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The Furniture Makers’ Company Young Professionals' Industry Experience 2015 came to a close at a presentation event held at One Moorgate Place last week. Once again, Axminster Tools & Machinery supported and sponsored the event alongside main sponsor The January Furniture Show and other leading industry companies including Blum, Burbidge, Cabinet Maker, CD UK, Crofts & Assinder, DFS, Ercol, FIRA, The Furniture Ombudsman, Halstock, Hypnos, KI, M&S, Panaz and UBM.
The project was first piloted in 2014 when Kelly Wakeley (then Baker) from the Axminster Business Services team was awarded a place on the programme. This year the project has again brought together some of the best and brightest young talent in the furnishing industry to take part in an intensive three-week programme, during which companies opened their doors and gave the young professionals an insight into their businesses. The group had the chance to visit and understand all areas of the furniture industry supply chain, learning about raw materials and components, the complexity of manufacturing, buying criteria, pricing, marketing and merchandising, through to consumer law, after sales and customer service.
This is a unique opportunity that only The Furniture Makers’ Company, through its membership, is able to create and provide.
Some of you may have seen the recent Trade Clamps competition featured on our Facebook page. We intend to run the competition monthly and were inundated with entries for the month of June. After much deliberation, we have chosen the entry shown just above from Sam Fish of Fish Fabrications who wins four forged flat bar clamps worth £39.84. Congratulations go to Sam.
Axminster Tools & Machinery (AT&M) recently exhibited at the Big Bang Fair South West held at Exeter University.
The Big Bang Fair is about inspiring young people from all backgrounds to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The event played host to many inspirational scientists and engineers, who were there to enthuse the engineers and scientists of the future. On offer to students were fun-filled theatre shows, hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops and a wide range of careers information from local and national companies who were on hand to give insight into future careers, both nearby and further afield.
The event was open to students throughout the South West from Year 7 upwards and took them on a journey of discovery to find out which STEM careers are open to them. Schools and students were encouraged to showcase their best STEM projects through the National Science & Engineering Competition (NSEC). The event also aimed to celebrate the achievements of students and the essential contribution of the teachers, parents and guardians who help to put their great efforts together.
AT&M took the Axminster CNC Technology iKX3 Mill and, under the guidance of skilled engineer Mark Vincent, students were shown how to utilise the CAD-CAM software, used in this highly accurate machine, to engrave their names on an aluminium key ring. This proved to be very popular with queues of students all day for a key ring.
Axminster Tools & Machinery has recently supplied the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth with tools and machinery to enable the building of a Cornish gig. This project, funded by the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme and The National Maritime Museum, is being built by Tri Service Disabled Veterans, introduced to the project by the Help for Heroes Charity, and Serving Disabled from the Royal Marines Rehabilitation Unit, Hasler Company, Plymouth.
The gig is being constructed in the Maritime Museum workshop gallery in Falmouth and supervised by professional boat builder, Andrew Nancarrow. The end of the project will be marked by rowing the gig from Falmouth to St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, in time to take part in the Cornish Pilot Gig World Championships in early May 2016. After the championships, the gig will be donated to an appropriate military charity.
The Proskills MakeIT! Awards took place Friday 19th June at The City of Oxford College. Axminster Tools & Machinery supported the scheme for students in years 9 to 11 by donating gift vouchers to the prize winners in the Wood & Furniture category. Sales Director Alan Styles was on hand to present the prizes. The winner of this category was Abby Xiao from the British School of Beijing.
The annual MakeIT! Awards attracted many industry figures, wood and furniture professionals and finalist schools to what proved to be an amazing day for all MakeIT! finalist students. The event celebrated the hard work and achievements of the thousands of students who took part in this year’s MakeIT! competition.
Proskills UK Group is a champion for quality industrial skills development in both the UK and abroad. Formally government funded, the Group remains industry focused but is now a self-sustaining and award winning skills body, with charitable status, that creates impact at the cutting edge of vocational education and training development.
This weekend the East Devon market town of Axminster will be hosting the 21st Axe Vale Festival; both organisers and visitors are hoping for fine weather or at least very little rain. Some may remember the 2012 show having to be cancelled due to unprecedented flooding at the showground, let's hope there is no repetition of that freak weather.
At this year's show some of our Skill Centre tutors will be wowing the crowds with their amazing demonstrations. Internationally acclaimed woodturner Jason Breach will be at the lathe creating turned pieces that most of us can only dream of producing. Our engineering tutor Bob Rolph, whose knowledge on the subject is boundless, will be demonstrating various metalworking techniques. Ben Beddows, who teaches pyrography and pen turning, will be creating some beautifully artistic designs using pyrography. Finally, we would like to introduce our new carving tutor Paul Gardner who has taken over from Peter Berry at the Axminster Skill Centre. Paul has spent many years working with wood, clay and bronze. His work covers a wide variety of styles ranging from traditional ornamental carving to animal and figurative work.
The Boat Building Academy based in Lyme Regis, Dorset hopes that many people will join the celebrations when the Class of September 2014 launch eight boats, built as part of their intensive 38 week training, into Lyme Regis harbour at 11.00 am on Wednesday 10th June.
In line with tradition, the latest fleet will be walked from the Boat Building Academy workshops on Monmouth Beach to the slipway, where champagne corks will pop as the boats slide into the water for the first time. This mini fleet of boats comprises a 22’ Nordlands boat, 20’ Seabird Half Rater (the oldest one-design class boat still sailing), 15’2 Iain Oughtred ‘Whilly Tern’, 14’ faering, 13’ Iain Oughtred ‘Acorn Skiff’, 12’ Andrew Wolstenholme ‘Mallard’ dinghy, 18’ Guillemot ‘Night Heron’ kayak and the restoration of a 10’ traditional clinker dinghy named ‘Swallow’, believed to have been originally built by naval apprentices.
Students in the Class of September 2014 span the age range and joined the Academy from an assortment of backgrounds for different reasons. Many had no woodworking or boat building experience. Lee Ulyat from Cheshire was a security manager after leaving the 7th Parachute Regiment R.H.A, but wanted a complete career change. Lee who, with the group, has built the carvel Seabird Half Rater said:‘The course is fast paced and intense. I‘ve learned new skills every day. I never imagined I would actually be able to build a boat for my family and this is what makes the Academy unique. The quality of training and instruction is first rate with a diverse knowledge base. I would recommend the 38 week course to anyone wanting to become a boat builder’.
Delegates from Exeter and across East Devon representing the Federation of Small Businesses recently spent an afternoon at Axminster Tools & Machinery. The aim of the visit was to encourage networking, promote working together and discuss employment issues.
When I started making sawdust years ago in the early 1970s, the current renaissance in top quality hand tools was a very distant pipe dream. It was necessary for me and many others to try to assemble a kit of tools based on equipment available at that time, which to be fair, especially when discussing planes, was pretty abysmal.
I remember at Shoreditch College, around 1976, helping out a fellow student whose Sheffield made, blue painted No.6 plane wasn’t cutting, no matter how much it was adjusted. Zero...zip, nowt!
I was puzzled as well, but fortunately I had a 600mm Maun straight edge in my toolbox (I still have it in the workshop today) which I proceeded to place across the sole of his plane. We were both astounded to see that far from being anywhere near straight, the sole of his plane had more in common with a banana.
Thankfully, those days have long gone. Whilst some English hand tool manufacturing (not all, it has to be said) disappeared to the Far East, a new resurgence in top quality planes began in the New World and has continued to grow to the current day.
Jorvik (York) Woodturners have been working alongside the Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick. This specialist centre is run by the charity Help for Heroes and forms part of the Defence Recovery Capability. The project was driven by Help for Heroes volunteer Chris Morgan who runs the recovery centre.
The club has been helping to set up a woodturning shed at Phoenix House. The new workshop will provide a setting where injured troops and veterans can work towards gaining woodworking skills and qualifications which may help them forge new careers. Part of the project involved renovating an old Axminster lathe, one of the machines destined to assist with the rehabilitation of those in the Armed Forces disabled in recent conflicts.
Earlier this year, the club approached Axminster for some spare parts for the lathe and it was then identified by AT&M as being an old M950 which the company had discontinued a few years earlier. Fortunately parts were still available and Axminster donated these to the club enabling them to continue renovating the lathe ready for use.
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