IMG 1410Geoff Divko invited other WBA members over to Coburg and his fine furniture workshop for our April club night, and a good number of members took advantage of his kind offer.

He explained that when building in wooden wood, it is crucial to have sharp tools – it makes your life easier. We started with learning about orb stones on bench grinders – we all ‘fessed up to having blue/grey orbs, which he said are used for roughing up whereas black ones are good for taking junk off your chisels! What you really need is a white stone.

I tried one with my old kitchen knife and it ended up altogether rougher than using my whetstone – Jim said my stone was far finer - but I think that my technique could be questionable…

Geoff had lots of little tips, one was that if at any time you drop your grinder disc on the floor, replace it immediately to save grief at a later date.

The angle on a plane should be 35 degrees and on chisels and block planes 25. Geoff illustrated his points with a chalk drawing of the edge of a chisel and the tip you are trying to attain. He also demonstrated this on knives, various chisels, scissors, drill heads and plane blades.

We had an interesting specialist topic here on drilling steel and how the most important thing is the speed rather than sharpness. The faster you drill the more heat is generated making the drill bit expand and soften whilst the steel gets harder – therefore messier, harder work. Tip 2 – when drilling metal, punch it first where you want to start drilling and you will stay in position better.

The apprentices who work with Geoff spend a lot of time learning how to put a good edge on their tools – a skill that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their careers!

We moved on to whetstones, Geoff prefers wet ones with oils; having come home with reeking hands I think I will settle for water – thanks Geoff. He showed us how to hone our edge on first one stone and then moving onto a finer one. I was impressed with the finish he attained on his chisels!

Unfortunately motherly duties called so I missed the round up and supper, but I think I can speak for us all in offering a hearty thank you to Geoff for an interesting evening. You really should have a look at some of Geoff’s end products on his website:

Kirsty Batchelor