Team member Ali making a screwdriver What's OnWhat's On section icon
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Sittingbourne Store

Opening hours over May Bank Holiday

Saturday 26th May Open as normal
Sunday 27th May Closed
Monday 28th May Closed
Tuesday 29th May Open as normal
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Saturday 26th May – Don’t forget to come into the store this Saturday for the third of our ‘Back to Basics’ series. Please feel free to drop into this demonstration at any time between 10am – 4pm – we’ll be serving up bite-size info on Chisels throughout the day!

Saturday 2nd June – We are excited to welcome back Phil Irons as a special guest demonstrator. Phil is well known in both the UK and international woodturning scene. He will spend the day demonstrating tools from Woodcut, but his main focus will be on the Bowlsaver MAX3 – a tool which will enable you to get an increased output from a piece of wood. Pop in store anytime between 10-4pm and enjoy our FREE event.

Saturday 16th June – We are looking forward to a particularly lively and dynamic day with two events running between 10am-4pm.

  • We are delighted to announce that The Hamlet Wood Carvers and Wormshill Wood Carver will be demonstrating in-store. Whether you’re an experienced woodcarver or looking to start out, this is a demonstration not to be missed. A free event on between 10-4pm.
  • Throughout June, our stores focus on designing and making a range of small, handy items which would make ideal gifts for Father’s Day. Our ideas and templates will appeal to novice woodworkers with an eye for creative, personalised gifts. For example, our store experts will show you how to make a novel Smartphone Holder or a ‘Spec Rest’ – using simple scroll sawing and pyrography techniques. We’ll be ready to help you any time during the month but a dedicated gift-making demonstration will be held on this Saturday.

Saturday 23rd June – Our in-store expert Lee Kitney will be demonstrating the various features and benefits of Leigh dovetail jigs, including the D4R Pro model and VRS vacuum support. The Leigh Jig is a complex kit, capable of producing excellent dovetails, but don’t take our word for it come along and see for yourself!

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Manager’s message

New in-store this month and exclusive to Axminster is the highly collectable tools by Bridge City Tool Works. If you’re not excited to hear this then you just haven’t seen them, the quality really is contagious!

A tool should be as compelling when not in use as it is when serving its intended purpose

John Economaki, founder of Bridge City Tool Works

We’ve had a lot of visitors to the store this month, maybe not quite equaling the Royal Wedding but I’d say everyone left just as happy!

Involve Kent, a charity that exists to improve wellbeing and reduce isolation by bringing people together had a tour and free demonstrations. I did an introductory training session on Japanese hand saws, pyrography and scroll saws, which was extremely well received – I spotted a few budding creatives among the group!

Our community partners Cobtree Men’s Shed had a woodturning session in our Skill Centre, again another fantastic day had by all and I encourage any local charities or groups looking for a new hobby to get in touch. 

We were pleased to support Milton Regis Golf Club, in the form of a raffle prize, in their efforts to raise money for Demelza House Children’s Hospice.

We are booked up with events in June, including special guest Phil Irons, so we look forward to welcoming many more visitors!

David Johns

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Creative Corner

With the garden now creeping in as a priority for many, woodworking projects become more inspired by the natural habitat that surrounds us. It will be no surprise that the environment is a deep-rooted passion of Axminster’s. This month we are celebrating bugs, some of you may reel at the prospect of coming across a creepy crawly but they are integral for your gardens. Your outdoor space, no matter how big or small, is an ecosystem, another jigsaw piece in the landscape puzzle. Insects are vital as pollinators, predators of pests, food source to birds but also play a critical role in recycling and eliminating waste materials, which aid in keeping soils healthy.

To help you nurture these beneficial creatures we have put together a step by step guide on how to make a Bug Hotel. The hotel offers free lodgings to all your garden’s personnel and in return, you will have a diligent workforce of pest guards and pollinators.

June Bug created by Ben Beddows
June Bug created by Ben Beddows, our Skill Centre tutor, using the Antex Fire Writer

The good news is it costs nothing to make a bug hotel, your guests are not particularly fussy so your projects can be as elaborate or simple as you like. We have recycled a pallet for the walls of the hotel and then used wood shavings and remnants found on the garden floor for the ‘beds’. Plus making a Bug Hotel for the garden is a perfect way to get children interested in woodworking and nature, and can be made by children (under constant adult supervision) – what better way to come together around Father’s Day!

Click here to view the step by step guide on how to build a Bug Hotel.

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Did you know…

Axminster Tools & Machinery is now working with and supporting the Sylva Foundation based in Oxfordshire. The Sylva Wood Centre is a hub for small businesses and craftspeople who design, innovate or make in wood and related crafts. The centre provides a dedicated space and equipment and has an inspiring community of woodworking professionals. In addition to business units for established businesses, the Foundation provides facilities to support business incubation.

One of these incubation areas is assigned to Rycotewood Furniture Centre. As a result, each year the college supports one graduate to launch their career. This year the Rycotewood crafts-person-in-residence is Matt Estlea who works part-time in the Axminster Basingstoke store.

Among the Foundation’s initiatives is the ‘Future Forest Friends’ scheme. The scheme comprises several hundred plots planted with tree species that that will hopefully thrive despite climate change, pests and diseases. These plots are available for sponsorship, Axminster has sponsored two, but there are still some left!

Matt Estlea
Matt Estlea - The Rycotewood crafts-person-in-residence

Quote of the Month

“I own too many clamps”, said no woodworker ever…

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