Fine furniture making – covered

These two volumes from Peter Sefton’s new Fine Furniture Making DVD range are very well produced and the professional and authoritative delivery instils the viewer with confidence throughout.

As part of a five volume series (Series 1), I selected these two as they cover similar areas to the David Charlesworth DVDs I reviewed back in GW320.

There are certain similarities within them, which I guess is to be expected as the areas of flattening and preparing stock as well as the hoary subject of sharpening are age old, and the principles are essentially the same. However, for me, Peter has a far more hands-on approach that makes the time fly by as you watch, accompanied by excellent little nuggets of information that explains the reasoning and methodology as you move on through.

Chisel & Plane Sharpening
The Chisel & Plane Sharpening DVD offers first-rate instruction on the subject of sharpening as well as covering preparation, without bogging you down with working to microscopic tolerances, and this is also replicated in the timber prep DVD I’ll move on to shortly.

The explanation and coverage of the different types of honing options is very rational and follows along my own lines to some extent in terms of gaining a keen edge in a speedy manner without faff, while the use of the Veritas honing guide shows just what a great piece of kit this is, not only if you struggle with freehand consistency, but also the whole range of angles and back bevels that can be achieved using it.

I particularly like Peter’s explanation of a plane edge and how you can judge whether or not it’s sharp by the shavings it makes; this offers a great method of being able to visually recognise when an edge is deteriorating and coming close to needing refreshing, and an excellent piece of useful information.

Timber Preparation
Moving on to the Timber Preparation DVD, it not only explains the pitfalls that can be encountered during timber selection, but also offers advice on how to get around these by altering the cut of the plane, the angle at which it addresses the work, and how moving to a more specialist plane can help to tame the problem areas.

Alongside, methods of checking for flatness, wind and square are well covered but without trying to achieve engineering tolerances in doing so. Woodwork can be as simple as deceiving either the hand or eye and a combination of both of these principles is often sufficient in achieving a piece that shows flat and true without working to microscopic amounts.

That said, Peter definitely works along the lines of ‘it has to be right’, but at the same time, it needs to be achievable and at a pace that will allow the students he teaches, or the DVD viewer, to be able to get things done so they can either enjoy woodworking at a hobby level, or be given the information required to take it to a professional level. At the same time, knowing when the work has achieved that mark is also equally important.

Conclusion
With Peter’s wealth of knowledge from his own professional background as a furniture maker, and of course his successful furniture school, these two DVDs, as part of a set of five that cover timber and tool selection and preparation, will be essential viewing for anyone who is seeking instruction and guidance in the field.

The DVDs are very well produced and easily navigable, allowing you to quickly skip to a specific chapter or area that you may require more guidance or information on. Peter’s style of delivery and great authority instils confidence throughout, and I’d definitely recommend looking at the other volumes in the series. GW

THE GW VERDICT
RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Running times: 
Timber Preparation – 1 hour 40 mins; 
Chisel & Plane Sharpening – 2 hours 22 mins.

There are five volumes in the series

Typical prices:
Timber Preparation – £19.99
Chisel & Plane Sharpening – £19.99
Set of 5 DVDs (Series 1) – £90

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