At Benchspace Making a Wine Valet.
Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks
Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks
It seems you can, after all, teach an old dog new tricks.
Thanks to Martin Horgan and his colleagues at Benchspace, I learned something about woodworking in a couple of hours last Saturday. I also met The Dog (a tool for holding your piece) and the Shooting Board (used with the plane to help smooth and straighten edges).
But what is Benchspace? You may well be asking.
Benchspace Cork provides space and equipment for independent craftsmen and hobbyists alike in woodworking. Cork and Ireland's first shared-access Woodwork Workshop is located in the Marina Commercial Park. They provide industry standard machinery, dedicated maker-spaces, communal workbenches and classes. And you can become a part of The Capital of Making.
It is a not-for-profit shared workshop and the aim is to provide affordable access to work benches and professional standard machinery to local furniture makers and designers, particularly to graduates and early career professionals.
David Scannell, who invited me, and a few others, to the Saturday session, says they also actively encourage collaboration and co-working to stimulate creativity and innovation in the areas of craft and design, and aim to build links with other creative and manufacturing organisations to make this happen. It is also a place where the public, individually or in groups, are welcome to come and build their ideas.
“This is in line with our vision of Cork as a creative hub, where entrepreneurs, artists, designers, makers, creatives and techies, work together as part of a vibrant, productive and invigorating creative economy.”
So what did we do? Well, after a welcome and a briefing, I choose my little piece of lumber and was guided into turning it into a drinks valet. Sponsors Kinsale Gin was the chosen bottle and there were two glasses as well to be accommodated in the valet.
|Not bad! My finished valet.|
Martin led us in practising our measuring and sawing skills. I even got to use an amazing, I thought so anyhow, Japanese saw. Most of the morning was spent in getting the length (mainly) and width correct. Martin then put them all in a large saw so that we were all more or less level. Time then for coffee, tea and cakes!
|Hands on for Evin|
After a hectic six months of preparation, an online Fundit campaign and building, Benchspace Cork got up and running last month. The project received massive support from “our crowd funders, our night class makers, our volunteers and our full time makers”.
Have a project in mind that you’d like to build yourself? Then a Maker Session might just be the answer. Guided Maker sessions allow you to build your own woodwork project with the help and advice of an experienced furniture maker using the facilities of the Benchspace workshop. You supply your own materials and they will supply the tools, advice and coffee.
So back to Saturday and the second half of our session. More measuring now as we lined up our three holes, one for the bottle and one for each of the stems of the glasses.
Precision was required here and not always supplied. I needed Martin’s help,again as we lined them up, along with the access for the stems. But, with Martin supplying a neat finish with the chisel, we got there. The drills came into play here and there was a smell of burning timber (ease back, and go again) as the holes were made.
Now we were able to try out the valet and bingo it worked! But we weren’t finished yet. Martin applied a round finish (there were other choices) to my edges. David then used the sanding machine and I used a little piece of sandpaper to smooth any little rough edges before getting my hands on a rag and a little oil to bring up the final finish.
Happy out! And even happier when we were each presented with a bottle of Kinsale Gin to take home! A big big thanks to the Benchspace team for their patience, skill and hospitality over the four hours in the workshop. I’m certain others will make even better use of the place and I'm glad to help get the work out and about.
|An unnamed instrument, by Brian Leach.|
Update: Now named as a Lap Harp
If you’d like an easy start then how about their Christmas Bites classes next Saturday and the following Saturday. Join them in the workshop for some hand planing, sawing and Christmas music.
Benchspace Bites are a great chance to try your hand at woodwork with no experience necessary. The valuable skills learned during the class can be applied to almost any future woodwork project. Benchspace Bites are short introductory sessions where you can make your very own piece in a single class.
David: “We have two sessions 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm on both the 2nd and 9th of December. For more info and tickets click here.
This is a great festive way to learn some basic woodworking skills as well as make some decorations you can proudly hang on your Christmas tree. We’re kicking off Christmas early in the workshop. Join us and learn how to hand make beautiful Scandinavian Wood Shaving Christmas Decorations...and a few surprises.”
“We'll also be doing more Saturday morning classes next year, starting on the first week of January. Details will be up on our Facebook page soon.”
“We will also include a ‘maker clinic’ for new projects, where you can get advice on how best to approach your project, where to find materials, what equipment you might need to use and how long it might take.”
As part of Cork’s exciting new maker space, you will meet other makers, and share their knowledge and experience. There are opportunities for collaboration, inspiration, sharing of costs, networking and just staying in touch.
Most importantly, membership fees support the Benchspace dream, to make Cork a capital of making, to support makers as they launch their careers. Membership fees (€50.00 for 12 months) are an important source of income for Benchspace Cork, which is a not-for-profit organisation.