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The Start of Stuff

Rob looking rather glum having received his bus pass

Blogging – it’s a funny old game. You sit there, pecking away at the keys, perhaps a mug of steaming coffee by the side and a biscuit to munch on to give you a bit of inspiration, hoping against hope that the words will flow. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and those who’ve dipped a cursory eyeball into The Blokeblog will have a pretty clear idea of the way this new Axminster blog is going to develop.

Eventually, after all thoughts have been marshalled you hit ‘submit’ and off it goes into the wild blue yonder, not really knowing who’s going to eventually find it and read, chortle or cry over the contents.

With any luck, those of you who do take the time and effort to read these literary meanderings will find some inspiration and amusement within. You may ultimately decide to get out into your own ‘shop and have a go at some of the stuff you’ll see appearing…at least that’s Plan A. As  we all know (and you’ll realise from my other blog) things never, ever go to plan and therein lies the amusement – or tears, as the case may be.

So who am I? My name is Rob Stoakley and for my sins, I was perhaps one of the last, old-fashioned, woodwork teachers at secondary level, with a sentence of twenty years at the chalk face. Some idea of my advancing decrepitude can be gained from the picture, as that’s a bus pass…

Thereafter, I worked in the MOD for the last decade of my working life and took early retirement a couple of years ago. For several years now I’ve been a regular contributor to Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine where you can read about some of my furniture projects.

During the course of these scribblings, you’ll see a lot of different processes involved in building the various pieces of furniture. There’ll be machine as well as hand tool work and much of the equipment used (or a close equivalent) is available to be purchased from Axminster. You’ll find that the equipment you see in the Axblog entries will be hyperlinked to take you to the relevant online page.

The-Hand-Tool-bench-3A swift tour of the workshop is perhaps a suitable way to wrap up this first entry.

This is where all the fine, delicate stuff gets done. All the tools I need are racked out directly in front of me within easy reach. Shelves with consumables are to the left and power tools are stored to the right.

The ‘Northerly end’ view shows the sharpening bench to the left of the door as well as the pillar drill and lathe to the right. In the foreground is the Assembly or Lay-up table (of which more later) and the Jet 260 planer thicknesser.

workshop-2The other end of the ‘shop (South end) shows the metalwork corner in the left and the wood store on the right, behind the floor standing vacuum bag. Both of my bandsaws can be seen in this picture but there’s no table saw. I’ve owned two and have decided that for the type of work that I do, a table saw is unnecessary, apart from taking up a huge amount of space which is usually at a premium in a small workshop. This is a decision that causes many woodworkers a considerable amount of dilemma, but the decision ultimately depends on the workshop and how you work. You’ll also note that there’s no router table but a rather excellent UJK Technology cast iron version is expected shortly.

I hope that as a dedicated follower of all things Axminster, you’ll find time to click on the blog link and see the progress of the furniture projects to follow. A word of caution though – if you expect to see ‘shabby chic’, repro or chipboard DIY flatpack stuff you’ll need to click elsewhere…

  • Great stuff Rob, looking forward to your blog posts.

  • Ken Haygarth

    Way to go Rob.

  • Rob Stoakley

    Early days yet chaps, but some good stuff ought to be in the pipeline. Note the term ‘ought’…

  • Johnno

    Great stuff but Oh for a nice ‘shop like that to work in. Mine’s a 10 x 6 shed and I have to move things out so I can get in!

    • Rob Stoakley

      A large ‘shop is nice Jonno, but it’s what you do in it that counts. My first workshop was a 7×5′ garden shed and the biggest thing I built in it was a 5×3’ pine trestle table….much to my parents amazement!

    • Tony Francis

      Read my post, get out of tiny expensive overcrowded Britain, Move to SW France

  • Smithers

    My Schepach 12 inch site saw has suddenly started running backwards and it doesn’t cut much like that -any ideas?

    • Rob Stoakley

      Could be getting ready for Christmas…you need to think about that one!

    • woodpick

      I’d have a look at the plug and find out who’s rewired it. Or you need anew saw

  • woodpick

    My shop is never that clean even when I haven’t been in there for a few days. What’s the cleaners name and number and can she travel lol