Thursday 31 January 2013

Death Of A Thousand Cuts

Well 2208 actually.
Glass going in
 I'm starting to fit the double glazed units, all 276 of them.
Each piece of glass needs 4 beads (that's 1104 in total) and each bead needs at least 2 cuts (assuming I get it right first time) making 2208 cuts. That means quite a bit of time spent at the saw with a very simple jig!
A simple jig
 I measured all the glass as well so if it's wrong it's on my head. There's 14 different sizes and so far everything fits perfectly.
A lot of beads cut ready
It is a little repetitive though, one set of windows needed two lots of 112 beads at the same size - not something you want to be cutting again! Anyone else done a repetitive jobs lately?

Sunday 27 January 2013

Axe WorkShop

I've just come back from a great weekend away camping up in a wood in staffordshire learning how to use axes. It was snowing when we got there but that only added to the fun!
We also made charcoal over the weekend and you can read about that here.
A very snowy tent
First lesson - learning not to embed the axe in your leg - an important lesson!

Splitting wood safely

Chopping down some small trees that needed to be removed

Learning to tie faggots using a woodmans clamp

Base camp for the weekend

Jonny showing a method of sharpening an axe

A extra safe and precise way of splitting wood - good for blanks for tent pegs

Some rough tent pegs

Dan making a mallet

Some spoon carving lessons

A rough shaped mallet
The group stood with our measured "cord" of wood
It was a great weekend, I learnt some new skills and practised old one. I also got to spend quality time with my brother doing what we both love.
This was our second axe course (find a link to our first one here) run by different firms and they were for completely different things so it would be unfair to compare the two. This one was from a bush craft point of view where the other was more to practise the traditional skills of the men that used to fell trees with axes for a living. 
This was our third course with Survival school and we weren't disappointed. It was nice to be outside and dedicate yourself to learning bush craft skills for the weekend with no other distractions. Going back to basics is great fun and although some of the things you can make straight off the axe are a little rough round the edges its a great skill to develop and learn and one I hope I'll be using more in the future (even if it's just to split fire wood) and I'll use the knowledge I've picked up to help me. The instructor were great making the whole weekend fun as well as some good company from the other students. I love weekends like this!

Friday 18 January 2013

Fitting A Loft Hatch

The advantage of being self employed this morning was when I looked outside and saw six inches of snow I decided not to go to work, the disadvantage is that I wont be getting paid!
Our original loft hatch
I decided instead to get some jobs done at home. Putting the Christmas decorations away a couple of weeks ago set me thinking. Our loft hatch is barely big enough for me to squeeze through, let alone massive boxes of decorations - I kind of adopted the open and shove method of loft storage, so I decided to do something about it.
Assembling the loft hatch
Last year, at the big house I've been working at, I fitted five ready made loft hatches with fold down ladders (it is a big house1). These hatches are great as they're ready insulated, sprung loaded and come complete with a ladder so no having to go to the shed first!
Hole cut ready - this is where you hope your measurements were right!
They're fairly simple to fit - well after having done five I think they are. I first went into the loft and found where the ceiling joist ran, I wanted the hatch to be tight on one joist over the door, so I made a hole in two corners and then went below to mark out where the hatch was to go. Checking it was square I then cut out this hatch out of the plasterboard ceiling.
trimming out the ceiling joists
I then cut the ceiling joist running in the middle of where I wanted the hatch to go. I cut this 45mm back from the front edge of the newly made hole to acept the noggins. I trimmed out the hatch by adding timbers fixed with 100mm screws (not too much hammering up here as the artex on the ceiling isn't the best!).
Then the tricky bit, getting the hatch into position on my own! Although they're not that heavy they are awkward (very awkward) and sprung loaded. To make things easier I removed the bottom two sections of the ladder and I also screwed a batten to the one edge of the hole, this was to carry the weight of one side. With some none health and safety endorsed lifting I had the hatch in position, squared up and then fixed.
No more going out to the shed to get the step ladder
It was then just a matter of fixing on the rest of the ladder (and cutting it to length), and trimming round the hole with architrave. Nice way to spend a snowy afternoon. I even used my old Nobex mitre saw as I didn't want to run any leads outside to cut the architrave.
Once I get it painted you won't notice it so much
The old loft hatch will have to stay as it is for now but I plan to get it plastered over fairly soon. This new one should make putting the decorations away easier!
Anyone else done any jobs at home lately?

Saturday 12 January 2013

Some Blogs You May Like

This is just a post picking out a few of the woodworking blogs I like to read on a regular basis, there are many others (I'm sorry if I haven't mentioned someone) as I spend far too long reading blogs.
 This is my brothers blog, a top notch tree surgeon who loves his trade. I always enjoy seeing what he's been upto during the week.
 I love Brian's blog, a nice mix of lovely photos and natural styled projects using beautiful wood.
Micheals is a fairly new blog but it's got some great stuff on there and I feel that he's very much a like minded person. His blog is a nice of woodwork/carpentry and some of his hobbies like cooking/baking and flying. I really look forward to his updates.
 This blog wasn't updated for ages last year but now Dans back and since Christmas he put some great posts on his restoration projects in America. I think there's a lot I could learn off this man.
 Dyami Plotke runs this great blog where as well as great project (like an amazing tree house) he is also trying to make woodworkers connect on different social media.
 A man who needs no introduction, this blog is full of great projects and some though provoking posts about how we see crafts and our life balance.
A really well written blog with lots of projects and some great design ideas for the workshop.
This is just brilliant. If your interested in hand tools and how to use them, or even if you're not, go to this blog
And just a few for non wood working -
Shameless self plug for my other blog, all about how we live on our little smallholding in Herefordshire.
Might offend some but amuse many more, I find him funny and I think we'd get on well over a beer or three. Just the ponderings of a man with too much time on his hands (well he hasn't really he should be working).
This blog I found last week, the post are long but they are so well written and so witty I can't stop reading them . This man need to write a book he writes that well (he might have to to finish what he's trying to build!) I really recommend having a look at this (The last post about me made me cry with laughter!)
There are so many other blogs I read (many on gardening and living the good life) so I'm sorry if yours isn't here but drop me a comment and I'll try to include it in another post later in the year if I do this again.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Make Your Own Slate Rip

This was something I was meaning to post ages ago but forgot! I was stripping a section of roof before Christmas to add a new back gutter to a chimney when I realised I had forgotten my slate rip.
I managed to make a temporary one out of an old disposable hand saw. Cutting the to the side of the hanging hole on the saw to make a notch.
It's then just a case of slipping the "rip" between the slates and over the nail, hitting the handle downwards to pull the nail out (or snap the head off).
This doesn't last for too many slates, as the plastic on the handle can only take so many hits, but it meant that I could carry on working and strip an area big enough to carry on.
Anyone else made a temporary tool lately?
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