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akirk

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Firstly - a introduction...
Having moved earlier this year to a property which has a garage and carport and a largish garden (in which we may at some point build further sheds!), I have decided to finally do something about my desire to work with wood.
I have wanted to do this for many years, and some time ago went out and bought (from Machine Mart - I know! :)) a wood lathe / scroll saw / pillar drill etc. - but didn't really have enough space then so they were not used very much, and were then given away... I have been reading this forum for a while, which has already taught me a lot (about buying decent tools apart from anything else!) but I am now ready to give it a go...

So, two initial questions:
- I live in Bristol - does anyone know of any local-ish courses which would teach me various skills, my logic being that if I learn skills, that will set me up well... I am interested in learning how to use hand tools as well as machines (my wife is a hand-surgeon, so slightly cautious about some machines - especially where she sees numerous injuries - so negotiation is based on likely stats of users ending up seeing her!)
- My main interests are a) wood turning - and b) I would like to make toys for numerous neices / nephews / god-children / etc. - I would like to start by making a set of building blocks - squares / rectangles / etc. for small children to play with - should be simple - measure / cut / sand! but I was wondering if there were thoughts about the best wood to use - preference is hardwood?

sorry for the ramble - but perhaps easier to say hello and introduce myself properly rather than just jumping in with random questions!

regards

Alasdair
 

AJB Temple

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Welcome Alasdair.

Do you have an Axminster tools outlet near to you? The one car me does turning courses and was very good for a beginner (me). I would also such on line for local turning club.

I think you can use pretty much any hardwood for the project you suggest. Poplar, cherry, ash, oak. Whatever you can get that is in the right sort of size.

Adrian
 

robgul

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Welcome Alasdair.

Do you have an Axminster tools outlet near to you? The one car me does turning courses and was very good for a beginner (me). I would also such on line for local turning club.

I think you can use pretty much any hardwood for the project you suggest. Poplar, cherry, ash, oak. Whatever you can get that is in the right sort of size.

Adrian
Another plug for Axminster - in normal times they run courses at their HQ at, err Axminster, not that far from Bristol. I attended the Router (2 days) and Band saw (1 day) courses earlier this year and they were excellent . . . and as a course participant there was a 10% discount on purchases. Presumably the courses will resume as and when.
 

MikeG.

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Young @AndyT of this parish is Brizzle-based. If you were to attract his attention somehow he might be able to help point you in the right direction for some woodworking lessons.
 

akirk

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Thank you for the replies already!
Axminster - didn't know they did courses (though it seems not at the moment which is to be expected). Their HQ is just over an hour from here, so not close to pop, but very doable and not an issue for e.g. a day course - so will look at when they come back online...
Glad to hear that there is at least one member on here based in Bristol! (would love local knowledge)...
Will have a look at that Worcestershire venue - though it seems that quite a few of their courses are full - hopefully they will put on some more!
regards
Alasdair
 

MusicMan

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Alasdair,
You are really going about this the right way, investing in training first. You could also look for woodturning clubs in Bristol, there are bound to be some. There may be evening classes in a college too. This would in addition give you experience with some machines and people to talk to about them. And you'll find plenty of advice here.
 

sunnybob

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Yandles at Martock (near Yeovil) also do some courses when conditions allow, and you will have to go a very, very long way to find a better selection of hardwoods.
 

thick_mike

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I’d be interested in your wife’s hierarchy of dangerous tools. I know an A&E doctor who told me never to get a motorbike or a chainsaw.
 

akirk

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Yandles at Martock (near Yeovil) also do some courses when conditions allow, and you will have to go a very, very long way to find a better selection of hardwoods.
Thank you - I have heard reference to Yandles - definitely worth a trip down there... and I know Martock (though not Yandles!)

I’d be interested in your wife’s hierarchy of dangerous tools. I know an A&E doctor who told me never to get a motorbike or a chainsaw.
:)
I think that she would agree - outside elective surgery, she does a lot of trauma - motorbike accidents and chainsaws are high on the list...
Anything loose is more likely to cause an issue, then things that you push the work into by hand - so roughly:
- chainsaws / circular saws
- table saws / band saws
- chop saws / mitre saws
- jigsaws (hand held)
- jigsaw / scroll saw (bench versions)
- hand saws

we didn't discuss all ways of cutting your fingers off, but those were discussed!
interestingly - less worried about the framing guillotine I have (will take a finger off, but a clean cut is easier to put back on!) and commented that the type of blade can make a difference - e.g. a metal cutting disk for a circular saw has a finer blade / set of teeth, so gives a cleaner cut and is easier to repair! As well as a general concern for my well-being, it would be quite embarassing to injure myself and turn up to be dealt with by her!!!

mind you - a lot of the accidents she sees are simply the result of bad usage / stupidity! (e.g. holding a piece of metal in one hand and using the circular saw to cut it - no workbench!)

Her favourite t-shirt (as worn by a patient):
 

sunnybob

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Yandles is signposted from Martock village centre.
I gave up motorcycling after 51 years, never broke a bone, but did get 13 stitches in a knee cap when a sports car turned right in front of me and my knee went through his headlight glass. :cool: But I knew many who were not as adept as me at surviving the English roads
 

sploo

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What are the risk statistics on operating a table saw whilst riding a motorbike?

Asking for a friend.
 

Daniel2

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Discipline and sensible personal risk assessment before undertaking any task, goes a long way towards staying safe, and complete.
I always ask myself ; "What can go wrong here ?", "What is the line of shrapnel fire ?" , "Where are all my appendages during this event ?" .
It quickly becomes second nature, providing the discipline is adhered to.
Stay safe and do take the time to learn. :)
ATB,
Daniel
 

TheTiddles

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Welcome!
Courses may help, there’s so much content online now that you can learn a lot from that too (with caution).
The things you want to make are ideal for diving in and trying it out, making blocks... well it’s actually easy, but far harder than it might initially appear.
You can make loads of kids toys from offcuts and scraps, I find it quite cathartic to use up a load of “too good to throw away” bits occasionally on a money box or similar.
Other local members will probably be quite happy to support you if you’re nice :)
Aidan
 

akirk

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thank you - all for the very warm welcome... just also been talking with a chippy friend who has done a lot of work here (built my library) and he was saying much the same, and to basically spend lots of time just learning to cut straight lines first before then moving onto tenons /mortices / etc. he is a firm believer in get the basic skills learned first...

Other local members will probably be quite happy to support you if you’re nice :)
I am definitely nice :) - and our garage has space for two workbenches in it and in-between is the wine fridge ;)

Alasdair
 
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