useful links to other associated websites &/or business contacts, that I have either found to be an invaluable source of information, or those I have been pleased to be associated with, in business.

I can now be contacted either by using the Contact Me facility here on the website, or directly by Email.  ——-  if you find the text box in the contact form too restrictive.




A Sticky Problem

The last three weeks have been some of the most organised days of my life, since this time last year.

An avid cycle racing fan, I’ve been watching the Tour de France: with particular interest because Bradley Wiggins was the outstanding favourite from the very commencement; due to his 2012 season’s performance.

Many also cited Cadel Evans, last year’s winner; but the real money was on Brad.

And if you want to watch the Tour, without interruption, it is necessary to plan each day with care.  Lock the door and remove at least one of the batteries from the doorbell chimes.

Get up early.  Systematically negotiate your way through your allotted work for the day.  Scrutinise the clock regularly and, most importantly, recognise that for every moment that you spend watching the Tour, you will have to spend a corresponding amount of time, when it is all over, catching up on what was deemed expedient to be postponed.

As the majority of the population will know by now; Bradley won the Tour.

The first Briton ever to do so. And Chris Froome 2nd.


And today, here in Northamptonshire, it was a lovely day.

Bright sunshine.  No breeze. And good for at least a significant development to the already established cycling suntanned legs, arms and face, if not total sunburn.

Several people shouted, good naturedly, ‘go for it Brad’ as I rode past. Which I found enormously amusing as I was racing before Bradley was born: in fact, also before his father started winning races.  So the concept of myself either remotely resembling ‘Wiggo’, or being able to make similar sorts of progress, is laughable in the extreme.

However, motorist were noticeably more gracious and considerate.

It was so good, I think I’ll go out again tomorrow.


But not until I have resolved a hodge-podged watercolour that I have in to re-mount and re-frame.

There’s nothing wrong with the watercolour itself. But the last person to work on it broke almost every rule in ‘the picture-framing book of good practice’; whoever it was, stuck the face of the artwork to the back of the window mount with double sided tape – for only about five inches in the centre of the top edge. Fortunately it is not large, otherwise presumably more copious applications of the same gooey substance would have been used. They then proceeded to stick the under mount to the window mount in a similar fashion, with double-sided tape.

Double-sided tape, whether dispensed from an ATG gun or just from a roll by hand indisputably has its uses, and is of significant value to the framing trade. However, hinging artwork to a mount (even the under mount) is most certainly not one of them.

So having very carefully separated the window mount from the under mount, then the artwork from the rear of the window mount, I am now left with a print of a watercolour, admittedly of no significant monetary value, but certainly of some intrinsic and sentimental value to the owner, with a stripe of adhesive residue along its top edge, face surface.

I am, tomorrow, going to meet the owner of the watercolour and hopefully arrive at a satisfactory outcome in terms of remounting his artwork in a manner which will ensure that it will subsequently be reversible.  Because of its low financial value, I almost certainly won’t be suggesting that it be placed behind the very best anti-reflective glass, but the work will certainly be carried out to conservation standard.  Re-framing it will then be a very enjoyable and worthwhile exercise.

Thinking Outside The Box

Here is an example of thinking outside-of-the-box, or within the box, if you prefer.

I was talking to one of the partners, at my framing suppliers, this morning and explained that I intend to make several six foot pentagon shaped revolving rotundas, to display frame chevrons upon.

He told me of one of his lady customers, who meets her clients in their homes, and uses a decorators paste table top to display her chevrons.
She has removed the flimsy table legs and braces; lined the underside of the table top with felt, and attaches her chevrons onto both underside sections, which fold against each other, with conventional Velcro tabs.

To transport it ~ it folds flat & has a carrying handle, with two clips to hold it together ~ to display the chevrons, it is freestanding, partly opened on a dining table, or even set up on the floor.
She has apparently decorated the outside in some manner to make it not immediately identifiable as a paste table, when she visits her customers with it.

A novel idea I have neither heard of before, nor thought of.

I may give it a try.

My First Post

Friday, the 13th July:  45 years, to the day, that Tom Simpson died on the mountain slope of Ventoux, in the French region of Provence.  It seems an auspicious day on which to write my first blog.  I’m a keen cyclist.

Neil, the IT guru and, in my opinion, computer magician, has worked hard to design and activate this website.  He does things with computers that I suspect possibly only he, a few other select individuals, understand fully.  It is certainly way beyond my comprehension.

All he has ever asked of me is that I provide the content.

Content is relatively easy.

What is less easy is knowing how to compose the content in a manner which will be appropriate for a website.  Neil has assured me that he will put right anything that I do wrong ~ which is an immense relief.

It isn’t my intention to write a daily blog.

Rather to provide information, development and insight, as I receive, carry out and complete commissions to wood-turn various pieces, which may be of interest, and produce frames, mounts and displays which are in some manner or form, out of the ordinary.

Given that it is not every day that one is asked to frame a Van Gogh or a Constable; neither is turning a masterpiece on a wood-lathe an everyday occurrence.  So, whilst there may be some form of sequentiality about my contributions, you will be pleased to note that they will almost certainly not constitute 365 pieces during the course of the year.

As well as describing interesting processes, developments, new products and techniques, I will also be describing the personal learning procedures as they impact upon my ability to adapt to them, and learn.  Where I find traditional methods and techniques to be better, I will revert to them, and explain why I have done so.

One such recent learning process was with my mount cutter.

In my present ‘clean’ workshop, I am limited, at the moment for space.

I ought to explain that I have two workshops.

One, potentially dusty ‘dirty’. Shavings, sawdust, sanding dust and turning shavings, chippings and dust.  Here is housed my lathe, saws, routers, sanders and drills.  And my Morso ‘F’ mitre cutter.

The second, ‘clean’, which houses my mat cutting and glass cutting equipment, and is the area where the finished articles are assembled and packaged.

There is a programme in place to remedy that ‘clean’ space situation, but for the moment, the fact remains ……  room in which to work comfortably is a still precious commodity.

My mount cutter, a now relatively elderly, but still pristine Fletcher 2100, is a fairly space consuming beast, being capable of cutting a 48” mat with ease, in both directions.  And requiring some suitable working space for my Fletcher 1100 oval mount cutter, I decided to see if the 2100 would work as well positioned vertically, as it does horizontally.  I built a simple, but substantial, prototype ‘A’ frame – along similar lines to an artists easel,, but larger, and stood the 2100 against the wall.

Well, firstly it didn’t topple over. And because it was leaning against the wall at a slightly inclined angle of about 3º, the clamp bar worked as effectively as it had done when laid flat upon a bench.  The cutting head traversed vertically as well as it had done longitudinally.

And the squaring arm on the right hand side didn’t attempt to overbalance the whole assembly.

In fact, so far as I could see the only discrepancy in the imagined projection, so far, was that the setting of the bottom stop required the cutting head to be supported with the left hand, whilst setting the bottom stop indicator to the rule, with the right hand.

Something I had failed to envisage.

I next, briefly described my activities in a thread on a forum that I subscribe to.  To judge the reaction ~ ‘test the water’

No-one declared me to be lunatic. Well, not with regard to this matter, anyway.

None pronounced that “if mat-cutters had been mean to stand against walls, God’d have given ‘em legs, you chump.”

Most said “Hmm.  Interesting.  Let us know how it goes as a working proposition.”

One colleague even informed me that Keencut produce a wall kit for their Ultimat Gold, to enable the purchaser to hang the product on the wall.

It will be interesting to find out if they offer the same accessory for their latest offering on the mat cutter market, the Futura.

Well, the 2100 is still standing against the wall.

Though its mode of operation is certainly different to that using it flat on a bench, it is a pleasure to use, albeit, I occasionally have to think twice with particular operations.  For instance, it is no longer possible to undo the top stop and simply push it out of the way: nor is it advisable to simply let go of the cutter block ~ otherwise, in both or either circumstance, they will promptly cascade to the bottom of the rail.  And if your finger is in the way ………

On a positive note, however, it is not only very comfortable to use in a standing position, as one would normally be in with the cutter flat on a bench, but it is a delight to use sitting down, to cut small or even reasonably large windows, in mats.

So, all in all, I consider it to be a productive development, so far.  And one which will be even better when I move into a larger ‘clean’ workshop, later in the year. As then, I will have more room on the left-hand side of the cutter too, which presently is adjacent to a corner of the room.

The Fletcher 1100 oval cutter has replaced the 2100 on the bench.