More From Santa

Regardless of the fact that more than one-month has now passed since ‘the Big Day’ in 2010, I still feel it would be appropriate to share with you some of the gifts I received, in addition to the two new Metabo drills I purchased for myself (as featured in a previous post).

Top of my list then, was the Acer Laptop, featured above. Now, I don’t get as excited about Christmas now as I did maybe sixteen-years ago but, this was the most satisfying present I think I’ve ever had. It’s a close heat between this and the car I received when I turned eighteen… But, since that was a Birthday, it probably shouldn’t count! 😉

For too long, I’ve been wanting to get a laptop to provide me with that freedom and independence from the shared PC in our home (although, admittedly, I’m still leaching off our broadband supply). It allows me to manage my e-mails, produce a SketchUp drawing and make blog posts like this; any time of day or night, without having to wait for someone else to finish using it first. As it’s brand-new, it’s still very fast, too. My own preference was for a DELL laptop but, I haven’t been able to fault this Acer model so far… Plus, I’d noticed that Toolstation have Acer PCs so, that had to be a good sign! I only wish I could sort myself out with an appropriate desk space so that I can use the USB mouse I purchased the other week. I really don’t get on with this touch-pad too well and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve accidentally closed tabs or dragged them to a new window; opened a link accidentally or, somehow managed to scroll back a page and lose all the information I was writing previously (fortunately, WordPress is configured to warn you before you can leave a page without saving – if only internet forums had the same feature…).

This is my current “laptop desk” set up and, all I can say is that it’s no good for my knees:

Straying away from the subject of woodwork momentarily, I also received these two DVDs:

Whatever you think of Ricky Gervais, I’ve found both DVDs to be hilarious! I’m not a fan of Gervais’ stand-up material but, this is all about the confused world inside the perfectly-round head of Karl Pilkington. Most people ‘get it‘; some don’t. I’d already seen the animated series on Channel 4 but, due to the unsociable working hours of my current form of employment, I wasn’t able to catch many episodes of the other show on SkyOne. So, I was delighted to receive both DVDs and they’ll find their home on my wall shelf alongside Extras and The Office.

Back to woodworking and I owe a huge thanks to my Secret Santa on the UKworkshop forums for this pair of wooden spokeshaves:

Both were made by the man himself, from a mysterious timber I’d not come across before, called bocote. Aled Dafis is the craftsman behind these creations and it’s worth taking a look at his personal website while you’re here, since he produces his own infill plane kits. Aled also admits that these ‘shaves were also based on the design of Veritas’ large wooden spokeshave.

On both of these ‘shaves, the blades are a bit different to what you would expect to find on many metal-bodied spokeshaves. Their design is reminiscent, to me, of the designs available at the Windsor Workshop. If you look closely, you can also see the two grub screws uses to fine-adjust the projection of the cutting edge. As with James Mursell’s travisher, which I used on my chair seat at college last year, this works brilliantly and is so much more accurate and user-friendly than the typical arrangement as found on your average metal spokeshave.

Last year, I purchased a pair of old Record spokeshaves. These works alright, even though I still believe they would be improved by the addition of thicker cutting irons. Several woodworkers, at the time, advised me to look at the Veritas and Clifton spokeshaves instead (financially, it just wasn’t feasible). Having tried these bocote ‘shaves briefly though, I see no need to consider upgrading anytime soon. They’re pretty sweet when cutting with a sharp blade and the perfect amount of projection below the brass sole.

Somewhere, I also have one of the small spokeshave kits from The Windsor Workshop. That’s another beauty and it could be interesting to see how that tool compares to these two, one day…

Thanks for reading. I hope you all had a joyous [belated!] Christmas!

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