Frequently Asked Questions

Look through this page to quickly find an answer to your question. If all else fails, use the search bar below to search my entire website.

GENERAL

How old are you?

I was born on the 21st of November, 1995.

Put it in your calendar folks.

How tall are you?

I am about 6′ 1″ People are often suprised when they meet me as they expect me to be smaller. I'm convinced my workbench dwarfs me.

What's your favourite pizza topping?

Fiorientina if I'm feeling sophisticated. A large Hot and Spicy pizza from Dominos if I'm in the company of people I don't need to look attractive in from of. You know what Ben Stillers character looks like in the final scene of the movie Dodgeball?

Yea… that.

Sausage or Bacon?

Sausages and copious amounts of HP sauce for me. Although a bacon sandwich is always needed the morning after a few pints.

Cream or Jam on the scone first?

Don't care. Just give me a 4 pack of blueberry muffins and watch it dissapear in a few minutes.

But if I had to answer, it would be cream then jam. You don't put butter on top of jam when on toast… do you?

What is the Bubinga Boys?

Soon to be the best gaming channel on YouTube. It's a collaborative account between myself and my cameraman Rob where we film ourselves playing games. 

EDUCATION

Where did you train?

I trained at Rycotewood Furniture Centre in Oxford for 5 years on weekdays. Alongside this, I also worked at Axminster Tools and Machinery on weekends. Read my ‘About' page for more information

Do you teach classes?

I currently teach City and Guilds Furniture Making at Rycotewood Furniture Centre. I also used to teach evening classes here however I discontinued this halfway through 2019.

What skills would you like to learn?

Now that I've become proficient at working with wood. I'm now setting my eyes on engineering, blacksmithing and leatherwork. I'd love to be able to incorporate metalworking into my projects.

I would also like to learn programming, coding and electronics.

Who taught you?

I had many tutors throughout my time at Rycotewood, all of which have contributed to my overall skill now. On top of that, in my early woodworking days I learnt a lot from the likes of Chris Schwarz, Marc Spagnuolo, David Barron, David Charlesworth and Rob Cosman.

Did you do A-Levels?

Nope! I went straight from GCSE's into City and Guilds Furniture Making at Rycotewood. It was the best and scariest decision of my life as it meant leaving my friends behind and studying at a completely different college. But it all worked out in the end!

Did you get good results at school?

They were average. The only subjects I got a top grade in were Resistant Materials (Wood, Metal and Plastic) and Business. Although, I completed 3 years worth of coursework for the latter subject in the 2 weeks prior to the deadline.

Most other subjects were B's and C's. I got a D in French and Ungraded in ICT.

PROJECTS

Will you build a mitre saw station?

Yes! Although unfortunately my current workshop doesn't have the space to fit one. The site stand it's currently sitting on is ok, however it's not quite up to Jay Bates' standard!

Do you plan on refinishing Bertha?

Every year or so I sand back the top of my workbench to remove the glue and stains that have accumulated. I'm not too fussy about a perfectly flat workbench though. I re-finish it for cosmetic purposes and coat it in a layer of Matte Osmo.

Have you thought about making an instrument?

I have! I made a 6 string bass guitar in 2018 which turned out beautiful! Watch it here.

What project do you most look forward to?

At some point in my career, I want to make an infill plane that's so beautiful and functional it forces me to sell my Lie-Nielsen and Veritas tools. One day…

HAND TOOLS

Do you prefer 01, A2 or PM-V11 Steel?

There's a lot of gray areas in this response but as a general rule I like A2 or PM-V11 for chisels and blades that are subject to impacts. And I like 01 for plane blades. Watch this video to find out why.

Where do you buy your hand tools?

Axminster Tools and Machinery, Classic Hand Tools and Workshop Heaven.

Do you prefer Lie-Nielsen or Veritas?

Personally, I love the Lie-Nielsen Bench Planes and Bevel Edge Chisels. But Veritas joinery/specialist planes are revolutionary. Not to mention their measuring and marking accessories. I'm afriad it's a mix of the two!

What's your opinion on Stanley Planes?

I bought a new Stanley Plane for when I started at Rycotewood and it was awful. Even after tuning up I'm convinced it would not have worked properly. If you're going to buy a Stanley Plane, make sure it's an old one. There's a lot of great videos on how to tune them up. For me, I would prefer someone else to do the hard work for me, hence why I buy premium tools.

Wood vs. Metal Planes?

I've always preferred using metal bodied planes as opposed to wooden ones simply because it's what I trained with. However upon using a Japanese Plane for the first time during my visit to Vic Tesolins workshop, that opinion started wavering.

Have you made your own tools?

Making my own tools is one of the most rewarding things I do in the workshop. So far, I have made Dovetailing Mallets and Marking Knives.

POWER TOOLS

What power tools would you recommend for a small workshop?

There are too many variables in this question to give a straight answer as it depends on the machinery you have, the size of your workshop, and the work you do.

Generally, you will find a 1/2 router in most workshops and I recommend the Bosch GMF1600 for the most versatility.

Opinion on handheld electric planers?

They certainly have their place for quick jobs here and there, but I don't use them often in my work.

I do have the Bosch 12v cordless planers and think it's amazing. However you wouldn't catch me planing drawer sides with it!

MACHINERY

Why don't you own a table saw?

I get asked this question so frequently that I had to write a dedicated article responding to it. Read it here.

Is it a good idea to buy second hand machines?

The school I trained at was kitted out with old Wadkin Machinery which were things of beauty. Just make sure to ask the sellar to turn it on before you take it to your workshop!

What jigs would you recommend for the Tormek?

Depends entirely on the work you do! As a bare minumum, make sure to get a Truing Tool and a Stone Grader. Seek guidance from Tormeks website on any further query.

If Axminster didn't exist, where would you source your machine tools?

If I was looking at a similar price bracket, Record Power would be my next option. Realistically, they're probably all made in the same factory anyway. My advice would be to buy from the company with the best customer support and after sales service.

WORKSHOP

What brand clamps do you use?

My main clamps are the Axminster Parallel Jaw Clamps which are suitable for a variety of operations. I have a mixture of the standard duty and the heavy duty clamps for extra versatility and clamping distances.

I also have Bessey F-Clamps, Axminster Quick Release Clamps, and Veritas 4 way speed clamps for small boxes.

Can you film a workshop tour?

I already have! Watch it here.

My main goal with laying out the workshop was ensuring it was not only a functional space, but an inspiring place too. This makes the workshop an even more enjoyable place to be and makes 14 hour days a breeze!

SHARPENING

What sharpening setup would you recommend for a beginner?

As a beginner, you want something that is low maintenance and simple. For me, there is nothing that suits these requiments more than a diamond stone in combination with an eclipse style honing guide. Watch this video to see how to sharpen your tools.

Do you need a Tormek for re-grinding?

Absolutely not! A Tormek is a luxury, not a necessity. It gets the job done quickly and accurately however there is nothing stopping you from re-grinding on 120 grit wet and dry sandpaper stuck to float glass. However this takes a lot of elbow grease, hence why the Tormek can be nice to own.

Can I re-grind on a high speed grinder?

Yes you can but you need to be very careful not to heat the steel when grinding chisel and plane blades as it will soften them. Make sure to have a water pot nearby to cool the metal. This however is not a problem with High Speed Steel which is why woodturners often use a grinder to sharpen their tools.

Waterstone or Oilstone?

I prefer waterstones simply because they cut quickly and the mess is relatively easy to clear up. Whereas an oilstone makes it easy to get oily fingerprints on your work if you're clumsy like myself. 

Should I use a honing guide?

I've seen lots of blades that are more akin to a shovel than a sharp edge as a result of a beginner not using a honing guide. But the reality is if you're willing to go through that pain and train your muscle memory, you can achieve equal results free hand than you can using a honing guide. For me, I use a honing guide because it takes me 10 seconds to setup and I can be sure that I'm accurate.

Opinion on the Veritas Honing Guide?

The Veritas Honing guide is a foolproof piece of equipment and is perfect for a beginner. But my preference is an eclipse style honing guide simply because there is only one knob to tighten, therefre making setup of the honing guide much faster. If you're on the fence, I would recommend going into a tool store and trying one out.

JOINERY

What is the best way to batch produce dovetails?

A router jig is easily the best way to batch produce dovetails.

But if you're looking for hand tool methods, I would recommend gang cutting the tails. This involves stacking 2-4 of the tails in the vice at a time and cutting them all at once. Not only does this make it quicker, but it also means they match perfectly and makes it easier to cut square along the endgrain.

What joint should I use?

A common question I get asked is advice on what joint to use for a certain part of a project. Due to many variables, this is a difficult one to answer. However I did cover the topic in this video which will help you make a more informed decision.

WOODTURNING

What woodturning chisels do you use?

I use the Crown Cryogenic turning tools. To see more of my woodturning equipment, view my profile on kit.com

Do you sell your creations?

Every now and then I will create a batch of bowls, pens, mallets or knives that can be purchased. While there is no schedule on these releases, Patrons of $10 or more have priority access to these items when they become available.

WOOD

What woods are best for Furniture Making?

My favourites are native Timbers such as Ash, Walnut and Oak. Other good options are Maple, Sycamore, Elm and Beech. These are all Hardwoods that are very abundant and also easy to use.
If you’re going for softwoods, Douglas Fir, Cedar and Yellow Pine are all good options but be prepared for some crumbling when chopping out dovetails.
 
I tend to steer clear of exotic material where possible as it’s usually a nightmare to work and looks too vibrant in my opinion. It’s nice for small pieces and also accents on furniture, but having a huge purple piece of furniture made from purple heart isn’t for me. Each to their own though!

What are your thoughts on Native vs. Exotic species of wood?

I tend not to use exotic materials unless it’s for smaller pieces such as boxes, or for accents in a piece of furniture such as handles or inlay.
I much prefer to use native species of timber wherever I can and the sawmills that surround my workshop are amazing suppliers for this type of material.
Unfortunately the UK is pretty bad at growing our own timber as most of it is imported from Europe or North America. But hopefully one day we’ll get better!

BUYING MATERIAL

Do you think Brexit will affect the price of timber in the UK?

We’re really bad at growing our own timber here in the UK. The majority of it is imported from Europe and North America.
I’m not really sure if the price will go up or down. I once heard that the price of Oak has increased but I never noticed the difference myself.
Seeing as I don’t buy timber often, I don’t notice these fluctuations. At the end of the day, the price is the price and I need wood in order to make things.

What happened to your series on timber merchants?

It's still ongoing! They just take a while to organise! Have a look at this playlist to ensure you haven't missed anything!

ENVIRONMENT

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HEALTH

What's the best way to deal with dust allergies in the workshop?

Not sure on that question! If it’s an allergy through inhalation then a dust mask to FFP3 or P3 standard might do the trick.
If it’s a skin irritation such as dermatitis then you’re best off seeking a doctors advice.
In fact, just seek doctors advice as a whole. Best of being safe than sorry.

BRANDS

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BUSINESS

What are some ways to make money from woodworking?

Plenty of ways to do it although I can only speak from my own personal experience.
I decided to attack things by building a very strong brand. I have no doubt that I could put little things like pens up for sale on my website and people would buy them simply because I made them. That’s not me being vain, that’s a simple fact of branding.
My main advice is to do something you’re passionate about. We all do woodworking for one reason, we love it. There’s no point in trying to make items that you’re not necessarily interested in just because they sell. Yes, you may need to do little bits here and there that aren’t the most enjoyable things to make, but it shouldn’t be your entire catalogue of items. Whether that’s a total of 1 item or 50.
If you’re passionate about something, then you will continue doing it even if the money doesn’t come in straight away. You’ll do it for pure enjoyment. This is one of the main reasons why I have been able to grow my YouTube channel. It’s not because I want money, it’s because I love filming, editing and sharing with other people.
It allows you to be patient without having to actually be patient! One day you’re messing around doing something you enjoy doing, then suddenly the next day the money starts rolling in.
*Disclaimer, it’s not as easy as that*
But what I’m saying is:
Do something you love, show your passion to other people, and be patient. If you do that day upon day and have an interesting product, you will eventually get there. The hardest thing is the patience.
So stick with it!

BUBINGA BOYS

How is OSB involved with the Gaming Channel?

Well, that’s a texture pack I didn’t know I needed.
Any developers out there?

MISCELLANEOUS

How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

Probabaly about this much.

Where do you buy your hardware from?

If I have a particularly fancy project where the hinges will be in plain sight such as a box, I use Brusso hardware.
However for projects with doors where the hinges are less visible. I opt for a cheaper hinge and then tune it up using the tips in this video. You can make a 50p binge go to £5 with a little bit of work. I’d really recommend you give it a go.
As for handles, I usually end up making these from wood therefore have never needed to buy metal hardware. But in the few instances I have used metal, I shared your struggle!

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