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Woodworking

The Story So Far

Good lord! This is my 30th blog post. How did that happen?!

I started this blog in that Christmas-New Year period when nothing much else goes on; my first actual proper post going live on 6th January. Since then I’ve waded through a score of things I’ve made around the house and garden, trying to encapsulate the techniques I’ve learned along the way, and hopefully showing that it’s the idea that matters most. I don’t claim to be any great shakes at woodworking, but I’m happy that I can imagine a thing that would be useful and then figure out a way to make it.

I still have many finished projects to talk about, and have more lined up that will one day come to fruition. Before all that, however, I thought I should take stock of what I’ve made so far.

Bookshelves

I began with the story of a bookshelf to suit our newly refurbished end room. This became a tale in three parts:

Where to begin? : In which I used PowerPoint to plan a design that looked like stacked and tumbling boxes that would cover a wall, then bought loads of planks of poplar from our local timber merchant.

Where to begin – part 2 : Where I glued the planks together using biscuit joints, then hung the whole thing from the wall using hidden shelf supports.

Where to begin – part 3 : Revisiting the end room to build another, smaller but similar shelf unit to complement.

I’ve written up three other bookshelf projects too:

Hobby Board Fun : Trying to keep up with the ever growing stacks of books around the house, I played around with some oak hobby board to make some more shelves. I also used the board to made a frame for a mirror.

Obelus and Radical : In which I began the task of making a maths-themed shelf for our son. Again, the PowerPoint and biscuit joiner came out, and this time I figured out how to cut and join wood at odd angles.

Obelus and Radical – part 2 : Continuing the maths bookshelf, I got out the clamps to assemble the unit, then changed direction after a disastrous first attempt at mounting it onto the wall.

Music : Books aren’t the only things to need shelves. Here I talked about how I housed our library of CDs and DVDs. More PowerPoint, and this time, Cam Locks to join things together.

Tables

I’ve written the stories of two tables so far. They’re a challenge to build, and I have covered a lot of ground in making each one. I am inordinately proud of both pieces, and hope you don’t mind me blowing my own trumpet here:

The Boy’s Desk : I rebuilt my son’s room, and created space for a desk for his school work. This post covered much of the design work, and the practicalities of fitting an intricate design onto the available wood.

The Boy’s Desk – part 2 : Eventually, I plucked up courage and took a jigsaw to the wood to start building. I then had to figure out how to reproduce a curve three times.

The Boy’s Desk – part 3 : Where I put it all together. Cam locks, biscuit joints and shelf supports galore. There was even room for a bit of chrome.

TV Table : In which I explore our local reclaimed wood mecca, in a bid to make something that will let us have a bigger TV. I found the most beautiful piece of cherry wood, and began to shape it.

TV Table – part 2 : Having made the table top, I needed to make some legs. This time using some carefully shaped strips of ash.

TV Table – part 3 : I put it all together. Using a router to round off the edges, and a box to prop up the shelf so I could measure where to put the screws. Then, I sanded and polished, and it came up looking great!

Cabinets

Cabinets tend to come in flat-pack form, but since I’ve learned to cut wood and join it together I figure I should be able to make these myself So far I’ve talked about two cabinets I have built from scratch:

The Boot Rack : Originally designed as a place to sort and store my wife’s shoes. It seems that books take precedence however. Still, I learned how to use a rounding-over bit in my router.

Laundry : This was a race against time, to overcome the desire of our new cat to sharpen his claws on our wicker basket. Hand-drawn sketches, routers and chisels feature prominently in this. It was also my first time fitting a hinge. I still need to practice hinges…

Other Things

Some projects are harder to categorise. I’ve lumped these three together for want of a place to put them:

Lamp Clamp : Son needed a lamp for his desk. I had an old anglepoise one, but we had lost a key widget from it. So the two of us set to, making a replacement part to bring the lamp back to life again. Of course, it was painted red.

Banister : In which I take out a horrible metal and plastic construction that ran up the side of our stairs, and replaced it with some nice bits of wood. I also found an excellent use for holes.

Dovetails : The story of my Christmas present. I was given a class at a local wood school to learn how to connect bits of wood together in decorative and sturdy ways.

The Garden

I do as much messing about with wood outdoors as I do indoors. In the garden, projects are bigger, and more tolerant of ‘rustic assembly’, but they also require liberal doses of wood preserve:

Fork Handles : This job came up all of a sudden. Repairs often do. Here I used a chisel to get a few more years’ use out of a garden fork.

The Den : My biggest ongoing project. In this first part, I cleared the ground and began assembly of a two storey garden play-place for my newly arrived son. I got as far as buying a slide, erecting some legs and building a platform.

The Den – part 2 : In which I put a roof on the den, attached the slide and built a ladder. Oh, and I quoted Nick Offerman, who’s a great woodworker.

The Den – part 3 : I added a swing, and built a huge frame to hang it from.

The Den – part 4 : It keeps growing. I added a trapeze bar and a scramble net, then had to deal with woodlice in one of the legs.

A Bench for the Den : A visit to our recycled wood emporium gave me an idea for a bench to go in the den, albeit one that is mostly used by the cat.

Fencing : Here I helped our neighbour to replace a 45-year-old wooden fence between our properties, and got to do some concreting into the bargain.

Chopping Down : It’s not always about building things. Sometimes you have to take things down. Here I talked about some of the trees I’ve had to clear from the garden over the years.

Chopped Wood : And here I showed what I do with the wood that gets chopped down. Contains axes and chainsaws.

So that’s the story so far. Still to come, more shelves, some dovetail work, a bit of jigsawing, lots of outdoor cabinetry, and plenty of building work. I’ll have many more techniques to discuss, and mistakes to own up to. I hope you’ll join me. Thanks for sticking with it so far!

By nickcnickcnickc

I spend my working life staring at computer screens, so in my spare time I look for things to do with my hands, preferably involving wood. It's a little ironic then that I've now starting writing a blog about my woodworking, and thus introducing computer screens to my main hobby..!

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