Monday, 25 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 3 - Muffin Much...

An incomplete one this last week, but I made a start on my next carving. 

My children play what they call "playdough bake off" this is like the bake off on the TV but with playdough. I wanted to make them a box with different themes and tasks inside and decided that having a carving on the top of the box might be nice. 

To start with I drew a simple design of a cupcake on a small block of lime. 

As this is to be a light relief carving I gauged the depth round the outside to rough out the work to. My phone ran out of battery at this point but the next task was to roughly line out the outline with the V tool. 

I then took down the background to a rough level - still needs work but I might texture it yet. The next step will be to add detail to the carving and try to make it look a bit more realistic. Time is tight at the moment as I'm home schooling the children during the day but trying to get out into the workshop each evening if I can (also good to put the heating on in the workshop for a few hours full blast!).

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 2 - Tool Box

It's my eldest daughter's birthday at the end of this week and as she loves helping outside and making things we thought it was about time she got some tools of her own. And then she'll need something to carry them in - time to build a tool box! 

I decided that as my daughter loves my wood carvings (she has to, I'm her dad) that I would carve her a design on the sides of the tool box. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

3d Printed Battery Mounts

A while ago I posted how much I loved Stealth Battery mounts for keeping my Makita batteries out the way. 

The only downside is that I no longer have enough of them for all my batteries. Luckily my friend has just got a 3d printer - time to ask for a favour! I found some files online and he printed them out. 

Straight off the printer they work perfectly, they don't have to do much other than hold a battery out the way but it does make it so much easier to organise and keep the workshop cleaner. And they didn't use much plastic to print them. 

 He's now going to print me some clamps for my MFT bench tops and then I'll have to think about what's after that! Lol - he's going to regret telling me he has it! 

What do you have that's been 3d printed or would like to see? 

Friday, 8 January 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 1

So to develop my carving I'm trying to make sure I keep practicing little and often. I've set myself the challenge to carve or turn at least once a week. 

A mirror I carved for my wife for Christmas

This doesn't have to be for very long, and doesn't have to be a whole project completed, but ideally be more "craft" than more usual work, but if I manage to combine the two than that's even better (and add it to things I'm selling on Etsy).

Week 1 -

I have decided to make a new workbench for the workshop. Although I love my MFT style workbench (and I plan to make a Paulk Smart Bench fairly soon to add to this), I want a solid top workbench that I can use as a dedicated sharpening bench.

In my old workshop I had a good set up but that was nearly 10 years ago and I never got round to setting up anything the same in my new one, and as these things always are they move on and methods change and develop. 

I need somewhere I can easily store and set up my grinders, somewhere for my hundreds of sharpening stones and slips and somewhere to store carving chisels in rolls. I figure a 4ft workbench with drawers would be perfect for this. I purchased some 2" (50mm) thick beech for the top, but decided that there was no need to use that timber for the legs as I already had some large chunks of tulip/poplar that would be perfect. 

As it was tulip I decided that I should probably use it as a good excuse to practice a bit more carving. A simple repetitive design is really medative to work on.

So with the frame assembled and the top on the bench is far from finished but it is useable and I like the look of the legs.

When I make the drawers I plant to carve the drawer fronts, I have some lime that is wide enough so just need to decide on some patterns to carve out, this should provide lots of opportunity to get some more of my 52 weeks of carving in the bag! 

Sunday, 27 December 2020

More Carving Practice

 Following on from my last post. I've managed to fit in some more carving practice over the Christmas period. 

Architectural carvings have always fascinated me and it's something I've always wanted to learn to be able to do myself. A rosette seemed like a good place to start, and was part of an online course I'm doing with carving. 

I decided after my first attempt to flip it over and try again, after all practice makes perfect and it's a good use of the wood. 

I've also had a bit of company while I've been in the workshop - my youngest has discovered the joys of a piece of wood, a hammer and a handful of nails - lots of entertainment! 

The second carving I decided to make up a few leather strops to get the keenest edge possible on the tools - used with some homemade stropping/honing paste. 

It's amazing how much faster the second one was compared to the first one. Hopefully the speed will come after more practice. 

Anyone else do small pieces of carving just for practice?

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Practicing carving

So I have a little commission to make in the form of a small box. So to make things harder for myself I've decided to carve a small pattern on the front. 

The real box will be in oak but I had some tulip to make a complete test run and make sure everything works well together. 

A fairly simple pattern, but a good piece to practice on. When I carve the real one the corner of the border will be stopped and started better. and I'll tidy up the cuts more. 

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Mini Skirting

The other day there was a good blending of old and new technology. 

I was making 1:12 scale skirting for a project. 

 To do this I ended up using a top end sander and extractor along side a moulding plane I got from a car boot sale for £2! 

Lovely to use it - the perfect tool for the job!

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Breeding Push Sticks

 For the last few months I've been breeding push sticks and they're now finally big enough to come out of their pen and be used. 

I've selectively bred them for their brightly coloured plumage so they stand out from the common spotted offcut that they will often try to hide with...

Thursday, 12 November 2020

A Simple Hand Carved Fireplace

 I carved four of these and no one gave me a lift to put them into place!

Luckily they weren't too heavy! 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Cabin Bed Alteration

Managed to do some work in an empty house for a customer. 

Altering a bed and a few other small jobs. 

The bed was a standard bed but they wanted it to go over the bunkhead that closed off the stairs. In the end I replaced most of the original bed!  Making three new legs, the ladder on the end and the safety rails to stop him falling out of bed.

I enjoyed this commission. Most could be made at home then assembled on site.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Green Oak Porch Finished

Really pleased with how this porch came out in the end. It really sets off the house. 

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Step Up Changing Table

This was a commission for a local nursery I made earlier in the month.

It's the one my son attends (although he no longer needs the changer) so it was lovely to work for them.

I've done a full video on the process of making it, watch it and let me know what you think.

I made the whole project with 18mm birch faced ply, leaving the edges exposed to complete the look. I was really pleased with how it turned out.

A really fun and interesting project to make.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Simple Clamp Rack

For a long time now I've wanted to increase my number of clamps in the the shop. They seem to be the one limiting factor on large glue ups, and as I was once told you can never have enough!

So using my brothers wholesale account I have upgraded my collection. I talked a few weeks back about clamps and what I'd go for if I was to buy more. In the end I've gone for a good sized set of them.

They are a cheap brand but there's not much to go wrong with a clamp. Some of the castings are a bit out of square on the end but I always put a piece of wood for them to press against anyway.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Small Green Oak Frame

this is a small oak frame I've been commissioned to build for a porch on a new house. 

All traditional mortise and tenon joinery. A mixture of hand and power tools have been used. 

The oak was quite twisted so I have to pick through the pieces to find the best ones for the truss.

Hopefully I should get this one pegged fairly soon and fitted! I could do with getting it away from my yard. It'll be sanded up before it's assembled.

Always heavy with oak but at least these pieces aren't too big!

Monday, 19 August 2019

IsoTunes Pro Review

The last few year years I've been really hot on using hearing protection.

There's a real stigma on building sites about health and safety and that's a real shame, especially when it comes to our hearing. I used to keep ear muffs in the van but I wasn't very religious about using them for a long time. To be honest they can be a pain to wear when working with others or in the heat and if you're always putting them on and taking them off they slow you down. Lots of tractor driving when younger hasn't helped either I shouldn't imagine.

But now my hearing isn't what it was and I wish I'd put more into trying to look after it. Hopefully it's not deteriated too much but I can't hear somethings as well as others, like the beeper on the cooker, etc. So now before I use any tool, the ear muffs go on. The horse might have bolted on this one but hopefully it'll stop them getting worse.

My workshop has lots of pairs of them all over the place. But wearing them they do tend to get hot and sweaty and when planning boards up for hours it can become a little boring if you can't hear the radio.

So I've decided it's time to try something new. Lately I've got massively into my audio books and like to listen as I'm working on some of my easier tasks, I thought it would be great not to have to switch it off as I'm doing some of the longer machining tasks.

There are always concerns about using hearing protection like this while using machines.
1. You're not concentrating quite as well as if you weren't listing to anything.
2. You will struggle to hear if someone shouts at you
3. You can't hear so well if the machine you're using is struggling.

For me, as someone that works alone I think the above risks are quite minor, I maintain my machines well and the door has to be opened for someone to come in to talk to me anyway. Plus I'll only use it on simple tasks I've done thousands of times before.

I looked at what was available and saw a few people in a forum recommend Isotunes. They're not cheap at around £70 but then if they were I'd probably be less inclined to buy them! Cheap isn't normally very good, especially when it comes to safety wear. 

When they turned up they come in a well packaged box containing everything you need. The ear buds themselves just block out noise like normal ear buds would and then wirelessly play audio into your ears via bluetooth. 

Out of the box it's dead easy to set up and use. Just pick the correct sized ear buds, thread them onto the main part and fit them in your ear like it shows on the diagram.

It's also pretty easy to connect to your phone as well, just search for devices and press the middle button on the controls. Then they should connect automatically whenever you have them switched on. The little control bar has volume controls and lets you switch on or off from there, just holding it for 5 seconds turns it on or off. 

I've been using them for a few weeks now and so far I'm really enjoying them. I wouldn't say they're as comfortable as normal ear muffs, as they take a little getting used to, but I've worn them for long periods of time without any discomfort.

Noise reduction is good, they work as well as any of the ear muffs I already own.

I find the sound quality to be great, the volume doesn't go that loud, but loud enough for anything I've been doing so far. I've listened to a number of books and even with the planer going I've been able to hear to the whole thing.

Sorry for the goofy picture!
Battery life seems good as well, so far I've used them daily and so long as I remember to charge them in the evening they last as long as I want them to, they charge quickly though.

So do I think they're worth the money?

Yep - I've even been looking forward to the boring jobs so I can have them on! Probably not worth it for the occasional user but for anyone who need hearing protection for a large portion of the day then I'd highly recommend them.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Creating A Curved Worktop

For our own kitchen we had decided we wanted a curved unit and worktop where you enter the kitchen. This would make the flow much better as you enter the room (and much less likely to stub your toe!).

To do so creates a bit of work though. I had to first make the curved unit which involved lots of curved ply.  This then gave me the radius length for the worktop.

Only a perfect curve would do for this, anything less would stand out like a sore thumb. So routing a template was the only way really, no way could this be cut by hand. I used the bars on my router and a block of wood to create a simple circle jig. And routed the quarter turn using a straight cutter. I took the extraction off for this photo but always have it on when routing MDF.

The Run of worktop to be routed

I then used the template to draw the curve and cut using a jigsaw as close as I could to make routing easier.

The jig was fitted to the underside of the worktop as the copy bit I had for the router has the bearing on the bottom. I clamped this to the worktop, I made the jig big enough so that the clamps were well out of the way.

Even with dust extraction on this is still a dusty job, but far better than without! Routing the actual curve didn't take long once set up! A sharp bit is essential for cutting the oak without burning it.

I then sanded the curve working up through the grits and routed a slight chamfer on the edge, this way it still looks crisp but isn't sharp. 

I'm really pleased with this curve. The first thing anyone does as they walk in is to rub their hand along it so I'm glad I took the time to get it perfect!

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