Editor's letter Furniture & Cabinetmaking Sept 2019 issue

A place for everything and everything inits place, that’s pretty much what was drummed in to me when I started hanging out in the workshop.

The scene that greeted me every Saturday morning as I climbed the narrow winding staircase up to the first floor workshop was almost clinical in its layout. Rows of boxwood-handled chisels graduating in size from left to right on one side of a window with a similar assortment of screwdrivers on the other. Spanning the divide was a separate rack for scrapers, punches, rulers, squares, scalpels and a couple of gent saws.

The layout was not unique, in fact it’s one that occurs in every workshop in every corner of the world to some degree. Our main project this month comes from an extract from the book Workshops and features a tool cabinet designed and built by Mike Pekovich. It’s a masterpiece of ingenuity that will give no end of pleasure to its user and, not unlike a traditional collector’s cabinet, will impress everyone lucky enough to open its doors.

The workshop theme continues with a fine bench build from ex-Waters & Acland student Mark Dunning. Mark incorporated prefabricated solid timber kitchen worktops into his build for convenience as much as economy along with some cunning joinery designed to compensate for any seasonal movement. Where there’s a will …

The topic of workholding is never far from our minds; it’s something we tackle every time we pick up a tool whether it’s a simple bench hook for sawing or a convoluted shooting board with mitre attachments. What makes for an appropriate solution is generally a combination of convenience and versatility matched with quality materials and a solid construction. Meeting all these criteria is not as straightforward as you might think but Benchcrafted have come up with a design for a bench top vice that ticks all the boxes. At the heart of the Hi-Vise is a scaled-down version of their criss-cross system which counters the tendency for the jaws to rack and stick every time you open them. I’ll let you know if it’s overkill in a couple of hundred years when it’s worn out but in the meantime you can follow my build.

Derek Jones