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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Moving House

Well today we signed on the dotted line, so hopefully I wont jinks it by saying that we're moving house!


We've managed to buy a smallholding of five acres with the beautiful backdrop of the Malvern hills. This is something I've always dreamed of and maybe we're mad to do it but it means we're be able to live a life that's much more self reliant, growing more of our own meat and vegetables, have space for children (in the not so distant future) to run around in and the space for me to build a large workshop and develop my business.

Where we live now has been a great home to us but I've always craved more space as I was brought up on a farm. I've built a lovely workshop but its size enables me to have only one project on the go at a time and I have to lug my tools up and down the garden to the van as its at the far end of the garden.

[Picture of my current workshop]

The garden is also full to bursting with two greenhouses, 9 (now deceased) chickens in two pens and raised beds full of veg, as well as two allotment plots in a nearby village which was just too far away to "pop off" to.

The new house means I'll have a good base to build my carpentry business from as well as trying to give my future children something near the upbringing I had, involving hard work, fun and with lots of time spent together.

Above is a picture of my new "temporary workshop" (although it will loose the wheels at its new destination) in my fathers workshop after its green paint job, this is until I can build something a little bigger.

I've now got to work harder to pay the mortgage but its now for the thing I always dreamed of, with my wife who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Feeling quite scared but very happy! Watch this space!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dormer Window

I went back to the "Complicated Little Roof" today to fit the roof on the dormer window.
It was no easier than the rest of the roof as the drawings were next to useless and the customer wanted it different to how it was shown anyway. Once we'd worked out what overhang he wanted (it's different to the rest of the dormers on the house as it sticks out from the brickwork) I managed to get the rafters and ridge board up and then cut the long compound mitres on the jack rafters (which fitted first time - to my surprise!).
I've got a day left on this roof when the next window turns up, I just hope the weather is as dry as it was today (although maybe not as cold). The main downside today was I had to put my tools away in the dark!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sharpen-up Sunday

There's something strangely therapeutic about sharpening up your tools on a Sunday night ready for the week ahead.
These are my hand tools that need sharpening, and they stay with me everyday of the week.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Off Centre Turning

Had my last wood turning lesson for whats going to be a while the other night. I'd been learning how to turn off centre on the new variable speed Axminster lathe that the guild house have bought. The AW1416VS lathe is great for this type of work as it turns at any speed you want, meaning when I was turning off centre I could turn the speed right up to just before it starts to shake! The turning was done with a special chuck of Chris's (my tutor) and although I was only turning with pine I learnt the basic principles even if what I produced didn't look that great! ( I didn't bother sanding to too higher grit as its only a test piece) The speed has to be kept low but still fast enough to produce a good finish, not easy for me as I like to turn everything at a fast speed!and when you adjust the chuck to bring it back on centre parting off is a little more tricky than it would be with a normal piece.

Anyone else tried off centre turning?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Closing The Gaps On Some Windows

Although I keep being let down with work at the moment what I do have is pretty varied!

Wednesday and Thursday this week I spent trying to close the gaps on some old windows. The windows need replacing really, and the customer understands that, but due to budget (as the house is listed and the windows would not be off the shelf) they decided just to have the gaps closed up a bit to try and save on heating and to make the house a bit more comfortable to live in.

First job was to take out some leaded glass from an old frame, break the frame apart, clean it up and re-glue it back together. I had to be really careful with the glass as its hundreds of years old, really thin and the lead holding it together was pretty weak. Then I had to linseed oil putty the glass back into the frame once it was back in position. My putty work will never win any awards as I don't do much of it, but it looks fine where it is and should last a bit longer now.

I then worked on closing the gaps on the four large windows on the front of the house. Not really a very fun job, sticking strips on and planing them down to fit. But it did mean I worked with hand tools for 2 days straight, mainly my three favorite planes (60 1/2, No.4, No.778)


The gaps are much smaller now and it should make the house less draughty, I even filled and then primed the repairs, ready for the windows to be painted.


A lovely old house to work on (the upstairs even had wide hewn oak floor boards).

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