Bending Timber

Many years ago (I can say that now, being 5 or so years ago!), I wrote a post about bending timber using kerfing. To this day, it remains one of the most clicked-on posts of all time. It would certainly justify a revisit, and expansion to the original post.

Out in the shed today, I was using the Amana Tool Tambour Bit set to make a large tambour door for the toy kitchen (and the full article about the construction will be in the next edition of ManSpace magazine). When I had finished it, and assembled all the slats, it was surprising to see just how flexible the interlocking slats were. It made me think of kerfing, with a different surface texture (obviously). (The bit set is available from

If flexibility was not the desired end result, but the forms that could be created during assembly, this could produce some really organic structures – lounge chairs, curves around structures etc. Although (like kerfing) there are some inherent weak areas, (which don’t compromise the structure if used for a roller door but would if used for a deck chair), these could be easily overcome with good glue, and supporting structure, allowing the form of the tambour, with the strength required for the alternate purpose.

Tambour Door

Tambour Door

So there is the teaser. The full door (and in this case, it will be a door for the toy kitchen), is 450mm wide and around 750mm in length, and is made up of 52 individual slats that require no joiners, no backing tape or canvas: just pure, interlocking timber slats. Total distance of timber passing through the various machines in getting it sized correctly, then shaped by the router table was around 1/2 a km. Not relevant, just interesting!

Perhaps this is the myth that Adam Savage could have busted during his “Tested” video – Chris actually pondering the use of nails!

Lost Art Press


When I build stuff, my first joint of choice is the dovetail. It’s hard to beat or defeat.

But lately I’ve been pondering a common situation where a nail would be a better substitute for the much-lauded tail. It’s a bit of a trick to explain, but I am willing to try.

When you make sliding tills in a tool chest, they are difficult to fit because they are incredibly long (mine are about 36”) and not so wide (mine are about 8”). Because they are this peculiar shape, they have to be fit precisely and tightly so they do not rack inside the tool chest.

If they are even slightly loose, they will rack and bind. And you will then make bad words come out of your lip hole.

So you fit them precisely with a hand plane. It is not hard to do. The world smiles upon your…

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