I had a lovely weekend at the ToolPost, it was good on so many levels; lots of Chestnuteers came over to say hello, there was a friendly atmosphere there and the good folk at the ToolPost looked after me – and the other workers there – very well. It’s always appreciated so thanks folks.
It was also great to catch up with Gary Lowe again, and this time I had chance to watch him in action and enjoy his demonstrating. I even picked up a few small tips as well, proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
If you missed Gary this weekend don’t forget that he’s one of our Headline Demonstrators at the Woodturning Weekender, in less than two month’s time!!
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned about using a blowtorch to speed up the drying time of some of our products. I wasn’t keen on the idea and haven’t changed my mind, but mentioned that it’s ok to use a hairdryer for this purpose as long as it’s done with care. Watching Gary at the weekend I picked up a small tip about it; always point the hairdryer away from your work when you turn it on. It’s inevitable that some shavings or dust will have settled in the nozzle, and you don’t want to blow it straight onto the wet finish you’ve just applied! Thanks for that one Gary!

Another regular question, asked this morning, was about whether our Spirit Stains are toy safe. Surprisingly, it’s irrelevant, but with good reason. To quote my source at the testing laboratory, “EN71-3 [the test for toy safety] is only applicable for components considered “accessible”…either directly, or by modifying the product (i.e breaking it) with a reasonable amount of force… That means if the stain is completely coated and it is not reasonably easy for the coating to be removed, then the stain should be considered inaccessible and therefore shouldn’t need testing.”
I can’t think of any situation where a piece of timber could be broken by a child and sufficient stain be accessible to be a problem. Many of our coatings are toy safe, so as long as these are used and the stain is completely covered, so are you.

Finally this week, an oldie but a goldie – or maybe Silver or Copper. It’s our Gilt Cream, and I know this has come up before but someone asked me for a reminder the other day so I thought it was worth repeating.
Probably because of the way it is used – only very little at a time and very infrequently – jars of Gilt Cream tend to stay on shelves for a long time, and they have a habit of drying out. But all is not lost if this happens, adding some white spirit to the jar will quickly remedy the situation. The solvent will be absorbed by the dried out cream and will fairly quickly return to a useable state. Add a little at a time until you’ve got the consistency you want. You can, if you’re careful, warm the cream in a water bath (NO NAKED FLAMES) and mix a little linseed oil in. Being slower drying this will keep it fresh for longer.

So that’s us for this week. This weekend I’m in Gloucester at the local branch of the British Woodcarvers Association there. A slightly unusual one for me, most of the demos I give are to turners. The finishes are still the same, but the application and usage will be slightly different. I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun and very interesting.

If I’m not seeing you there, I’ll see you back here next week. Have a good one, don’t forget our Facebook page and especially our group Conkers for more information and inspiration.