Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Free woodworking project ideas and inspiration: Going old skool in the 21st century

Just before Christmas I had my VIP stay with me for a few days. I had basically shut the workshop up for the holiday, but as most of you will know, you just can't shut your mind off from thinking up ideas and projects!

So, during one wet afternoon, we decided to take a trip to the local library, it's a small setup with a few books, and we picked out a few that would be suitable for her reading ability and at the same time be challenging as well. To be honest I started to get a little board, and was struggling to hide it. Much the same as she does during a trip to any shop not selling toys!

but what happened next made me smile so wide it filled the room! "come on Daddy, lets find you a book too." after a few minutes, we had found the shelf filled with various craft books, from scrap-booking to knitting, and joy of joy, two woodworking books!

I used to work in a "library" of sorts for a pharmaceutical company, boxes and shelves filled with medical journals, and peer reviewed papers on various boring and complicated ailments and conditions. Nothing at all of interest except the cheque [pay check] at the end of the month, but I did get a basic understanding of how libraries work, and are struggling in the 21st century.

It seems libraries are closing at an alarming rate, and struggling to get punters through the door. I've spoken to a few people around, and many say that they don't use the library because of two main reasons, lack of books of interest, and forgetting to take books back and paying fines.

I would counter both of these arguments:
Firstly every library has a computer catalogue in it. you can search every book in the county(at least here in the UK, Please leave a comment if you use libraries in the US), and request one of interest to be delivered to your local library for you to take out. even if the book is out, you can reserve it and it will be delivered upon it's return.
Secondly, fines... if you want to take the book out for  a bit longer you can renew the book upto (usually), 2 more times, that's about three months with you, depending on the terms of you library.

you can also get the library to email you a week or so in advance to remind you to return it. I once had a book about different finishing techniques for nearly 6  months a few years back, after i had been told i could no longer renew it, i returned it to the library, and checked it straight out again and took it home again. nobody had reserved it so the library allowed me to take it again.

Even if you forget to renew or return the book, the fines are simply pennies! I forgot to take back a couple of the original reading books for the VIP, they were a week late, and the fine came to £1.05!
that's nothing, barely a can of cola these days!

now, in the 21st century you can sit on the computer, trawl the internet for thousands of posts, pages and videos. and that's great, but who can deny that it's not a great feeling to lay in bed, or the bath, or - well you get the idea, and flick through pages of a real book, one that's free, and one you can give back to another to use, and get enjoyment from?

The two books I took out that day were great, the first was a scroll saw pattern book, filled with pages of templates, pictures and ideas from animals, jigsaws, really simple ideas that anyone could tackle at any level.
The second was also book of simple ideas, the kind of items you might see in a craft store in a quiet seaside town for tourists. you might pay a few pounds for these, but something anyone with an "I'd like to try that" mentality, of any age or ability.

Go on, get out there and support your local library, before you loose it!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Why Winter is a great time to get those garden projects on the workbench, a simple garden climber arch.

So it's been a few days since I last put anything in writing, I've been pretty busy with a couple of jobs. If you follow my Facebook page, you'll probably have seen the Victorian fireplace I did after the last post - more on this soon.

You may have even seen a couple of pictures showing the garden Arch I just completed.

A friend of mine asked me to renew one of these in her garden, She has a huge garden, with acres of grass and even more fields beyond, and as we walked through garden past all the stalks and stems still hiding from the weather and waiting for that, soon-to-arrive, spring morning before once again coming to life and spreading fast across the still dormant flower beds. It suddenly occurred to me that now is actually a pretty good time to get out into the garden and look at all the projects we'll want to think about once the spring comes...

Once the flowers start to come back, they'll be in the way, besides, once the weather improves we'll want to be planting up, not building planters. look at the timber projects now before they are covered in flowers before deciding on changing them.

So this was the project, to replace the old arch, that had rotten out at the bottom since it was put up early 20 years ago. i was asked to make it the same size and of similar construction, so setting to with a tape measure and pen. I made a few notes and off I went.

Working on the top section first, I worked out how wide i wanted the arc to be, i.e. the span + the overhang. and also how long it needed to be i.e. the width of the support legs.
this gave me the size of the top, plus all the over hangs i wanted, and could be marked out for joining together.

I decided to go with simple cross halving joints for the top, this was easy to do just trenching out the bits that needed to go with the mitre saw, and chiseling out the waste. the Waste was only butchered out with the chisel, using a hammer rather than any real finesse, even so the joints were tight, and neat once assembled.

The legs and the tops were marked and cut in the same way, just changing the depth of the trench, By marking out just one side, then clamping all together, the time taken to cut the trenches was reduced by about 4 times. Just remember though, when using the sliding saw to cut these trenches, the piece nearest the cut ends up with a curved cut so everything needs to be brought away from the saw fence to give a flat bottom to the cut line. You can either use a scrap piece for this, or as i did, another leg slightly offset. JUST MAKE SURE YOU CLAMP IT SO IT CUTS IN THE WASTE AREA THOUGH!! :-)

So this was the finished project. I cut the frames for the legs in the same way as the top, and then haunched the top of them to fit in around the top. A sill was then screwed onto the bottom of the legs to slow down the rotting process. This can then easily be changed at a later date if required.
The whole structure is then simply anchored to the ground with 2 angle irons hammered well into the soil, drilled, and screwed into the legs. once the rose bush come back to life in the spring, it will also be attached to that as well.

I decided to leave out the vertical noggins that were part of the original design, as the rose bush is now well established and not in need of  so many places to wind round.

All the timber used was pressure treated, and the cut and notched areas treated with the same  (Protim), chemical as used in the factory applied. Even the screws were treated so as not to react with the chemicals. I used "Fasten Master GaurdDog screws, as I had them to hand, but these are expensive!, so 'normal' Decking screws would have been OK too.

An enjoyable project, made easier in the winter months.
Overall (footprint) the dimensions are 7'High, 4'4" Wide, 2' deep. Plus a few inches of overhang for the top.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2014, a wet, dusty and structural start: Sometimes it's best to step back and get some experience on the job!

I've already written about a little on the leaky workshop roof......and the last thing I want to do is start to sound like a broken record, so all I'll say now is last night we had A LOT of wind and rain, so this morning I discovered that I'll be making, (at the very least), a new fence for the pillar drill table! I also now have 5L of Bitumin paint and some lead flashing! More on this very soon.

This goes someway to explaining the sprinkler system currently functioning in the workshop! ;-)

Today I started on a fireplace removal, 10 years ago the fireplace was removed and blocked up. I now need to open up the hole again and have it ready for a log burner to be fitted later next month.

The company that are fitting the new log burner are ACE, and Marek the fitter, is even better. Last year he came and fitted one for my better half after I removed the old gas one, opened up the hole and did the surround as it is now.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Project previews for 2014: A sneak ahead for season 2 YouTube videos, and YOUR OWN INVOLVEMENT!!

OK,  So as I definitely mentioned the other day, the roof is absolutely the priority for this year in terms of jobs to do, the wonderful English weather has turned to rain, and it's also quite windy so the leaks are "significant".

Bitumin paint, silicone and some adhesive flashing will be the bulk of the solution, as well as a section of new timber. but more of that as it happens.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New year, New jobs, for the workshop, Projects to do before projects can begin

So 2013 saw the opening of the workshop doors to the world. Starting in around March, I joined Keek, after watching a Mere Minutes videos of Steve's. using it merely as a voyeurs tool for the first few months, it wasn't really until the end of spring before I started using it as a communication device. Making new friends around the world, and being more involved in the community I decided at the end of May to start up my YouTube channel.

The previous year, 2012, saw HUGE changes for both myself and the workshop, basically moving everything and restarting and setting up in a new location, about 1/5 the original size.