Saturday, 26 October 2013

Pocket holes: Why they make everyone an elitist, and you could have done it that way!

So I had a little free time today waiting for some snowflakes to glue-up, and I decided to do a little networking - internet social networking to be precise. I came across a "share" about an article relating to pocket holes. Reading the comments posted along with this share, I got the impression that people were mocking them. Now I'm not saying people were mocking pocket holes - that's just the impression I got reading the comments.

So this article; I'll put a link to it at the end, but for now, please bare with. Many times, On the social network scene and YouTube I've come across a lot of comments by people who seem to think that Pocket hole Joinery is not joinery, it's cheating. Along with their counterparts firmly defending the right to use them. It's a little like the whole biscuits argument I guess at the end of the day.

So what's your take? I kind of feel that both the Kreg jig (Yes i know there are other makes out there) and the biscuit jointer is a little like marmite. Love it or hate it? where do you fit?

Well let me know! comments below. Personally, I like pocket holes, I think they have their place, and I use them for speed, and where they are not seen. As to weather they are as strong as other joints, well, maybe - maybe not. but as with all other joints, I think they are strong enough if used sensibly. 


But wait, there's more. I didn't just want this to be yet another argument about joinery, yet another opportunity to let people say how much they think of this method of fixing two different pieces of wood together.

I started to think a little deeper.......

So you probably know I post videos to YouTube, hopefully you subscribe, and have noticed that I put a new show out on a  Tuesday, time permitting.No? well go check them out! as part of the video release I try to respond to comments made, and although this is not always possible, I do see a theme to some comments. Notably the "you could also have done it that way" comment.

Let me explain.

I, like most woodworkers have various tools, space, time and money. Also, weather we admit it or not, and although I like to experiment - we all like to work to our methods and limitations.

So lets look at joining two pieces of wood so they meet at right angle on each end. I can do a mortice and tenon - through, blind, haunched, wedged or pinned. I can screw them in a butt joint. I can nail them in a butt joint. I can half lap them. I can use a bridle, mitred, straight or dovetailed. I can put a sliding dovetail....I can use biscuits, dowels or pocket hole screws. Now I'll pick Mortice and tenon - for arguments sake, and let YOU work out how many ways you could actually cut the joint......you get the picture?

I guess in summery, you can use loads of methods, to cut loads of joints, with loads of tools for loads of applications.  I'd be interested to hear from you all, about how you cut your joints, and with what.

Here's that link that sparked it all off! enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Avoiding the rotten prices associated with rotten windows and doors.

So Whats better than having to pay someone to refit a new door frame, re-hang the stable door, and paint? Well doing it yourself of course!
I personally prefer timber window and door frames, somehow they just seem nicer to look at, and are far more appealing to the eye than plastic ones - Yes I know I'm biased, by we each of us have our favourites:-)

If you have wooden doors, or timber window frames, firstly LOOK AFTER THEM! They need a bit of maintenance every now and again, and If you can spare a little time and effort, get the paint brushes out every once in a while, and give them a little protection. Anyway, that's not the point of this post.


As you can see, this frame is completely shot, the "rusty nail" is actually a No.10x3" screw - or whats left of it! It's been painted, several times, but It's not had a coat for some time, and to make matters worse, it's on an exposed side of the building and takes the brunt of mother nature. Harsh wind and rain in the winter, sun all day in the summer, literally one extreme to the other.

So you might be thinking that the whole frame needs renewing, a big, time consuming, and specialist job for a professional. But actually it's not quite as bad as all that, just yet. Still not cheap, (about £100 for materials), which is less than the cost of a new frame. But the best bit, you can get this done in a couple of hours, and be painted the same day. AND YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF!   



One of the first things I noticed was the fixing of the frame to the brickwork was a little "weak", so I decided to refix it with some Hammer fixings. Lukily I had four left over from something previous, so I just Drilled the correct size hole, hammered the fixing in and tightened with a screw driver. 4 in total, all safe and sound!

Now before you scroll down any further, I should point out that this is not a how-to post. It's a what-I-did-post. HOWEVER, I did say it's a DO-IT-YOURSELF job - which It really is, but I'm going to assume you either have a degree of "natural apptitude" in such endevours. Furthermore, if you've not tried anything like this before - rotton wood is rotten - so it has to GO, this means making the damage look worse before better. Think of it as a bit like dentistry.

Thirdly, Although I've carried out rotten timber repairs similar to this before, this was the first time i used this particular product, so I was kind of a first for me too. (I now REALLY like this product, and will definately be using it again)!............So......... ->



Both sides of the door frame were totaly shot and needed the same treatment, about 90% of rot in windows and doors etc occur round the bottom - for obvious reasons.All the rotten timber had to be completely removed from the area, Whatever type of  repair you carryout, the yuck has to go, as it weak, and nothing sticks to it. It's a bit like putting duct tape on a dusty floor. the picture above shows all the rott having been either drilled or chiseled out. The company that make this repair kit also sell a giant oversized manic dentists drill type monster machine, basically a long router, with a 1/4" straight or cove bit on the end to play dentist with - but TBH, that just seemed like using a cannon crack a walnut. It's also expensive, and, well I already have a few chisels and forstner bits!
You can also see a bit of the stuff used for the repair - I was concentrating on the repair not the camera.

So Whats the stuff I used then? Well It's a 2 part resin mix, actually it's kind of a 4-part resin, as there's 2 parts to the 2 parts. There's actually 3 variants of these as well in terms of set-time, but thats means the maths becomes more than being able to keep my shoes on, so we'll keep to "it's a 2-part resin system".

I first saw this system about a year ago, when it was actually a little cheaper. I like to browse the shelves of my local suppliers, if only to keep ahead of new products and developments, like alot of us, and actually thought it looked interesting but gave it not much more thought. I kind of regret it now, because it with the 20/20 heinsight we all have, I would have saved myself some money, would be more experienced with the product, Which although is VERY simple to use, never goes amiss, and would have saved myself quite a bit of time on other jobs too! You're possibly starting to thing that i like this - I do! :-) 

So as i said, the system comes in 2 parts, everything is available seperately. But you can do as I did, and buy a trial pack, which contains everything you need for a repair. including a really cool double barreled caulking gun, mixing and spreading spatulas, little wooden sticks, and coffe cups to mix the liquid part in, a board to mix the main resin on, gloves and wipes for cleaning up. ALSO the most important thing, an instructional DVD to explain how the system works, and what order to work in. Yes you can read the print on the tubes, but actually it's a really good DVD, and since it's all in the the pack of everything you need, I gave it a watch. 



What really surprised me was just how easy it was to work, it has the consistancy of "quite hard ice cream", when it's been out the freezer a little while, it holds the shape you give it very well, but at the same time is easy to shape and mould to match the profiles you have. It also works really well as a sort of morter, so you can splice in pieces of timber. This is great, as if it's a bit hole you're filling, you can keep the cost down by splicing in bits of wood, as i did here. It aslo means you can use the straight edges of timber on the corners, thus making live a little easier than if you tried to create a profile with just the resin.

I'm really impressed with this stuff, and first impressions are out standing. MUCH cheaper than a new frame, and the application areas are far reaching! paint and stain able, flexible, rot-proof, and it can be drilled, sawn, routed etc just like wood. Not sure about it's availablility wordwide, but for anyone here in the UK, It's definately worth a look at!
Just do a google search for "repair care" or "dry-flex".
Go save yourself some cash!