Tagged: woodwork

Skill Swap

Here’s some promotion for my friend Stu “Shread Art” Leonard. I’m already the owner of two of his paintings but I decided it was time for a third after I saw an update to his “available paintings” gallery on Facebook. One, in particular, grabbed my attention. It’s a beautiful vivid yellow and orange landscape of a Snowboarder riding off into the sunset. The colour struck me, so I had to have it. I inquired about the price but thankfully for my bank balance I was offered a bit of a deal.

With an upcoming show, Stu wanted a few frames made to display his artwork in. He showed me some designs he found on Google, I took some dimensions and set to work. In total I made three. The smaller had a one inch wooden frame with a two inch border and for a bit more scale, the larger had a two inch wooden border with a three inch border. They’re probably some of the best angles I’ve cut and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The back board is nicely cut into the frame for a flat surface on the rear and all the joins have countersunk screws and glue holding them together with a fine skim of filler to cover any gaps. They were all primed ready for Stu to add a colour of his choice and yesterday I took them round.

I’m pleased to say he was over the moon with them and can’t wait to get them on the wall and on display at the show. It may, hopefully, lead to more orders from his customers for other frames which I’ll be happy to make. The more work I do the more bike parts I can buy!

There is another painting lined up, and another project lined up as a skill swap but both are a bit bigger and will take some work. In the meantime, check out Stu’s artwork over on Facebook.

Click Here


Scrap Creations.

Taking a bit of a break from the bikes has resulted in a few woody creations. They’ve gone down pretty well too, in fact, they’re selling very well.

I actually failed to sell the first one of these I decided to make. Taking one half sized pallet, filling in the gaps and raising it up a level before planking off the sides and fitting castors. It created a nice, low coffee table that can easily be moved around but nobody seemed interested. Instead of changing the design I went ahead and made another and to my surprise it caused a bit of a stir on eBay, catching the attention of a few bidders and selling for way more than I thought it would go for. The new owner seemed to love it… maybe I’ll make more!

I then decided to make this large two tier planter from some Acoya that was about to thrown out at work. Acoya is a special type of timber that comes pre treated and guaranteed for 50 years use untreated. It’s soaked in some type of solution until it is completely saturated which also means you can plane it down to smaller dimensions and it will still be protected. The only downside to this timber is it is very dense and requires a lot of pilot holes to be drilled before screwing which then leads to a lot of smoking drill bits but hey, it makes a nice planter. This was snapped up within an hour of being posted on Facebook.

I then had a message pop up asking if I could make another planter. I was given dimensions to work to and left to my own devices so I found all the offcuts I could and pieced this together. A giant 1 meter by 1 meter planter. I built it by creating a frame from 50mm square timber and then covering each side in 15mm thick planks. It was topped with some thicker 45mm timber. It’s actually too big to fit in my car so we need to find a van to get it to the new owners house. Oops.

Bird boxes! Everyone loves bird boxes! Unfortunately because they’re so easily made it’s damn near impossible to sell them. The market is saturated unless you get super creative and carve out an elaborate fantasy house. I’ll just be giving these away for free I think. You wouldn’t think it by looking at them but the timber I started with was actually around 25mm thick, bowed and twisted. A lot of careful planing later and I had the 15mm planks I needed to make these; perfectly flat.

And finally another chunky glulam coffee table. I’ve spent today honing my chisel skills once again, by carving out all the joints for this piece. I’m getting quicker and more accurate, plus my sharpening skills are getting better; not perfect, but better. The joints for this were so tight I didn’t really need the glue to hold it together 🙂 It’s currently up for sale.

I’ve got a few other requests to do soon in return for some new paintings which I LOVE. (I have one already and it catches my eye every time I walk by – It’s so cool!). Keep an eye out for another post including paintings and more woodwork.

A weekend of wood.

Admittedly, I’m only doing this because I messed up my finances a little (buying bikes and forgetting to add the cost to my spreadsheet) but it’s been nice working with wood for the weekend.  I’m quite lucky in that I can generally always find a good source of wood to play with so my garage always has enough supplies.  Unfortunately, with the lack of electricity I have to do everything by hand (unless I’ve done all the processing at work on the sly…).  I do love all the new powered equipment I have at my disposal at work but there’s something satisfying about doing it by hand with old tools.

First up I decided to use up some planks I’d ripped down at work. I’d processed them all before into 20mm thick lengths with nice square edges so they were really easy to use. Sticking with the easy level I decided to go with a simple planter build. The planks dictated the size of the planter, 3 wide by 3 high and by chance I cut the first length to almost the exact size I needed to produce one length and one width per piece. The only thing that slowed me down on this was ripping the upright down using a hand saw. Cutting against the grain, especially with my fine cut saw, took some time but it was the only “difficult” part. Pilot drilled holes and stainless screws finished the build. It was sold almost straight away on Facebook 🙂

I then decided to use an old half pallet I had lying about to make a coffee table. I probably should have sat down and drawn up some designs first but I had a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve and making things up as I go seems like a good way to work ;). I knew first of all I needed to fill in the gaps between the original slats and having nothing in the garage that fitted I had to improvise. I used some bigger planks, cut to length and then ripped to size to fit as tight as possible in the gaps. This left the top uneven with bowed pallet timber and tall fillers that I’d put in. The solution I saw was to knock the nail heads down slightly and use my old hand planes to level off the entire surface.

I love these tools. When they work and they’re sharp, they really are a joy to use. I was flying through the job with my small plane but something loosened and I couldn’t really figure out what was wrong so I dug out the old Stanley (the one pictured below isn’t mine but very similar), tuned it up and finished off the job. The blade on the Stanley is badly damaged with a couple of chips but my tune with a wet stone seemed to do the job.

I added another level to the base and added panels to the side before finishing all the “heavy” work. There was a bit more planing and a bit of sanding left to do before I was happy with the finish and once all that was done I added a coat of Colron “Canadian Cedar” Danish Oil to give it all a bit of colour. As I stood back and looked at the finished product I couldn’t help think something was missing. It didn’t look “right”. It turns out a set of castors is what I needed and luckily I had a set lying around. They’ve given a bit more height to the table and bit more functionality.

I’ve got another build lined up in my head (or the faint outline) but clearing up the huge mess I made came first!

If you’re interested in the coffee table you can find it on eBay here.

A Break From The Bikes

I don’t think I’ve posted anything but bikes lately so here’s something different.


I’ve had all these pieces cut and sat in my garage clogging up a work bench for a good few weeks now (possibly into the months). It was all going to be chucked out at work so I decided to make myself a new television stand. I salvaged the chunky Glulam and some bits of Plywood and came up with another no nails design. The problem with this is I have to spend hours with a chisel carefully cutting out all the slots and grooves.

Today I used up all those hours.

I’ve tried to get as clean a finish as possible but admittedly I did make a few mistakes and pieces flaked and chipped away in places I wanted a sharp edge. Keeping the chisels sharp was important so I always had my wetstone on the go. If they cut through my skin without any effort they were definitely sharp enough…

Apart from being harassed by a few kids shouting and throwing things over the local clubs wall at me it was a pretty good day. I felt I improved my technique and created a nice and sturdy piece of furniture without the need for screws or nails. I’ve left it to dry over night now. Tomorrow I’ll crack on with the joyful task of sanding!

Pallets, Pallets, Pallets & More Pallets.

There are pallets everywhere. Once they get used for transportation they’re often chucked away and forgotten but there’s so much you can do with one.

Recently I’ve taken to building some items of furniture from old pallets. Tables to start with:

Nice and simple. Easy to build.

I sold them on eBay and the day after one was collected I had a request off a buyer. Could I build a matching pair of bedside tables for her from pallets? Sure. Why not?! I spent a day playing in the garage with a “rough” build that I was going to keep myself and got one made. She was happy with it so I set about making her a matching pair.

I haven’t actually heard back from the buyer who requested them yet so they’re on eBay for now but hey, it was fun building them. Now I just need to lay my hands on some more pallets for more designs.

Woodwork / DIY – First of the year.

I work with wood day in, day out so it’s only natural I have a play every now and again. I’m not a chippy or anything, not by trade, I’m just a wannabe in my spare time. What I do by trade, well, it’s all hush hush but I get to use any “scrap” wood I want after we’ve had our way with it. It’s a nice little perk.

This piece came from some left over “Douglas Fir”. It gives some gorgeous natural colours but it tends to be full of sap too. Luckily it had all but disappeared when I got my hands on it so I didn’t get covered. I decided to make another chunky coffee table, cutting everything down to size and then breaking out the Hitachi to sand everything down. That’s where the power assisted work stopped though.

I really like to practice my joinery so I chose to ditch the nails and screws and go with tight fitting joints and glue. It means spending hours with a chisel and hammer carefully working out the recesses, 12 in total, but I think it’s worth it, especially when you get the joints spot on and they’re so tight they hold themselves. In fact, nearly all my own furniture is built this way. Big and chunky with solid joints.

A simple clear Briwax finished it off. I didn’t feel there was any need to hide the natural colours.

You might just catch it on eBay soon 😉

Something chunky.

To try and get a few more pennies rolling in I’m trying to make a few more bits of furniture from this and that. Most will be made from recycled timber, whether it’s from work that’s been tested and no longer useful to us or whether it comes from skips or other sources I’m going to try and make the best pieces I can and test my limited knowledge of woodwork.

The first piece I’ve made to sell is a replica of the glulam coffee table I made for my flat. It’s not an exact replica as it’s slightly smaller in dimensions but the material and the techniques used to build it have been the same. The glulam used came from old tests so it does have a few holes from some big screws used to join the joists together but unfortunately they were unavoidable. Once it was all assembled I coated the whole thing in some “Jacobian Dark Oak” Danish Oil and gave it a coat of Briwax to seal it. If you’re interested in it, it will be on my eBay tomorrow.

I worked on it in the evenings after work this week and here’s the process in pictures. From cutting out all the slots with hammer and chisel, to assembly to finished product. Again, no fasteners were used in this build at all, only tight joints and glue.

A toy for me. A toy for the dogs.

I logged onto Facebook on Friday to find a notification from my Aunt. She’d tagged me in a post on a dog training page offering out my handyman “skills”. The page had posted a video of something that had been built as a game / training for dogs. It was basically a few pop bottles on a rod that treats could be dropped into and the dog had to work out how to get the treats out by spinning the bottles. It didn’t look too hard to build so I grabbed some spare materials and set about making it today.

It really wasn’t too hard. I used some 15mm plywood for the main structure, a few offcuts of solid sawn for the bracing and some M8 rod for the bar. They were all bits that had been lying around or thrown out so I’m glad they’ve gone to some use now.

I only had a picture to work from so I made up my own dimensions as I went along and instead of just screwing it all together I chiseled out some channels for all the parts to link together and once the basic structure was assembled (two sides, one base and one brace) I could see it was sturdy enough. I added another brace at each end to make it even more sturdy though, just in case one of the dogs was a bit eager… A quick sand to round off the edges and it was done.

Making that also gave me the chance to test out my new Workmate. I do already have a couple of sturdy work benches but they aren’t very good for cutting up timber on. My vice does the job for holding smaller pieces but I needed something a bit easier to work with. I did a bit of research and then popped down to Homebase to pick up a Black & Decker 301 Workmate. The website said they only had two in stock and they were right, but the one that was hidden at the back I noticed had a reduced sticker on it. It had £6 off and the sticker said “Cosmetic Damage / Missing Parts” but underneath it also just said “Box is damaged”. Money off for a damaged box seemed a bargain so I went ahead and bought it however when I got it home and started putting it together I found it did indeed have parts missing… The handles to wind the two clamping surfaces together were missing as were a couple of bolts. It worked fine as a table without them but after finding the spares I would have been better off buying the full priced item!

Nevermind. So that’s my new toy to help me with builds and a new toy for some dogs to play with.

Recycling Timber

I’ve been busy cutting up pieces of old wood and turning them into new useful things over the last couple of days. The first build involved my old circular table. It was something I’d quickly knocked up and it wasn’t really well thought through so before selling it on I wanted to make a few adjustments. What I actually did was completely rebuild it to suit two chairs I’d bought.

On Friday I took the table and a chair into work with me, starting the tear down before work and finishing the build after. I took apart the old base, re-sized all the timber with the thicknesser at work taking off all the old varnish and reassembled everything so it was a bit sturdier than before.

I wanted to reuse as much as I could but I did need some new timber to finish the top so I raided the spares at work to put it all together. Instead of the old, warped circular top I’ve gone for a more traditional rectangle top and sized it so it was in proportion with the legs. It’ll seat two comfortably but may fit four at a push. The two chairs fit perfectly with it as well which is a bonus.

With everything built I gave it a good sand down to level and clean all the faces before trying to find a stain for the plain table to match the chairs. I love using Colron’s Danish Oil so I went with their Dark Oak colour but that was a bit dark, with not enough red so I added a coat of Canadian Cedar and everything matches. It just needs a wax now and then it’ll be for sale on eBay or Facebook with the chairs.

Something else I put together was this large planter. It used up a lot of offcuts I had that were pretty rough and thus, the planter itself looks pretty rough but it will be extremely sturdy and heavy once filled with soil!

There’s still more to come too…

Big & Heavy – Finished

Another job ticked off the list 🙂

There wasn’t too much to do to get the table finished, a bit of frame making, some filling and sanding and then some staining and now, the table is complete. The sockets I’d chiseled out for the legs and the weight of the top was sufficient to keep everything in place but I wanted something extra to brace the whole thing from sideways movements. It was a dead simple design, tightly fitting in between each leg with a triangular brace holding each section together. I screwed the bracing down to the top and then once flipped over and leveled off I put a screw through each leg to hold it all in place. It’s nice and sturdy now and there’s no rock 🙂

Before I stained the whole piece I wanted to fill a few holes where my angles weren’t 100% spot on. Simple enough, some wood filler pressed into the joins and scraped off as much as possible before drying and sanding. My belt sander would have made too much noise in the flat and it would have had my neighbours banging on the walls so I had to opt for the hand sanding method. It’s a little more forgiving and precise but it doesn’t shift the stubborn spots that well…

My stain of choice; Colron “Canadian Cedar” Danish Oil. It gives a dark, rich colour which always seems to emphasise the grain. I hate covering wood in anything that hides the grain and natural wood always seems to discolour. This oil is a nice compromise 🙂 And that’s that. One finished table. The two stools I’ve made previously compliment it nicely and I’ve got a third in the garage waiting to be finished.

I’ve probably made a few amateur mistakes along the way but it’s all a learning curve. Recycling this old timber has saved me a lot of money compared to one available in the shops of a similar size. Hopefully I’ll get some more bits and bobs made soon!