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.

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